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Environmental impacts of outdoor marijuana growing: Scott Greacen, TEDxEureka, Dec. 2, 2012

Scott Greacen is executive director of Friends of the Eel River. He also served as ED at EPIC from 2005 to 2011. He earned a BA in Political Science from Reed College, a JD cum laude from Lewis and Clark Law School, and is a member of the California Bar. He lives with his family in Bayside. In thespirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)
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Please see the latest update (12/4) on this fast-moving story here: Fugitive Software Guru John McAfee Seeks ‘Asylum’ in Guatemala, Claims He’ll Be Killed in Belize Update 12/3 10:30 a.m. EST: In a posting on his website, John McAfee (or someone writing under his name) claims that the fugitive software pioneer has fled Belize and is now safely outside the country “in the company of two intrepid journalist[s] from Vice Magazine, and, of course, Sam.” (Sam is the young woman McAfee has been hiding out with.) McAfee claims to have dispatched a body double carrying a North Korean passport under his name, who was briefly detained in Mexico, before being released. “I left Belize because of a series of events which led both Sam and I to believe that she was in danger of capture,” McAfee writes. He also suggests, as he has in the past, that the entire episode is the result of his one-man crusade to battle corruption in Belize. I’ll update the story as more details become available. Three weeks ago, police in the small Central American country of Belize discovered U.S. software mogul John McAfee’s neighbor, 52-year old American businessman Gregory Faull, lying dead in a pool of blood with a 9-mm. bullet wound to the head. Just days earlier, authorities had been summoned to McAfee’s beachfront home after the eccentric software millionaire shot four of his own dogs, in order, he claimed, to put them out of their misery after they had been poisoned by unknown assailants. Belizean authorities insist they only want to question McAfee about the murder — he hasn’t been charged with a crime. But rather than submit to questioning, the 67-year-old McAfee freaked out and declared that he would be killed if taken into custody by Belizean authorities. That, apparently, is why McAfee has decided to lead Belizean authorities, not to mention the international press corps, on a rapidly escalating wild goose chase that keeps getting weirder by the day. Reached by phone, a spokesman for McAfee claimed not to know where his client was, but acknowledged that McAfee is on the run.

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Twenty-five years old with a single camera body and lens in hand, Steven Rubin hitched a ride in 1982 to rural Somerset County in northwestern Maine and embarked on a project that would continue for more than 30 years.

Now a selection of the images Rubin captured during his decades-long project in this little-visited region of the U.S. will soon get a rare showing in Los Angeles. “Vacationland” goes up at the drkrm gallery from April 28 through May 26.

A graduate from Reed College with a degree in sociology, Rubin had originally come out to the East Coast from Oregon to enroll at the then Maine Photographic Workshops (now the Maine Media Workshops) in Rockport. After documenting the effects of the early 1980s recession on families nearby, he wanted to see how the economic downturn was being handled by locals far from the highways, historic lighthouses and second homes of the Maine coast. On a tip from a friend, Rubin headed inland and settled upon an abandoned shack as his home base and a schedule of hitching four to eight hours between the countryside to take pictures and Rockport to develop them.

Taking prints back to his subjects as a thank-you for their time and trust, Rubin was eventually let into the lives of local families—as well as some of their homes to crash on floors and couches—as he continued his work throughout Central Maine.

What he has witnessed is a part of the country largely unbuffeted by the usual economic ups and downs seen elsewhere. For many in the area times are always tough. According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, per capita income has been increasing in Somerset County but has ranked at or near the bottom among Maine’s 16 counties throughout the many years of Rubin’s project. Residents get by through resourcefully cobbling together seasonal and part-time jobs, hunting, fix-it know-how and the support of their communities.

“When I met some of these families, I was completely in awe of them in many ways,” said Rubin, now an assistant professor of art in the Photography Program at Penn State University. “I think as an outsider and someone who didn’t have the background that they did, I was really quite taken by how they survived, by their strength, by their resourcefulness.”

Rubin sought to avoid the stereotypes of people broken by their struggles or heroically pulling themselves up by their bootstraps. Influenced not only by legendary photographer Dorothea Lange but also anthropologist Clifford Geertz, Rubin aimed at creating a body of work that functioned as a “thick description,” a finely detailed document for understanding the context of human actions. Achieving that goal required time.

Since 1982, Rubin has returned to this project 10 times to capture daily rhythms and rituals and how the people he’d come to know changed, grew up, forged intense family bonds and frequently returned home despite finding good jobs elsewhere.

“I think so many of us—who move around different parts of the country, different parts of the world—we spend a lot of our lives looking for that sense of community. And these people have it,” Rubin said.

He’s planning to return again this summer to Maine, this time possibly shooting digitally rather than on his trusty Kodak Tri-X.

Steven Rubin’s photography has appeared in magazines including National Geographic, The New York Times, Stern and TIME. The series is on display at drkrm in Los Angeles, April 28 – May 26.

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The Neural Circuitry of Perception & Genetic and Hormonal Influences on Cognition

A Google Tech Talk May 5, 2010 ABSTRACT Presented by Michael Goard, PhD, and Emily Jacobs, PhD. The majority of the human brain is comprised of a single structure, the neocortex, responsible for a range of cognitive functions, from sensory perception to abstract thought. However, despite this diversity of functions, the neocortex has a simple architecture it is comprised of numerous repeated motifs of a single stereotyped neural circuit. This talk will serve as an introduction to the structure and function of the neocortical circuit, particularly focusing on how it processes sensory input in order to generate cohesive perception of the external world. This will be followed by a description of recent experiments demonstrating how the neocortex can process sensory input in different ways depending on the behavioral state of the animal. Finally, there will be a discussion of how understanding neocortical function will lead to innovations in medicine, computing, and artificial intelligence. The study of neuroscience is devoted to understanding how the brain functions uniformly across members of a species, but a critical question centers on how cognitive processes differ between members of a species, or in an individual under varying environmental conditions. In short, why do some people excel where others falter? This talk introduces two factors that contribute to individual differences in cognition: genes and hormones. This concept is examined through recent experiments <b>...</b>
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