254: John Marzluff | Birds, Farms, And Food Detailed “In Search Of Meadowlarks”

Welcome Dr. John Marzluff, Professor of Wildlife Sciences at the College of the Environment at the University of Washington in Seattle, to episode 254 of The Armen Show. Dr. Marzluff “studies how humans affect birds through habitat fragmentation and increased urbanization, as well as the challenges of conserving birds on islands.

Most of his focus is on ravens, crows, and jays, which are in the bird grouping known as “corvids”, and he looks at how birds affect people, such as with our art or language. Many of his books have focused on birds, including his latest book In Search of Meadowlarks: Birds, Farms, and Food in Harmony with the Land.

“In recognition of his work, he has been awarded the H.R. Painton Awards from the Cooper Ornithological Society, as well as the Washington State Book Award for general non-fiction.” In this episode, we discuss his latest non-fiction piece.

Show notes:

  • the current moment, with the world slowing down due to the pandemic
  • the career trajectory that Dr. Marzluff took to getting into decades of ornithological work
  • how we can take a look around our world with a relaxed pace, so as to maintain our Earth in good condition
  • the kind of research that Dr. Marzluff does, and places he has performed bird analysis at
  • what birds can represent about the impact that humans have had
  • the impact of corn and soybean subsidies, and what the farmland in the US would look like without those subsidies
  • why meadowlarks were chosen for the title of the book
  • farming as related to water consumption and planning
  • a closing message

Thanks to Dr. Marzluff for joining on this episode. You can check out In Search of Meadowlarks on Amazon, or take a look at his faculty page.

245: Sarah Rose Cavanagh | Psychologist On Emotions, Collective Consciousness, And Emotional Regulation In “Hivemind”

We dive into the collective consciousness of humans on episode 245 with Dr. Sarah Rose Cavanagh, author of “Hivemind”. The book takes us through how group elements and stories spread among people, the ways that people can build each other up or tear each other down via the internet, vulnerabilities of certain groups of people, and lessons for people to take through their days.

Dr. Cavanagh is Associate Professor of Psychology at Assumption College, and got her PhD in Experimental Psychology from Tufts University. Her research is on how patterns of emotional reactivity illuminates trajectories of risk and resilience in individuals.

Show notes:

  • how Dr. Cavanagh got into psychology in the first place
  • the way that elements can spread from group to group
  • what the hivemind represents, and how we operate as a collective consciousness
  • the way that stories can propel a fiction or nonfiction from a small form to a societal belief
  • the impact that online frameworks have had on people, whether to build them up or tear them down
  • who is most vulnerable to manipulation due to their current life condition and physiology
  • how many are walking through life in the form of a constant form of minor fight-or-flight response
  • a lesson about how serendipity can be built or supported in one’s existence

Glad to have Dr. Cavanagh on the show, and you can check out her faculty page, Hivemind on Amazon, or follow her on Twitter.

244: Scott Grafton | Neuroscientist And Brain Imaging Center Director On Mind/Body Connection In “Physical Intelligence”

Our first guest of 2020 is Dr. Scott Grafton, Bedrosian Coyne Presidential Chair in Neuroscience at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is author of the book Physical Intelligence: The Science of How the Body and the Mind Guide Each Other Through Life.

It was great to talk with Dr. Grafton because his book connected with some concepts from some authors/researchers in past episodes, and described a way of thinking about the physical element of intelligence, and how our motor function is connected with our layers of brain processing. I also went to UCSB, and that is a nice point of similarity.

Dr. Grafton is director of the UCSB Brain Imaging Center and codirector of the Institute for Collaborative Biotechnologies. He received BA’s in Mathematics and Psychobiology from the University of California at Santa Cruz and his MD degree from the University of Southern California.

Show notes:

  • brain scans and positron emission tomography (PET) for understanding of brain function
  • Dr. Grafton’s career, and what led him to brain and motor function research
  • running the brain imaging center, and how imaging has developed in recent years
  • where all the action in the brain is located
  • visual perception, and how the percentage of vision someone gives to an object relates to its importance in a broad perspective
  • how it is difficult to maneuver over rocks, and to create robots that would walk across rough rocks
  • body schema, as it compares with attention schema theory, for physical sensation
  • the way that practicing something in your mind connects with ability to do the motor action
  • how the brain creates synergies of muscle movements
  • how babies have plasticity, and take risks in order to understand their physical environment from scratch
  • how nature serves as a medicine to people and their well-being
  • the way that entropy is key to a healthy life, and how one does not benefit from distancing from entropic conditions

You can check out Dr. Grafton’s faculty page, or check out Physical Intelligence on Amazon.