Wednesday, May 7, 2008 | Categories: Episodes
It's Wednesday, May 7th.
Despite a devastating cyclone, the Burmese military junta says voting on a new constitution will proceed as planned in much of the country.
Currently ... The results will proceed as planned in all of the country.
This is The Current.
According to Burma's military regime, more than 22,000 people were killed by a devastating cyclone in May 2008. Another 41,000 people were listed as missing. And tens of thousands more were homeless. But even amidst those dire reports, many people feared that the real numbers were actually higher. Burma is one of the most tightly controlled countries in the world and its military regime is among the most secretive. Some people hope a natural disaster of this size might actually help change that. But in the meantime, the real toll of Cyclone Nargis may be unknown.
Reform in Burma - Burmese Exile
If you're lying, there's a good chance Stephen Porter will be able to tell. He's a forensic psychologist at Dalhousie University and among other things, he studies "micro-expressions," which are tiny, involuntary facial reactions that often go unnoticed, even by the person producing them.
Law enforcement officials hope the study of micro-expressions could give them a valuable tool for interrogating suspects, screening people at airports and even preventing terrorism. Stephen Porter's new research paper, therefore, attracted a lot of attention in those circles. The paper is called Reading Between the Lies: Identifying Concealed and Falsified Emotions in Universal Facial Expressions and it appeared in the Journal of Psychological Science. Stephen Porter joined us from Halifax.
This type of screening is already being used in many U.S. airports. Officers with the U-S Transportation Security Administration analyze micro-facial expressions as part of the Screening of Passengers by Observation Technique -- or SPOT -- program. Carl Maccario helped start the program at Boston's Logan Airport in 2004 and he joined us from Boston.
Micro-Expressions - Clinical Use
In addition to passenger screening at airports, micro-expression reading has been used by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security to help question suspects and solve major crimes. But people like Robert Trestman have raised concerns about the reliability of the technique in this context, especially when it comes to analyzing terrorists or psychopaths. Robert Trestman is a Professor of Medicine and Psychiatry at the University of Connecticut Health Center and he spoke to us from Hartford, Connecticut.
Listen to Part Two:
Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na'im
In all the talk about the need for religious accommodation, not everyone's voice gets heard equally. In the case of Islam, some Muslim scholars argue that quietly religious Muslims who value living in a country with a secular government don't get as much attention as those calling for an Islamic state, or the introduction of Sharia law.
According to Tarek Fatah, a Canadian Muslim and author of Chasing a Mirage: The Tragic Illusion of an Islamic State, the majority of Muslims in Canada do not even belong to a Mosque. And according to Abdullahi An-Na'im, the push for an Islamic state actually goes against the very teachings in the Koran. Abdullahi An-Na'im is the author of Islam and the Secular State and he joined us from Atlanta.
Last Word - Farewell to the Police
The Rainforest Foundation, a charity funded by the musician Sting, has been rated one of the worst charities when it comes to the percentage of donations that actually get used for its stated mission.
We thought we would close this episode with some more news about Sting and his band The Police. On May 6, 2008, they announced their final final concert for the summer of 2008 in New York City. After a series of hit albums in the 1980s and 90s, the band re-united in 2007 for a worldwide tour. So as Sting's musical career comes full circle, we closed the show with Roxanne, the first big hit for the Police in the United States.
Listen to Part Three: