JUMP ON THE ETHICS TRAIN: Santa Barbara Reads serves up another community conversation about the Dalai Lama’s Ethics for the New Millennium this week, offering a jumping-on point for those who haven’t yet joined the ongoing public discussion. On Thursday, March 12, anyone who harbors even the smallest amount of curiosity about the relevance of ethical systems in this tumultuous period of human history-whether or not they’ve read the Dalai Lama’s treatise on the subject-is encouraged to drop by the downtown Santa Barbara Library at 5:30 p.m. to talk, listen, and learn. The distinguished members of this conversation’s especially varied panel include Wade Clark Roof, UCSB professor of religious studies; Mark French of UCSB Alumni Affairs; Hymon Johnson, professor at Antioch University; and Santa Barbara Mayor Marty Blum. Call 564-5608 or visit sbplibrary.org/sbreads for details.
ZIMMER ON THE BRAIN: UCSB’s SAGE Center for the Study of the Mind has assembled an impressive roster of speakers for its current lecture series, including such luminaries as economist Hal Varian and cognitive scientist Steven Pinker. This week’s visitor-science writer, blogger, radio personality, and prolific bloggingheads.tv commentator Carl Zimmer-hews neatly to the established standard by being both deeply knowledgeable and communicatively astute. The skill set required to both grasp the latest scientific discoveries and relay them and their implications with clarity to a general audience is rare indeed. Judging by the success of Zimmer’s books on scientific subjects as distinct as evolution, parasites, and the human mind, he possesses it. His lecture, Soul Made Flesh: Neuroscience in 1659 and 2009, takes place on the second floor of UCSB’s Mosher Alumni house at 4 p.m. on Thursday, March 12. Call 893-5006 or visit sagecenter.ucsb.edu to learn more.
THE PERILS OF NEW SOCIAL TECHNOLOGY: Here’s a topic worth our attention in the cyber age: UCSB professor of communication Miriam Metzger presents her research on privacy and social networking in her talk Privacy 2.0: Managing Privacy in Social Networking Environments, on Thursday, March 12, at noon in UCSB’s Engineering Science Building, room 1001. Many have worried about the security of social networks and the potential exposure of those who use them ever since online social networking began. Now that computer-based social networks like Facebook and MySpace near omnipresence, worries about who has access to what information have expanded proportionately. Metzger’s presentation addresses how social networkers strike the delicate balance between privacy and social connection using data collected from recent studies on Facebook users. If you have an online presence, it’s a subject worth considering. Visit cits.ucsb.edu for details.
THE ANNALS OF OLD SOCIAL TECHNOLOGY: Depending upon which trend pieces you believe, this is either the best time for reading or the worst time for reading; it’s either a dying pursuit or one undergoing a renaissance in a host of new forms; the Internet is either encouraging it or stamping it out for good. Whatever the state of reading, it’s certainly not suffering from a lack of attention. With so many eyes on reading’s future, it’s refreshing to see an effort to examine reading’s past. The History of Reading Group’s upcoming one-day interdisciplinary conference, Reading as a Social Technology, will feature keynote speakers Adrian Johns of the University of Chicago and Elaine Treharne from Florida State University. The event, which happens on Friday, March 12, from 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. in UCSB’s McCune Conference Room (6020 HSSB), provides a forum for recent research into the history of reading and the various technologies that have constructed and altered the nature of reading as a social experience. For more information, call 893-3907 or visit www.ihc.ucsb.edu.