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November 25, 2015

10 Rude Behavior Spreads Like a Disease

Filed under: archivo personal,economía,future,interesting news — fores @ 9:27 pm

Rude Behavior Spreads Like a Disease

Scientists study the contagion of obnoxiousness

By Cindi May | November 24, 2015
woman on phone during a movie

People exposed to rude behavior tend to have concepts associated with rudeness activated in their minds, and consequently may interpret ambiguous but benign behaviors as rude. More significantly, they themselves are more likely to behave rudely toward others, and to evoke hostility, negative affect, and even revenge from others.
Credit: Rich Legg ©iStock

Flu season is nearly upon us, and in an effort to limit contagion and spare ourselves misery, many of us will get vaccinated. The work of Jonas Salk and Thomas Francis has helped restrict the spread of the nasty bug for generations, and the influenza vaccine is credited with saving tens of thousands of lives. But before the vaccine could be developed, scientists first had to identify the cause of influenza — and, importantly, recognize that it was contagious.

New research by Trevor Foulk, Andrew Woolum, and Amir Erez at the University of Florida takes that same first step in identifying a different kind of contagious menace: rudeness. In a series of studies, Foulk and colleagues demonstrate that being the target of rude behavior, or even simply witnessing rude behavior, induces rudeness. People exposed to rude behavior tend to have concepts associated with rudeness activated in their minds, and consequently may interpret ambiguous but benign behaviors as rude. More significantly, they themselves are more likely to behave rudely toward others, and to evoke hostility, negative affect, and even revenge from others.

The finding that negative behavior can beget negative behavior is not exactly new, as researchers demonstrated decades ago that individuals learn vicariously and will repeat destructive actions.  In the now infamous Bobo doll experiment, for example, children who watched an adult strike a Bobo doll with a mallet or yell at it were themselves abusive toward the doll.  Similarly, supervisors who believe they are mistreated by managers tend to pass on this mistreatment to their employees.

Previous work on the negative contagion effect, however, has focused primarily on high-intensity behaviors like hitting or abusive supervision that are (thankfully) relatively infrequent in everyday life.  In addition, in most previous studies the destructive behavior was modeled by someone with a higher status than the observer. These extreme negative behaviors may thus get repeated because (a) they are quite salient and (b) the observer is consciously and intentionally trying to emulate the behavior of someone with an elevated social status.

Foulk and colleagues wondered about low-intensity negative behaviors, the kind you are likely to encounter in your everyday interactions with coworkers, clients, customers, and peers. We spend far more of our time with coworkers and clients than we do with supervisors, and so their actions, if contagious, are likely to have a much broader effect on us. Evidence for negative contagion among peers and customers might also suggest that there is more than one mode of infection. We are far less likely to intentionally base our behavior on our customers than we are on our bosses, and thus any behavioral contagion observed in these settings is likely driven by unconscious, unintentional processes rather than by purposeful imitation. Perhaps we can “catch” behaviors without even trying.

Foulk’s team first explored whether low-intensity behaviors like rudeness are contagious. In one study, they examined whether observing rude behavior activates concepts related to rudeness. Participants first completed a brief 15 minute survey, and when they were finished, a confederate playing the part of a late participant arrived at the study and asked to be included in the study. In the control condition, the experimenter politely told the late participant that the experiment had already begun and offered to schedule her for another session. In the negative condition, the experimenter rudely berated the late participant and told her to leave. All participants then completed a lexical decision task (LDT) in which they decided as quickly as possible whether strings of letters (e.g., CHIKHEN) formed a word.  Critically, some of the LDT words were friendly (e.g., helpful), some were aggressive (e.g., savage), and some were rude (e.g., tactless). Response times to the friendly and aggressive items were similar across conditions, but response times to the rude items were significantly faster for participants in the negative condition relative to the control condition.  People who watched a rude interaction had concepts about rudeness active in their mind, and thus were faster to respond to those concepts in the LDT. These findings suggest that exposure to rudeness seems to sensitize us to rude concepts in a way that is not intentional or purposeful, but instead happens automatically.

To examine whether this sensitivity impacts social behavior, Foulk’s team conducted another study in which participants were asked to play the part of an employee at a local bookstore.  Participants first observed a video showing either a polite or a rude interaction among coworkers.  They were then asked to respond to an email from a customer.  The email was either neutral (e.g., “I am writing to check on an order I placed a few weeks ago.”), highly aggressive (e.g., “I guess you or one of your incompetent staff must have lost my order.”), or moderately rude (I’m really surprised by this as EVERYBODY said you guys give really good customer service???).

Foulk and colleagues again found that prior exposure to rude behavior creates a specific sensitivity to rudeness. Notably, the type of video participants observed did not affect their responses to the neutral or aggressive emails; instead, the nature of those emails drove the response.  That is, all participants were more likely to send a hostile response to the aggressive email than to neutral email, regardless of whether they had previously observed a polite or rude employee interaction.  However, the type of video participants observed early in the study did affect their interpretation of and response to the rude email.  Those who had seen the polite video adopted a benign interpretation of the moderately rude email and delivered a neutral response, while those who had seen the rude video adopted a malevolent interpretation and delivered a hostile response.  Thus, observing rude behaviors, even those committed by coworkers or peers, resulted in greater sensitivity and heightened response to rudeness.

Exposure to rude behavior clearly affects our mindset and the way we respond to rudeness, but Foulk’s final study revealed an even more unpleasant side effect of the contagion: watching rude behaviors leads us to be rude to others, and those others may then be rude (or worse) to us.

Participants in the study engaged in a series of negotiation exercises with other participants. The key question centered on the behavior of participants who encountered a rude partner. How did they behave in a subsequent negotiation?  How did their next negotiation partners feel about them and treat them?

As you might guess, participants who negotiated with a rude partner were in turn perceived as rude in their subsequent interaction with a new partner.  These “carriers” evoked feelings of anger and hostility in their new partners, and even incited vindictive behaviors. After the negotiation between the carrier and the new partner was complete, the new partner was privately given the opportunity to decide how to distribute additional resources with the carrier.  The new partner could make a prosocial choice and split the resources evenly, could make an individualistic choice and take more of the resources for herself (leaving some for the carrier), or could make a hostile choice by destroying all resources, thus ensuring that the carrier received nothing (but also losing out on any resources herself).  The hostile option was selected significantly more often after interactions with a carrier, suggesting that people were willing to suffer personally in order to exact revenge on the carrier.  Moreover, these effects of negative contagion were evident in negotiations that took place up to a week after the initial exposure, suggesting a fairly long infectious period for negative behaviors.

Collectively, the data from Foulk and colleagues highlight the dangers of low-intensity negative behaviors, even those that are merely witnessed rather than personally experienced. With negative behaviors, the witness becomes the perpetrator, just as the person who touches a doorknob recently handled by a flu sufferer can themselves get sick and infect others. No conscious intent in necessary, and the contagion may last for days. Unfortunately, unlike the flu, there currently is no known inoculation for this contagion. Where is Jonas Salk when you need him?


Cindi May is a Professor of Psychology at the College of Charleston. She explores mechanisms for optimizing cognitive function in college students, older adults, and individuals with intellectual disabilities. She is also the project director for a TPSID grant from the Department of Education, which promotes the inclusion of students with intellectual disabilities in postsecondary education.

Are you a scientist who specializes in neuroscience, cognitive science, or psychology? And have you read a recent peer-reviewed paper that you would like to write about? Please send suggestions to Mind Matters editor Gareth Cook. Gareth, a Pulitzer prize-winning journalist, is the series editor of Best American Infographics and can be reached at garethideas AT or Twitter @garethideas.

November 13, 2015

10 Joseph Stiglitz Nobel Prize-winning economist

Filed under: economía,future,Holístico — fores @ 7:33 am
November 12, 2015
Stiglitz: Sanders is Right - Everybody Has the Right to Healthcare, Sick Days and Family Leave


Joseph StiglitzNobel Prize-winning economist, Columbia University professor and chief economist for the Roosevelt Institute. His new book is called Rewriting the Rules of the American Economy: An Agenda for Growth and Shared Prosperity.

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As Congress debates the Trans-Pacific Partnership, we speak to Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz about the trade deal. "The irony is that the president came out and said, 'This is about who makes the trade rules—China or the United States?'" Stiglitz said. "But I think the big issue is, this is about who makes the rules of trade—the American people, our democratic process, or the corporations? And who they’re made for, which is, for the corporations or for all of us?"


This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: I mean, what’s very interesting is you have Bernie Sanders really stressing inequality. This pushes Hillary Clinton to do this, because he has gained so much momentum and drawn tens of thousands of peoples to his rally. On the Republican side, you have, in some areas, Donald Trump sounding more liberal than Hillary Clinton—immediately came out against these trade deals.

JOSEPH STIGLITZ: Yeah, so, in a sense, what you see both in the Republican and Democratic Party is a sense that something is wrong. You know, America was the first middle-class society. We’re about to become the first society that ceases to be a middle-class society. The basic requirements of being a member of the middle class—the ability to send your kids to school, a secure retirement—all those things are being put in jeopardy. And one of the things we talk about in Rewriting the Rules is how we can get those back. But what you’re seeing on both sides is a sense of anger. Now, I think that both of the Democratic candidates have put forward credible ways of dealing with it. And there’s going to be a long discussion. The problem is that on the Republican side there’s anger, but it’s basically inchoate. You know, it’s basically tax reforms that actually rewrite the rules in the wrong way, making things even more unequal than we have and the numbers not adding up.

AMY GOODMAN: In Part 1 of our conversation, we talked about the TPP, the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal that President Obama has really championed. What would—what grade, as a college professor, would you give President Obama, who actually went to Columbia University, where you’re a professor, when it comes to these issues? You’ve called the trade deal a "charade."

JOSEPH STIGLITZ: Well, unfortunately, you know, he’s done some things that—he did not support some of the basic reforms in the financial sector that I think were needed. TPP, I think, is a very big mistake. On the other—

AMY GOODMAN: It means corporations control trade, as opposed to democratic societies and their governments?

JOSEPH STIGLITZ: Exactly, and particularly as we move away from lowering tariffs, which is what the old trade deals—these are about regulations. And yes, regulations maybe have—so many regulations have to be harmonized, they have to be changed. But you can’t leave that up to corporations. And with a changing world, you can’t lock in the current regulatory structure, which is what TPP attempts to do. So—

AMY GOODMAN: For people who don’t understand TPP, explain who makes the decisions around these global trade rules. This will control what? Forty percent of the global economy?

JOSEPH STIGLITZ: Yeah. And the irony is that the president came out and said, "This is about who makes the trade rules—China or the United States?" But I think the big issue is, this is about who makes the rules of trade—the American people, our democratic process, or the corporations? And who they’re made for, which is, for the corporations or for all of us?

AMY GOODMAN: You don’t think President Obama understands that?


AMY GOODMAN: You don’t think he understands it, or he—

JOSEPH STIGLITZ: I think he wants to chalk up some kind of an achievement, i.e. he can’t pass anything through Congress because the Republicans won’t allow him, so he has to get something that the Republicans want. And they want a trade agreement. The provisions about—in the TPP about investment, about—are the kinds of provisions that were number one in the agenda of the Business Roundtable. And so—

AMY GOODMAN: And explain what the Business Roundtable is.

JOSEPH STIGLITZ: This is the group of the big—America’s biggest corporations.

AMY GOODMAN: It’s not the mom-and-pop stores.

JOSEPH STIGLITZ: It’s not the mom-and-pop stores. So this is about big business being able to protect themselves. But let me make it clear: It’s not about property rights, as we usually understand it. You know, what the USTR says, they say, "Well, we’re dealing with countries where we can’t trust the way the legal system works, so we have to put these protections in, because these countries just can’t be trusted." We’re insisting on the same kind of provision in our trade agreements with Europe, with Germany. And the Germans are saying, you know, "We have just as good a legal system as yours, and why are you trying to go beyond our legal system?" I mean, for instance, there, they care about GMO. You know, they care a lot about various kinds of—

AMY GOODMAN: Right, genetically modified organisms.

JOSEPH STIGLITZ: And they say, you know, "We want at least the consumers be informed. They can make a choice." And if this gets passed, if you pass the regulation that says you have to display, and Americans—and people say, "I’m not going to buy a product that’s GMO," they can be sued, because of—

AMY GOODMAN: If you put the label on, just informing people that there may be GMOs in this product, you can be sued.

JOSEPH STIGLITZ: You could be sued. Now, we don’t know—let me make it clear: We don’t know all the provisions. They kept it secret. But you have to say—

AMY GOODMAN: And how do they get away with keeping it secret?

JOSEPH STIGLITZ: Well, that is the amazing thing. You know, this was—their argument again is they have—you know, these are negotiations, very complex, and if everything were open, everybody would be—you know, it would be a mess. But they haven’t really kept it secret, because they’ve talked to the corporations. The corporations have been there at the table saying, "Well, it’s really important for us to have this provision. It’s really important for us to have that provision." But ordinary citizens have not been at the table. You know, the only way that we know what’s going on is leaked documents. And some of the links come from other countries, where there’s a stronger democratic commitment to more transparency. But our government has been keeping it much more secret.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re talking to Joe Stiglitz, the Nobel Prize-winning economist, who’s written the new book, Rewriting the Rules of the American Economy. What would rejuvenate worker power, labor power, union power in this country?

JOSEPH STIGLITZ: Well, all these things are about rewriting the rules. I mean, our basic idea is that over the past 35 years we’ve rewritten the rules in ways that have weakened labor power, increased the financial sector power. There’s been a rebalancing of the power in the wrong way. And TPP—

AMY GOODMAN: What happened 35 years ago? Reagan?

JOSEPH STIGLITZ: President Reagan, but he was part of a zeitgeist, because you see it in Europe going on at the same time. And let me just say, TPP is another example of rewriting the rules in the wrong way. It’s a continuation of that trend that began back in around 1980 that has increased the imbalance and made things more difficult. So what we need to do now is to rewrite the rules once again, but this time, you know, we’re in the 21st century: It’s not going back exactly to where we were before 1980; it has to be modernized. But realize that we rewrote the rules in ways that destroyed the kind of balance of power that we had.

AMY GOODMAN: So if you were in charge of writing a Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact that helped people, the vast majority of people, what would be the rules of this TPP?

JOSEPH STIGLITZ: Well, one thing that we haven’t talked about is—one of the most controversial aspects is access to generic medicines. You know, ordinary people need to be able to get medicines at a low price. We struck a balance in the United States in the Hatch-Waxman Act, where we said, "OK, Big Pharma has to be able to get some returns for their investments and research." But—mostly research really goes on in the universities, let’s be clear, and at NIH government-sponsored research labs. But the generic medicines, which are now more than 80 percent of all drugs, bring the prices down. That’s the competition that makes the market work. Well, we struck that balance, but in this trade agreement they’re trying to restrike the balance in favor of Big Pharma. You know, this is—we were talking about President Obama’s legacy. One of his big legacy is Obamacare, and that’s supposed to bring access to medicine. But when you—TPP will go in exactly the wrong way, because it will restrict access to medicine for many countries around the world. So, that’s one thing.

But take the investment agreement. I would do two things. First, it seems to me that the conditions under which you can sue are wrong. If a country passes a regulation, whether it’s for health, safety, the environment or managing the economy, you shouldn’t be able to sue. These are called regulatory takings. And repeatedly our courts have said it’s the basic right of a country to design rules to protect their citizens, protect their economy, protect their environment. So the conditions under which you can sue are wrong. Who can bring a suit is wrong. It should be government to government, not corporations suing a government.

And thirdly, the judicial process by which it’s done, it shouldn’t be in private courts. The most important—one of the most important public functions is dispute resolution. When we created the WTO, we created an international panel for dispute resolution. We could do the same thing for investment agreements. But instead, they’ve decided to go to very expensive private arbitration, rife with conflicts of interests, you know, so expensive that—I referred earlier to the Uruguay, where Philip Morris is suing.

AMY GOODMAN: Altria, is it called?

JOSEPH STIGLITZ: Altria, you know, the successor to Philip Morris. It’s so expensive that Uruguay can’t pay for its own defense. And Mayor Bloomberg, who is so concerned about smoking, is paying—is contributing to the support of Uruguay to defend itself against Altria, which is just passing regulations to try to protect people’s health.

AMY GOODMAN: Nobel Prize-winning economist Joe Stiglitz, author of Rewriting the Rules of the American Economy. We’ll be back with him in a moment.

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November 5, 2015

10 Alicia en el país de las flores

Filed under: interesting news — fores @ 6:07 am


Alicia en el país de las flores

El diseñador valenciano Valero Doval interpreta la obra de Lewis Carroll con un montaje floral - El objetivo de la iniciativa es «rendir homenaje a las personas reales» y podrá visitarse hasta el próximo 15 de noviembre en un local de la calle Caballeros

05.11.2015 | 04:15

Alicia en el país de las flores

Alicia en el país de las flores

B. J. | VALENCIA Alicia en el país de las floreadas maravillas. Este podría ser el título del Flower Project, una puesta en escena del diseñador valenciano Valero Doval que desde ayer y hasta el próximo día 15 acoge un local, ubicado en el número 38 de la calle Caballeros de Valencia.

Se trata de una iniciativa de Nationale-Nederlanden en la que se ha implicado a cinco artistas españoles de diferentes disciplinas, cuya misión es diseñar y producir cinco instalaciones artísticas en Madrid, Valencia, Barcelona, Bilbao y Sevilla. El único material para las esculturas y paisajes son las flores, que se regalarán a los visitantes de estas «exposiciones».

El objetivo de la iniciativa es «convertir locales con usos variados en espacios artísticos como homenaje a las personas reales, en las que durante más de diez días se podrá disfrutar de sugerentes creaciones con flores», explican los impulsores de la iniciativa. Cada artista realizará su obra siguiendo diferentes estilos, técnicas y materiales, pero utilizando como hilo conductor la flor, «un símbolo natural de agradecimiento que a toda persona le gusta regalar y recibir y que mejor representa a las personas reales». «Serán espacios en los que no se venderá nada. Al contrario, ya que además de ser un homenaje a las personas reales, se regalarán flores. Cualquier persona podrá recorrerlos, a la vez que se sumerge en un universo fantástico donde las flores cobrarán vida», aseguran.

Tras su paso por Madrid, The Flower Project llegó ayer al barrio del Carmen de Valencia de la mano de Valero Doval. Hasta el 15 de noviembre, valencianos y turistas podrán disfrutar de esta original exposición.

Un palacio surrealista
Para este proyecto, el ilustrador ha convertido su espacio expositivo en un palacio surrealista con tres ambientes independientes, en el que los invitados serán recibidos por un ama de llaves que por la noche se convierte en gato, los muebles y objetos se transforman y adquieren formas inesperadas con apertura de pasadizos secretos.
En palabras de Valero Doval, «la sala es un antiguo palacete muy peculiar, atravesado literalmente por la antigua muralla árabe del siglo XI, que lo convierte en un marco incomparable para desarrollar mi concepto. Será como entrar en uno de mis collages a la vez que en un sueño mágico repleto de fantasía, con referencias a Alicia en el país de las Maravillas». «La finalidad es crear una experiencia completa en el visitante, que se sorprenda, emocione y se sienta importante», asegura el diseñador.
Valero Doval es licenciado en Bellas Artes por la Universidad Politécnica de Valencia. Finalizó sus estudios en Barcelona y, posteriormente, realizó varios talleres artísticos en Italia y Alemania. Después, decide trasladarse a Londres en 2004.

October 24, 2015

10 Tierra quemada: Santiago Ramón y Cajal.

Tierra quemada

Nadie parece caer en la cuenta de la devastación que ha sufrido nuestro país en todo lo relacionado con la educación, la cultura y el conocimiento

Imagen de Santiago Ramón y Cajal.

En las evaluaciones sobre estos últimos años nadie parece caer en la cuenta de la devastación que ha sufrido nuestro país en todo lo relacionado con la educación, la cultura y el conocimiento. En los programas electorales que van adelantándose en los simulacros de debates políticos de la televisión tampoco parece que haya sitio para reflexionar sobre esos problemas, y ni siquiera para mencionarlos. La política consiste sobre todo en hablar a gritos de política. El declive de la enseñanza pública ya no es ni siquiera noticia, a no ser que un profesor resulte gravemente agredido por un papá o una mamá que no hacen nada por educar a su hijo, pero no toleran que la criatura se lleve el más tenue sinsabor en el aula. Un ministro de Educación frívolo y chulesco se fue a París con un cargo opulento dejando a otros la tarea de poner en marcha la nueva ley inútil, confusa y no debatida ni pactada con nadie. Que la ley borrara la Filosofía de la enseñanza no quiere decir que fuera favorable al conocimiento científico. El analfabetismo unánime sigue siendo la gran ambición de la clase dirigente y de la clase política en España.

Un profesor universitario de letras que acaba de jubilarse por abatimiento me cuenta que se cansó de corregir las faltas de ortografía de muchos estudiantes con la misma dedicación que si diera clases en Primaria; profesores de ciencias me dicen que hay cada vez menos alumnos en las carreras de Física o Química. En cualquier capital extranjera donde he estado en el último año me encuentro con los mejores entre los que sí han aprendido: descubren la sorpresa de trabajar en atmósferas favorables a la investigación y al estudio, sin el castigo agotador de ir contracorriente; en la mayor parte de los casos aceptan con melancolía la evidencia de que si quieren progresar en lo que hacen, el precio será no poder regresar. Grave es que los nativos tengan vedado el regreso, pero igual de grave es que no haya posibilidad de atraer al talento forastero. Nada es más fácil que un gran matemático de Nueva Delhi encuentre un puesto en una universidad de California, pero es muy probable que ni al más brillante profesor de la Universidad de Jaén se le abra nunca la posibilidad de conseguir una plaza en la de Murcia.

Que el legado de Ramón y Cajal permanezca arrumbado en un almacén es un síntoma de todo lo bajo que hemos caído

Del presidente del Gobierno se sabe que es lector del diario Marca y de La catedral del mar. El ministro de Justicia declara que la tortura pública del toro de Tordesillas es una noble tradición cultural. Las únicas tradiciones culturales que se preservan son las que contienen residuos de barbarie o de oscurantismo religioso. El ministro de Economía y el ministro de Hacienda se aseguran de arruinar el teatro con un IVA del 21%. Las televisiones públicas dedican sus mejores horarios al fútbol, a los chismes del corazón y al adoctrinamiento identitario. Se dan ayudas públicas a los bancos y a los fabricantes de coches, pero no a la industria del libro ni a las librerías. Lo que han hecho por los libros estos Gobiernos recientes es cancelar las compras para las bibliotecas. En las de los Institutos Cervantes no hay novedades de los últimos años, y hace tiempo que se cancelaron las suscripciones a las revistas culturales. El desguace de la capacidad de acción cultural de los Cervantes y su sometimiento cada vez mayor a presiones de políticos y diplomáticos es uno de tantos desastres ocultos de estos últimos años.

Hace unos días, en este mismo periódico, Diego Fonseca contaba la historia vergonzosa del legado de Santiago Ramón y Cajal. Treinta mil objetos que atestiguan la vida, los logros científicos y los intereses variados de uno de los grandes héroes intelectuales de nuestro país están arrumbados en una sala de reuniones en la sede del Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas: sus papeles, sus fotografías, sus diplomas, sus dibujos prodigiosos, sus microscopios, los objetos que tocaron sus manos y formaron parte de su vida. Entre 1984 y 1997 esos tesoros habían estado amontonados en un sótano. El deterioro de materiales tan frágiles como manuscritos y placas fotográficas es irreversible. Quién imagina que pudiera suceder algo parecido en Francia con el legado de Pasteur, con el de Darwin en Inglaterra. El año pasado Javier Sampedro informó de la desaparición escandalosa de la mayor parte de la correspondencia de Cajal: 12.000 cartas que atestiguarían su vida privada y sus intercambios incesantes con los mejores neurólogos de su época. El profesor Juan Antonio Fernández Santarén, editor de esa correspondencia, ha denunciado la cadena de irresponsabilidades, de negligencia, de pura desvergüenza, que hizo posible tal despojo: alguien robó en 1976 unas 15.000 cartas depositadas en el CSIC. Unas 3.000 cayeron en manos de un librero de viejo, que al menos tuvo el gesto de vendérselas a la Biblioteca Nacional. De las demás no hay ni rastro.

El analfabetismo unánime sigue siendo la gran ambición de la clase dirigente y de la clase política en España

He estado leyendo estos días los Recuerdos de mi vida de Cajal, en una excelente edición del profesor Fernández Santarén. En ese libro están algunas de las mejores páginas memoriales que se han escrito en España. Es el relato de un largo aprendizaje, heroico en su amplitud y en su dificultad, el de un chico travieso y rebelde de pueblo, en un país atrasado y deshecho por convulsiones políticas, que descubre primero su amor por los animales, por la botánica y el dibujo, y luego su vocación científica, en la que es decisiva su curiosidad congénita y su talento de artista. Llegado a la investigación justo después de los hallazgos formidables de Darwin y Pasteur, Cajal estableció algunos de los cimientos sobre los que todavía se sostienen la biología y la neurociencia. Si nuestra cultura científica no mereciera más desprecio todavía que la literaria o la artística, seríamos conscientes de que Cajal es una de las pocas figuras de verdad universales que ha dado nuestro país: como Cervantes, o García Lorca, o Picasso, o Manuel de Falla, o Velázquez.

A Cajal su educación como dibujante y su sentido estético le ayudaron a dilucidar la anatomía fantástica de las neuronas. Y su mirada de científico le permitió juzgar con más lucidez que cualquiera de los santones del 98 los motivos del atraso español e imaginar políticas sensatas para empezar a remediarlo. Cajal vivió como oficial médico la primera guerra de Cuba y no olvidó nunca los efectos terribles de la frivolidad política, la incompetencia militar, la corrupción que enriquecía a oficiales e intermediarios con el dinero robado a la alimentación y a la salud de los soldados, que morían de malaria y disentería en hospitales inmundos. En su adolescencia asistió a la hermosa revolución liberal de 1868, tan rápidamente malograda; tuvo una vida tan larga que vio también en su vejez la otra ilusión renovadora de la II República. Hasta sus últimos días vindicó los mismos ideales prácticos que lo habían sostenido en su aprendizaje de científico y de ciudadano: curiosidad, educación, esfuerzo disciplinado, ambición lúcida, patriotismo crítico. Que la mayor parte de sus cartas se haya perdido y que su legado permanezca arrumbado en un almacén es una calamidad y una desgracia, pero también es un síntoma de todo lo bajo que hemos caído, de todo lo más bajo que todavía podemos caer.

October 13, 2015

10 No te presentes ...

Filed under: archivo personal,future,Holístico,política — fores @ 7:54 pm

“La plaza la hemos sacado para él... No te presentes”

Un ex alto cargo de Justicia presionó a un profesor para que no optara a un puesto

La oferta para docente en la Universidad de Cantabria la ganó el favorito del catedrático

Madrid 13 OCT 2015 - 12:05 CEST



Universidad de Cantabria Paraninfo de la Universidad de Cantabria. / UNICAN

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Joaquín Mantecón, subdirector del Ministerio de Justicia durante el Gobierno de José María Aznar y catedrático de Derecho Eclesiástico del Estado de la Universidad Pública de Cantabria, envió un correo el pasado 29 de julio: "Efectivamente: la plaza de ayudante a doctor la hemos sacado para Enrique H., mi ayudante durante estos últimos años. Es un chaval estupendo, muy competente, casado desde hace tres años y con dos hijos. Por supuesto, eres muy libre de presentarte, pero me causarías un no pequeño problema. Yo formo parte del tribunal".

El profesor de la Universidad de Bolonia José Ignacio Alonso, destinatario de la misiva, desoyó la recomendación. Y optó al puesto de profesor ayudante a doctor convocado por la Universidad de Cantabria. No resultó elegido. El tribunal, donde el catedrático Mantecón fue vocal, seleccionó a Enrique H. Justificó su decisión tras penalizar criterios como la edad de Alonso, de 40 años, según la resolución oficial del pasado 23 de septiembre.

El candidato descartado sostiene que existen indicios de un presunto delito de prevaricación. Que el tribunal cometió irregularidades para premiar a Enrique H. en la valoración de méritos como textos científicos, estancias en el extranjero, becas o proyectos de investigación desarrollados. Y denuncia que sufrió durante tres meses presiones por correo electrónico del catedrático de Derecho Eclesiástico para que retirase su candidatura y dejar así vía libre al aspirante favorito de Mantecón.

El catedrático de Derecho Eclesiástico del Estado de la Universidad de Cantabria Joaquín Mantecón.

EL PAÍS ha tenido acceso a los correos electrónicos que el catedrático envió a Alonso desde el pasado julio, cuando el departamento de Derecho Público de la Universidad de Cantabria convocó la plaza de profesor ayudante a doctor. Mantecón ha reconocido a este periódico su veracidad. “Se presentaba mi ayudante [Enrique H.]. Una persona con la que ya había trabajado”, admite por teléfono, descartando la existencia de delitos en el proceso de selección.

Alonso dice que los correos perseguían que retirara su candidatura, que incluía 17 años de experiencia como investigador en la Universidad de Bolonia en Derecho Eclesiástico del Estado, la especialidad de la plaza ofertada.

El cruce de correos entre el catedrático y el aspirante revela cómo Mantecón reforzó la presión para frustrar la candidatura alternativa a medida que se aproximaba la deliberación del tribunal.  “Hoy me han pasado la lista definitiva de firmantes para la plaza de ayudante a doctor. Estáis tú y Enrique H. [...] En definitiva: La plaza la hemos sacado para él, pensando que cumple ampliamente todos los requisitos. Por eso, con el estado de ánimo que te puedes imaginar, te rogaría que no te presentases y dejaras el paso libre a Enrique. Todos lo agradeceríamos mucho. El primero yo”, recoge un mensaje del pasado 4 de septiembre remitido por Mantecón desde el correo oficial de la Universidad de Cantabria.

Una semana después, el catedrático de Derecho Eclesiástico remite otro mensaje a Alonso. “Cuando te escribí hace unos días, te pedí basándome en la amistad que nos une que, por favor, no te presentaras porque la plaza la habíamos sacado para Enrique. Veo que no estás dispuesto y lo siento. Lo qué sí puedo decirte es que haré todo lo que esté en mi mano para que la plaza sea para Enrique porque se lo merece. [...] Bueno, José Ignacio. Lo que tenía que decirte ya te lo he dicho. Tú sabrás lo que haces. Un abrazo”.

Alonso envió la semana pasada los correos al rector de la Universidad de Cantabria, José Carlos Gómez Sal, para que investigue el caso y declare nula la plaza de la discordia.

“Comprometido con la libertad”

La trayectoria de Joaquín Mantecón bascula entre la universidad y la administración del PP. El catedrático de Derecho Eclesiástico fue subdirector de Promoción de Libertad Religiosa y de Organización del Ministerio de Justicia durante el mandato de José María Aznar. El Gobierno le otorgó la Cruz de la Orden de San Raimundo de Peñafort. El profesor se define en su cuenta de Twitter como un hombre "comprometido con la universidad pública y la libertad".

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