If you do not breathe through writing, if you do not cry out through writing, or sing in writing, then don't write, because our culture has no use for it.

Anais Nin

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Anon Fags and Information Warfare, the Praxis of Anonymity

I want to first of all be quite clear: I am not a member of Anonymous and I sure as hell speak for no one but myself, Kenneth Lipp, kenneth.lipp@gmail.com. I will continue to add info to this post throught, etc, selah, amen___

This will nicely round out my three-P's of social history theme. I've hit Parrhesia , Panopticon , and now time for my namesake her, Praxis.

My  concern is with Karl Marx's systematic theory of values; and his fundamental assumption concerning human nature, namely that human beings can be rational, for the significance of the dialectic in its "rational form" is that it enables them to comprehend the contradictory nature of reality as a prerequisite to changing it.

Intro to Das Kapital:

In the domain of Political Economy, free scientific inquiry meets not merely the same enemies as in all other domains. The peculiar nature of the materials it deals with, summons as foes into the field of battle the most violent, mean and malignant passions of the human breast, the Furies of private interest. The English Established Church, e.g., will more readily pardon an attack on 38 of its 39 articles than on 1/39 of its income. Now-a-days atheism is culpa levis, as compared with criticism of existing property relations. Nevertheless, there is an unmistakable advance. I refer, e.g., to the Blue book published within the last few weeks: "Correspondence with Her Majesty's Missions Abroad, regarding Industrial Questions and Trades' Unions". The representatives of the English Crown in foreign countries there declare in so many words that in Germany, in France,to be brief, in all the civilised states of the European Continent, radical change in the existing relations between capital and labour is as evident and inevitable as in England. At the same time, on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, Mr. Wade, vice-president of the United States, declared in public meetings that, after the abolition of slavery, a radical change of the relations of capital and of property in land is next upon the order of the day. These are signs of the times, not to be hidden by purple mantles or black cassocks. They do not signify that tomorrow a miracle will happen. They show that, within the ruling-classes themselves, a foreboding is dawning, that the present society is no solid crystal, but an organism capable of change, and is constantly changing.

Specifically, the rational form would eventually enable the working class to understand the contradictory nature of capitalist reality. Indeed, the "ultimate aim" of Capital was to "lay bare the economic motion of modern society" in order to "shorten and lessen the birthpangs" of its transformation into communism. It is human rationality that under-pins Marx's well-known emphasis on the unity of theory and practice, in other words, his notion of "praxis":  The coincidence of the changing of circumstances and of human activity or self-changing can be conceived and rationally understood only as revolutionary praxis [Marx and Engels 1970, 121]

Thus, Capital can be seen as a contribution to the revolutionary praxis of the working class in he]ping it to achieve its historic mission via an appreciation of the contradictions of modern capitalism. 

Marx's portrayal of humankind as potentially rational also resolves the puzzle as to why Marx could simultaneously entertain the idea of an historical telos, with its deterministic implications, and uphold the voluntaristic and reflexive notion of praxis or practical activity. He assumes that workers-through rational thought, through reflecting on their experience of capitalism, and notably through their increasing immiseration and growing collective strength, will inevitably want and be able to overthrow it . Moreover, this solution to the puzzle would also unite the historical teleology in Marx, which Hunt rejects, with the individual teleology, which he accepts. It is relevant to note briefly at this juncture that Marx's conception of rationality arguably was not based on the notion of hedonistic self-interest as claimed by Veblen, since Marx explicitly rejected Bentham. Rather, it stemmed from a need for individual and collective self-realization and for individual and collective telos, which required "an association, in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all" [Marx] and to develop in accord with their "human nature."

Marx, however, sought to locate this "historic mission" of the 'working class and his understanding of capitalism in a broader historical context. Thus, in the Communist Manifesto, he and Engels present the proletariat as the first potential ruling class in history to be a genuine "universal class." 

All previous historical movements were movements of minorities, or in the interests of minorities. The proletarian movement is the self-conscious, independent movement of the immense majority, in the interests of the immense majority . 

And in Marx's famous Preface, arguably his most definitive statement on history, he suggests that the capitalist era can be considered within a wider historical sweep. The regulative principle that determines whether different modes of production-ancient, feudal, capitalist-rise and fall is whether they are conducive to the development of the productive forces. At some stage, given production relations, instead of advancing production, they become fetters. Capitalist relations are no exception to this general rule. Furthermore, each mode of production creates within itself new social classes that are bearers of the new social relations of production. Again, capitalism is no exception; it generates within itself a working class-the social agent that will transcend capitalist relations. Marx's intellectual project was predicated on the notion that the working class had the capacity to be an effective source of change, which was in turn derived from the assumption of human rationality. Even if the Preface is not regarded as Marx's definitive account of history--and we stress instead his more open-ended, empirical interpretation, as some commentators have done --we are still left with a highly teleological theory of capitalism, with its downfall being the inevitable result of its inner contradictions. 

This is from IndyMedia 

Anonymous | 26.01.2008 20:40 | Repression | Social Struggles | Technology | London
You may have heard in some of the news outlets that a group of "Hackers" have declared war on Scientology. Firstly, we're not hackers. We are an autonomus group of individuals who have come together to fight a common cause. It is our aim to make people aware of the wrongdoings and cult-like nature of this organisation, and ultimately reduce their ability to take and destroy lives. We are known as Anonymous.
When and Where 
When and Where
This began when the now notorious Tom Cruise video was leaked. When the scientologists attempted to have the video removed, it created a back lash within several large Internet communities who value free speech. Projet Chanology was formed. As a part of our new, and ongoing operation UK members are organising a protest at the scientology offices in London. 

While I have attended Mayday and the G8, and so have some past experience, many of us are geeks, not activists. I am writing to you to request any help or presence you can offer. We believe that the media attention we have received is enough to validate our effectiveness and numbers. Thousands of Anonymous have already been engaged in direct action against the church. 

I am anonymous, and I speak only for anonymous - but any help would be greatly appreciated. Our plans are publicly available, and there is much information to be found online.. an outline of our plan currently exists here: 

You may also find our open messages to scientology here: 

See the attached image for details of when and where. 

I thank you kindly for your time. 

We are Anonymous. We are Legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget. 

Expect us. 


At war?
Most mass exposure to Anonymous is one-dimensional.  For the more academically inclined, you'll find the field of information warfare exceedingly rich.  Where information warfare was once a distinct discipline with military underpinnings, it has increasingly become fused with both the computer security and intelligence disciplines. Information warfare is still defined in some quarters as “information operations conducted during time of crises or conflict to achieve or promote specific objectives over a specific adversary or adversaries” (IWS, n.d.). Hutchison and Warren (2001) defined the essence of information warfare as where information “has to be manipulated to the advantage of those trying to influence it”.
These principles have not changed, yet the extent to which the application of these principles has infiltrated the contemporary corporate environment has shifted and extended. Whilst the definition is primarily military, the application of it has diverged into the corporate environment. Similarly, its composition and implication for the armed forces has also altered with the advancement of technology.

The military are increasingly dependent on communication systems, networks and electronic sensors, reflecting a change in the characterisation war from a physical battlefield to a modern digitized one, supported by information and executed remotely (Frater & Ryan, 2001). Related to this is the application in the commercial environment where competitive business wars are waged with knowledge and control of communication networks. The changes driven by new technology reflect both a transformation in the command and control of military forces, and in how they are organised and trained. Perhaps what is key to this discussion is not that the focus of information warfare should move away from the its military basis, but that firstly its objectives and techniques now apply increasingly to the corporate environment, and secondly that the manner in which warfare is waged will evolve and change because of the advances in technology. Therefore, there is a shift in both application and execution of information warfare. 

Of help can be a little research with your trusty Googler: (from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anonymous_(group) , Wikipedia's entry on Anonymous)

Anonymous (used as a mass noun) is an Internet meme originating 2003 on the imageboard 4chan, representing the concept of many online community users simultaneously existing as an anarchic, digitized global brain.[2] It is also generally considered to be a blanket term for members of certain Internet subcultures, a way to refer to the actions of people in an environment where their actual identities are not known.[3]In its early form, the concept has been adopted by a decentralized on-line community acting anonymously in a coordinated manner, usually toward a loosely self-agreed goal, and primarily focused on entertainment. Beginning with 2008, the Anonymous collective has become increasingly associated with collaborative, international hacktivism, undertaking protests and other actions, often with the goal of promoting internet freedom and freedom of speech. Actions credited to "Anonymous" are undertaken by unidentified individuals who apply the Anonymous label to themselves as attribution.[4]Although not necessarily tied to a single on-line entity, many websites are strongly associated with Anonymous. This includes notable imageboards such as 4chanFutaba, their associated wikisEncyclopædia Dramatica, and a number of forums.[5] After a series of controversial, widely-publicized protests and distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks by Anonymous in 2008, incidents linked to its cadre members have increased.[6] In consideration of its capabilities, Anonymous has been posited by CNN to be one of the three major successors to WikiLeaks.[7]

The following text can be found here:

Persona management, 'sock puppet' -- Surveillance

 I want to draw attention to the fact that this is not some far off possibility, or pure conjecture. The Guardian reported in March 2011 on a

US spy operation that manipulates social media-
 Military's 'sock puppet' software creates fake online identities to spread pro-American propaganda”
This is a very tangible example, perhaps harbinger, of the kind of surveillance which state and /or corporate interests might be expected to insinuate into pop culture, with ease, on a level playing field with legitimate users (or “openly clandestine” agents. There needs to be a means to speak fearlessly, and anonymity is a valuable resource to enable public candor).
Persona management: The deployment of entirely fake online personas controlled en masse by a human operator. Increasingly, this process is software-assisted, allowing a single individual to control fifty "people," at least in the case of the apparatus requested by the USAF when putting out bids to federal contractors such as HBGary. Such personas tend to be equipped with biographical data sufficient to present a front of legitimacy even to those with whom the personas communicate.
Those communications in turn are regulated via software-based filters that aid in maintaining situational integrity throughout the entirety of each persona's interactions with its human targets; as is described at great length in this 2007 patent (hilariously portrayed as a method by which busy executives might better ensure that they do not say anything bizarre or insulting when dealing with foreign nationals despite that the fact that the authors happen to be working out of U.S. military installations in Virginia in conjunction with IBM, which itself does not seem to have ever gotten around to releasing any such product), linguistic and geographical considerations are taken into account automatically, along with a variety of others, in order to streamline the age-old internet practice of sockpuppeting."

No longer do governments, multinational corporations, or politicians need to exert force when trying to maintain social control. Co-opting of powerful minority groups through the fear of observation makes it possible to eliminate the perception of tyranny. Tyranny leaves the body free and directs its attack at the soul. The ruler no longer says: You must think as I do or die.He says: You are free not to think as I do; your life, your property, everything shall remain yours, but from this day on you are a stranger among us. Not to conform means to be rendered powerless, economically, and therefore spiritually, to be self employed. If self-oppression and conformity become the normal course of behavior for individuals who wish to avoid punishment, then the culpability of oppression shifts from the oppressor to the oppressed

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Critical Pessimism & Media Reform Movements: #FreeSpeech TV at the National Conference on Media Reform

Critical Pessimism & Media Reform Movements
by Adam Fish on April 19th, 2011

from Savage Minds
Free Speech TV at the National Conference on Media Reform

From its inception in 1995, Free Speech TV’s goal has been to infiltrate and subvert the vapid, shrill and corporately controlled American television newscape with challenging and unheard voices. Fast forward to 2011, and in the age of viral videos, social media and ubiquitous computing, the same issues persist.

An excellent young pro-freedom-of-speech organization, Free Press, called all media activists to Boston for the National Conference on Media Reform (NCMR), April 8-10, to celebrate independent media and incubate strategies to fight the tide of corporate personhood, monopolization in communication industries, and the denial of access to the public airwaves.

These are issues FSTV has long fought, first with VHS tapes of radical documentaries shipped to community access stations throughout the nation, then through satellite carriage in 30 million homes, and now via live internet video and direct dialogues with the audience through social media.

FSTV was at NCMR in full force, covering live panels on everything from the role of social media in North African revolutions to media’s sexualization of women; developing strategic relationships with print, radio, internet and television collaborators; interviewing luminaries like FCC Commissioner Copps; and inspiring the delegates by opening up the otherwise closed and corporatized satellite television world to the voices of media activists fighting for access and diversity during a frankly terrifying period in American media freedom.

One question haunted the many stages, daises and dialogues at the NCMR: Is the open, decentralized, accessible and diverse internet – by which media production, citizen journalism and community collaboration have been recently democratized – becoming closed, centralized and homogenous as it begins to look and feel more like the elite-controlled cable television system?

For example, while we were in the conference, the House voted to block the FCC from protecting our right to access an open Internet. The mergers of Comcast and NBC-Universal and AT&T/T-Mobile loomed behind every passionate oration. And yet FSTV was there to document when FCC Commissioner Copps took the stage stating he would resist the denial of network neutrality and such monopolizing mergers.

Internationally, examples of the power and problems of the internet exist. The Egypt-based Facebook group “We are all Khaled Said” had 80,000 members, many who amassed at Tahrir Square on January 26, instigating a wave of democratization that began in Tunisia – also fueled by social media – and hopefully continuing to Libya. Two days later, however, the Mubarak regime was able effectively to hit a “kill switch” on the internet and target activists using Facebook for arrest, an activity that worked against the desires of the repressive regime. At the NCMR, Democracy Now! reporter Sharif Abdel Kouddous said, “Facebook was down … so they hit the streets. It had the reverse desire and effect that the government wanted to happen.”

In 2010, Reporters Without Borders compiled a list of 13 internet enemies – countries that suppress free speech online. The U.S. wasn’t on the list, but U.S. companies Amazon, Paypal, Mastercard, Visa and Apple were pressured to cut digital and financial support for whistleblowing WikiLeaks. The point is obvious: A vigilant press aided by an open, uncensored and unprivatized internet are necessary yet threatened and are the focus of FSTV’s coverage at NCMR.

FSTV embodies that ancient movement of ordinary people taking back power from entrenched elites. Today, every issue, from class inequality to ecological justice – is a media issue. However, our media sources, from journalists to internet and television delivery systems, are being co-opted by monopolizing corporations and lobbyists. As an independent, open and interactive television network, FSTV is an antidote to the problems facing free speech and democracy as more media power is centralized in fewer hands. Thankfully, as we found out in Boston, FSTV is not alone in this dangerous and difficult operation of media liberation.

— Jenkins hyperbolically describes “critical pessimists” as people who “opt out of media altogether and live in the woods, eating acorns and lizards and reading only books published on recycled paper by small alternative presses” (2006: 248-249). This is a false exaggeration of a movement that is providing a necessary check on corporate power and mindfully working for greater civic, community, and citizen involvement in media production..

Friday, April 8, 2011

Libya Policy and Unrest, a non-political summary

Over forty years ago, Muammar al Qadhafi led a revolt against the Libyan monarchy in the name of nationalism, self-determination, and popular sovereignty. Opposition groups citing the same principles are now revolting against Qadhafi to bring an end to the authoritarian political system he has controlled in Libya for the last four decades. The Libyan government’s use of force against civilians and opposition forces seeking Qadhafi’s overthrow sparked an international outcry in February and early March 2011, and a stalemate began to break in favor of the Qadhafi government, threatening civilians in opposition-held areas. The United States and other European and Arab states are now carrying out military operations in Libya to enforce United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973, which was adopted on March 17 and authorizes “all necessary measures” to protect Libyan civilians. Qadhafi and his supporters have described the uprising as a foreign and Islamist conspiracy and are attempting to outlast their opponents. Qadhafi remains defiant amid the dismantling of his military by coalition air strikes. His supporters threatened to respond to attacks by striking civilian and military targets in the Mediterranean region.

Resolution 1973 calls for an immediate cease-fire and dialogue, declares a no-fly zone in Libyan airspace, and authorizes robust enforcement measures for the arms embargo on Libya established by Resolution 1970 of February 26, “while excluding a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory.” As of March 28, U.S. military officials reported that U.S. and coalition strikes on Libyan air defenses, air forces, and ground forces had neutralized the ability of Muammar al Qadhafi’s military to control the country’s airspace and were increasingly focused on targeting pro-Qadhafi ground forces found to be continuing to violate Resolution 1973 through attacks on Libyan civilians. President Obama has said the United States will not introduce ground forces and has called for Qadhafi to step down. The no-fly zone called for in Resolution 1973 is in place and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is assuming command of coalition operations. The United States and international partners are providing humanitarian assistance to displaced persons in temporary camps in Tunisia and Egypt.

Until recently, the United States government was pursuing a policy of reengagement toward Qadhafi after decades of confrontation, sanctions, and Libyan isolation. President Obama now has joined some leaders in asserting that Muammar al Qadhafi must ultimately give up power,although that outcome is not called for explicitly in Resolution 1973. Obama Administration officials highlight a number of non-military steps the U.S. government has taken to achieve that objective, while military operations to protect Libyan civilians continue. U.S. steps include new targeted sanctions established in Executive Order 13566. Some Members of Congress expressed support for U.S. military intervention prior to the adoption of Resolution 1973, while others disagreed or called for the President to seek explicit congressional authorization prior to any use of force. Some executive-legislative consultation occurred prior to the start of U.S. military operations, and, on March 21, President Obama sent a letter to Congress outlining U.S. military objectives and operations, but not explicitly seeking congressional authorization.

Many observers believe that Libya’s weak government institutions, potentially divisive political dynamics, and current conflict suggest that security challenges could follow the current uprising, regardless of its outcome. Some opposition figures have formed an Interim Transitional National Council which claims to represent all areas of the country and is seeking recognition and material support. In evaluating U.S. policy options, Congress may seek to better understand the roots and nature of the conflict in Libya, the views and interests of key players, and the potential consequences of the military action under way and other policy proposals under consideration.

KENYA: AIDS activists battle tax increase on medicines

Kenyan AIDS activists are furious about a plan by the government to implement a 2 percent tax increase on medicines, which they say will hurt poor people living with HIV. 

In November 2010, Kenya's Minister for Medical Services issued a gazette notice imposing the new tax on drugs to help fund the Pharmacy and Poisons Board, the government body mandated to regulate drugs in the country. The Kenya Revenue Authority already collects a 2.75 percent tax on medicines. 

"When you increase taxes on essential drugs, it will push up their costs because manufacturers and importers will pass that extra burden to consumers," said James Kamau, coordinator of the Kenya Treatment Access Movement. "The government cannot even put everybody on HIV treatment because they can't afford it, yet they are putting more tax on the same drugs they are unable to buy." 

While the government provides free antiretroviral drugs to an estimated 400,000 people living with HIV, patients are expected to pay for medication to treat opportunistic infections. 

The activists have gone to court to block the government from effecting the new tax on the grounds that the minister lacks the authority to levy taxes. The High Court has stopped the government from putting the new tax into effect until the case is determined. 

The Pharmacy and Poisons Board has offered to reduce the tax from 2 percent to 0.75 percent, a proposal the lobbyists have rejected. 
''There are many luxury commodities that can be taxed to get more money to fund the health sector without making life unnecessarily difficult for Kenyans''

"We need money to fund certain operations within the Ministry of Health and other sectors of health, so we hope that those opposed to new taxes will understand the need for them," said Kazungu Kambi, Assistant Minister of Medical Services. "We are constantly looking for ways to get money to supplement what we get from the Ministry of Finance and what we get from donors. We have proposals for raising more money which are being discussed at various levels." 

In 2009, the government came up with a Health Financing Strategy that proposed, among other things, the removal of user fees at government facilities. However, inadequate funding means the strategy has yet to be implemented. 

While activists agree that the health sector needs to be better funded, they say raising the cost of medicines is not the way to do it. "There are many luxury commodities that can be taxed to get more money to fund the health sector without making life unnecessarily difficult for Kenyans who are already overburdened by the spending they have to incur to seek medical services," said Kamau. 

"Instead of increased taxes on medicines which Kenyans so much need, the government should increase budgetary allocations to the health sector to cushion Kenyans from high costs of healthcare," he added.

Internet Censorship, Activism, Security, and Social Change--Literature

This just a collection of articles I've gathered during the past few days, on this interwebz thing the kids are so into now


In much of the recent literature on contemporary social movements there is call for a re-conceptualization of the definition and understanding of political struggle given the impact of new emerging information  communication technologies (ICTs), and the Internet in particular, on social movement organizing, contentious politics, and the electoral political process. This paper undertakes an analysis of MoveOn within a critical theory framework and argues that electronic social movement organizations, such as MoveOn, are in many ways broadening public opinion and the public sphere. It draws on the work of Habermas and theories of the Internet to illustrate how ICTs can revitalize communicative action in the public sphere and thus enhance participatory democracy.

Temporal patterns of happiness and information in a global social network: Hedonometrics and Twitter

Peter Sheridan Dodds,1, Kameron Decker Harris,1 Isabel M.Kloumann,1 Catherine A. Bliss,1 and Christopher M. Danforth1,
1 Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Center for Complex Systems, & the Vermont Advanced Computing Center, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT, 05401
(Dated: February 14, 2011)

Individual happiness is a fundamental societal metric. Normally measured through self-report, happiness has often been indirectly characterized and overshadowed by more readily quantifable economic indicators, such as gross domestic product. Here, we use a real-time, remote-sensing, noninvasive, text-based approach|a kind of hedonometer|to uncover collective dynamical patterns of happiness levels expressed by over 50 million users in the online, global social network Twitter. With a data set comprising nearly 2.8 billion expressions involving more than 28 billion words, we explore temporal variations in happiness, as well as information levels, over time scales of hours, days, and months. Among many observations, we nd a steady global happiness level, evidence of universal weekly and daily patterns of happiness and information, and that happiness and information levels are generally uncorrelated. We also extract and analyse a collection of happiness and information trends based on keywords, showing them to be both sensible and informative, and in elct generating opinion polls without asking questions. Finally, we develop and employ a graphical method that reveals how individual words contribute to changes in average happiness between any two texts.

Graffiti Networks: A Subversive, Internet-Scale File Sharing Model
Andrew Pavlo

Brown University
Ning Shi
Brown University

The proliferation of peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing protocols is due to their efficient and scalable methods for data dissemination to numerous users. But many of these networks have no provisions to provide users with long term access to files after the initial interest has diminished, nor are they able to guarantee protection for users from malicious clients that wish to implicate them in incriminating activities. As such, users may turn to supplementary measures for storing and transferring data in P2P systems. We present a new file sharing paradigm, called a Graffiti Network, which allows peers to harness the potentially unlimited storage of the Internet as a third-party intermediary. Our key contributions in this paper are (1) an overview of a distributed system based on this new threat model and (2) a measurement of its viability through a one-year deployment
study using a popular web-publishing platform. The results of this experiment motivate a discussion about the
challenges of mitigating this type of file sharing in a hostile network environment and how web site operators can protect their resources.


Eric P. Schmidt*

INTRODUCTION ................................................................................... 313
I. THE CONTEXT AND LAW OF INS ........................................... 317
A. AHN and the Declining Newspaper Industry .................... 319
B. Theflyonthewall and New Challenges to the Hot News
Doctrine .............................................................................. 321
STATUTORY IP LAW ................................................................ 324
A. Disadvantages of the Misappropriation Doctrine .............. 329
III. WHAT IS AT STAKE .................................................................. 335
NORMS ...................................................................................... 339
CONCLUSION .......................................................................................

The Political Power of Social Media Technology, the Public Sphere, and Political Change
Clay Shirky

Cyberattack Scenarios and the Evidence of History


Not long after computer scientists first began working on the technical design of the network that ultimately became known as the Internet, in 1969, they began to document their discussions, information shared, and decisions made in a series of documents known as the Internet requests for comments that is still being used
for this purpose 40 years later. A comprehensive inductive reading of these documents reveals that legal and policy issues were often raised or confronted in the  course of resolving technical problems. In many of these instances, the technical decisions that resulted had law-like effects in the sense that they constrained or
enabled the ways in which users can communicate and can access and use information over the Internet, whether or not such decisions supported or subverted legal decision-making, and whether or not legal decision-makers understood the societal implications of the technical decisions that were being made. This is one of the two ways in which technical and legal decision-making have become interpenetrated.
The literature on legal engagement with problems generated by the technical features of the Internet is vast. This article appears within the nascent literature on technical engagement with legal problems. It does so in an effort to contribute to the building of a shared epistemic and decision-making space that involves both the technical and the legal communities.

Kaleidoscope, Information Security and Warfare

Thursday, April 7, 2011

“Head's Up” Promoting Brain and Mind Health Using Twenty 3 foot tall fiberglass heads

“Heads Up” addresses the critical role played by psychological components (behavior and emotions) in overall health and wellness. The project is a response to a challenge by the US Centers for Disease and Prevention (CDC) to market health education in creative ways, and focuses on the disorders that contribute most to the looming health care crisis in this country. 

According to the CDC, chronic illnesses with strong behavioral and emotional components (i.e. heart disease, cancer, and diabetes) will account for two-thirds of all deaths this year, with millions more new cases diagnosed annually. In addition to the established role of diet and exercise, research clearly shows that psychological components, such as depression and stress, are important factors in the incidence and severity of chronic illnesses.

For example, we know that unchecked stress is implicated in the development of numerous diseases, and utilization of basic stress management techniques can have long-term beneficial health results. Research also tells us that individuals with chronic illness, not surprisingly, are more vulnerable to the development of depression.The appropriate diagnosis and treatment of depression in patients with illnesses such as heart disease and cancer can lead to improved medical status, reduced pain and disability, increased cooperation with treatment recommendations, and, in some cases, better survival outcomes. 

Thus, raising community awareness of the behavioral and emotional factors in health can help individuals choose healthier lifestyles, seek effective treatment and reduce inappropriate utilization of limited health resources.

Heads up Alabama is a public health education project of the Alabama Psychological Association Foundation and the Public Education committee of the Alabama Psychological Association, on display at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Lister Hill Library Alabama Museum of Health Sciences.

The program's goals are to:

1. Promote Psychology

2. Educate the public about psychology and health

3. Raise the profile of the Alabama Psychological Association

4. Energize aPA members and attract new members

5. Develop new funding sources for public education

6. Create connections with community leaders

Some of the 20 heads on display

Sue Ellen Brown
Mental Blocks

Lillie Minnifield & Esther Levy
Put Your Brain in Gear

Christian Hamrick
The Blossom of Being

Sandra Holm
Diary of a Housewife Going Mad

Kevin Whitman 

Ninth Book of the Al' Mansuri

By Rhazes. Expounded and commented upon by Gerard de Solo. Translated into Hebrew by the physician Tobiel ben Samuel de Leiria of Portugal.

Hebrew manuscript on vellum and paper. Portugal, 1388.

Ff. [203], 20 x 13 cm. 
Born in northeastern Persia, Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Zakariyya al-Razi (ca. 854-925 or 935), better known as Rhazes, was a leading figure in the field of medicine, ranking with Hippocrates and Galen as one of the founders of clinical medicine. A true follower of the Hippocratic school in describing disease and giving a prognosis, Rhazes studied medicine at Baghdad, where he later became hospital director, teacher, and court physician. The Al-Mansuri, one of Rhazes' many writings, consists of ten parts (books) and is an encyclopedic review of medicine. Focused on pathology, the Ninth Book was most influential in the West, where it was often translated and became the standard source for teaching therapeutics until long after the Renaissance. Commentaries on the Ninth Book by leading Western scholars like Gerard de Solo, the expounder and commentator on the Reynolds' translation, added to its popularity and use as a practical guide for medical students.

The translator of the Library's Hebrew version from Latin was the Jewish physician Tobiel ben Samuel de Leiria (Portugal), who lived in the last half of the 14th century. The title page, headings of chapters, and various other prominent places of the manuscript are illuminated with fancifully intertwined arabesques and forms in various colors. Later illuminations in an Italian hand are found throughout the piece as well. Until the Reynolds' copy was properly identified, only two other Hebrew translations were known to exist (see Steinschneider, Hebraeischen uebersetzungen des mittelalters, 1893, p. 704 & 496). The Reynolds' copy is the only known version to have a  title page.