Lively and in-depth discussions of city news, politics, science, entertainment, the arts, and more. Hosted by Larry Mantle

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AirTalk for August 23, 2011

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The Gadhafi era draws to a close

This morning, news broke that rebel forces in Libya easily broke into Gadhafi’s compound after a NATO airstrike blew a gap in one of the outer walls. Security was nonexistent, as rebels were not met with any form of resistance as they took over the structure. However, Gadhafi was nowhere to be found and his whereabouts are still unknown. This comes after rebels assumed control of Tripoli this past weekend. At the rate at which these developments are progressing, we could see the end of Gadhafi’s tyrannical reign at any minute. As every news station has their eyes on Tripoli’s celebrating streets, many questions about the future transitional government remain unanswered. What’s next for the Libyan people? Where is Gadhafi? What will need to be rebuilt due to the fighting? What roles will NATO and the United States play in the next step?
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UC fees surpass state funding for 1st time

For the first time in its 142-year history, the University of California will receive more money from student tuition then it does from state funding.
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Do unions still kick ass for the working class?

After months of stalled contract talks, Southland grocery workers are considering whether to go on strike. Over the weekend, union workers from Ralphs, Vons and Albertsons voted overwhelmingly to reject a health benefits proposal from the supermarkets and to authorize a strike, which could be called this week if there are no positive developments between the two sides. This and other labor disputes in the news lately beg the question – how necessary are unions? In America today, union membership has declined significantly. In the private sector, only 7 percent of employees are now unionized, down from 35 percent in the 1950s. In Wisconsin and Ohio, public unions have been under attack. Critics charge that they are largely to blame for spiraling costs that hold taxpayers hostage. But during the bright dawn of modern unionism, collective bargaining rights were considered essential for protecting workers’ rights. So why has there been such a steady drop in union membership? Are unions still essential – or even effective? Or do employers and the government do enough to protect us? If not, where’s the union man with the union plan?
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Stanford prison experiment 40 years later

“Male college students needed for psychological study of prison life. $15 per day for 1-2 weeks.” Led by psychology professor Philip Zimbardo, the Stanford Prison Experiment lasted less than a week, but has lived on as one of the most notorious research projects ever carried out by the University. 24 young men were randomly assigned to be either prisoners or guards in a makeshift prison in the basement of Stanford’s Jordan Hall. Within a few days, the “prisoners” were enduring emotionally crippling abuse and humiliation at the hands of their “guards” – sleep deprivation, being stripped naked, taunted and marched in line with bags over their hands, their ankles shackled. One prisoner simulated madness in order to be released; another staged a very real hunger strike and was thrown into solitary confinement. As the experiment descended into chaos, Zimbardo found himself taking on the role of prison warden – blurring his own role as a researcher. After six days the experiment was ended, and its legacy has been controversial. Was it a revealing – if flawed – study on the nature of good and evil? Were its findings prescient of later abuses at prisons such as Abu Ghraib? What social, physical and environmental circumstances lead otherwise good people to treat others inhumanely? And how far should researchers go to find out?

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