Call#: Van Pelt Library QC166 .S47 1985
Cited by Gitelman Always Already New. book seeks historical answers to: What is an experiment? How is an experiment performed? What are the means by which experiments can be said to produce matters of fact, and what is the relationship between experimental facts and explanatory constructs? How is a successful experiment identified and how is success distinguished from experimental failure? Why does one do experiments in order to arrive at scientific truth? Is experiment a privileged means of arriving at consensually agreed knowledge of nature, or are other means possible? What recommends the experimental way in science over alternatives to it?
207-224 on measuring spirit
But while there was no real dissent from Culberson's view that federal spending on science is crucial and should be protected and even expanded, lawmakers and the hearing's lone witness, President Ralph J. Cicerone of the National Academy of Sciences, acknowledged that there would not be a limitless supply of money available for science programs, and that difficult choices about priorities would have to be made.
And Cicerone and some lawmakers agreed that federal agencies and universities needed, as they managed the sudden, massive infusion of money from the economic stimulus package, to learn lessons from the doubling of the budget of the National Institutes of Health that the government provided a decade ago, to avoid repeating problems that emerged in the wake of that effort.
Federal funding of academic science and engineering (S&E) R&D failed to outpace inflation for the second year in a row, according to FY 2007 data from the National Science Foundation (NSF) Survey of Research and Development Expenditures at Universities and Colleges.
Call#: Fine Arts Library Fine Arts NA2800 T48 2002
In “Part I: The Exorcist as Hero”, Cuneo describes America's surprisingly widespread fascination with exorcism. He points out two major contributing factors: the influence of the mainstream entertainment industry and the impact of contemporary cultural attitudes on society.
He discusses the novel and film of The Exorcist, claiming that its instant media attention sparked an avid interest in the healing power of faith. Since Blatty created the narrative from a supposed exorcism case, audiences across the nation had difficulty in separating reality from fantasy. Cuneo believes there was an overwhelming consensus regarding the image of the two Fathers who performed the exorcism--that of self-sacrificing heroes who commanded respect for the Church. It was not their scientific expertise that helped them wage the battle against evil, but rather their faith and knowledge of mysterious powers that saved Regan.
Consequently, from the mid to late-1970s, almost every media outlet concerned itself with exorcism and its validity. Newspapers, radio casts, talk shows, and even a series of related films were released (Devil Times Five, The Possessed, Good Against Evil, etc.). Furthermore, possibly because the entertainment industry is known to shape public opinion and capture the national psyche, there was a sudden increase in possession cases reported to Catholic rectories.
Throughout the rest of the section, he argues that modern US culture supports the use of exorcism. It is apparently readily available, cheap and fast; it does not require a lot of time and investment like many other treatments. Exorcism practices are also morally exculpatory, in that they place the blame of one’s problems outside of the self—it is essentially a guilt-free process. These are all precisely American values. In addition, it can even be seen as an alternative therapy. Since the current biomedical system is often unfeeling, heavily bureaucratic, and too technical, such therapies are seen as comforting and supportive. In line with Cuneo’s ideas, instead of seeing the problem as cholesterol or genes, many Americans actually think of it as a demon. Exorcism offers the possibility of a fresh start—a rebirth of sorts.
However, he acknowledges the fact that not everyone is equally influenced by the media nor our current cultural ideals. He maintains that exorcism is a “ritualized placebo”—those who want it to work, will believe it to work, and will actually feel changes as a result.
In continuation, though Cuneo watched hundreds of exorcisms, he never witnessed any strange happenings. He attributed many conditions to sound medical, social, or psychological causes. Since people report its efficacy though, he concludes that the practice has the potential to be advantageous, but not in the ways as advertised by the media. One can only judge its effectiveness on a personal level. Overall, American exorcism tests the limits of traditional religious values, pop culture, and current beliefs in psycho-spiritual healing practices, thus shaping the face of modern religion.
Ferracuti, Stefano and Sacco, Roberto. "Dissociative Trance Disorder: Clinical and Rorscharch Findings." Journal of Personality Assessment. 66.3 (1996). 10 May 2008. .
Ferracuti and Sacco, two psychiatrists, conducted a study on non-psychiatric individuals who believed they were possessed by the devil. From a biomedical perspective, the purpose of their research was to better understand and potentially classify their unique behaviors. After receiving permission from the official exorcist of the Rome diocese, subjects were recruited from weekly exorcisms. Participants, who all strongly followed the Roman Catholic faith, were administered the Dissociative Disorders Diagnostic Schedule, Roscharch Test, and clinical interviews.
Findings suggest that DTD is a distinct clinical manifestation on a dissociative continuum. It shares many personality features with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID, formerly known as Multiple Personality Disorder), such as altered states of consciousness with a foreign identity, problems in control, psychological complexity, and feelings of guilt. However, those specifically with DTD use extreme dissociation for regenerative purposes, only performing the ‘possessed’ behaviors in a socially accepted, safe, and controlled environment. Otherwise known as an exorcism in the Catholic Church, this setting allows people to reorganize their inner conscious state around an image of “evilness”, thus allowing the expression of inappropriate and unacceptable behaviors. The belief in a state of possession functions as an external control for the low capacity for ego integration and reality distortion manifested by these individuals. In other words, the Church provides coping devices that work as effective therapeutic mechanisms, in which possession serves to fulfill various needs by giving people a chance to let out repressed feelings and develop a more organized ego framework. The exorcist works as a guide in this endeavor, eventually helping people control their socially denied impulses while simultaneously replenishing their faith.
Had the authors not known about the individuals’ religious beliefs, the diagnosis would have been high-functioning neurotic with DID, instead of DTD. They consider the major differences between DTD and DID attributable to traditional cultural attitudes, which influence the belief in possession. Claims of ‘possession’ signify an effort towards ego integration, giving people a sense of security and thus revealing the importance of exorcism as a valuable religious practice.
Their study directly relates to an issue in The Exorcist: if possession is a ‘real’ phenomenon, what does it look like? Also, where does one draw the line between mental illness, where science is most useful, and possession, in which religion offers the best treatment? Ferracuti and Sacco emphasize how DTD can be understood as a psychiatric condition with problems in ego dissociation, potentially treatable through psychotherapy and other biomedical means. However, they also acknowledge the importance of cultural beliefs in shaping its outcome. The possession state exists to those who believe in it, and consequently, many fans were curious enough to reconsider their religious commitment, as well as their views on the causes and remedies of mental psychopathology. This once taboo issue quickly became the center of attention for some time.
Based on his best-selling novel, The Exorcist was written and produced by William Peter Blatty, who worked alongside Hollywood director William Friedkin. The film was influenced by an actual exorcism case involving the supposed demonic possession of a fourteen-year-old boy in a suburb of Washington D.C. A student at the Jesuit Georgetown University at the time, the young Blatty felt that the boy's eventual healing was proof of the devil's existence, and thus the power of God, heaven, and faith.
The film recounts the story of Regan, a pre-pubescent girl living with her single mother, Chris MacNeil, in a posh Georgetown suburb. All is going well until Chris hears strange sounds in the attic, which is followed by a series of peculiar behaviors elicited by Regan. She becomes unruly, urinates in front of guests, and uses gratuitous profanity among other things.
Her mother is shocked and desperate, so quickly consults a team of doctors for her care. Regan undergoes several intensely painful medical procedures, but nothing seems to give definitive physical results. After the death of a family friend and her continually dangerous behavior, the doctors 'give up' and resort to religious means. They suggest the ritual of an exorcism in helping Regan get back to her usual self.
Chris approaches Father Karras to perform the exorcism. After much hesitation and doubt on his part, he eventually agrees to do so under the instruction of the experienced Father Merrin. What ensues is a fight between good and evil, where both sides pay a price for the liberation of little Regan.
Overall, The Exorcist proved to be a breakthrough in contemporary horror film, setting the stage for future successes in this genre. On the surface, the film was popular because of its cinematic craftsmanship, successfully achieving basic elements of a horror film and portraying supernatural events as highly realistic for its time. Additionally, on a deeper level, its exploration of controversial issues tapped into the true fears and concerns of crowds at large. Both of these cinematic and thematic aspects contributed to the film's wide appeal.
This annotated bibliography provides a brief list of sources that investigate these topics.
(It should be noted that there are certainly several controversial themes highlighted in the film. Such include, but are not limited to: female and child victimization, uncontrollable youth, violation and disfigurement of the body, offensive language, sexual vulgarity, desecration of the Catholic Church, breakdown of the family, destruction of the home, etc. Since this project only entails ten items, I have chosen to focus on one overarching issue that the film forces us to contemplate--the roles of religion and science/modern day medicine in the healing process. I present four sources that offer differing views on this; the other six describe cinematic techniques, of which two assess their credibility based on audience reaction.)
Call#: Van Pelt Library B799 .S5
Call#: Van Pelt Library QA141 .S45 2000
Call#: Engineering Library T14 .F56
Vol. 319. no. 5864, pp. 742 - 743
Calming Traffic on Bogotá's Killing Streets
With humor, education, and tough laws, this Colombian city has dramatically reduced traffic injuries and deaths
Long branded as one of the world's most dangerous cities, Bogotá, Colombia, has won plaudits for cutting its murder rate by more than 70% during the past decade. But this city of 7 million people has received far less attention for a dramatic decline in a more common danger that plagues urban areas everywhere: traffic-related injuries and deaths.
With a combination of innovative education campaigns, an overhaul of its public transportation system, strict law enforcement, and redesign of streets and highways, Bogotá has made moving from place to place safer and more efficient. "In 1997, everything was a mess and we were losing the battle," says Dario Hildalgo, a transportation engineer from Bogotá who is now with the World Resources Institute in Washington, D.C. "To solve the problems, we needed a miracle. The miracle happened."
Mark Rosenberg, the former head of injury prevention at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia, says Bogotá is a model for the world. "Bogotá is not unique in having this problem, but it is unique in solving it," says Rosenberg, who now heads the nonprofit Task Force for Child Survival and Development in Decatur, Georgia.
-from Highwire Press - American Association for the Advancement of Science
Selected papers from Science show up sooner in Science Express. Free access to Science Express papers is available to individual AAAS members, but not to institutional subscribers of Science. (Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to show your support in changing this AAAS policy.)
Call#: Van Pelt Library Q175.5 .S3645 1998
Search for specific articles by subject, author, journal, and/or author address, as well as for articles that cite a known author or work.
From Faust to Strangelove takes a look at the motivation of a group largely overlooked in the consideration of Dr. Strangelove – the scientists themselves. When considering the proponents behind the nuclear proliferation plans in the film one easily identifies the military and political leaders. Author Roslynn Haynes points out that another important factor to assess is the “motivation of the scientists themselves, especially the physicists, whose exceptional intellectual talents were employed by the military-industrial complex in producing ever more ingenious weapons of mass destruction” (p. 199). These individual’s interests are largely overlooked, but Kubrick’s movie certainly touches upon them. In the movie Dr. Strangelove, a scientist and strategist, works to create the doomsday device and later has to work to figure out a solution to the situation. Taking into account that scientists were largely employed by the governments, it makes sense too that these individuals would want to promote the escalation of war.
Considering the narrow interests of many different parties in Dr. Strangelove, the theme of individuals acting selfishly and thereby causing troubles for society as a whole seems to arise. Interestingly, this contradicts the invisible hand theory of capitalism. It seems the foundation of US ideals, at least to some degree, are included in Kubrick's satire. Similarly, near the end of Dr. Strangelove when the doctor describes his plan to move to underground caverns for survival, the mode of acting in ones best interest seems absurd. In a sense, Kubrick seems to attack narrow individual interests, which lie at the heart of capitalism, preferring instead a system that monitors individuals actions to ensure the collective good of society.