Friday, December 9, 2011

Patt Morrison for Monday, December 12, 2011


Monday, December 12, 2011

1-3 p.m.





1:00 – 1:40



1:40 – 2:00

CERN researchers prepare to announce a glimpse of the “God particle”
Its sexy physics name is the Higgs boson, but it better known outside the lab as the “God particle.” The reason that this miniscule subatomic particle has acquired such an awe-inspiring name is that scientists have spent 50 years and tens of billions of dollars looking for it… and because physicists suspect that the heretofore theoretical particle is what gives other particles most of their mass. At the subatomic level, mass is a measure of energy, and the elusive Higgs boson is thought to be one of the heaviest particles the known universe. Why all the fuss? Confirming the existence of the Higgs boson would provide researchers with the final piece of the puzzle of the existing Standard Model of particle physics – the model that describes the behavior and properties of every known particle. What does the potential discovery of the Higgs boson mean for the world of physics? Is the U.S. falling behind in the study of subatomic particles?


Joe Incandela, lead physicist at CERN in France and professor of physics at UC Santa Barbara


2:00 -  2:30

How Doctors Die

According to the Hippocratic Oath taken by physicians, patients should be treated to the best of the doctor’s ability. But what if the patient is a doctor him or herself, and refuses treatment? University of Southern California family medicine professor and retired doctor Ken Murray has struck a poignant chord, about just that, with his article “How Doctors Die: It’s Not Like the Rest of Us, But It Should Be.” The story, published on the website Zocalo Public Square, explores the reasons why American doctors facing death, in Murray’s experience, tend to calmly forgo the medical care they themselves administer and preach. Already intimately exposed to instances of expensive, lengthy and at times anguishing medical care, he says, while treating people, doctors tend to want to die peacefully at home or in a hospice, without enduring multiple surgical procedures in a hospital. He ends his article, stating, “If there is a state of the art of end-of-life care, it is this: death with dignity. As for me, my physician has my choices. They were easy to make, as they are for most physicians. There will be no heroics, and I will go gentle into that good night.” How do you feel about doctors forgoing the medical care they themselves administer? Have you spoken to your own doctor about his or her end-of-life treatment plans? 



Ken Murray, MD, clinical assistant professor of family medicine at USC



2:30 – 3:00

“The Stealth of Nations”: Robert Neuwirth on the world’s shadow economies

“System D.” If the name doesn’t ring any bells, that’s because it’s a term for something you’re not supposed to pay attention to—a shadow economy that includes everything from unlicensed food vendors and people who specialize in fashion knock-offs to individuals who sell Proctor & Gamble products (with permission from the company) in remote villages where there are no stores.  More prevalent in third-world and developing nations, but present in just about every country, thousands if not millions of people all over the world participate in System D.  In his new book, “Stealth of Nations,”  Robert Neuwirth argues that contrary to our stereotypes, this participation is not something to pity or distrust, but an action that many burgeoning entrepreneurs perform by choice and that governments do occasionally profit from.  That may be the case, but is it a sustainable way of operating?  Does it behoove a country to allow room for both a “shadow” and a “real” economy, or does there need to be one or the other?



Robert Neuwirth, author of Stealth of Nations:  The Global Rise of the Informal Economy and “Shadow Cities: A Billion Squatters, A New Urban World”






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