January 2012

You are currently browsing the monthly archive for January 2012.

Fourth in our monthly series of local experts talking about interesting stuff
Wednesday, February 1, 2012, 7pm-8pm, Ferndale Public Library, 222 E. Nine Mile, Ferndale,MI

Convicting the Innocent

In the last few years research has identified at least 900 official exonerations of people who were convicted of felonies, although they had nothing to do with the crimes. In some cases no crime was every committed. Researchers believe that many more miscarriages of justice occur. A good deal of work has uncovered reasons why this happens. It is often the result of mistaken eyewitness identification, but a dozen other factors are involved. About 50 innocence projects now work to exonerated falsely convicted people and many states and police departments are taking steps to make criminal investigations more accurate.

Professor Marv Zalman, teaches classes on constitutional law (criminal procedure), criminal justice policy and wrongful conviction. Most of his research and writing in recent years has been focused on the topic of wrongful convictions.  He has authored a textbook, Criminal Procedure: Constitution and Society, Sixth Edition (Prentice Hall, 2011) in addition to numerous research articles, chapters, and encyclopedia articles on wrongful conviction.

The Ferndale Science Fiction Book Club will meet again on February 14 at the Ferndale library (222 E. Nine Mile) at 7pm.

Once again, we’ve picked both a short story and a book by the same author (and once again there’s a rather good movie adaptation, this time of the short story).

Read the novel, or read the short story. Or, for the fun of getting into the author’s mind, read both and see how they might connect.  And then watch the movie and see how the director adapted it into dramatic form.

The author this month is Philip K. Dick, one of the most prominent American science-fiction authors of the 20th century, certainly one of the most filmed.  In recent years he has also achieved increasing prominence in scholarly circles for the unique structure and themes in his works.

The book we will be reading is Ubik.  We have the book in the Ferndale Public Library and you can find the catalog link here:


It also appears that some dedicated readers have loosed themselves from the constraints of copyright law and made a copy available online:


The short story for the month is Minority Report

And once again somebody has found ways to make it available in other forms:


Finally, there is the film.  http://catalog.tln.lib.mi.us/uhtbin/cgisirsi/?ps=AWvNd59NfB/FERN_69/163590053/9

Third in our monthly series of local experts talking about interesting stuff
Wednesday, February 1, 2012, 7pm-8pm, Ferndale Public Library, 222 E. Nine Mile, Ferndale,MI

Wrongful Conviction in the American Justice System

Professor Marv Zalman came to Wayne State University in 1980 as chair of the then new Criminal Justice Department. He previously taught at the Criminal Justice Department at Michigan State University and in the law faculty at Ahmadu Bello University in northern Nigeria. His work in constitutional criminal procedure focuses on the limits of state power and individual liberty. His textbook/case book, Criminal Procedure: Constitution and Society, 4th edition (Prentice Hall 2005) integrates legal, social scientific, and criminal justice policy approaches. He currently serves on the editorial boards of several scholarly journals: Criminal Law Bulletin, Criminal Justice Review, Journal of Crime & Justice and Justice System Journal. 

Just passing on a note from our fabulous children’s librarian Jillean McCommons

I would like to get the word out about our new Facebook page for kids. It’s a great place to find out about upcoming programs, performers, new books and other helpful information. If you could pass it along to friends that would be great. Please, like us!


Thanks so much,

Third in our monthly series of local experts talking about interesting stuff
Wednesday, January 4, 2012, 7pm-8pm, Ferndale Public Library, 222 E. Nine Mile, Ferndale,MI

The Virtues and Vices of Conspiracy Theories

Conspiracy theories are quite prominent in current American life.  Often the use of “conspiracy theory” is derogatory in nature, allowing a rejection of the proffered theory out of hand.  However, I believe conspiracy theories can be useful tools for thinking about the nature of reasoning and explanation.  This presentation will look at some of the recent academic and popular literature on conspiracy theories in order to explore reasoning, explanation, and other topics of philosophical interest.

Mark Huston is currently an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Schoolcraft College located in Livonia, MI.  His philosophical interests are in the areas of mind, epistemology, aesthetics, and film.  He has published in the journals Ratio, The Journal of Philosophical Research and Film and Philosophy.  He has also published book reviews in the magazine Philosophy Now.  Additionally he has essays in the book Tennis and Philosophy: What the Racket is All About and in Golf and Philosophy: Lessons From the Links.