viernes, 19 de abril de 2013

Three are dead, hundreds injured, but the reasons remain a mystery

BOSTON | The Economist.
TO HELP friends and family members find one another amid the crowds expected at this year’s Boston marathon, the organisers set up a series of meeting points in the streets around the finish line. The bright yellow and orange signs are still there, but most of the planned reunions were thwarted—and a few will never now take place—thanks to the two bombs that blew up on April 15th near the end of the course in the closing stages of the race.
The explosions, separated by 600 feet (180 metres) and 12 seconds, killed three people: an eight-year-old boy and two young women. Another 180 or so were injured. At least 13 people lost limbs. That makes the attack the most deadly act of terror in America since September 11th 2001, apart from mass shootings. To add to the alarm, the authorities intercepted two letters, one addressed to Barack Obama and another to Roger Wicker, a senator, which appeared to contain ricin, a lethal poison. A fire followed by an explosion at a fertiliser factory in west Texas on the night of April 17th, which killed at least five people, increased the sense of apocalypse. But as The Economist went to press there was still no indication that this was anything but a horrific accident.
Shortly after the Boston bombing Mr Obama vowed that “any responsible individuals, any responsible groups will feel the full weight of justice.” The FBI, sifting through the mass of video footage and photographs provided by broadcasters, security cameras and bystanders, homed in on shots of two individuals who officials believe may be responsible for the bombs. But their whereabouts, identity and motives remained a mystery. An aggrieved constituent of Mr Wicker was arrested on April 17th, suspected of sending the poisoned letters; but he has not been tied to the bombings.
Boston is now flooded with police, soldiers and other security forces, both to ward off further attacks and to help with the investigation. State troopers stand watch outside metro stations; whole squadrons of national guardsmen march back and forth on Boston Common, a park a few blocks from the site of the bombings. Barricades festooned with flowers and notes of condolence block access to the immediate area of the blasts, as investigators pore over it in the hunt for evidence.
Fragments retrieved from the scene suggest that the bombs were constructed from six-litre pressure-cookers packed with gunpowder, a simple detonator and shrapnel in the form of nails and ball-bearings, intended to cause horrific injuries.
The simple but effective design of the bombs, which may have cost as little as $100 to make, is similar to countless improvised explosive devices (IEDs) that have inflicted casualties on civilians and Western troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. Instructions for building such bombs can be easily found on the internet. The bombs’ lack of sophistication suggests they were either the work of a lone individual or a small group with limited resources.
In 2010 an online magazine, Inspire, published by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, ran an article entitled “How to make a bomb in the kitchen of your mom”. Inspire, aimed at aspiring young jihadists in America and Britain, was edited by Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan. Both were American citizens who were killed by the same drone strike in Yemen in 2011.
However, the fact that pressure-cooker bombs are popular with al-Qaeda operatives is far from conclusive evidence that the Boston bomber had jihadist aims or connections. America has suffered several terrorist attacks by native-born extremists with domestic grievances, such as the IED set off near the Olympic stadium in Atlanta in 1996, or the bombing of a federal office building in Oklahoma City in 1995.
The bombings in Boston took place as locals celebrated (four days early) Patriots’ Day, the anniversary of the first skirmish in America’s war for independence. The date could be significant to the sort of radicals who believe the federal government is bent on the destruction of their liberties and the confiscation of their guns, especially as it coincides with the anniversaries of two violent episodes involving like-minded people: the end of the siege of the compound of a heavily armed cult in Waco, Texas, on April 19th 1993, and the Oklahoma City bombing exactly two years later. April 15th is also the day by which federal income-tax returns must be filed, another flashpoint for many.
Mr Obama’s re-election and his support for immigration reform and gun-control legislation, however ill-fated, have enraged this extremist fringe. The Southern Poverty Law Centre (SPLC), a civil-rights organisation that tracks and exposes the activities of right-wing extremists, says that outfits of this kind have proliferated during his presidency, from around 150 in 2008 to an all-time record of 1,360 last year (see chart).
The SPLC estimates that of those about 1,000 could be classified as “hard-core”, and thus by implication capable of violence. Among recent incidents, it points to the murder of six people at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin by a neo-Nazi gunman last August and the rounding up, also last year, of a murderous militia group based in Georgia, which included several active-duty soldiers. According to prosecutors, the group, which called itself FEAR (Forever Enduring, Always Ready), had stockpiled $87,000 worth of weapons and explosives, and was plotting to overthrow the government through a campaign of terror and assassinations.
If the perpetrator is identified it will have political ramifications. If the bomber is a jihadist, Mr Obama can expect to be taken to task for complacently declaring victory over al-Qaeda courtesy of his drone campaign. If it is a home-grown nut, Republicans can expect some blame for not stamping more firmly on the furious claims made about Mr Obama from the right’s wilder shores. And there is always the possibility that the bomber is an awkward combination of the two: a home-grown Islamic loner.
From the print edition: United States

The Psychology of a Boston Marathon Terrorist: 10 Questions for a Retired Marine

By Elaine M. Grossman | National Journal
Many of those who knew the two Boston Marathon bombing suspects, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, believed them to be talented students and athletes with promising careers ahead of them. So how could these seemingly “normal” young men have become terrorists -- and why?
The two brothers actually fit into an emerging trend, according toG.I. Wilson, a retired Marine Corps Reserve officer and militancy expert who specializes in counterterrorism, criminal behavior andforensic psychology.
“Terrorists are not psychotics or mentally disordered,” Wilson said on Friday. The study of terrorism over the past couple of decades has given experts “a greater appreciation of how normalcy is reflected in terrorists’ behavior,” he toldGlobal Security Newswire.
Like those implicated in the 9/11 attacks, the Tsarnaev brothers appear to have quickly assimilated from another nation into their local community and had no outwardly apparent radicalism, psychosis or inclination toward violence.
The pair of blasts near the marathon’s finish line on Monday resulted in three deaths and more than 175 injured.

Latest Global Security Posts:
Loading feed...
The two suspected perpetrators, whose identities were made public on Thursday, were reported to have moved to the Boston area more than five years ago from southern Russia, near the restive area of Chechnya.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, was described as a gifted amateur boxer who studied at Bunker Hill Community College part time between 2006 and 2008, and hoped to become an engineer. He was killed in a firefight with police Thursday night, according to news reports.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, was described an all-star wrestler in high school and a student at University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. He was the focus of an epic manhunt in the Boston area on Friday and remained at large at press time.
Wilson, a former infantry colonel, said a sense of normalcy can pervade groups of extremists when individuals surround themselves with like-minded compatriots.
He recalled a segment on CBS News’ “60 Minutes” more than a decade ago about Yahya Ayyash, a Hamas bomb-maker who was nicknamed “the Engineer” and was ultimately assassinated by Israeli operatives in 1996.
“One of the Engineer’s followers was asked to describe how a terrorist could do such a terrible thing. His answer: ‘He’s a very normal person, just like us,’” Wilson said.
When the CBS interviewer took exception, the militant replied, “There thousands and thousands in our country that believe what we believe -- and not only in our country, in the rest of the Arab world and even in your country,” according to terrorism expert.
Wilson, who retired in 2006 after more than 30 years of uniformed service, responded to GSNquestions about terrorism and psychology in an e-mail exchange. Edited excerpts follow.
GSN: Based on your understanding of the criminal mind, what is going on now inside the head of an accused Boston terrorist on the loose amid a major manhunt, whose alleged co-conspirator brother was just killed?
Wilson: No one can read a criminal's or terrorist’s mind, but past behavior is an indicator of future behavior.
Psychiatrist Jerrold Post … contends we should not speak of a terrorist psychology in the singular, but rather of terrorist psychologies.
Ideology is central to the terrorist's psychology, no matter their ilk. They are therefore totally committed – [or] radicalized – and [this] tends to be expressed in all-or-nothing activities.
Watch for a very violent conclusion.
GSN: Reports are that the surviving suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, is a second-year medical student and came with his family to the United States about a decade ago from a Russian area near Chechnya, a region known for Islamic militancy and separatists. Any theories about why a young man like that would undertake a terrorist attack in the United States?
Wilson: Chechnya fighters -- [who typically refer to themselves as] "volunteers” -- have been seen in Iraq and Afghanistan. [It is a] matter of participating in jihad, which is an integral part of their belief system, ideology and psychology.
GSN: Specifically, news media is reporting that these young men seemed like "normal Americans," who like many in the nation are first-generation immigrants. What are we not seeing here, in terms of hidden psychological pathology?
Wilson: Appearing normal is the norm [for terrorists], and they often just blend in. [Stanford University’s Martha] Crenshaw … identifies normalcy as a characteristic feature of terrorists, rather than psychopathology or personality disturbance.
GSN: Is someone who carries out such a horrific attack necessarily a psychopath? Or could these be psychologically healthy individuals who are killing for a cause in which they deeply believe?
Wilson: Current data indicates terrorists and suicide bombers do not display any marked psychopathology. … Nevertheless, a trend and frequent perception has emerged asserting that terrorists possess traits of pathological personalities but do not possess the actual clinical disorders. This effectively paints terrorists with the psychological brush of pathology. 
Violence today may be a norm and the norm for such radicalized young people, whether it is on a wide scale or within a smaller community or family. It may come to be considered the normal response to achieve objectives. 
In fact, many terrorists view themselves as soldiers engaged in a just war. 
GSN: How could we do a better job at recognizing in society a person who has the potential to become a terrorist?
Wilson: [Counterterrorism expert Marc] Sageman found that about 70 percent of terrorists had joined while they were living as expatriates in other countries, looking for jobs and education. Prior to moving they were not strongly religious, but while in their new countries they visited mosques and moved in with other Islamic expatriates. Some of the latter were already members of terror organizations who then recruited them into those organizations.
GSN: Given what the FBI has revealed about the composition of the two pressure-cooker bombs and the way in which the suspects have operated, how likely do you think it is that they had the support of additional co-conspirators?
Wilson: While terrorists often operate in cells and are compartmented for operational security reasons, they often do need support. I would not rule out any co-conspirators or support personnel, be it intentional or unknowing support. Association with others must be looked into.
Terrorists use groups and networks for both logistical and psychological support. Groups afford a sense of belonging, a sense of purpose, perhaps even a sense of identity. 
GSN: When working with a fast-breaking case like this, how do you deal with the phenomenon of not knowing which incoming information is accurate, and which is inaccurate and leading you down false paths?
Wilson: Any operator will tell you your first information is neither your worst nor best, and generally is incomplete and inaccurate. That is very true here, as well. Every data point must be checked and verified. Never rely on single-source reporting. The best example of this was the deluge of reports of an arrest being made that were not accurate.
GSN: What would it take to plan the Boston attacks in terms of devising a plan, scoping out targets, assembling bomb materials and carrying out the logistics? Can you make sense, after all that planning, why the Boston bombers would have stuck around the area before being identified and then robbed a local convenience store?
Wilson: They lived [in the area] so they knew the "terrain" and blended in, which no doubt gave them the opportunity to do surveillance and reconnaissance.
GSN: What are one or two things you have learned from past terrorist attacks around the globe that you've thought this week might be applied to this episode?
Wilson: Their capability to adapt so very quickly using our very own system of laws and technology against us. [They employ] simplicity, sophistication, and global networks, much like third-generation street gangs. 
They have a very fast, adaptive [and] complex orientation-decision-action cycle, leveraging the physical -- for example, operationalizing IEDs and suicide bombers -- with the moral-mental aspects – for example, radicalized ideology concordant with the psychology of terrorism. [They are intent on] creating widespread global fear, giving [the] impression that governments cannot protect their people. Cartels and gangs in Mexico do much the same.
GSN: What are a couple of key questions on your mind now as the details of this episode unravel?
Wilson: Today we are recognizing many of the misconceptions regarding terrorists and their profiling. Terrorists are not psychotics or mentally disordered. Terrorists do not suffer markedly formed personality disorders nor does data support terrorism finding its genesis in personal frustration, economic deprivation, or psychological coercion.
We do have a better idea today of what is and is not psychologically related to terrorism and a greater appreciation of how normalcy is reflected in terrorists’ behavior.

jueves, 18 de abril de 2013

Sir Ken Robinson - Los Secretos de la Creatividad (Redes N°89)

Todos poseemos un talento, todos tenemos la capacidad de ser creativos, y la mayoría vivimos sin saberlo, convencidos muchas veces de que el creativo es aquel que sabe componer melodías, o escribir una poesía. Ken Robinson reclama en este capítulo de Redes la necesidad de que en nuestra sociedad existan entornos donde cada uno pueda encontrar la inspiración necesaria para desarrollar su creatividad.

George Siemens - Conectivismo (Lima, 2012)

George Siemens y su teoría del conectivismo en el marco del Encuentro Internacional de Educación 2012 - 2013 de la Fundación Telefónica durante el evento presencial realizado en la ciudad de Lima, Perú.

Psicología Educativa - A. Woolfolk (7a ed.)

Este libro ofrece una cobertura actualizada y precisa de las áreas fundamentales de la psicología educativa: el aprendizaje, el desarrollo, la motivación, la enseñanza y la evaluación. En “ Psicología educativa” encontrará una combinación de las tendencias que surgen en el campo de la educación y en la sociedad, que influyen en el aprendizaje de los estudiantes, como la diversidad de los alumnos, la inclusión de estudiantes con necesidades especiales, la tecnología, la instrucción y el avance de las neurociencias. Reseña:

Carta de un padre a un profesor...

La carta va dirigida a un profesor para exigirle hacer bien su trabajo... para pensar...

martes, 16 de abril de 2013

Touchscreen interface for seamless data transfer between the real and virtual worlds - 15 april, 2013.
Fujitsu Laboratories has developed a next generation user interface which can accurately detect the users finger and what it is touching, creating an interactive touchscreen-like system, using objects in the real word.
"We think paper and many other objects could be manipulated by touching them, as with a touchscreen. This system doesn't use any special hardware; it consists of just a device like an ordinary webcam, plus a commercial projector. Its capabilities are achieved by image processing technology."
Using this technology, information can be imported from a document as data, by selecting the necessary parts with your finger.
This technology measures the shape of real-world objects, and automatically adjusts the coordinate systems for the camera, projector, and real world. In this way, it can coordinate the display with touching, not only for flat surfaces like tables and paper, but also for the curved surfaces of objects such as books.
"Until now, gesturing has often been used to operate PCs and other devices. But with this interface, we're not operating a PC, but touching actual objects directly, and combining them with ICT equipment."
"The system is designed not to react when you make ordinary motions on a table. It can be operated when you point with one finger. What this means is, the system serves as an interface combining analog operations and digital devices."
To detect touch accurately, the system needs to detect fingertip height accurately. In particular, with the low-resolution camera used here (320 x 180), if fingertip detection is off by a single pixel, the height changes by 1 cm. So, the system requires technology for recognizing fingertips with high precision.
"Using a low-res webcam gives a fuzzy picture, but the system calculates 3D positions with high precision, by compensating through image processing."
This system also includes technology for controlling color and brightness, in line with the ambient light, and correcting for individual differences in hand color. In this way, it can identify fingertips consistently, with little influence from the environment or individual differences.
Also, in situations that don't use touch, the system can be operated by gesturing. In this demo, when you move your fist, you can manipulate the viewpoint for 3D CAD data. So, there could be applications for this touch system by combining it with current gesture systems.
"For example, we think this system could be used to show detailed information at a travel agent's counter, or when you need to fill in forms at City Hall."
"We aim to develop a commercial version of this system by fiscal 2014. It's still at the demonstration level, so it's not been used in actual settings. Next, we'd like to get people to use it for actual tasks, see what issues arise, and evaluate usability. We want to reflect such feedback in this system."
Posted By Don Kennedy and Ryo Osuga

jueves, 11 de abril de 2013

Etnicidad, raza, género y educación en América Latina

Donald R. Winkler y Santiago Cueto, ed. Santiago de Chile: Programa de Promoción de la Reforma Educativa en América Latina y el Caribe [PREAL], 2004.

Cada uno de estos informes confirma que, en América Latina, las personas de origen indígena o afro-descendientes tienen un menor nivel de educación promedio que las personas de otros orígenes. Descargar.

domingo, 7 de abril de 2013

Psicología de la Motivación - Diego Jorge González Serra

El presente libro tiene como objetivo fundamental exponer los resultados principales que hemos obtenido en el decursar de 40 años, en la investigación teórica y empírica de la motivación humana. Todo este trabajo tiene un sentido integrador de las diferentes corrientes teóricas en la investigación de la motivación humana, a partir de la dialéctica materialista y dentro del enfoque histórico-cultural, aunque este empeño integrador debe ampliarse y perfeccionarse. Dr. Diego Jorge González Serra: Doctor en Psicología, Profesor Titular. ECURED. Descarga.

jueves, 4 de abril de 2013

Richard Dawkins - The Selfish Gene

Richard Dawkins' brilliant reformulation of the theory of natural selection has the rare distinction of having provoked as much excitement and interest outside the scientific community as within it. His theories have helped change the whole nature of the study of social biology, and have forced thousands of readers to rethink their beliefs about life.

In his internationally bestselling, now classic volume, The Selfish Gene, Dawkins explains how the selfish gene can also be a subtle gene. The world of the selfish gene revolves around savage competition, ruthless exploitation, and deceit, and yet, Dawkins argues, acts of apparent altruism do exist in nature. Bees, for example, will commit suicide when they sting to protect the hive, and birds will risk their lives to warn the flock of an approaching hawk.

This revised edition of Dawkins' fascinating book contains two new chapters. One, entitled "Nice Guys Finish First," demonstrates how cooperation can evolve even in a basically selfish world. The other new chapter, entitled "The Long Reach of the Gene," which reflects the arguments presented in Dawkins' The Extended Phenotype, clarifies the startling view that genes may reach outside the bodies in which they dwell and manipulate other individuals and even the world at large. Containing a wealth of remarkable new insights into the biological world, the second edition once again drives home the fact that truth is stranger than fiction.

miércoles, 3 de abril de 2013

Diego, el primer niño robot que combina neurociencia, visión, psicología y aprendizaje  |  Madrid  | Actualizado el 30/03/2013 a las 16:46 horas
Diego es el primer proyecto multidisciplinario que incluye robótica, neurociencia, visión, psicología y aprendizaje y que se dirige hacia la robótica emocional. Es lo que se denomina "robótica emocional". El robot ve a la gente, sus gestos, expresiones y, gracias a la inteligencia artificial, aprende de los humanos como haría un bebé.

Más vídeos en Antena3