A Children's Guide to Folklore and Wonder Tales [TTC Video]
29 September 2017, 03:08
Course No 2411 | MP4, AVC, 2000 kbps, 1280x720 | AAC, 192 kbps, 2 Ch | 24x30 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 11.65GB
“Once upon a time…” Those four words bring us comfort, joy, and hope, as they start a plethora of stories that often end with “happily ever after.” We carry these stories in our hearts like dear old friends, turning to them for inspiration, courage, and entertainment—much in the same way as those who originally told them used them to pass the time and share lessons among family and friends. However, the stories we know now are not always the same ones that were told centuries ago, and were not always told for the same reasons.
Throughout this unique course, Dr. Hannah Blevins Harvey, a professional storyteller with a Ph.D. in Communication Studies, treats you to dynamic, theatrical, and engaging tellings of cherished tales from around the world. Join a mixed-age audience to hear many of your favorite and beloved childhood tales performed by an award-winning storyteller against a storybook-like backdrop as The Great Courses studio is transformed into magical settings. Additionally, you will be introduced to lesser-known stories as you take a cultural tour through ancient and contemporary time, as well as around the world, with stops in Greece, Egypt, Iran, India, Kenya, Japan, Russia, the Nordic countries, the Philippines, Australia, France, Italy, Scotland, Germany and more.
As a special bonus, Dr. Harvey also provides an exploration of the themes, questions, and evolutions for these stories, providing you and the children in your life with an intellectual perspective to think about and discuss.
Dr. Harvey unpacks more than 60 of our most beloved stories, fables, fairy tales, and songs from around the world—providing you with a fascinating, in-depth view into the history, context, and deeper meaning of the tales we know and love. As you travel through the catalogs of Grimm, Aesop, Hans Christian Anderson, Charles Perrault, Oscar Wilde, and so many more, you’ll gain profound insights into how and why these stories came to be. And these stories are more than “just stories”—they’re a powerful tool of folk culture. Folk stories are the wells into which we humans pour our deepest anxieties, our desires, our hopes—and problematic as they sometimes are, these stories continue to deeply resonate with us throughout our lives.
Why Tales Matter
“It’s been said that fairy tales are like the subconscious dreams of a culture—in them wells up all the desires, and anxieties, and experiences of cultural life. In these stories, all of the characters represent us, different aspects of ourselves,” claims Dr. Harvey.
Tales use powerful symbols to help us articulate our daily struggles, understand major life events, envision roles for ourselves, and interpret the world around us. As Dr. Harvey tells some of these tales to audiences (children from elementary and middle school and the adults in their lives), you will actually see how shared stories—wonder tales, fables, pourquoi stories, fairy tales, and magic tales—can draw a circle around listeners of all ages. You’ll understand how hearing stories in person can pull us closer to shared meanings, and to each other, too. The tales of our youth shaped us, and their lasting power will shape the children you share them with.
Just as important is that stories transport us into another world of fantasy and wonder—where characters do things we can’t do here. The words “once upon a time” transport us into “story time”—this is a “play” world, where there are rules, and yet anything can happen. In this “play” world we “work” out a lot of very genuine issues; we discover and try out roles, and discover the ingrained truths that we carry with us throughout our lives. Fantasy matters to us because the deep work of imagining possibilities happens here.
Supplementing the stories and insights provided by Dr. Harvey, child psychiatrist Dr. Zheala Qayyum, from Yale University’s Medical School and Department of Psychiatry, weighs in about the importance of stories, folktales, and imagination-building exercise in the healthy development of children, no matter where they live.
Untelling Our Favorite Tales
If you think you know the classic stories such as “Sleeping Beauty,” “Cinderella,” and “Hansel and Gretel,” then think again. This course provides you with illuminating surprises about how culture, language, and time have evolved folktales into the definitive versions you grew up with. “Stories are a lot like humans—we and they have to adapt to our circumstances, or we die,” Dr. Harvey explains.
In some cases, stories adapt to the location and cultures where they are being told, while still sharing the same motifs, plots, and lessons. Consider our beloved tale of “The Gingerbread Man”: In Norway and Germany the animated edible creature is a pancake—and the pancake runs away down the lane. In Scotland, it’s a “wee bannock”—or a roll. In Ireland, it’s a little cake. And in Russia, the story is about a loaf of bread that is possessed by a devil.
In other cases, time, translation, and the storyteller will make deliberate shifts in the premise of our well-known stories. Take a deeper look at “Cinderella,” one of the world’s oldest “magic tales,” dating back 7000 years, with Mah Pishani being one of the oldest versions. Dr. Harvey examines the many different versions of just this one story:
- The French version of “Cinderella” by Charles Perrault is the one we are most familiar with in America. It is this version that introduces readers to the iconic glass slipper, which was not a component in earlier versions. In many other versions, the shoe is not a shoe at all, but a ring or some other object that the girl must fit into.
- In Italy, the glass slipper is made of cork. It’s also not a slipper, it’s a chianiello—a special kind of courtly overshoe that well-to-do women wore to keep the mud off their nice shoes.
- In other versions of the story, the evil sisters cut off their heels and toes to try to fit into the shoe—and they and the stepmother are rewarded for their treachery by being chased and pecked by crows in the end!
As you follow this one story from continent to continent, you also gain insights into the of significance of adding the glass slipper—a highly impractical yet ornamental detail that shaped the version of Cinderella we know. As she unpacks the meaning behind these symbols, Dr. Harvey introduces you to some amazing facts such as the speculation that Perrault got his source’s story wrong about the glass slipper. The French word for glass (verre) sounds and is spelled similarly to the French word for squirrel fur (vair), and some say he confused the two words! So, perhaps the French Cinderella should have worn a squirrel-fur boot!
Shared Themes and Motifs Around the World of Stories
Folklorists have found that the same story themes with the same “motifs,” or story parts, recur across cultures and across time. A system of classification was developed first by Finnish folklorist Antti Aarne in 1910, then refined by American folklorist Stith Thompson in 1928, and then further refined and diversified in 2004 to include stories beyond the European canon, by German folklorist Hans-Jörg Uther. For example: The Aarne-Thompson-Uther classification system (or ATU system) groups all Sleeping Beauties under tale type 410, and there are at least 22 different versions of this story across the world that resemble this tale type!
Some common themes across time and culture include:
- Transformations: As the folk saying goes, “heroes are not born, they are made.” As examined in stories such as “Beauty and the Beast,” “East of the Sun and West of the Moon,” and more, you’ll examine the theme of change and how it’s utilized in stories around the world to teach important rites of passage.
- Explanations: Every culture has come up with its own stories to explain the hows and whys of life around us. Pourquoi tales are often about the natural world and explain how and why. Explore the whys in stories by Aesop and Kipling.
- Good and Evil: In some tales, the distinction between good and evil is clear—or is it? Stories such as “The Brave Little Tailor” and “David and Goliath” demonstrate how even small characters, when good, can defeat evil giants. Dr. Harvey shows how even ancient tales challenged the use of “good” and “evil” as definitive traits by introducing you to characters such as Baba Yaga—an ambiguous character who defies classification. Baba Yaga stories connect back to Neolithic cultures who worshiped the Mother Goddess- a representation of both life and death (like a feminine Shiva in Hindu cultures).
- Rise Stories: These rags-to-riches stories provide hope for change, showing a character move above their circumstances through luck, skill, or magic. “Cinderella” and “Puss in Boots” are two examples where someone utterly common is transformed into someone special.
Through time and across cultures, our stories resonate deeply with us all throughout our lives.
These tales use powerful symbols to help us articulate our daily struggles, understand major life events, envision roles for ourselves, and interpret the world around us.
Join us to discover a collection of stories that will lift your heart, haunt your dreams, and challenge your expectations.
Mastering Tai Chi [TTC Video]
29 September 2017, 02:47
Course No 1918 | MP4, AVC, 1000 kbps, 1280x720 | AAC, 128 kbps, 2 Ch | 24x30 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 5.89GB
Tai chi is one of the most remarkable and practical philosophies ever devised. It combines the pursuit of health and longevity, the martial practice of self-defense, and the lofty—but attainable—ideals of harmony and balance. It promotes relaxation, joy, compassion, positive growth, and flow. Tai chi gives you a set of mental tools you can apply in all areas of your life, and it helps you learn to achieve your goals with the minimum effort for the maximum result.
Best of all, tai chi is accessible to everyone, regardless of your current level of physical fitness. The movements are designed to emphasize and improve your body’s natural, healthy posture, so that instead of struggling to perform strenuous motions, you playfully relax into a gentle flow. The philosophy of tai chi can be applied comfortably within any spiritual framework, or none at all. The concepts of merit and virtue, of authenticity and mindfulness, of kindness and service to community and the world—all of these are values to be cherished by any thoughtful person who seeks a happy and meaningful life.
Mastering Tai Chi is your invitation to step onto the path of greater health, strength, wisdom, and compassion. These 24 half-hour lessons taught by International Master Tai Chi Instructor David-Dorian Ross, take you deeply into what is traditionally called tai chi chuan (taijiquan), while focusing on a routine known as the Yang-style 40-movement form. As you learn this form, you also:
- study the principles of tai chi—physical and philosophical guidelines that frame the essential concepts of the practice.
- delve into tai chi’s long history, contemplating the contributions of the sages who composed the tai chi classics, the Dao De Jing, the I Ching, and other priceless philosophical texts.
- envision an imaginary opponent to engage the martial aspects of the practice, then connect with a real partner in “Push Hands”—a tai chi game for two
- learn advanced techniques, including silk reeling and silk pulling, that are rarely taught.
- discover the transformational power of your focused intention and willpower to achieve your goals.
The course is excellent for beginners, as Professor Ross breaks down arm motions, body positions, and footwork for each movement. He shows you how to sink into and feel the posture, then smoothly transition and maintain your flow. Compared with the 24-movement form and instructional approach in Essentials of Tai Chi and Qigong, this course offers a more extended and deeper familiarity with Yang-style tai chi via the 40-movement form, which incorporates and builds upon movements from the shorter sequence.
Following traditional methods for a private, “indoor student,” you’ll consider ideas from the tai chi classics, and you’ll also encounter many new concepts and applications. Even those who have previously taken tai chi classes in person or studied with an instructor will gain knowledge from the depth and breadth of the presentation, the attention to each detail of the form, and the consideration of foundational philosophical principles and their application, both for better movement and in everyday life.
Mental Tools for Every Realm of Life
Tai chi is based on principles that not only improve your physical health, but also reveal the secrets to emotional health, satisfying relationships, and success in all of your endeavors. You will learn techniques to strengthen and develop traits such as:
- focused intention
- tranquility inside movement and chaos
These tools, and the others you gain, will serve you well in everything you do. When you are mindful of your body and emotions, you become more aware of your strengths and weaknesses. The clarity and authenticity of this knowledge help you focus your intention and employ your willpower to heal and grow more effectively. When you move toward health, your balance improves and your flow increases, and you are able to find tranquility anywhere.
The course makes available a wealth of resources to help you think through your journey, including:
- vital philosophical texts like the Tai Chi Classics, the I Ching, and the Tao Te Ching
- traditional teaching stories and wisdom, as well as stories from David-Dorian Ross’s own path to mastery
- the history and significance of important symbols like silk, tea, and incense
- cultural information such as the traditional conduct and greetings of teachers and students, as well as the Chinese names and English translations and insights regarding each form movement
- Armed with this information, you will find yourself well equipped to enjoy and benefit from tai chi, and engage with the challenges of the wider world.
Advance along the Path to Mastery
While the course is entirely accessible to beginners and starts with the basics of tai chi, it also progresses into more advanced topics and techniques. You’ll watch Professor Ross slice the air with a tai chi straight sword in the circling, spiraling patterns shared by bare-hand and weapons forms alike. He demonstrates the principle of smooth, continuous flow with the tai chi staff, making beautiful—and dangerous—”flowers” as he moves. Another tai chi master joins him in the studio for a whole lesson on pushing hands, tai chi’s partner game that lets you accentuate and assess progress along your path. Another lesson is spent on the techniques of silk reeling and silk pulling—styles of movement that are intrinsic to tai chi, but that are often hidden in the form and rarely taught.
Each lesson is visually rich, with supportive graphics designed to focus your attention and make the instruction even clearer and easier to follow. To show you how each part of your body aligns and moves in sequence, you always see this master instructor perform and lead you through each movement – and each combination of movements -- from several angles. Graphics such as arrows that appear during a movement help you grasp the orientation and motion of your own hands, arms, legs, and feet as you progress through the form. On-screen text displays the names of movements in English, and in pinyin, which is the standardized version of Chinese rendered more-or-less phonetically using the Roman alphabet, and in traditional Chinese characters.
Tai chi is an unparalleled system for improving your physical, mental, emotional, and even spiritual health. Mastering Tai Chi is an extraordinary course that can help you achieve the heights of mental and physical fitness. Bring the body you have, and step into a journey of personal mastery.
The Science of Flight [TTC Video]
29 September 2017, 02:38
Course No 1321 | M4V, AVC, 630 kbps, 640x360 | AAC, 162 kbps, 2 Ch | 29x30 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 4.59GB
Many of us board a plane without understanding what a truly extraordinary experience flight is: suspended 30,000 feet or more in the air, propelled to our destination at close to the speed of sound, protected from extreme cold and low pressure by the thin skin of the aircraft. We realize it’s complicated, but few of us know how it works. Even more remarkable is space flight, the “rocket science” that we use as a benchmark of difficulty or complexity.
Yet the related principles of atmospheric flight and space flight are not difficult at all, and the study of these two miracles of modern engineering is a wide-ranging lesson in physics, technology, and history. No organization is more authoritative on this subject than the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum (NASM) and its annex, the Udvar-Hazy Center. Together, they host the world’s premier collections of air and space artifacts and the home to some of the most distinguished scholars in the field.
The Great Courses is proud to join forces with the Smithsonian to explain flight as it’s never been explained before. In 24 visually rich half-hour lectures, The Science of Flight covers the inner workings of gliders, airplanes, helicopters, rockets, spacecraft, and other flying machines, illustrated by the incomparable holdings of NASM and with commentary by the museum’s internationally renowned curators.
The Science of Flight is taught by award-winning educator James W. Gregory, Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Ohio State University. An instrument-rated private pilot as well as an engineer, Professor Gregory gives as thorough an explanation of the principles of flight, rocketry, and related topics as you’ll get outside of flight school. Throughout, his beautifully clear lectures are supplemented by incisive commentary from NASM experts, who put everything from airfoils to orbits into a fascinating historical context.
The more than one dozen curators and other NASM staff featured in this course include:
- Tom Crouch: The Senior Curator of Aeronautics at NASM, Dr. Crouch surveys the celebrated early days of aviation. A noted historian, he is the author of a bestselling biography of the Wright brothers.
- John D. Anderson, Jr.: Serving as technical consultant for the course, Dr. Anderson is the Curator of Aerodynamics at NASM. He draws on his love of aviation engineering history to illuminate pioneering breakthroughs in the field.
- Dorothy Cochrane: NASM’s Curator of General Aviation, Cochrane focuses on the feats of extraordinary civilian pilots, including aerobatic champions and record-breaking long-distance fliers.
- Roger Launius: The Senior Curator of Space History at NASM and formerly Chief Historian for NASA, Dr. Launius predicts the future of space travel, weighing past exploits and present plans.
And this is just some of the remarkable talent assembled for this course.
Think Like an Aeronautical Engineer
Aviation has advanced hand-in-hand with our growing understanding of the physics of flight—what causes lift, how to reduce drag, the complex events in the transonic realm. This makes NASM the ideal laboratory for explaining revolutionary milestones—from the three-axis control system of the original Wright Flyer that made winged flight practical; to the supercharged Rolls Royce Merlin engine that gave the P-51 Mustang a winning edge in World War II; to the thermal tile system that allowed the Space Shuttle to survive dozens of reentries from space.
In The Science of Flight, Professor Gregory delves deeply into these and many other developments, explaining how they work at a fundamental level, down to the equations that govern such phenomena as wing loading, parasitic drag, induced drag, power in a reciprocating engine, and thrust in a jet or rocket engine. Using almost no higher mathematics than high-school-level algebra, Dr. Gregory demonstrates how aeronautical engineers think, analyzing forces to predict exactly what will happen with a particular airfoil, structural material, power plant, and scores of other design features.
Such an inquiring attitude will pay off next time you’re in the air, alerting you to intriguing observations like these:
- Lift made visible: Watch the wing as you accelerate down the runway. As lift builds, you will see the wing bend upward. On large aircraft made of composite materials, such as the Boeing 787, the deflection can be substantial, as much as twelve feet at the wing tip!
- Wing origami: The sound of hydraulic actuators is your clue to look out the window and observe the wing dramatically change shape prior to landing. By deploying slats on the leading edge and flaps on the trailing edge, higher lift is produced for a safe landing at a relatively low speed.
- A shocking sight: Supersonic flight is hampered by the formation of shock waves that constitute the notorious “sound barrier.” Under the right lighting, you can see the shadow of a shock wave on the wing of a passenger jet cruising at a four-fifths of the speed of sound.
- Breathtaking: Commercial jets fly at an altitude that would challenge human survival if the plane was not pressurized. However, the cabin is not set to sea-level pressure but to the equivalent of a high-elevation city such as Santa Fe or Mexico City. This can cause shortness of breath for some passengers.
Let Your Understanding of Flight Take Wing!
One big advantage of taking the engineer’s approach to understanding flight is that it clears up common misconceptions. For example, a frequently heard explanation of lift is that air rushing past a wing has farther to go along the curved upper surface than along the flat underside. According to this view, the top flow of air must go faster to “catch up” with air directed along the bottom. Faster-moving air equals lower pressure, which equals lift. The last sentence is correct, but the rest of the explanation is wrong—as shown by the existence of symmetrical airfoils and planes that fly upside-down.
To get at the real origin of lift, Professor Gregory uses conservation of mass and momentum, a garden-hose analogy, and a standard illustration of smoke streamlines around an airfoil. In subsequent lectures, he employs the same ideas to explore drag. And when it comes to discussing the potentially fatal interplay of lift and drag known as stall, Dr. Gregory takes his private plane aloft and demonstrates an actual stall, explaining why it happens and showing how to recover from it.
Like driver education classes, flight schools frequently warn students with accounts of preventable mishaps such as pilot errors, icing incidents, fueling mistakes, unrecognized design flaws, and other conditions that have led to harrowing landings and often tragedies. Dr. Gregory recounts several memorable cases, underlining how knowledge is power in reducing such incidents.
But along with the cautionary tales, he and his NASM collaborators provide plenty of uplifting stories of pilots, astronauts, and engineers who mastered their craft and achieved wonders in air and space. Thanks to Professor Gregory and the Smithsonian, the drama, romance, and science of this incomparable endeavor truly take wing in The Science of Flight.
Additionally, you’ll receive five bonus interviews with NASM experts, providing further insights into the subjects explored throughout the course. You will hear Dr. John Anderson delve into Gustave Eiffel's wind tunnels, the Wright Flyer, and the science of engineering faster flights. Dr. Tom Crouch explores the Wright Brothers’ and innovation, and Dr. Roger Launius dives into the inventive new ways we are working to fly higher, faster, and further.