Secrets of Sleep Science: From Dreams to Disorders [TTC Video]

Secrets of Sleep Science: From Dreams to Disorders [TTC Video]
Secrets of Sleep Science: From Dreams to Disorders [TTC Video] by H Craig Heller, PhD
Course No 1942 | MP4, AVC, 1500 kbps, 1280x720 | AAC, 192 kbps, 2 Ch | 24x30 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 8.82GB

For many of us, sleep is one of life’s greatest pleasures. For others, sleep represents a nightly struggle to fall asleep, stay asleep, rest comfortably, and even remain safe until morning. But what is sleep exactly, and why must we do it every night?

Despite the fact that we spend about one-third of our lives in slumber, scientists still aren’t completely certain. Finding the function of sleep is one of the biggest—and most intriguing—challenges facing biologists today.

What is clear: Sleep is as essential to life as food and water. It impacts virtually every aspect of our lives, from our mood to the functioning of our organs, and it contributes to learning and memory, better performance at work, and a more healthy and productive wakeful life overall.

A lack of sleep impairs your cognitive abilities, exacerbates or leads to psychological problems, and leaves you vulnerable to a long list of chronic medical issues. And the consequences of too little sleep extend beyond the personal. From causing auto accidents to factoring into major disasters such as the Exxon Valdez oil spill, sleep deprivation imposes a heavy toll on society.

Clearly, there’s tremendous value in studying sleep that goes far beyond mere fascination. Educating yourself on the subject may, without exaggeration, save your life or the life of someone you love. The frightening reality is that dire consequences can develop after only a few days of inadequate sleep.

Secrets of Sleep Science: From Dreams to Disorders is your opportunity to access groundbreaking research on the complex and enigmatic phenomenon of sleep, straight from a scientist at the forefront of the field. In these 24 engrossing lectures, award-winning Stanford University professor and researcher H. Craig Heller reveals how far neuroscientists and biologists have come on their quest to pinpoint the principal functions of sleep—which remain a matter of intense debate.

Understand Why Sleep Debts Must Be Paid

Early on in this course, you’ll learn that your brain forces you to fall asleep to repay an accumulated sleep deficit—no matter how dangerous the circumstances. You’ll also learn the myriad ways sleep loss is associated with increased risk for serious health problems such as

  • obesity,
  • diabetes,
  • depression, and
  • reduced resistance to infectious disease.

Backed by compelling scientific evidence, Professor Heller illuminates what happens in the sleeping brain all the way down to the cellular and molecular level. You’ll investigate what biological changes may be produced by wakefulness and reversed during sleep, in addition to

  • the catastrophic ways our circadian clocks can fail;
  • coping mechanisms for jet lag, shift work, and insomnia;
  • disorders such as sleep apnea, narcolepsy, and restless leg syndrome;
  • parasomnias such as sleepwalking, night terrors, and sleep-related eating disorder; and
  • how proper “sleep hygiene” can help you improve your own quality of sleep.

You’ll also examine the critical role sleep plays in our capacity to form memories, and you’ll encounter astounding animal research that ranges from studies of aquatic mammals that sleep with half of their brains at a time to the deep sleep of hibernation in squirrels and bears.

Discover the Architecture of Sleep

Widespread interest in sleep goes back to ancient times, yet the study of sleep is relatively new. In fact, the first insights into the physiology of sleep didn’t occur until 1929, when the electroencephalograph was developed to monitor patterns of electrical activity in the brain.

As Professor Heller explains, these EEG recordings allowed scientists to identify REM (rapid eye movement) and non-REM states that are the defining features of sleep. You’ll explore both REM and non-REM sleep in depth, including how they cycle throughout the night.

Non-REM sleep EEG recordings show a high-amplitude, slow-wave pattern indicating that large populations of neurons are firing in synchrony. REM sleep, frequently called “dreaming sleep,” creates a low-amplitude, fast pattern similar to a waking EEG.

Then, using basic concepts of electricity, you’ll look at the cellular and molecular mechanisms of falling asleep, the many discrete brain structures involved in the control of sleep and wakefulness, and the homeostatic regulation that matches sleep intensity to need.

You’ll trace how your all-important circadian rhythms emerge shortly after birth but continue to change over the course of your lifetime, and you’ll get an introduction to the neuroanatomy and neurochemistry of sleep, including how medications and other factors influence sleep.

Secrets of Sleep Science also features a thought-provoking lecture on the physiology of what may be the least-understood aspect of sleep: dreaming. Taking into consideration the Freudian and Jungian theories on the topic as well as the latest research, you’ll sift through

  • the possible functions of dreams;
  • the notion that dreams hold meaning;
  • anecdotal evidence suggesting dreams inspire creativity;
  • why you only sometimes remember your dreams; and
  • why dream amnesia may be crucial to maintaining mental health.

Why Sleep Goes Awry

From sleepy sickness to the rare fatal familial insomnia, sleep pathologies and disorders are among the most fascinating—and often heartbreaking—topics you’ll cover in Secrets of Sleep Science. You may find the information on identifying and treating sleep apnea of particular value, as you or your partner may snore and repeatedly struggle to breathe during sleep without even realizing it.

Professor Heller also offers simple behavioral methods to conquer bouts of insomnia and outlines possible treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder, which frequently involves incessant, extreme nightmares that feel all too real.

In the latter half of the course, you’ll get the opportunity to learn about the professor’s own research, which suggests a promising link between sleep-related systems and the cognitive impairment associated with Down syndrome.

A Remarkable Learning Experience

Professor Heller’s first-hand experiments, astute analysis, and obvious passion for the study of sleep make him the ideal guide for this riveting subject. Not only does he elucidate the most up-to-date findings and ideas this field has to offer, but, as a researcher and veteran educator, he possesses the experience and authority to offer his own expert interpretations.

Both seasoned students of biology and those with a casual appreciation for science will find Secrets of Sleep Science filled with astonishing insights. If you’ve ever wondered why we say “sleep like a baby”; why adolescents find it so hard to get up for school; or why your grandfather dozes in his chair during the day but complains of being unable to sleep at night; this is the course for you.

Secrets of Sleep Science: From Dreams to Disorders [TTC Video]

Learning German: A Journey through Language and Culture [TTC Video]

Learning German: A Journey through Language and Culture [TTC Video]
Learning German: A Journey through Language and Culture [TTC Video] by James Pfrehm, PhD
Course No 2846 | MP4, AVC, 2000 kbps, 1280x720 | AAC, 96 kbps, 2 Ch | 30x27 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 12.63GB

Learning a new language is an adventure like no other. Sounds that were once gibberish start to make sense. Words and cultures come alive. And visions of foreign travel begin to take shape.

And yet, the first step in learning a new language can be daunting. Maybe you’ve convinced yourself into believing, “I’m just not good at languages,” or “My days of learning are behind me.” Or maybe you’ve decided that, “It’s just too much work to start from scratch.”

While it’s true that there is no effortless route to learning a language, an inspiring teacher makes all the difference. With the right instructor to guide you, these doubts and hesitations disappear. And what can be an ordeal of memorization and drills turns into an accessible and entertaining adventure!

Consider German. It’s one of the world’s most important conversational, commercial, and literary languages—and also one of the most challenging to master, which makes a superb teacher truly vital. On the one hand, German and English are both Germanic languages and share a lot of vocabulary: Mutter, Vater, Hund, and Katze are probably words you already recognize. On the other hand, unlike the Romance languages, German has case endings, three grammatical genders, and very particular rules for its word order.

German, you might say, has gotten a reputation for being difficult.

But Keine Panik! (Don’t panic!) says award-winning Professor James Pfrehm in Learning German: A Journey through Language and Culture. With crystal-clear explanations and a cache of insider tricks, he conducts you through a full year of college-level German in 30 delightful, half-hour lessons. And with Professor Pfrehm’s engaging and entertaining teaching style, you will actually want to repeat each lesson!

You’ll learn all the skills needed to understand and speak basic German: from its sounds and vocabulary to its wondrously challenging grammar. You’ll be able to engage with films, literature, and other media in German. And most important, you’ll be ready to travel to any German-speaking country—whether it’s Germany, Austria, Switzerland, or others. The signs, menus, greetings, and customs will be more meaningful to you, and you’ll be equipped to converse at an elementary level.

In short, you’ll be well on your way to forging your very own “journey” through the German language!

Learner-Friendly Features

An Associate Professor of German and Linguistics at Ithaca College in Upstate New York, Professor Pfrehm enlivens his presentation with learner-friendly features, such as these:

  • Take It Slowly: Rather than just throwing you into the deep end with an overwhelming “full immersion experience,” Professor Pfrehm mixes authentic examples of German with straightforward explanations in English. As the course proceeds, the examples get longer, the vocabulary richer, and the grammar more complex, but he never leaves you floundering or feeling lost.
  • Travel Tips: Many lessons in this course include a short dialogue starring two animated German tourists, Ralf and Mia, voiced by German actors whose accents can help you develop your own. You’ll get to know new grammar, along with Rolf and Mia’s foibles, as they take in urban, natural, and cultural attractions in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, giving you a preview of popular points of interest for your own travels.
  • Learning Should Be Fun: Professor Pfrehm has perfected the art of educating through entertainment. He dresses up as Father Christmas and sings a carol to demonstrate a new type of dependent clause; delivers a newscast on current events featuring genitive case constructions; and in a pair of lessons, he narrates a thrilling animated fairy tale to drive home the simple past tense.
  • Workbook: To get the most out of the course, you’ll want to use the accompanying workbook. Each lesson has a grammar summary, grammar exercises, vocabulary, vocabulary exercises, answer keys, and the German text of the dialogues along with translations. The workbook also includes a resources section with recommended German dictionaries, cultural books, and language apps.

Throughout Learning German: A Journey through Language and Culture, vocabulary and grammar examples appear on-screen in German with translations, allowing you to pause the video to review new material and let it sink in. An especially valuable feature is that the listening-comprehension element—a standard component of most language courses—is “baked in,” meaning that it’s integrated directly into the lessons. As a result, you hear increasingly long extracts of spoken German via the dialogues, stories, skits, and other pieces, always with Professor Pfrehm’s explanations in English before and after.

A Cultural and Linguistic Journey

Professor Pfrehm is an American who fell in love with the German language in college and has visited German-speaking countries repeatedly ever since. Impressively fluent, he has absorbed the culture with enthusiasm and understanding. And since he remembers the frustrations of being a beginner, he tailors his lessons to anticipate the most frequent pitfalls and trouble spots, doing this with a teaching approach that echoes the exciting experience of learning German in a natural setting.

For example, you start the course with the all-purpose greeting, Guten Tag (Good Day), paying attention to German’s pure u tone, which is unlike the “yew” sound in English. But let’s say you’re in southern Germany or Austria. There, the usual salutation is Grüß Gott, which has ü (u with an umlaut). Professor Pfrehm demonstrates how to move your lips and tongue to make this very distinctive German sound. Accordingly, you proceed through the alphabet, learning useful vocabulary and how to pronounce it like a native speaker. And if you know nothing else, a simple Guten Tag or Grüß Gott is a surefire way to break the ice during your travels in the German-speaking world.

Of course, you go much, much farther in Learning German: A Journey through Language and Culture. You’ll plunge deep into the fascinating grammar and sentence structure of the language, along the way picking up cultural pointers such as these:

  • Berlin, City of Contrasts: Devasted during World War II and divided by the Berlin Wall during the Cold War, Berlin is now the glittering capital of a reunited Germany. In the course of a lesson on the subjunctive mood, Professor Pfrehm gives you detailed suggestions on what to do in this endlessly interesting city.
  • Out on the Town: Other cities you visit include Munich, Hamburg, Vienna, Salzburg, and Zürich. Your lessons in urban adventure include ordering drinks and coffee; toasting your new friends at Munich’s Oktoberfest; visiting a Swiss chocolate factory; listening to popular German recording artists; and previewing three, must-see German films.
  • Practical Skills: Professor Pfrehm instructs you in Germany’s many typical civic duties and activities. Your vocabulary lessons also feature shopping for clothes, names for parts of the body, how to tell a doctor what’s ailing you, giving directions and understanding them, telling time, and counting up to a billion.
  • A Remarkable Walk: When you visit Germany’s North Sea coast, you’ll want to take off your shoes, roll up your trousers, and venture out into a vast intertidal zone called the Wattenmeer. Butseid bitte vorsichtig (please be careful)—an imperative instruction you learn in this lesson—since you don’t want to get caught by the rising tide!

Professor Pfrehm refers to these 30 lessons as a “journey” rather than a “course” or “class.” That’s because learning a foreign language really is a journey. A journey has twists and turns. Milestones and mistakes. And most of all, journeys are full of surprises. Your biggest surprise with Learning German: A Journey through Language and Culture may be that the language is easier and more rewarding than you ever imagined.

Learning German: A Journey through Language and Culture [TTC Video]

Introduction to the Qur'an [TTC Video]

Introduction to the Qur'an [TTC Video]
Introduction to the Qur'an [TTC Video] by Martyn Oliver, PhD
Course No 6019 | MP4, AVC, 1372 kbps, 960x540 | AAC, 128 kbps, 2 Ch | 12x29 mins | +PDF Guidebook | 3.73GB

For people of the Muslim faith—nearly 25 percent of the world’s population—the Qur’an represents the most intimate and direct experience of the divine. For the Islamic faithful, the Qur’an is the eternal and perfect word of God, and it lies at the very heart of their understanding of themselves and the world. And yet, many non-Muslims have little familiarity with or understanding of this influential text. As a result, myths and misconceptions about the Qur’an and how it functions in the Islamic faith abound. In an increasingly global society, it has never been more important to understand the complicated history and message of the Qur’an, and its significance to millions of believers around the world.

Dr. Martyn Oliver, a Senior Professorial Lecturer at American University, presents the 12 in-depth lectures of Introduction to the Qur’an to provide you with a multifaceted approach to the Qur’an and its 1,400-year history, from its origins as a revelation to Muhammad in 7th-century Mecca to its role in the establishment and evolution of Islam as a world religion. Along the way, you will encounter characters familiar to those well-versed in the Judeo-Christian tradition—Adam and Eve, Moses and Abraham, Jesus and Mary—as well as concepts common across many world religions, like creation, sin, judgment, and the afterlife. You will also explore terms and ideas unique to the Islamic faith such as sharia and jihad, whose interpretations both beyond and within the Muslim world have led to questions and confusion.

Understanding any religious text from outside of its spiritual tradition is challenging and demands multiple perspectives. By combining literary, theological, and historical approaches to the Qur’an, Dr. Oliver provides a rich introduction to this influential text that both clarifies and adds important nuance our understanding of it. This course is also a rare opportunity to hear the Qur’an recited aloud by an award-winning reciter who brings the beautiful language of the ancient text to life for believers and the curious alike.

Text and Context

The year is around 571 C.E. and the small city of Mecca is thriving on the Arabian Peninsula, primarily as a result of the intersection of a broad range of religious and economic interests. Into this diverse and vibrant city is born a man, who by 610 C.E. has developed the habit of going outside the city walls on personal retreat. It is here, on one of these retreats, that Muhammad first hears a voice commanding him to “read aloud that which is written on your heart.” You will learn about Muhammad’s divine inspiration as well as his very human struggles in a society that was not always ready for the message he carried.

Specifically, you will:

  • Hear about the first moment of revelation, and Muhammad’s understandable fear that he may have been delusional;
  • Learn the words that Muhammad felt had been permanently inscribed upon his heart at that first revelation;
  • Discover who it was that Muslims believe spoke to Muhammad, and explore the key elements of this lengthy revelation, spanning some 22 years and two cities;
  • Explore the population to whom this message was meant to be delivered, and consider the rhetorical strategies used to best address the needs of that audience; and
  • Reflect on the role that Mecca—an economically and theologically diverse city—might have had on Muhammad, his followers, and ultimately his message.

Dr. Oliver’s course returns, again and again, to the man behind the message, and what we know and do not know about who he was and when and where he lived. Because Dr. Oliver approaches his study of the Qur’an as an influential piece of literature as well as an important religious text, he is able to help you understand that even the “perfected word of God” does not appear into a social vacuum. There is much-needed context if we want a truly thorough understanding of the text, its teachings, and its followers.

Although Muhammad was the messenger, and as such is much revered in the Islamic faith, he was never considered divine. It is the Qur’an, the revealed and perfect word of God that reaches believers via revelation through Muhammad that is considered most holy in the Islamic traditions. By giving his viewers insights into the parallels and significant differences between the Qur’an and the texts employed by other “People of the Book,” such as the Torah in Jewish tradition and the Bible for Christians, Professor Oliver helps us to see what connects all of these traditions—monotheism, devotion to God, a belief in the Last Judgment, stories of characters ranging from Moses and Abraham to Jesus and Mary—and what makes Islam particularly unique, most specifically, the belief that the Qur’an is God’s word made manifest in the world. As Dr. Oliver so succinctly states it, “For Christians, the Bible is the human vehicle through which is revealed the perfection that is Jesus; for Muslims, Muhammad is the human vehicle through which is revealed the perfection of God’s word, the Qur’an.”

Who Are the Believers?

Although the Word of God as manifested in the Qur’an is considered infallible by believers, the human capacity to understand and interpret that message most certainly is not. This course explores a number of different interpretive texts and traditions that have informed religious practice and thought within Islam across the 1,400 years since Muhammad received his revelation. Out of these many texts and developing theologies have come several schools, the names of which are often familiar—Sufi, Sunni, Shia, among others—but are less frequently understood well. Dr. Oliver takes you inside the philosophical and interpretive differences that inform these divides, explaining the multitude of ways in which the Qur’an, as a living text, is read and interpreted around the world. Most important, he helps us understand how specific differences in interpretation have led to differences in practice.

Not only was the message of the Qur’an brought into a complex and diverse social and economic environment in 7th-century Mecca, the message is arguably in the midst of an even more complicated world today. How does the voice of God continue to speak to millions of believers around the world right now? With the inclusion of a number of beautifully voiced recitations of the text in Arabic, Dr. Oliver affords his audience not only the opportunity to learn the content of important verses through his in-depth lectures, but also to hear the resonance of the words and the poetry of the phrases that can only be fully captured in the original Arabic.

Endings and Interpretations

Islam has three preeminent tenets—the singularity of God, the Final Day on which God will sit in judgment on the lives of every human being, and the importance of good works in winning God’s favor. With these in mind, explore with Dr. Oliver the Islamic conception of judgment and the afterlife, including the ideas of heaven and hell, both of which are literal and detailed in the Qur’an. You will:

  • Learn what other religious groups at the time believed about an afterlife;
  • Discover how the words of the Qur’an aligned with some aspects of Christian, Zoroastrian, and Jewish traditions about these ideas; and
  • Consider the ways in which specific aspects of the afterlife promised in the Qur’an reflect the values of Muhammad’s audience on the Arabian Peninsula.

It has been suggested that Dante’s famous vision of the afterlife, as presented in his three-part Commedia, might reflect descriptions originally recorded in the Qur’an. Certainly, there is evidence to suggest that the great Italian author was familiar with the words of Muhammad. The literal, sensual nature of both heaven and hell within the Qur’an brings to vivid life an understanding of the different potential outcomes—peace and pleasure, rewards unending in the company of God for those who believe, do good, and submit to God’s will, or a bottomless pit of pain and suffering for those who do wrong in the world.

Although many of the themes and characters in the Qur’an have much in common with the traditions of other “People of the Book”—Jews and Christians—the practice of Islam itself is unique. Much of that practice is guided by the Five Pillars of Islam: the statement of faith, prayer, charity, fasting, and pilgrimage to Mecca. And yet, these foundational practices are not fully explained in the Qur’an. By exploring how these practices came to be, Dr. Oliver guides you through the complicated world of Qur’anic interpretation. You’ll discover how Islamic scholars and theologians over the centuries have combined careful reading of the Qur’an with considerations of hadith (accounts of the practices of Muhammad) and sunnah (the customs of early Muslim communities) to inform the legal and spiritual practice of Islam in an ever-evolving world. In the closing lectures, you’ll learn how these interpretations have given birth to a variety of philosophical, theological, and mystical traditions that make Islam the rich, varied, and complex religion it is today.

Only by examining the historical, cultural, and religious framework of the Qur’an can we begin to understand the faith of one of the world’s largest religions. For those who practice Islam, this course may help believers better understand the history and evolution of the Qur’an and its role in Muslim practice, while those who come from the outside can have a better understanding of an often-misunderstood text. Introduction to the Qur’an will show you the beauty and the challenge of Muhammad’s revelation, and how it has moved its adherents for centuries.

Introduction to the Qur'an [TTC Video]

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