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Renowned paleoanthropologist Tim White of UC Berkeley, who is widely credited for his role in the discovery of Ardi, gives a fascinating overview of the search for the origins of Hominids in Africa, and Andrew Hill provides insight into the environments in which our earliest ancestors lived.

UC San Diego Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) Department Chair Rajesh Gupta, an expert in cyber-physical systems, kicks off a conversation with two cyber security experts from the computer-science faculty in UC San Diego's Jacobs School of Engineering: Prof. Stefan Savage, and Prof. Hovav Shacham. Savage and colleagues generated controversy and debate over public policy after they demonstrated the vulnerability of modern automobiles to attack from hackers who can take advantage of internal as well as external digital components and systems in today's cars. Most recently, Prof. Shacham uncovered security vulnerabilities involving the full-body backscatter, X-ray scanners deployed at entrances to airports, train stations and other public places.

Mobile devices are an integral part of our daily lives. But with their growing functionality and capability comes increased risk to personal privacy and security. At a fundamental level, mobile devices are incredibly hard to secure. Ben Zhao, Professor of Computer Science at UC Santa Barbara, discusses some of the fundamental security and privacy risks in mobile device and recent work in identifying and addressing the problem of "Sybil Devices," software code that pass themselves as mobile devices to manipulate and attack mobile apps from within. Recorded on 07/12/2016.

Cerebral organoids, also known as mini-brains, are tridimensional self-organized structures derived from stem cells that resemble the early stages of the human embryonic brain. This new tool allows researchers to explore fundamental neurodevelopmental steps otherwise inaccessible in utero experimentally. Alysson Muotri, UC San Diego Stem Cell Program, explains how mini brains are generated in his lab and how this strategy can create novel therapeutical insights on neurogenetic disorders, such as autism. He also describes the use of mini-brains to explore the uniqueness of the human brain compared to other extinct species, such as the Neanderthals. Limitations and ethical concerns surrounding this exciting technology are also discussed.

Computer security is a field that is fundamentally co-dependent — an interplay between the potential risk created by technology and the actual threats created by adversaries. The dance between defenders, technologists and attackers is one that is rich and dynamic and fuels both a large active research community and a multi-billion dollar computer security industry. Inevitably, ethical issues are exposed at multiple levels of this stack -- frequently at precisely those points where consequences are not well understood. Stefan Savage, PhD, Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of California, San Diego, describes some of the ethical issues he has encountered in his work - ranging from measurement studies of cybercrime to identifying security vulnerabilities in automobiles - and explore how these issues have challenged and focused him.

Alysson Muotri of UC San Diego's Stem Cell Program discusses his work creating cortical organoids from modern humans as well as organoids with genetic characteristics similar to Neanderthal to compare differences in neural development. Recorded on 06/01/2018.

The blood-brain-barrier (BBB) is a special structure in the body that helps to protect the brain from unwanted toxins and germs. Unfortunately, this barrier can also make it extremely difficult for therapeutics to reach their intended target within brain. Lawrence Livermore Lab scientists describe how combining experimental techniques with computational methods, making use of some of the fastest supercomputers in the world, can speed up the process of optimizing therapeutics to cross the BBB. Recorded on 02/23/2019.

Marion Nestle (NYU) and Laura Schmidt (UCSF) discuss nutrition policy and research, scientific conflicts of interest, the upcoming Dietary Guidelines, global food systems and more in this conversation about the food industry's influence on scientific research. Recorded on 02/07/2019.

The Arctic is changing rapidly in response to changes in global climate and economic activity and yet much of it remains unexplored with modern scientific techniques. Jeff Bowman describes his group's work in the Arctic as they seek to understand the ecological implications of changing sea ice conditions, and prepare to participate in the MOSAiC expedition; an unprecedented multi-national effort to study the high Arctic across a complete seasonal cycle.

In this Front Row presentation, Kristian Andersen shares how he, with a global network of collaborators, applies a 'team science' approach to deciphering outbreaks of emerging diseases such as Ebola and Lassa Virus. His highly cross-disciplinary work combines next-generation sequencing, computational biology, experimentation and field work to investigate how viruses emerge and cause large-scale outbreaks. Recorded on 08/15/2019.

At the 24th meeting of the Parties to the UN Climate Change Convention, governments completed the so-called Paris Rulebook, the set of guidelines for implementing the Paris Climate Change Agreement, and attention is shifting to implementation of measures that cut greenhouse gas emissions. Mark Radka, Chief of the Energy and Climate Branch at UN Environment, describes how the UN works with countries, companies, and people to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases. Recorded on 04/08/2019.

In the United States, privacy is considered a fundamental right. Yet today our activities are followed to a degree unfathomable not long ago by way of cell phones, online behaviors, and more. As genomic technologies continue to expand, another avenue now exists by which we may potentially be scrutinized: DNA sequence. Our genetic information contains our most private details, but we leave it everywhere and share the sequence closely with dozens or even hundreds of relatives. Laura Rivard, PhD, professor of biology at the University of San Diego, discusses ways in which our DNA may "escape" from our control, what can actually be done with the sequence, and whether there is cause for concern.

A major ambition of artificial intelligence lies in translating patient data to successful therapies. Machine learning models face particular challenges in biomedicine, however, including handling of extreme data heterogeneity and lack of mechanistic insight into predictions. Trey Ideker, PhD argues for "visible" approaches that guide model structure with experimental biology.

Social media and big data can have important practical applications in public health, disaster management, transportation, and urban planning. Data scientists are using machine learning algorithms, computer vision, and natural language processing to collect and analyze social media data (such as Facebook and YouTube) and environmental sensor/camera data to study human communications and movements. These big data technologies can be powerful tools to predict short-term future events, such as flu outbreaks, severe air pollution, traffic congestion, the weather, and patterns of disaster evacuation. At the same time, these technologies monitor users' digital footprints, opinions and geolocations. Ming-Hsiang Tsou, PhD discusses the challenges in social media analytics, including data noise and biases, fake news, and data privacy. Recorded on 03/04/2020.

Katerina Semendeferi explores if the potential for conditions like autism is a part of the human mind's extraordinary capacities for intellect and social cognition. A class that trains college students to teach computer science to youngsters in informal space, and how the chemistry of water reveals its history.

Where did we humans come from? When did we become the dominant species on the planet? Experts take you on an exploration of the last half-decade of new evidence from ancient DNA, fossils, archaeology and population studies that has updated our knowledge about The Origins of Today's Humans.

Recorded on 02/21/2020.
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