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  • Red-baiting and the Birth of Modern Conservatism — Institute for Social Sciences
    look at his letters Olmsted explains you can see that he was obsessed with the idea of breaking apart the New Deal coalition discrediting Roosevelt s policies and building a modern conservative movement Hoover s New Deal era coalition of conservative activists and business leaders would go on to transform national right wing politics in the second half of the twentieth century Hoover helped discover Richard Nixon in 1946 and encouraged businessmen to fund the then unknown lawyer s congressional bid These same industries and individuals later supported the Californian who presided over the conservative triumph in the 1980s Ronald Reagan With Hoover s backing California s business elites openly opposed Franklin Roosevelt and his progressive economic programs in response to the Great Depression While these business leaders were happy to profit from New Deal agricultural subsidies and to expand their enterprises thanks to massive federal investments in hydraulic infrastructure projects they rejected the New Deal policies aimed at strengthening organized labor as a countervailing force to big business Power of red baiting The New Deal saw the largest expansion of federal protections for organized labor in American history with one exception agricultural workers Agribusiness leaders resented any attempt by New Dealers to interfere with their largely Mexican and Asian labor force The business barons lobbied state and local governments to outlaw picketing and jail union organizers Additionally these business leaders recruited and funded political candidates who shared their ideological beliefs Business bankrolled campaigns and commissioned Hollywood media consultants to produce the first attack ads in the history of electoral politics Conservatives argued that labor organizers were part of an extensive Communist conspiracy to overthrow capitalism and used their economic clout to stoke public paranoia The conservatives understood the power of red baiting says Olmsted The majority of Californians benefited from New Deal policies and they enthusiastically supported Roosevelt But if the New Deal could be redefined as creeping socialism or even communism then a lot of middle class and working class cultural conservatives could be pried away from the New Deal coalition By the end of the 1930s these efforts had enabled the ideology tactics and leaders of modern conservatism to emerge because these appeals to cultural fears worked on a visceral level the liberals they said were endangering the home and family Hierarchies upended Olmsted also foregrounds the story of the workers who resisted the agricultural barons and the steep price they paid for their efforts to organize impoverished farmworkers Olmsted explains the farm worker unions were threatening to conservative growers precisely because they were multiracial and often led by women John Steinbeck made folk heroes out of white union organizers through his novels In Dubious Battle and The Grapes of Wrath but this came at the expense of women and minorities By leaving out the Mexicans and the women of all races in his fiction Steinbeck failed to communicate the revolutionary potential of those unions Olmsted s inclusion of women and ethnic minorities in her study helps

    Original URL path: http://psychology.ucdavis.edu/iss/iss-journal/features/red-baiting-and-the-birth-of-modern-conservatism (2016-01-26)
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  • Turning Big Data into Big Knowledge — Institute for Social Sciences
    of my career was in digitalization It was 1999 and the internet was becoming big I was just a backpacker and hanging out at a university in Chile I thought that these technologies were a big opportunity for international development but people were laughing at those ideas The people can t eat computers they said It became much bigger and I ended up working for the United Nations for 15 years to promote digitalization in Latin America We have spent millions of dollars on information technology for development but these projects lacked the fundamental theory of information I resigned from my permanent appointment at the UN to join UC Davis to have time to think about how information converts to knowledge and how this drives social systems What is a surprising recent finding from your work It s possible to show that social evolution is an information process It can be looked at in formal mathematical terms as a communication channel between the environment and the evolving social system The more information is communicated over this channel the more fit will achieved between the social system and its environment This fit translates into fitness which represents the growth rate of the social population One way to think about it is that it becomes well adapted It s an ecological argument Fitness hinges on the informational fit It can be shown that in the case of a noiseless communication channel between the social system and the environment the social population achieves optimal growth Information and growth potential are equivalent The good thing is that information theory allows us to quantify information It s surprising that theories of communication can explain how societies evolve themselves What are some opportunities for interdisciplinary research in the social sciences Over the past 20 30 years we have created this vast amount of information to help evolve societies based on this information we have on ourselves We are now into the second stage of the digital age which is the process of converting this information to knowledge The social sciences are unique because we used to be the poorest in data among all the sciences Now we are the most data complete science Because of information technology we collectively we have seven billion digital footprints Their mobile phones tell us where they are their plastic cards tell us what they consume and their social networks tell us who they are and with whom they are This happened over just 15 years and now we are in data overload We have more data than we can possibly analyze Not all data is available for social science research but there is also plenty of free data Wikipedia offers a terabyte download That s plenty of data to play with for years Download the terabyte and you ll see So we are the most data complete science right now but we are still lacking methods to analyze the data Right now it s obligatory for a graduate student to

    Original URL path: http://psychology.ucdavis.edu/iss/iss-journal/features/turning-big-data-into-big-knowledge (2016-01-26)
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  • Memory and Music — Institute for Social Sciences
    the researchers may be able to identify overlaps between the language based concepts in the written memories and areas in the brain that light up on the brain scan when they hear the music You get away from these overly rehearsed memories and instead you have a way of getting at these remote forgotten events says Janata How the Brain Remembers Music says Janata could prove to be a powerful avenue to learn more about how memories are stored in the brain It affords a much broader set of memory retrieval cues than images This is important because part of the problem with studying memory is that there is no such thing as a perfect memory Something else always gets in the way You can never encode the memory very well in the first place says Ekstrom and if you don t encode something very well in the first place you re not going to retrieve it very well In his Spatial Cognition Lab at UC Davis Ekstrom studies spatial navigation and virtual reality He and Janata have another study that places participants into virtual environments to navigate while hearing music in different locations This way they can compare music with location for how well each lets people retrieve memories In general says Ekstrom people tend to remember the most when they are given both music and location as memory cues Brain Cells and Mapping Arne Ekstrom s lab at the UC Davis Center for Neuroscience investigates how spatial memories happen in the brain how they are recorded and how different types of memories are processed In a 2003 study Ekstrom and his team asked patients who were undergoing seizure monitoring to navigate virtual environments on a laptop computer While the patients completed these tasks Ekstrom s team could record the activity of individual cells because the patients had sensors implanted in the brain as part of their monitoring for seizures These recordings showed that individual cells in the temporal lobes of the brain fired at specific locations in the virtual environment even regardless of the location s orientation on the screen The classic view of memory he says is like a digital camera Presumably all you have to do is scroll through what has been recorded A different way to think about memory is when someone tries to remember a trip to Chicago but ends up thinking about Boston instead In reality he says research is showing that memory only gathers enough information to provide a general gist of what happened Recalling accurate detailed memories is very hard to do People can retrieve them says Ekstrom but it s not as common as we think A song says Ekstrom might bring back even distant memories from summer camp 20 years ago In a similar way a visit to your hometown might bring otherwise forgotten memories flooding back Scanning for Memories To capture those memories as they take place in the brain the team will use functional magnetic resonance imaging

    Original URL path: http://psychology.ucdavis.edu/iss/iss-journal/features/memory-and-music (2016-01-26)
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  • Imprisonment Takes Long-lasting Tolls on Children and Families — Institute for Social Sciences
    are at a greater risk for depression anxiety asthma and HIV AIDS according to a policy brief released by the Center for Poverty Research at the University of California Davis In 2010 an estimated 2 7 million children and one in nine African American children had an imprisoned parent Targeted use of shorter or out of custody sentences would reduce the strain families experience while minimizing negative effects on public safety said Bill McCarthy a professor of sociology who wrote the brief with doctoral candidate in sociology Angela Carter A parent s imprisonment increases material hardship for families who are already likely to be poor and it also has long lasting effects on their children according to the brief In 2004 about half of inmates with children reported providing primary financial support before they were incarcerated About 30 percent of these parents reported monthly incomes of 1 000 or less and 63 percent reported monthly incomes of below 2 000 Imprisonment itself increases the likelihood that families and children will experience material hardship the report said Families lose income and other resources that new inmates had contributed Imprisonment also introduces new expenses for families to support the imprisoned parent The

    Original URL path: http://psychology.ucdavis.edu/iss/iss-journal/features/a-parent2019s-imprisonment-takes-a-long-lasting-financial-and-emotional-toll-on-children-and-families (2016-01-26)
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  • 21st Century Linguistics — Institute for Social Sciences
    measures have been used to identify authors either of anonymous texts or authors who claim to have written some piece of text that is not even theirs or even for forensics A lot of people who are involved in this try to find signatures to unmask anonymous dangerous users online What motivated you to pursue this project This turn toward more quantitative applications of linguistics I see it as a trend happening in my discipline right now and I want to stay on top of things I want to be doing 21 st century linguistics and not 20 th century linguistics Also there s a lot of demand for this kind of knowledge and expertise in linguistics from other fields from computer science from psychology from neuroscience etc I believe in collaboration It makes us all more productive It s more interesting to do research with your colleagues than alone It helps us find new areas of inquiry All of these possibilities plus my shifting interest have been fueling my interests in this kind of work What is the most surprising recent finding How little we know Even though people claim to have found quantitative measures of similarity or identify for authors they don t pan out It always depends on the sample on who you re comparing whether the author has a style or not Trying to find what measures actually work has become very interesting to me The other thing is studying things like sentence length The statistical properties of how long our sentences are kind of weird They don t match any known distribution for natural phenomena You cannot make them fit I think we still do not understand the stochastic processes behind them the probabilistic processes that are there for vocabulary selection content that you want to express memory limitations complexity of the sentence structure itself We don t know how these features vary from situation to situation What is the biggest research opportunity in your field The biggest opportunity is in applying all of these new ideas to languages that are relatively understudied A lot of people are going after that either from psychology and computer sciences to create these collections of texts and then running them through statistical natural language processing tools With English this is easy With Spanish yes We have lots of resources Finding and building resources for some of the languages I m interested in like Shona the language from Zimbabwe or Fijian or some of the more obscure dialects from the Balkans that s what I would really like to be doing in the future That s what I would like my students to be doing in the future What are the opportunities for interdisciplinary collaborations in the future They are enormous Language is everywhere Everything touches on language in one way or another The old ways of doing linguistics which were very detailed model building drawing a tree diagram for a few sentences explaining some core problems like subject

    Original URL path: http://psychology.ucdavis.edu/iss/iss-journal/features/21st-century-linguistics (2016-01-26)
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