Making sense of memory

first_imgIt happens to all of us: We think we learned of the Sept. 11 attacks from a radio report, when, in fact, the news came from a co-worker; we’re sure the robber running from the bank was tall, when actually he was short; we remember waking up at 7 yesterday, when 8 is closer to the truth. Such “false memories,” unavoidable in everyday life, can have disastrous consequences in courtrooms and other settings where exactitude matters.We create these false memories, according to Harvard psychologist Daniel Schacter, because our brains are designed to tell stories about the future. “Memory’s flexibility is useful to us, but it creates distortions and illusions,” says Schacter, the William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Psychology. “If memory is set up to use the past to imagine the future, its flexibility creates a vulnerability — a risk of confusing imagination with reality.”Schacter, author of two books on memory, was recently honored with the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award from the American Psychological Association (APA). In a review paper in a forthcoming edition of the journal American Psychologist, Schacter argues that the time machine of the brain is really a virtual reality simulator. Our memories are designed to flexibly imagine the future, Schacter says, but not to record the past verbatim — so they are inherently prone to predictable errors, which experiments reveal.Misremembering happens to us all the time, Schacter says, because our minds rely on patterns to reconstruct memories — and the patterns often lead us astray. Routine behaviors, called “schemas” by the psychologist Frederic Bartlett in his classic “Remembering” (1932), distort our memories by making us assume events happened the way they usually do. For example, we may “remember” that we biked to work today because we ordinarily do, when today we actually drove. Our memories are also biased by our emotions.“Positivity bias” is an example of such a memory distortion. Since we have a tendency to remember emotionally charged events, our memories are crowded more with emotional events than with ordinary things from our daily lives — and these tend to be biased toward the positive, while negative memories slip away. In a recent study with postdoctoral researcher Karl Szpunar, Schacter showed that when people are asked to imagine positive, negative, and neutral future scenarios, they forget the negative ones faster than the others. That study, subtitled “Remembering a Rosy Future,” was published in the journal Psychological Science in January.We typically underestimate the length of time that something will take, or the likelihood of future events, because our memories are often weak on the most common (hence most likely) events in our past.  We remember the emotional moments, the fun or scary or sexy ones, and forget the daily drives to work and lunch-table conversations. This leads us to predict the future inaccurately, because we misremember a richer past. Schacter thinks a malfunction in this system may be to blame for mood disorders like depression and anxiety — where simulations of the future are repetitively negative, and hammer home a distortedly negative worldview.  His lab plans to follow up on this line of research.Memory is inherently constructive, Schacter says: We remember by rebuilding the past from bits and pieces — and the same ability helps us imagine the future. The hippocampus, long considered the seat of memory in the brain, Schacter posits, is actually a “simulator” — the part of the brain responsible for creating movies in the mind, whether they are memories of yesterday, plans for tomorrow, or imaginings from a book or an article we read. In all cases, our minds draw from a store of memory details to build episodes.last_img read more

Old Enemy, New Strategy

first_img The Apurimac and Ene Rivers Valley, known by its Spanish acronym VRAE, is a remote region in the center of Peru characterized by rugged mountainous terrain and densely forested jungles. Home to nearly a third of the country’s coca crops, the VRAE region is also the focal point for a counterinsurgency war being fought by the Peruvian Armed Forces against the Shining Path. Once a politically motivated terrorist organization, the Shining Path has resurfaced as a narcoterrorist group splintered into two relatively independent factions. One group is in the Upper Huallaga Valley, and the other, larger group, is in the VRAE. Formed in the 1970s by philosophy professor Abimael Guzmán, the Shining Path was a Maoist guerrilla group bent on overthrowing the Peruvian government. For more than two decades, the terrorist group waged a bloody war against the government, carrying out bombings and assassinations that killed more than 30,000 Peruvians, according to official accounts. Whether it was in the countryside of central and southern Peru where the rebels were strongest, or in the capital of Lima itself, the Shining Path assassinated citizens, including government officials, business owners and even peasants, without impunity. With the insurgency in the Huallaga Valley reduced by security forces to a few remnants, the military is concentrating on the VRAE region by deploying close to 5,000 military personnel. In 2008, the Armed Forces established the VRAE Special Command, made up of members of the Peruvian Army, Marine Corps and Air Force. This new command gave the Armed Forces a heavy presence in the region in addition to increased resources and logistics. Since that time, Peruvian forces have had success in capturing numerous terrorist members, recovering ungoverned areas that were under Shining Path influence, destroying several cocaine labs, and rescuing women and children who were being used as foot soldiers. These results have not come without losses, however, with about 60 police and Military officers killed in the past three years, including five Soldiers who died in an ambush on the eve of President Ollanta Humala’s election and two more who were killed just days before his inauguration in July 2011. In decline The terrorist group began its decline in 1992, when Guzmán and other political leaders were captured and imprisoned by security forces. By 2002, analysts estimated that the group had no more than 200 members, down from an estimated 5,000 at the height of its insurgency. With no ideological leadership, the group became more militant and turned to drug trafficking, resembling the Colombian guerrilla organization, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime 2010 report, Peru has surpassed neighboring Colombia in becoming the world’s top producer of coca leaves, the raw material for cocaine production. The Peruvian government believes that the Shining Path receives about $15 million annually from drug profits to stay armed and maintain its clandestine network. “They lost their way, and now they’re simply an organization which survives [on drug trafficking], fighting with the police and the military, but with no chance of winning or gaining any sort of political control,” said General Carlos Morán, the former head of the counterdrugs directorate of the Peruvian National Police. Eliminating the enemy Sir, did you know that the first image is from a Colombian command, not a Peruvian command! A new strategy Recognizing the need for a new counterinsurgency strategy, the Peruvian Military has introduced two more battalions to reinforce the two already in place, with one battalion designed to focus specifically on counterintelligence. “We’re paying much more attention to the problem of drug trafficking. We’re conducting operations against drug trafficking in integrated operations with the police where this had not normally been done in the past,” said Lieutenant General Leonel Cabrera Pino, former VRAE commander and current commander of the Central Region, including Lima. “We can win again. We won the war against Shining Path in the 1980s and 1990s, and we’re going to win it again.” Upon his inauguration, President Humala, a former Army lieutenant colonel who was deployed in the Upper Huallaga Valley, instructed Minister of Defense Daniel Mora Zevallos to provide the VRAE Command with all the necessary resources to defeat the Shining Path once and for all. Some of those resources are already being implemented with the Army’s use of unmanned aerial vehicles, which transmit the locations of Shining Path members in real time to the nearest patrol unit. “I believe that we have to press a bit harder in the fight, because if we give them breathing room, they’ll start to expand again,” added Lt. Gen. Cabrera Pino. Fostering security solutions Oscar Picón Alcalde/Center For Hemispheric Defense Studies Alumni Association Peruvian security forces battle crime, terrorism and drug trafficking in the most challenging of environments, such as the Apurímac and Ene Rivers Valley. To explore these intense regional issues in a multinational form, the Peruvian Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies Alumni Association hosted the Second Hemispheric Security and Defense Conference in Lima on November 7-8, 2011. American, British, Colombian, Israeli, Mexican and Peruvian experts discussed narcotrafficking trends, anti-terrorism strategies, organized crime issues and security-related technology, among other topics. Participants included members of the Peruvian Armed Forces, Peruvian National Police, government ministries, military schools and others linked to the defense sector. The conference helped generate alternative solutions to security and defense issues. More than 250 military and civilian participants showed that an open forum, where topics are presented and debated, worked well for the group, and the format will be proposed to become standard. By Dialogo January 01, 2012last_img read more

Brazil: Ports equipped with X-ray vision

first_imgBy Dialogo September 26, 2013 The arrival of the mega scanners coincides with the discovery of new maritime routes being used by drug traffickers. Nigeria is among the favored destinations. In March, a report by the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) revealed that the new channels being used to transport drugs are connecting the ports of Brazil with African countries. “The drug traffickers [who used to use their own boats] seem to have changed their tactics, using containers to smuggle cocaine into Western Africa,” said the report by the INCB, an independent agency that monitors whether countries are respecting international drug control treaties. Half of the cocaine seized on the coast of West Africa in 2011 was shipped from Brazil, according to the World Drug Report 2013 of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The drugs are alleged to have reached the Brazilian ports by land from Bolivia (54%), Peru (38%) and Colombia (7%). This data also further demonstrates that Africa has strengthened its position as an alternative to the more heavily policed routes to Europe, according to the INCB. “Telephone wiretaps that resulted in the arrest of Romanians, Serbians, Montenegrins, Filipinos and South Americans in 2012 have proven the existence of a new route between Brazil and Africa,” said Paranaguá Federal Police (PF) Chief Sérgio Luís Stinglin de Oliveira. “At a minimum, the mega scanners will inhibit or impede the actions of these gangs.” In addition to Pecém, the new equipment is being used at the Port of Santos, which is the largest in South America, as well as at least five of the other 21 container terminals in Brazil. The use of this technology meets Federal Revenue Service (RF) Ordinance 3,518, which requires the deployment of non-invasive inspection equipment at all customs inspection areas by the end of 2013. The measure also meets the rule for exporting to the United States, which is the second-largest buyer of Brazilian products. “After the attacks of September 11, 2001, the [U.S.] increased the restrictions on cargo,” said José Carlos de Araújo, the RF’s general coordinator of customs administration. Araújo explained that the U.S. Congress approved a requirement in 2006 that all maritime containers undergo non-invasive inspection at the source. The requirement came into effect in July 2012, but the Brazilian government postponed implementation of the measure until January 2014. “In addition to maintaining exports, the scanner allows us to more easily identify drugs hidden in cargo headed to any destination,” Araújo said. Santos: 180 kilograms of cocaine hidden in coffee On Sept. 19, 19 days after the high-penetration scanners entered into operation at the Port of Santos, about 180 kilograms of cocaine were found in a container filled with bags of coffee bound for Naples, Italy. “Apparently, the drug traffickers used the ‘rip-on/rip-off’ technique, through which the drugs are introduced without the knowledge of the cargo’s owner,” the Federal Revenue Service said in a press release. In Santos, the Customs Office has seized about four tons of cocaine worth more than R$107 million (US$48.6 million) since 2001. From January to September, authorities seized nearly 700 kilograms of cocaine, up from 366 kilograms during the same period last year. At the Port of Suape in the state of Pernambuco, sugar shipments headed to Africa are the top export, which alert authorities. With daily traffic of 1,000 containers, Suape was the first terminal to install the mega scanner, in early July. “Our biggest bust came in 2011, when we found 530 kilograms of cocaine hidden in sacks of plaster powder headed to Nigeria,” said Carlos Eduardo da Costa Oliveira, chief inspector of the Customs Office at the Port of Suape. “Now, the criminals are going to have a much harder time because there are scanners wherever cargo is shipped.” New trafficking routes PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil – Brazil’s ports are becoming electronic fortresses designed to prevent the trafficking of weapons and drugs, as well as other illegal merchandise. Marine cargo terminals up and down Brazil’s coast are receiving mega scanners capable of penetrating up to 30 centimeters of steel. The authorities hope the technology will help curb the drug trade, which in recent years has opened a new maritime route between Brazil and Africa. “It used to take us six hours to release a container. With the mega scanner, we need only 10 seconds,” said Carlos Wilson Azevedo Albuquerque, the chief inspector at the Customs Office in the Port of Pecém in the state of Ceará. The equipment scans all of the 10,000 containers that pass through the port monthly, Albuquerque said. “Approximately 40% of the Brazilian fruits sent to Europe and the United States are shipped from Pecém. There’s no way to open and inspect every single case,” he added. “The scanner makes a big difference.” Each mega scanner costs about US$3 million and processes up to 120 containers an hour. last_img read more

Maritime Spaces Sealed Off to Narcotrafficking

first_imgBy Geraldine Cook/Diálogo February 09, 2018 The Colombian National Navy cracks down hard on international criminal organizations attempting to transport drugs from Colombia’s Caribbean shores to the United States via Panama. This was evident in Operation Amphitrite (Anfitrite), the first binational operation between the Colombian Navy and the Panamanian Air and Naval Service (SENAN, in Spanish). During Amphitrite, conducted in October 2017, radars detected maritime drug shipments in go-fast boats..Admiral Ernesto Durán González, commander of the Colombian National Navy, spoke with Diálogo in Bogotá, Colombia, about Operation Amphitrite, its results, and the importance of international cooperation to counter threats to regional security.Diálogo: What is the objective of Operation Amphitrite?Admiral Ernesto Durán González, commander of the Colombian National Navy: To combat transnational threats by reducing illegal activities carried out through the irregular use of the sea. This is achieved through combined maritime interdiction operations that impact narcotrafficking and interrupt the illegal flow of narcotics between South America and North America through maritime spaces.Diálogo: What are the main elements of this operation?Adm. Durán: The effective exchange of intelligence information in real time as well as interoperability between units of the Colombian Navy and the Panamanian Air and Naval Service [SENAN in Spanish].Diálogo: One of the main elements of the operation is real-time exchange of information and intelligence. What advantages does such an exchange offer to combat transnational criminal organizations?Adm. Durán: This intelligence exchange ensures the effectiveness of our operations to fight transnational criminal organizations, denying them the use of maritime spaces for their illegal activities.Diálogo: The operation is based on the U.S. Coast Guard’s Shiprider model. What were the benefits of that initiative for the maritime operation between Colombia and Panama?Adm. Durán: Although it’s based on that model, over the course of Operation Amphitrite—and thanks to both nations’ preplanning—a visiting group of inspectors from SENAN, who acted as first responders in Panama’s judicial process, embarked on the OPV [Offshore Patrol Vessel] ARC Victoria in international waters, which allowed us to expedite the judicial process for the persons arrested for narcotrafficking, making the operation more effective.Diálogo: The experience of Joint Interagency Task Force South for naval air patrols, management of communications and control of territorial jurisdictions also served as a model for Operation Amphitrite. What were the lessons learned from these maritime interdiction operations?Adm. Durán: To achieve the level of experience of men and women committed to interdiction work is not easy, as they confront different situations in these kinds of operations. The weather is one of those, as is drug traffickers’ response and the constant innovations of transnational criminal organizations, which forces us to adapt interdiction strategies. Therefore, each experience leaves us with lessons that need to be applied to subsequent exercises.Diálogo: Why are combined operations between Colombia and Panama important?Adm. Durán: These types of operations offer many advantages, but suffice it to say that their importance lies in effective cooperation and expeditious coordination that enable us to control maritime spaces of Colombia and other Central American nations.Diálogo: What were the results of joint operations between Colombia and Panama against narcotrafficking organizations?Adm. Durán: The intelligence exchange between Colombia and Panama allowed us to achieve huge results in the fight against narcotrafficking, particularly over the course of Operation Amphitrite, in which we managed to seize 2,400 kilograms of cocaine hydrochloride, 480 kilograms of marijuana, and detain 20 drug traffickers. That takes a heavy toll on the finances of these criminal organizations, while at the same time interrupts trafficking of narcotics to other countries of the region.Diálogo: Why is interoperability between the Colombian Navy and SENAN important?Adm. Durán: It’s primarily meant to interrupt the flow of illegal narcotics currently generated between South America and North America through maritime spaces, whenever criminal organizations use the Colombia-Panama border to stockpile and traffic drugs to Central America and North America.Diálogo: Could other partner nations of the region duplicate the model for Operation Amphitrite?Adm. Durán: That topic should be discussed. But it would be very interesting to put this model into practice with other nations of South America and Central America that are impacted by narcotrafficking, to find a more effective way of controlling the sea and denying its use to transnational criminal organizations, thereby decreasing their criminal activities.Diálogo: In addition to the Colombian Navy’s efforts to counter narcotrafficking, what other security threats exist in Colombia and what is the Navy’s role to counter them?Adm. Durán: Various threats exist in Colombia, narcotrafficking being among the greatest concerns. But there is also smuggling, illegal mining, and various crimes at sea. The Colombian Navy is responsible for safeguarding the nation’s maritime and river spaces, and constantly fights these crimes, protecting national sovereignty and national interests.Diálogo: What collaboration programs does the Colombian Navy have with other Latin American and Caribbean navies?Adm. Durán: Currently, the Colombian Navy has very good relations with Central American and Caribbean navies and coast guards, conducting annual operational exercises that strengthen the bonds of friendship and cooperation. Similarly, through our triangular cooperation, various academic opportunities are offered, which Central American countries use most, including courses in naval aviation, naval infantry, and coast guard intelligence. These courses are provided at our training schools.Diálogo: What kind of joint efforts do the Colombian Navy and the U.S. Navy conduct?Adm. Durán: We have an excellent relationship of mutual cooperation, through which we conduct different operations against narcotrafficking and related crimes, based on the maritime interdiction agreement both countries signed in 1997. We also have a longstanding tradition of combined training exercises—particularly PANAMAX, which we’ve attended in all its versions, and UNITAS, for which we, together with the U.S., are the only countries with uninterrupted participation.Diálogo: What were the net results of the Navy’s operations in 2017, and what is your forecast for 2018?Adm. Durán: In 2017, we dealt heavy blows to narcotrafficking and related crimes with the seizure of 175 tons of cocaine hydrochloride, which represents an economic impact of nearly $8.8 million. We prevented transnational criminal organizations from receiving approximately $6 billion from the sale of that narcotic, which is the amount the drugs would be worth in the United States. We also seized and destroyed all chemical supplies and production facilities needed to produce narcotics, and drug traffickers were also captured. It should be noted that in 2017, we seized the first submersible built entirely from naval steel and equipped with electric propulsion.Diálogo: What message do you have for navies of other countries in the region?Adm. Durán: The Colombian Navy makes its capabilities and level of involvement in this globalized world available to our partner nations to support the various international operations and humanitarian aid operations that contribute to the development of the region.last_img read more

Board room body language

first_img 6SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr Everyone—including your board members—has ways of expressing themselves without saying a word.Even without realizing it, people naturally reveal concealed thoughts or emotions with gestures, facial expressions, tone and inflection of voice, posture, and eye movement and contact. In other words, all of us unintentionally demonstrate what we are thinking and feeling through our body language.Knowing this, it stands to reason that credit union leaders could potentially salvage tough situations in the board room by reading other leaders’ body language and appropriately responding to it.Before I suggest things to look for among those in attendance at your next board meeting, it’s important to note that interpreting body language is not mind reading. It is simply an observation of another person’s behavior, and it may not always be what it seems.Here are a couple of warning signs to watch for. continue reading »last_img read more

Why workplace leadership is about to get its first major makeover in 100 years

first_imgOur common and traditional approach to leadership hasn’t significantly evolved since the dawn of the industrial age.  When it comes to managing people in a work environment, we’ve always treated workers like any other input: squeeze as much as much out of them as possible and pay them as little as possible.This idea was introduced nearly a century ago when the expansion of the US economy largely was based on industrial machinery.  Workers were required to perform relatively unchallenging tasks and were easily replaceable.  Companies motivated workers primarily with money, paying by the piece to reward those who produced the most widgets.But as we fast forward to today’s business world shaped by rapidly evolving technology and the far greater importance of institutional knowledge, creative thinking and sophisticated collaboration, the value of each employee has grown exponentially more important.  Companies are focusing on innovation and unique differentiation – and almost exclusively are looking at people, not machines, to provide it.As workers have become increasingly more critical to the overall success of their organizations, what they need and expect in exchange for their work also has profoundly changed.  Money no longer inspires performance as it once did.  Being paid equitably will always be important as a driver of job engagement and productivity, of course, but people across the globe now have aspirations in their jobs that were virtually unimaginable in an earlier age. continue reading » 13SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

CUNA-backed bills on House floor, cannabis, CECL hearings this week

first_img continue reading » ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr The House is expected to consider two bills supported by CUNA this week, and CUNA will also engage on a hearing on cannabis business and the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB). FASB is the entity issuing the current expected credit loss (CECL) standard.The House will consider the Expanding Opportunities for Minority Depository Institutions (MDI) Act (H.R. 5315) and the Cybersecurity and Financial System Resilience Act of 2019 (H.R. 4458).H.R. 5315 would codify the Treasury Department’s mentor protégé program to encourage collaboration between Minority Depository Institutions and large financial institutions. This program represents a valuable resource for MDI credit unions because it offers an opportunity to bolster their sustainability.It passed the House Financial Services Committee in December with a 57-0 vote.last_img read more

5 ways to protect credit union employees through a pandemic

first_img continue reading » We continue to hear from credit union leaders that a chief concern among their members is the health and well-being of the credit union people who serve them. Several cooperatives have reported a large number of calls from members asking how employees are being accommodated and protected during the COVID-19 crisis. This is just one of several ways our industry’s “We’re in this together” spirit has manifest over the last few weeks; it’s been incredibly uplifting to experience in the face of so much turmoil.So, what can be done to ensure credit union employees are well taken care of as the U.S. continues to battle the spread of the novel coronavirus? Here are some of the things working well for our credit union partners across the country:Limiting or Rotating Employees On-Site: There are many operational tasks credit union employees must complete in a given day that fly in the face of social distancing. As you consider necessary changes to these tasks, be mindful of regulatory and bylaw restrictions. However, don’t be afraid to make prudent adjustments in the name of protecting your employees and staff. If you must make exceptions to the rules be diligent about documenting the reasoning behind the exception. Include details around who was a part of making that decision, the action that was taken and the outcomes if any. All that documentation will come in handy when your credit union inevitably does its business continuity planning debrief.Following CDC Guidelines: The Centers for Disease Control has provided several best practices for preventing the spread of COVID-19. Ensure employees are well-trained and supported in the practice of these procedures, which include washing their hands often, especially when handling money and other items members may bring into the cooperative; not touching their eyes, nose and mouth; washing their hands often; avoiding close contact with people who are sick; and, of course, staying home if they are sick. ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

Lazards search sets West End buzzing

first_imgWould you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletters To access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week.last_img

Tottenham sign PSV Eindhoven winger Steven Bergwijn

first_imgRead Also: Tottenham agree £25.6m deal for Eriksen’s replacementLast season’s beaten Champions League finalists have also added Benfica midfielder Gedson Fernandes on loan, while Christian Eriksen has departed for Inter Milan.Spurs are sixth in the Premier League table, six points behind fourth-placed capital rivals Chelsea. FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail分享 Loading… “We are delighted to announce the signing of Steven Bergwijn from Eredivisie side PSV Eindhoven,” the Premier League club said in a statement.“Steven has signed a contract with the club that will run until 2025 and will wear the number 23 shirt.”With Harry Kane injured, Spurs manager Jose Mourinho was keen to bolster his attack during the January transfer window.Bergwijn becomes Tottenham’s second permanent signing of the window after the north London side converted Giovani Lo Celso’s loan move into a full-time deal.center_img Tottenham announced the signing of Dutch international Steven Bergwijn from PSV Eindhoven for an undisclosed fee on Wednesday.Advertisement Promoted ContentLorem ipsum dolor sit amet Lorem ipsum dolor sit ametLorem ipsum dolor sit amet Lorem ipsum dolor sit ametLorem ipsum dolor sit amet Lorem ipsum dolor sit ametLorem ipsum dolor sit amet Lorem ipsum dolor sit ametLorem ipsum dolor sit amet Lorem ipsum dolor sit ametLorem ipsum dolor sit amet Lorem ipsum dolor sit ametLorem ipsum dolor sit amet Lorem ipsum dolor sit ametLorem ipsum dolor sit amet Lorem ipsum dolor sit ametLorem ipsum dolor sit amet Lorem ipsum dolor sit ametLorem ipsum dolor sit amet Lorem ipsum dolor sit ametLorem ipsum dolor sit amet Lorem ipsum dolor sit ametLorem ipsum dolor sit amet Lorem ipsum dolor sit ametlast_img read more