The Domestication of Animals and Human Evolution

8232What can the changes that made cuddly pets from steely predators tell us about ourselves? What do differences such as pointy ears or floppy ears, a long snout or a short one, a protruding jaw or a child-like face, or the timing and pace of brain development tell us?

These are just a few of the characteristics that a convergence of views in the study of animal domestication may tell us about our own evolution as a species in the more distant past. Specifically, it has been suggested that a number of the unique anatomical, neural, developmental, social, cognitive and communicative traits that define our species may be attributable to selection for lack of aggression and to a process of self-domestication.

Join another fascinating exploration of ourselves as this symposium brings together researchers from a variety of research backgrounds to examine these concepts and to elucidate further the possible role of domestication in human evolution.

Watch CARTA – Domestication and Human Evolution.

UCSD-TV’s Top 20 of 2014

TOP-20The end of the year seems synonymous with top ten lists. We couldn’t quite limit ourselves to only ten out of the hundreds of programs we presented in 2014, so we expanded it to twenty to give you more of a taste for the amazing diversity of topics and presenters on UCSD-TV. Check out faculty and visitors, entrepreneurs and researchers, doctors and explorers.

Here are the top twenty programs that were debuted in 2014:

20. 1761Weapons of Mass Distraction with Pico Iyer
Essayist and novelist Pico Iyer draws upon 40 years of travel across five continents to explore how to make the most of new technologies without being depleted–or devoured–by them. This program is presented by the Helen Edison Lecture Series at UC San Diego.

19. 1761Change Your Relationship with Food: Novel Weight Management Practices – Health Matters
How do we effectively manage our weight when the world around us is full of enticing, unhealthy options? Kerri Boutelle, PhD, joins David Granet, M.D. to discuss how we can train our minds to avoid temptations and pay more attention to what our bodies really need.

18. 1761Benjamin Franklin and the American Dream with Alan Houston — The Good Life
Benjamin Franklin and the American dream are often associated with the uninhibited pursuit of money. Nothing could be further from the truth, argues UC San Diego political scientist Alan Houston.

17. 1761Exploring the Rock Bottom of the Food Web Beneath Antarctic Ice
Hubert Staudigel presents initial laboratory results and stunning images from the 2012/13 field expedition to Antarctica.

16. 1761Brain Tumors, Tractography, and Surgery in the MRI – Health Matters
Surgeons can now create direct trajectories to brain tumors and safely remove more of the tumor minimizing damage to healthy brain tissue. Dr. Clark Chen joins Dr. David Granet to explain how tractography and performing surgery in the MRI are improving patient outcomes.

15. 1761The Science and Practice of Happiness Across the Lifespan – Research on Aging
What makes people happy? Is happiness a good thing? How can we make people happier still? Sonja Lyubomirsky, PhD, examines happiness and how we can use our minds as well as coping tools to better handle life’s challenges.

14. 1761Grouper Moon: Saving One of the Last Great Populations of an Endangered Caribbean Reef Fish
Join Brice Semmens as he presents findings from the Grouper Moon project, a long-term research program in the Cayman Islands focused on the conservation of one of the last great populations of this endangered Caribbean icon.

13. 1761Winning the War Against Cancer in the Genomics Era: Is It About Time? Overthrowing the Emperor of All Maladies Series
Razelle Kurzrock, the director of the Center for Personalized Cancer Therapy at the Moores Cancer Center at UC San Diego, presents breakthroughs in genomics and targeted therapies that have the potential to revolutionize the practice of oncology.

12. 1761On Our Mind – the Brain Channel
William C. Mobley, Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Neurosciences at UCSD, welcomes experts with wide ranging expertise to discuss the brain. Explore how the brain works, the technologies we can use to harness brain power, and how we can treat disease, and much more.

11. 1761Armed and Armored: The Amazing Evolutionary Story of Crustaceans
Join Scripps Oceanography marine biologist Jennifer Taylor as she describes her research on crustacean biomechanics and tells us how 500 million years of evolution has shaped crustaceans into the remarkable array of animals we see on Earth today.

10. 1761Stories in the Ice: What Can Past Climate Tell Us about Our Future?
Jeff Severinghaus describes how he delves into earth’s climate past to gain insight into our climate future.

9. 1761A Conversation with GoPro’s Nick Woodman
Join GoPro’s Nick Woodman as he reminisces about his days at UC San Diego and describes how he’s leveraging his passions and perseverance into growing a multi-billion dollar company.

8. 1761Can You Hear Me Now? Coping with an Increasingly Noisy Ocean
Explore how ocean noise varies across the Pacific Ocean and what it may mean for whales, fish, and other animals that rely on sounds for their survival.

7. 1761Reversing Paralysis – Health Matters
Is it possible for damaged nerves to be rewired? Justin Brown, MD joins host David Granet, MD to discuss how patients suffering from paralysis due to nerve injuries can regain function as well as future implications of this novel technique.

6. 1761Listening in the Deep – Using Sound to Study Animals We Cannot See
Simone Baumann-Pickering details how patterns of echolocation are allowing scientists to document the natural acoustic behavior of a species, and determine if those natural patterns are being disturbed by man-made noise.

5. 1761Innovation Crossroads: Creating a Policy Climate for Global Innovation in San Diego
The Atlantic’s Steve Clemons joins Paul Jacobs of Qualcomm, Greg Lucier of the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute and US Rep. Scott Peters (D) for a panel on attracting more investment in the technology sector to spur more innovation.

4. 1761CARTA – Male Aggression and Violence in Human Evolution
In the last few decades, new sources of evidence have continued to indicate that male violence has played an important role in shaping behavior in the human lineage. This symposium takes a fresh look at the causes and consequences of variation in aggression, both between and within species.

3. 1761UC San Diego Founders’ Symposium 2013
Passion for their work is evident as six of UC San Diego’s young innovators share their latest research as part of UCSD’s celebration of its Founders. Speakers include Eric Allen, Jamie Alexandre, Jessica Graham, Dana Velasco Murillo Morgan Nunn Martinez and Jacopo Annese.

2. 1761Getting Serious About Climate Change – Charles David Keeling Annual Lecture
UCSD School of International Relations and Pacific Studies Professor David Victor, internationally recognized leader in research on energy and climate change policy on creating more effective strategies for protecting the planet.

1. 1761CARTA – Birth to Grandmotherhood: Childrearing in Human Evolution
From the moment of birth, human infants require an inordinate amount of care and, unlike our nearest living relatives, remain dependent on a variety of caretakers during an unusually long maturation period followed by extraordinary adult longevity. How did such a distinctive pattern of development evolve?

Watch these and more popular UCSD-TV programs at

Your Eyes Are An Important Part of Your Health

8232If you want to learn about all things eye-related from nationally recognized speakers involved in one of the most active vision science programs in the country, this series is for you!

Learn more about:

How the eye works – or doesn’t

Diabetes and the impact on vision

Cataracts and the surgery to treat them

Glaucoma – the leading cause of blindness

Explore new discoveries in eye health and disease and integrative approaches to care – through the eyes of leading faculty from UCSF’s Department of Ophthalmology.

Watch Looking Ahead: Examining Eye Health and Disease.

Michael Pollan: “Don’t buy any cereal that changes the color of the milk.”

8232This year, renowned journalist, author, and food intellectual Michael Pollan received the 2014 Nierenberg Award for Science in the Public Interest.

“Michael Pollan has shown that an English major can do great service to science in the public interest,” said Walter Tschinkel, one of many who introduced Pollan. “Science very much needs writers like Michael Pollan to bridge the gap between scientists and the wider public… to make science meaningful, relevant, and accessible… and just perhaps to influence people and public thinking about important social, philosophical and scientific issues.”

After receiving his award, Pollan sat down with KPBS News Editor, Tom Fudge and talked about everything from the lesson Pollan learned from a woodchuck, to the carbon problem, his love of food, and how to feed the world.

The problem of getting carbon back into the soil:

“I think the future, the next set of important gains come not from [seed] breeding, but from understanding the soil microbiome and manipulating that environment.”

His relationship with food:

“I enjoy food now more than I used to… I think I’m less self-conscious about my eating than a lot of my readers are… and I think I’ve made a certain number of people that you probably know insufferable.”

Healthy eating:

“Eating well is easier if you have some money, and that’s one of the real tragedies of the food system we have – that the cheapest calories are so unhealthy.”

One of Pollan’s “Food Rules:”

“Don’t buy any cereal that changes the color of the milk.”

The difficulty of political change:

“It’s very much in the interest of political leaders to have our food be cheap even if it’s unhealthy. When you get spikes in food prices, you get political restives, you get riots, you get revolutions. And every political leader understands this. So they’re willing to put up with a lot of negative side effects of cheap food, as long as the price stays down. And this, in a way, is the biggest impediment to changing the food system.”

Feeding the world:

“The goal is for the world to be able to feed itself. The idea that we grow all the grain and dump it on the rest of the world is incredibly arrogant.”

“There’s plenty of food. We’re now growing 2800 calories per person per day… That’s for everybody living on the planet. We still have a billion who are hungry. So quantity is not the problem with feeding the world. We have to look at equity. We have to look at who controls the land. We have to look at diet. We have to look at waste.”

Watch more of this enlightening interview: An Evening with Michael Pollan: Nierenberg Award 2014.

Mythbusting – German Women Under Hitler

8232It wasn’t just the men who carried out out the Hitler-directed atrocities against humanity in World War II. As historian Wendy Lower explains, women also willingly committed horrendous crimes and in most cases, paid no price for their actions.

In this chilling presentation, Lower debunks the fantasy that German women were somehow too busy bearing children to engage in the “big world of politics and war.” It’s a fascinating talk, and one that’s likely to stay with you long after it’s over.

Watch Hitler’s Furies on The UC San Diego Library Channel.

Library Channel