NPR.org : Science Friday :: The Superorganism (broadcast Friday, December 5th, 2008).
Perhaps insect societies, the so-called superorganisms, have perfected (that is, evolutionarily optimized) the ‘economics of organization’.
What, I wonder, do theories of “evolutionary economics” and “transaction cost economics” have to say about the existence of ‘superorganisms’ among the insects (the ants, bees, and termites)?
Insect societies seem to have gained the advantages of “the increment of association” (as crackpot economist and poet Ezra Pound would phrase it) without being able to use a free market among individuals to coordinate their actions and without benefit of management overhead.
I’ve been following the recent online lectures of Prof. Hubert L. Dreyfus titled “Existentialism in Literature and Film”:
These are “live” lectures, recorded in the classroom during this Spring 2006 school term.
Here’s the ‘existentialism’ course’s description:
“The course will be organized around various attempts to reinterpret the Judeo/Christian God, and to determine in what sense, if at all, such a God is still a living God. We will study Dostoyevsky‘s and Kierkegaard‘s attempts to preserve a non-theological version of the God of Christianity, as well as Nietzche’s attempt to save us from belief in any version of God offered by our tradition. We will view and discuss three films that deal with related issues.” — Philosophy 7.
The podcast syndication link for subscribing is here.
For a list of lectures of Berkeley courses currently available for free via podcast, see:
“iTunes U is a free, hosted service for colleges and universities that provides easy access to your educational content, including lectures and interviews 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.”
For reference, Jared Diamond, geographer and author of the 1998 Pulitzer Prize wining general nonfiction book Guns, Germs, and Steel, lectures at 7 pm on Thursday evening, March 2, 2006 at the USF Special Events Center:
Prof. Jared Diamond’s most recent book is Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, which topic is the subject of this Thursday evening’s lecture at the University of South Florida in Tampa.
Read an online excerpt from Collapse on the publisher’s website here:
“It has long been suspected that many of those mysterious abandonments were at least partly triggered by ecological problems: people inadvertently destroying the environmental resources on which their societies depended. This suspicion of unintended ecological suicide—ecocide—has been confirmed by discoveries made in recent decades by archaeologists, climatologists, historians, paleontologists, and palynologists (pollen scientists). The processes through which past societies have undermined themselves by damaging their environments fall into eight categories, whose relative importance differs from case to case: deforestation and habitat destruction, soil problems (erosion, salinization, and soil fertility losses), water management problems, overhunting, overfishing, effects of introduced species on native species, human population growth, and increased per-capita impact of people.”
I’ve not previously heard Jared Diamond speak so I cannot attest in advance to his personal charisma as a public speaker. Yet other invited speakers in the USF Lecture series whom I have heard within the recent past have all been uniformly excellent (namely, Cornel West, John Zerzan, and Mira Nair).
Here is my first ‘podcast’ on blog @ USF, an experiment in publishing a digital audio file of myself speaking for a few minutes. In addition to the embedded hyperlink in the first word of the last sentence, I am going to use WordPress to create an ‘enclosure’ so podcast news aggregator programs such as FeedDemon and Ipodder can subscribe to the RSS newsfeed for this weblog and automatically download the mp3 file pointed to in the enclosure. The mp3 file is actually on the Liberated Syndication media hosting server, where I uploaded it using their free “sandbox” account demo. Hence, I am not using USF’s bandwidth to distribute the mp3 file.
Again, this is a mere test of the technology using my USF blog’s WordPress weblog software for creating an ‘enclosure’ in this weblog’s RSS newsfeed. Nothing of consequence is said in the < 2 minute podcast referenced above.
If anyone wishes more information about how to create their own podcast, I will be happy to assist. Podcasting is something new, it’s only about one year old. Future postings under this the category “Podcast” on this Liberal Studies Blog will contain more info. Meanwhile those interested can explore the embedded hyperlinks include herein above.
Useful links about podcasting:
List of Concepts for the First Final Examination (INR 3038-901).
2. Portfolio Investment
3. Balance of Payment[s]
4. Current Account
5. Capital Account
6. Exchange Rate
7. Gold Standard
8. Floating Rate
9. Bretton Woods System
11. Paper Gold
12. Exchange Rate Quotations
14. Private Placements
15. Financial Crisis
16. Reasons for MNCs to Invest Overseas
17. Reasons for Nations to host FDI
18. Free Trade Area
21. Common Market
22. Customs Union
23. Economic Union
24. Trade Creation and Diversion
All embedded links supplied are mine [HB], not the professor’s. However, the list itself is from Dr. Peng’s e-mail.