Archiving Atrocity: The International Tracing Service and Holocaust Research

8232It’s all in the details. It’s the stories, the artifacts, and the documents that reveal the horror faced by victims of the Holocaust. As author and historian Suzanne Brown-Fleming explains here, researchers into this painful part of human history now have access to the world’s largest Holocaust archive through the International Tracing Service, based in Bad Arolsen, Germany. Families can fill in the missing pieces of the ordeals that their lost relatives faced in World War II. With the ITS database now available at sites in Europe, Israel and at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, Brown-Fleming and her colleagues are making sure that the world will, indeed, “never forget.”

Learn more when you watch Archiving Atrocity: The International Tracing Service and Holocaust Research with Suzanne Brown-Fleming, Holocaust Living History Workshop on the Library Channel.

To watch more programs in this series, click here.

Verdi’s Requiem

8232George Bernard Shaw once remarked that “the English take a creepy sort of pleasure in requiems.” I can’t speak to the truth of this statement, but there’s no denying that requiems are among the most popular works in the orchestral/choral repertoire, in England and elsewhere. Composers as diverse as Haydn, Brahms, Berlioz, Dvořák, Saint-Saëns, Fauré, and Britten have assayed the form, each bringing their own unique sensibilities to the challenge of interpreting a liturgical service in musical terms.

Arguably, the two best-known examples of the requiem are those written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (considered by many to be the template for the genre) and Giuseppe Verdi. Verdi’s Messa da Requiem, which premiered in Milan in 1874, is based on the Roman Catholic funeral mass and scored for four soloists, double (sometimes triple) choir, and orchestra. Verdi composed the piece in memory of poet and novelist Alessandro Manzoni, whom he greatly admired. It consists of seven major sections, within which are several sub-sections of varying and often contrasting moods. In order to heighten the inherent drama and poignancy of the liturgical mass Verdi brought to bear the skills and devices he’d mastered as a composer of operas: expressive orchestration, assertive rhythms, beautiful melodies, vocal pyrotechnics, and dramatic contrasts over an exceptionally wide dynamic range. Indeed, following the Requiem’s premiere many traditionalist critics complained that the music was far too “operatic” in style and not appropriate for the solemn subject matter. Fortunately for us, that view has not prevailed.

Undertaking performance of such a mammoth work, involving 300+ performers on stage, requires both abundant skill and a degree of intrepidity, traits which La Jolla Symphony & Chorus have amply demonstrated in their programming choices. Under the baton of conductor Steven Schick the musicians and vocal soloists render the complexities and subtleties of the piece with both confidence and sensitivity, and if it’s not sacrilegious to say so, the result is thrilling.

Contributed by arts and humanities producer John Menier

Watch Verdi’s Requiem.

UCTV Launches New Portal to Sustainability for California

8232As the world’s sixth largest economy and provider of more than half the nation’s fruits, nuts, and vegetables, sustaining California’s vitality is paramount. And, with greater demands from a changing climate and growing population, taking a proactive approach to maintaining sustainable growth for California is critical.

That is what Sustainable California, a new, media-rich web portal hosted by University of California Television (UCTV) is about.

Broadcasting stories of sustainability research and outreach conducted by University of California faculty, scientists and students, Sustainable California
connects users to the science-based, real-world solutions the University of California is creating to maintain the balance of natural resources, biodiversity and sustainable growth in our state.

Principal project partners include UC Water, UC Agriculture and Natural Resources, CITRIS and the Banatao Institute, the Sierra Nevada Research Institute and UC Merced School of Engineering among others.

UCTV Director Lynn Burnstan expressed her excitement at inaugurating the new portal, “This is what UCTV is about, connecting Californians to the real-world, inestimable values that the UC provides all of California. We are very excited to be able to join these partners and give the public direct access to what they are doing for all our benefit.”

The launch features Water in the Balance, from UC Merced headquartered UCWater, a 5-minute journey from Sierra Nevada snowpack through the state’s system of dams to groundwater; Introduction to Conservation Agriculture Cropping Systems, from UC Agriculture and Natural Resources, featuring California farmers and UC scientists working together to develop sustainable farming practices and Sierra-Net, from Berkeley-headquartered CITRIS and the Banatao Institute, featuring the development of innovative cyber-infrastructure to provide real-time monitoring of the state’s water resources.

The channel’s content is appropriate for audiences of all ages and freely accessible to the public online at uctv.tv/sustainable-cal. The integrated video, article and curriculum format of the channel, in addition to its focus on biodiversity, natural resources, and low-impact living, provides users both a look at and connection to practical solutions and approaches the UC is developing, making it a valuable resource for professional practitioners, educators, and media outlets.

Death and Mortality: New Programs from CARTA

8232Certain warm-blooded social animals and birds appear to react selectively and specifically to the death of other members of their group. Humans seem to be very unusual in the quality and extent of our responses – and in our ability to translate these experiences into an understanding of our personal mortality. When during childhood do these levels of understanding emerge? What is the underlying neurobiological basis for fears of death and mortality? When during human evolution did these fears emerge, and how did our ancestors tolerate them without sinking into an evolutionary dead end of depression or hopelessness? Assuming we found a solution to this dilemma, why are we still the only mammals that commit suicide? What does the archaeological, historical and cross-cultural record tell us about these matters? And what are the consequences for our current human condition, ranging from self-esteem to social organization, to political leanings? This symposium brings together expert speakers from a wide range of different disciplines that are relevant to seeking answers to these questions. In the process, we will gain a better understanding of how increasing awareness of death and personal mortality shaped the origin of humans.

Watch CARTA: Awareness of Death and Personal Mortality: Implications for Anthropogeny.

Poisonings, Overdoses, and Toxic Exposures

8232There are things in our environment that we know are dangerous like venomous snakes and poisons, and then there are substances that seem innocent but can be toxic, especially to children.

This new series from UCSF explores common medications, herbal therapies, and household chemicals that can make our lives healthier, more convenient, and better but when used incorrectly, either intentionally or inadvertently, they can become life-threatening poisons and toxins.

Learn about the latest designer and adulterated street drugs, toxic land and marine creatures, common household ingestions, misbegotten uses of herbal medications, and the way that we use the laboratory to solve poisoning mysteries.

Get more information on how to reduce your exposure to known toxins and how to safeguard yourselves from substances that have to potential to harm.