Decoding the Secrets of Egyptian Hieroglyphs [TTC Video]

Decoding the Secrets of Egyptian Hieroglyphs [TTC Video]
Decoding the Secrets of Egyptian Hieroglyphs [TTC Video] by Bob Brier
Course No 3541 | MP4, AVC, 640x360 | English, AAC, 96 kbps, 2 Ch | 24x30 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 3.17GB

Ancient Egyptian civilization is undoubtedly one of the most fascinating chapters in human history. While remnants of the culture like temples, obelisks, and sarcophagi continue to mystify us, you can unlock their true meaning if you know how to read hieroglyphs.

To the untrained eye, this ancient writing system looks like artful decoration, a random scattering of stylized ducks, suns, eyes, hands, chairs, and feathers. But to Egyptologists like Dr. Bob Brier of LIU Post—a noted public educator known as “Mr. Mummy” and a popular Great Courses professor—hieroglyphs are the gateway to understanding ancient Egypt, from its religious beliefs to its cosmological ideas to the legacies of its great pharaohs.

In short, they’re the closest we can get to truly resurrecting the lives of ancient Egyptians.

Although hieroglyphs are a dead language, there are many reasons why learning to read and write hieroglyphs can be rewarding. An understanding of hieroglyphs can take you beyond the surface-level appreciation of viewing artifacts and historic sites, bringing you closer to the real people of an ancient civilization. Plus, the transformation of spelling and grammar into a dynamic pictorial code presents a challenging intellectual puzzle for lifelong learners of all ages. In learning hieroglyphs, you will actually decipher symbols and text, which makes learning this new language enjoyable and exciting!

In Decoding the Secrets of Egyptian Hieroglyphs, Professor Brier offers you the key to unlocking the mysteries of this amazing ancient language. Making this seemingly complex code accessible to anyone with a willingness to learn, his 24 lectures cover the basics of reading and writing hieroglyphs, including vocabulary words, number systems, and sentence structure. They also put your newfound knowledge to work, as you translate hieroglyphs found on some of ancient Egypt’s most intriguing sites and artifacts, from the Rosetta Stone to the temples at Abu Simbel to the tomb of Tutankhamen. Professor Brier opens up startling new worlds of discovery that will bring you closer than ever to a civilization that’s captivated us for millennia—and that will continue to do so for a long time to come.

Learn How to Read and Write Hieroglyphs

When learning to read and write Egyptian hieroglyphs, where does one start? Like any language, it’s critical to begin at the most fundamental level: the alphabet.

Decoding the Secrets of Egyptian Hieroglyphs is a primer on the ins and outs of the ancient Egyptian language. By approaching the topic in a straightforward manner, you’ll be surprised at just how quickly translating these curious symbols becomes second nature.

After learning the three ways hieroglyphs were used in ancient Egypt (to represent a sound, to clarify a word’s meaning, to represent a concept all by itself), you’ll go step-by-step through the ancient Egyptian alphabet. Professor Brier teaches you not only how to draw each hieroglyph, but how to pronounce them and organize them into entire sentences.

But make no mistake: This isn’t just about writing your name in hieroglyphs. You’ll learn much more.

  • Build an Egyptian vocabulary. Every lecture comes with a wealth of new vocabulary words for you to pronounce, write, and use. You’ll also discover the meaning behind these hieroglyphs. For example, the hieroglyph for the season “summer” (consisting of drawings of a pool, water, and the sun) which might indicate an absence of water.
  • Write Egyptian sentences: Professor Brier teaches you how to organize hieroglyphs into sentences that express original thoughts. You’ll learn how to draw and arrange pronouns and possessives; how to write in the past tense; how to turn a sentence into a negative statement; how to read the names of the pharaohs; and more.
  • Count Egyptian numbers: Numbers were essential to ancient Egypt’s agricultural economy. As you’ll discover, different symbols were used to denote different quantities. A stroke was “1,” a hoop was “10,” a coiled rope was “100,” a lotus flower was “1,000,” and the god Heh stood for “1 million.”

Above all, Professor Brier wants to give you not just an appreciation of hieroglyphs, but a working knowledge of them. That’s where practice comes in. Each lecture in this course begins or ends with a series of short, fun translation exercises (also included in the course guidebook) to help familiarize you with the concepts you explore in that particular lesson.

Unearth the Story of Hieroglyphs

As you progress from the alphabet to complex sentences, you’ll also uncover some fascinating historical insights into hieroglyphs.

  • Why did the language disappear, and how it was rediscovered by explorers like Jean-Franзois Champollion?
  • What was life like for the Egyptian scribes who recorded everything from battlefield casualties to prayers for the dead?
  • Why were some of the first attempts to translate hieroglyphics unsuccessful?
  • How did ancient Egyptians use their calendar, and how do modern Egyptologists use it to determine precise dates for events?

Translate the Writings on Archaeological Finds

Decoding the Secrets of Egyptian Hieroglyphs is also an opportunity to interpret actual inscriptions found on Egyptian temples and objects. As Professor Brier builds your confidence in reading hieroglyphs, you’ll steadily move toward translating everything from the names of gods and pharaohs to special prayers and magic spells.

Like a great tour guide, Professor Brier brings you up close and personal with some of the most fascinating archaeological finds from hundreds of years of exploration.

  • King Tut’s tomb: Professor Brier devotes several lectures to perhaps the most important discovery in all of Egyptology. You’ll translate hieroglyphs from some of the many relics found in the pharaoh’s tomb, including a mirror used during Tutankhamen’s life, and the inside lid of his sarcophagus, inscribed with words spoken by the god Anubis.
  • Queen Meret’s pectoral: This brooch-like piece of jewelry isn’t mere decoration. It’s also powerful political propaganda. The queen’s pectoral proclaims the greatness of Amenemhet III as the lord of Upper and Lower Egypt and all foreign lands, and asserts his protection by Nekhbet when venturing off into battle.
  • Sneferu stela: The pharaoh most directly responsible for Egypt’s grand pyramid-building projects was Sneferu. As you pore over inscriptions on a stela named after him, you’ll witness the development of four of the five titles used to describe a king: the “Horus” name, the “King of Upper and Lower Egypt” name, the “Two Ladies” name, and the “Golden Horus” name.

Learn from an Acclaimed Egyptologist

Beloved by Great Courses customers for his dynamism and depth of knowledge, Professor Brier is the best hieroglyphics instructor you could have. Blending language and history, his lectures are a testament to his popularity with the public and his respect among Egyptologists. He brings the same skills to Decoding the Secret of Egyptian Hieroglyphs that he has to his National Geographic television special, Mr. Mummy, his TLC series, The Great Egyptians, and his popular books, including The Murder of Tutankhamen: A True Story and Egyptomania.

At the start of the course, Professor Brier recounts the ancient Egyptian saying, “To say the name of the dead is to make him live again.” Whether he’s unpacking the importance of the scarab beetle hieroglyph, explaining the reason why most of us mispronounce the names of Egyptian pharaohs, or detailing the secret messages inscribed on King Tut’s funerary mask, Professor Brier not only makes ancient Egyptians live again—he does something even more memorable: He allows them to speak in their own words.

And now you can, too.

Decoding the Secrets of Egyptian Hieroglyphs [TTC Video]

How You Decide: The Science of Human Decision Making [TTC Video]

How You Decide: The Science of Human Decision Making [TTC Video]
How You Decide: The Science of Human Decision Making [TTC Video] by Ryan Hamilton
Course No 9560 | MP4, AVC, 856x480 | AAC, 192 kbps, 2 Ch | 24x30 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 7.13GB

Have you ever wondered why your neighbors painted their front door lime green? Or wished you could watch TV without reaching for those snacks over and over again? Have you ever walked up and down the toy aisles to find a birthday present and left without buying anything, just to stop at the convenience store on the way home and buy the only toy on the shelf?

Those three activities—choosing a paint color, changing a habit, and purchasing a gift—might seem unrelated at first glance. But all are examples of the fascinating process of human decision making. Thousands of times each day, even tens of thousands by some estimates, we are presented with choices that require a decision. From the mundane to the life-changing, our brains are constantly working to solve these decision puzzles.

How in the world do we do it?

Over millennia, philosophers, theologians, and mathematicians have all weighed in on the topic, and in recent centuries, economists, psychologists, and sociologists have joined the investigation. People have always been fascinated by how the mind works. We also have a desire to learn from our mistakes, but in order to do so, it’s important to understand how we came to the decision that led to those mistakes.

From the Trojans’ acceptance of that big wooden horse, to the factors that help us decide whom to trust and whom to disbelieve, to the food you are likely to purchase in the market tomorrow—someone somewhere has put forth a theory to explain the decision. Some of these past theories could most politely be described as “aspirational,” describing decision making as it should be, not as it often is. Others have caught on in the minds of the general public and even been published in the popular press, only to be later disproven. But the information presented in this course is different.

In How You Decide: The Science of Human Decision Making, Professor Ryan Hamilton, Associate Professor of Marketing at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School, uses research revealed via the scientific method to understand and explain human decision making. While his easygoing manner and anecdotes about surprising and bizarre choices will keep you enthralled, Professor Hamilton also shares what decision science has revealed through empirically tested theories that make falsifiable predictions and lead to testable hypotheses.

Using the manufacturing process as a metaphor to present those truths, Professor Hamilton describes in 24 in-depth lectures:

  • the informational raw materials you use as inputs to the decision-making process
  • how your cognitive machinery prepares and assembles those raw materials into a decision
  • the motivational control mechanisms that govern and tweak your cognitive machinery to produce a decision.

Dr. Hamilton’s boundless sense of wonder and enthusiasm for the subject of human decision making, solid foundation in the scientific method, and pervasive sense of humor are apparent in every lecture. While most of us believe we make decisions by examining our options rationally and reaching a logical conclusion, Dr. Hamilton, a consumer psychologist, shares a much more interesting reality of fascinating experiments, often irrational choices, and sometimes counterintuitive results.

Based on the outcomes of his own published experiments and those of his colleagues, Dr. Hamilton presents information that allows you to better understand the choices you face every day, the tools you can use to make the best decisions for your personal goals, and how to most effectively influence the decisions of others. Whether your goal is to improve your personal life or to apply decision science to your business, you’ll find the up-to-date research results and practical advice you need in this course.

The Rut of Routines: Everyday Scenarios

Everyone has routines that are established over weeks, months, or even years. These routines become such a part of your life that they can obscure the fact that you’re actually making choices throughout the routine. For example, you go to the store to buy a bag of your favorite coffee. You’ve been drinking this coffee for so many years that you don’t even consider the purchase a “decision.” But when you arrive, you find that the store manager has rearranged the shelves and added five new brands plus six new flavors of your favorite brand. You pick up each new bag, read the label, and sniff the aroma. But you just can’t seem to decide what to buy. What’s happening here?

In this course, you’ll learn:

how the number and placement of choices affect your decisions and can even keep you from making any decision at all how the memory of a song or a joke can cause you to make specific choices months or years later whether or not subliminal messages can cause you to make decisions against your will how the blood flow in your brain can be altered by advertising without any conscious thought on your part how heuristics, while often helpful, can sometimes lead to stereotyping and other poor decisions.

You’ll also discover how you can affect your cognitive machinery and the decisions of others. For example, say that for years, you paid your children to do chores around the house. Over time, you watched them learn to make their beds, do their own laundry, mow the yard, and even do the dusting. But when you visited them in their first apartments, you were shocked to see that they were filthy. How could they possibly have made a decision like that? What went “wrong?” You’ll investigate:

  • the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation
  • how reason-based decision making that seems rational can lead us astray
  • the power of partitioning to affect your own decisions and others’
  • how to most effectively break a bad habit or establish a good one
  • why the commonly used list of pros and cons can actually be a poor decision tool.

What Tools Can We Use to Make the Best Possible Decisions?

Whether you need to buy a car, sell your business, relocate, find a new job, choose a caregiver for your parents, or decide the design and price of a raffle ticket, you always want to make the best possible decision for the occasion. In this practical course, you’ll delve into useful topics such as:

  • the importance of reference points and how they are interpreted (and misinterpreted) by your cognitive machinery
  • how the halo effect influences your decisions for better and for worse
  • why we often choose irrelevant reasons to justify our decisions
  • how intuitive processing and heuristics come into play when our cognitive resources are a mismatch for the decision at hand
  • why we use the tool of replacement in decision making and how it can lead us astray
  • how to “stack the deck” to influence the decision making of another person.

Throughout this course, Dr. Hamilton emphasizes the complex nature of human beings and the many environmental, physical, and emotional aspects of life that can impact any specific decision at any given moment. But while he cautions you to have realistic expectations in the prediction of human behavior, he also gives you the scientifically based tools you need to improve your personal and business decisions.

How You Decide: The Science of Human Decision Making [TTC Video]

The Joy of Thinking: The Beauty and Power of Classical Mathematical Ideas [TTC Video]

The Joy of Thinking: The Beauty and Power of Classical Mathematical Ideas [TTC Video]
The Joy of Thinking: The Beauty and Power of Classical Mathematical Ideas [TTC Video] by Michael Starbird, Edward B Burger
Course No 1423 | AVI, XviD, 560x400 | MP3, 128 kbps, 2 Ch | 24x30 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 8.2GB

Discover mathematics as an artistic and creative realm that contains some of the greatest ideas of human history. This course explores infinity, the fourth dimension, probability, chaos, fractals, and other fantastic themes.

The world of mathematics contains some of the greatest ideas of humankind—ideas comparable to the works of Shakespeare, Plato, and Michelangelo. These mathematical ideas can add texture, beauty, and wonder to your life. Most importantly, you don't have to be a mathematician to have access to this world.

A Mathematical Journey

The Joy of Thinking is a course about fun, aesthetics, and mystery—about great mathematical ideas that arise from puzzles, observations of everyday life, and habits of curiosity and effective thinking. It is as much about learning to think abstractly as it is about what we traditionally think of as mathematics.

You explore the fourth dimension, coincidences, fractals, the allure of number, and geometry, and bring these weighty notions back down to earth to see how they apply to your own life.

Rather than focusing on adding figures or creating equations (in fact, there are fewer numbers than you might expect), this course enables you to uncover and grasp insightful strategies for approaching, enjoying, and understanding the world around you.

"Wonderful ... the Best"

Taught by Professors Edward B. Burger of Williams College and Michael Starbird of the University of Texas at Austin, this course is based on their innovative textbook, The Heart of Mathematics: An invitation to effective thinking, which a reviewer for The American Mathematical Monthly called "wonderful ... possibly the best 'mathematics for the non-mathematician' book that I have seen."

Paradoxical Phenomena

Consider these examples:

  • The game show Let's Make a Deal® entertained viewers with Monty Hall urging contestants to pick a door. The choice involves a question of chance that has been the source of many heated arguments. You explore the mathematics that prepares you for future game-show stardom and explains a paradoxical example of probability.
  • Coincidences are striking because any particular one is extremely improbable. However, what is even more improbable is that no coincidence will occur. You see that finding two people having the same birthday in a room of 45 is extremely likely, by chance alone, even though the probability that any particular two people will have the same birthday is extremely low.
  • One of the most famous illustrations of randomness is the scenario of monkeys randomly typing Hamlet. Another, called "Buffon's needle," shows how random behavior can be used to estimate numbers such as pi. Physicists discovered that a similar needle-dropping model accurately predicts certain atomic phenomena.

The Fourth Dimension

Mathematical thinking leads not only to insights about our everyday lives and everyday world but also points us to worlds far beyond our own. Take the fourth dimension. The very phrase conjures up notions of science fiction or the supernatural.

Because the fourth dimension lies beyond our daily experience, visualizing, exploring, and understanding it requires us to develop an intuition about a world that we cannot see. Nevertheless, that understanding is within our reach.

You learn how to construct a four-dimensional cube and why a four-dimensional surgeon could remove your appendix without making an incision in your skin.


Or take a world that we can see: the two-dimensional realm. It can be just as rich with surprises. You learn how the simple exercise of repeatedly folding a sheet of paper introduces the concept of fractals—a geometric pattern that is infinitely complex—repeated at ever smaller scales to produce irregular shapes and surfaces that cannot be represented by classical geometry.

You discover that the paper-folding sequence offers an example of the classical computational theory of "automata," developed by Alan Turing—the father of modern computing. Fractal construction processes may also relate to the behavior of the stock market and even to your heart rate.

Life Lessons

As Professors Burger and Starbird lead you through these and other examples, you pick up some valuable life lessons:

  • Just do it. If you're faced with a problem and you don't know how to solve it, begin by taking some action.
  • Make mistakes and fail but never give up. Mathematicians are supremely gifted at making mistakes. The key is to use the insight from your mistakes to identify the features of a correct solution to your problem.
  • Keep an open mind. If we are never willing to consider new ideas, then we can never hope to increase our understanding of the world around us.
  • Explore the consequences of new ideas. This strategy pushes us to see where an idea leads and in this way to discover new ideas and insights.
  • Seek the essential. One of the biggest obstacles in solving real-world problems is the noise and clutter of irrelevant issues that surround them.
  • Understand the issue. Identifying and clarifying the problem to be solved in a situation is often a significant step in reaching a solution.
  • Understand simple things deeply. We can never understand unknown situations without an intense focus on those aspects of the unknown that are familiar. The familiar, in other words, serves as the best guide to the unfamiliar.
  • Break a difficult problem into easier ones. This strategy is fundamental to mathematics and, indeed, applicable in everyday life.
  • Examine issues from several points of view. We can, for example, gain new insights by looking at the construction of an object, rather than the object itself.
  • Look for patterns. Similarities among situations and objects that are different on the surface should be viewed as flashing lights urging us to look for explanations. Patterns help us to structure our understanding of the world, and similarities are what we use to bring order and meaning to chaos.

The Un-Math Math

This is probably not like the mathematics you had at school. Some people might not even want to call it math, but you experience a way of thinking that opens doors, opens minds, and leaves you smiling while pondering some of the greatest concepts ever conceived.

One of the great features about mathematics is that it has an endless frontier. The farther you travel, the more you see over the emerging horizon. The more you discover, the more you understand what you've already seen, and the more you see ahead. Deep ideas truly are within the reach of us all. How many more ideas are there for you to explore and enjoy? Well, how long is your life? How can we see the fourth dimension in a Salvador Dali painting?

These certainly aren't the kinds of questions you would normally ask in typical lectures about mathematics. But then again, this isn't an ordinary math course.

The Joy of Thinking: The Beauty and Power of Classical Mathematical Ideas [TTC Video]

The Joy of Thinking: The Beauty and Power of Classical Mathematical Ideas [TTC Video]

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