Great Scientific Ideas That Changed the World [TTC Video]
09 September 2016, 11:46
Course No 1120 | AVI, XviD, 621 kbps, 432x304 | MP3, 128 kbps, 2 Ch | 36x30 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 6.2GB
Why has science so dramatically altered how we live and how we think about ourselves? What is the greatest scientific idea of all time? According to Professor Steven L. Goldman, one is tempted to speak of scientific discoveries as the source of science's power to be a driver of social change—that scientists have been discovering new truths about nature, and that the change follows from that. But I argue that it is scientific ideas that are responsible for this change. Ideas are the source of science's power—not discoveries."
And what is the greatest scientific idea of all? For Professor Goldman, that is surely the very idea of science, for as he puts it, "The idea of science itself is an idea that had to be invented."
In Great Scientific Ideas That Changed the World, you will explore ideas that—when society has been willing to pursue them—have helped form the foundation of modern life. You'll interpret the term "scientific idea" broadly, so as to include ideas that made science possible at all, as well as ideas that make science immensely powerful.
You will discover there is no sharp distinction between ideas that are classified as scientific and those that are classified as philosophical or mathematical, or even between scientific ideas and political, religious, or aesthetic ideas. Alfred North Whitehead, for example, famously linked the emergence of modern science in the Christian West to the belief in a single, law-observing Creator of the universe.
The New Dot-Com World
New ideas affect society in unpredictable ways. A perfect example is the evolution of the Internet from a modest U.S. Department of Defense-funded computer network project to a global technology that has transformed commerce, industry, politics, warfare, communication, education, entertainment, and research. We are still unfolding the unexpected and sometimes disturbing consequences of a few innovative ideas that enable computers in different locations to share information in real time, ideas that underlie the Internet's astonishing capabilities.
What we do know is that science has changed our lives—but how it does so, and why it is able to do so, tells us as much about ourselves as it does about science.
Moreover, as unpredictable as science may be, Professor Goldman argues that for 200 years now the interaction of science and technology with society has been the primary driver of social and cultural change, first in the West, then globally, and at an accelerating rate. During this period, social and personal values and relationships; social, political, and economic institutions; and cultural values and activities have changed and continue to change almost beyond anything our great-grandparents (or sometimes even parents) would recognize. What has transformed entire ways of life that had previously been entrenched for centuries or millennia?
There are objects, of course—the telephone, automobile, airplane, television, computer—that appear to be causes of social change. But identifying these artifacts does not reach down to the causes of innovation itself, nor does it expose those features of the sociocultural infrastructure that enable innovations to become causes of social change. Artifacts, in spite of their high visibility, are symptoms of causes at work; they are not themselves causes.
Learn How Society Affects Ideas
It is not only television, the automobile, or the Internet that have changed society. Instead, forces at work in society have caused television and automobiles and the Internet to take on the changing forms they take. One of these forces is ideas—new scientific ideas, originating in the past and subsequently internalized by society. These ideas have shaped both our social and cultural affairs and the lines along which society is most open to change.
For instance, the notion that there are laws of nature seems to reflect a political idea. There can be no doubt that mathematical and aesthetic ideas were central to the 17th-century Scientific Revolution. Furthermore, distinguishing science and technology is fuzzy, too—especially since the late 19th century, when scientific knowledge and technological innovation began to be coupled systematically in industrial, academic, and government research laboratories.
Each of Professor Goldman's 36 lectures highlights in a provocative way a single idea or development critical to the development of science in the West. The lectures are broadly chronological, beginning with prescientific know-how and the invention of writing, and advancing through modern times all the way to the development of chaos theory. In each lecture, Professor Goldman looks at not only the content of an idea that is fundamental for science, but also how that idea arose and what its impact has been throughout the centuries.
In the first third of the course, Professor Goldman engages in a sort of "reverse engineering" of what we mean by science today, identifying the origins of features that now seem essential for the existence of modern science.
Lecture 1 begins by looking back at the already impressive prescientific skills and know-how humans had achieved by the 4th century B.C.E., and Lecture 2 discusses the invention of writing and the spread of writing systems and texts from 3500 B.C.E. to the beginning of Classical antiquity.
Who Invented Ideas?
The invention of writing may not seem a scientific idea at all. Yet there is a profound assumption underlying the invention of writing, whose controversial implications are reflected in Socrates's argument against writing, as recounted in Plato's dialogue Phaedrus. Writing is also a technology and serves as a shining example of how technologies embody ideas, even though we tend to ignore the ideas when our attention dwells only on what the technologies do, how they do it, or what the consequences have been.
Between 500 B.C.E. and 300 B.C.E., Greek philosophers developed highly specific concepts of knowledge, reason, truth, nature, mathematics, logic, knowledge of nature, and the use of mathematics to describe nature—all in ways that continue to inform the practice of science to the present day. Lectures 3–5 are devoted to these ideas and their legacies.
Lecture 6 discusses the first appearance in Western history, perhaps in world history, of the idea of techno-science—technology derived from theoretical knowledge rather than from practical know-how. This was largely a Greek idea that was applied in the context of the rising Roman Empire, and the lecture describes selected Roman-era technologies that influenced modern science and engineering.
Lectures 7–11 explore a set of interrelated developments that together constitute a bridge between the ancient and early modern eras:
- The idea of the university and its role as a progenitor of modern science
- Medieval machinery and Europe's first Industrial Revolution
- The Renaissance ideas of progress, the printed book, and mathematics as the language of nature.
All of these ideas are fundamental for science as we know it, and they are also fundamental for the rise of engineering and technological innovation.
Lecture 12 discusses Copernicus's idea of a moving Earth, the cultural consequences of that idea, and its subsequent evolution into an astronomical theory. Copernicus himself was wrong about a great deal—for example, planets move in orbits that are elliptical, not circular—but his idea helped clear the way for the foundational ideas of modern science that you'll explore in Lectures 13–17. Among these are the idea of method, mathematical ideas such as algebra and calculus, ideas of conservation and symmetry, the creation of instruments that extend the mind and not only our senses. All together, these ideas created a new conception of knowledge of nature.
Lectures 18–28 explore 19th-century scientific ideas of immense social, cultural, intellectual, as well as scientific, influence:
- Time is an active dimension of reality and not merely a passive measure of change.
- A chemical atom is an expression of a generic idea of fundamental units with fixed properties out of which nature is composed.
- The cell theory of life, the germ theory of disease, and the gene theory of inheritance, can all been seen as conceptually allied to the atom idea—to the powerful notion that natural phenomena can be analyzed in terms of fundamental building blocks.
- Energy, immaterial force fields, and relationships offer a contrasting, yet equally powerful, conception of processes as the most elementary features of nature.
- Science can be allied systematically with technology—knowing with doing—to synthesize a new world.
- Evolution epitomizes a process-oriented approach to science and can be extended from biology to scientific thinking generally.
- Natural phenomena have a fundamentally probabilistic and statistical character.
- New social institutions can play a pivotal role in science's ability to transform the world.
Lectures 29–35 discuss increasingly sophisticated scientific ideas of the 20th century, including relativity, quantum theory, the expanding universe, computer science, information theory, molecular biology; as well as the idea of systems, especially chaotic systems and self-organizing systems, plus the related ideas of ecology.
Lecture 36 concludes by reviewing today's ideas about science and technology in upcoming fields such as cognitive neuroscience, bio- and nanotechnology, and physicists' search for a Theory of Everything, and considers ideas, and their likely roles as motivators of future change.
From Yao to Mao: 5000 Years of Chinese History [TTC Video]
09 September 2016, 06:52
Course No 8320 | AVI, XviD, 640x480 | MP3, 128 kbps, 2 Ch | 36x30 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 6.46GB
In a world growing increasingly smaller, China still seems a faraway and exotic land, with secrets and mysteries of ages past, its history and intentions veiled from most Westerners. Yet behind that veil lies one of the most amazing civilizations the world has ever known. For most of its 5,000-year existence, China has been the largest, most populous, wealthiest, and mightiest nation on Earth. And for us as Westerners, it is essential to understand where China has been in order to anticipate its future. This course answers this need by delivering a comprehensive political and historical overview of one of the most fascinating and complex countries in world history.
A Civilization so Advanced …
- China had a theory of social contract, the "Mandate of Heaven," in place by 1500 B.C.E., 3,000 years before Western philosophers such as Thomas Hobbes and John Locke.
- It had seen the rule of three classical dynasties before 200 B.C.E.
- It developed agriculture and writing independently of outside influence.
- In Confucius and Laozi—among others—it had philosophers of the Axial Age as influential as were Plato, Socrates, and Aristotle in ancient Greece.
- While the Roman Empire was at its zenith, China's Han dynasty ruled over an empire superior in almost every measurable way, including technological advancement.
… Its Wonders Were Thought to Be Lies
The veil that hides China's extraordinary past from many of us today is far from a new one. When Marco Polo wrote of the wonders he had seen over his 20 years in China, most of his fellow Venetians could not accept his descriptions of a civilization that rivaled their own. They contemptuously referred to the book he wrote about his adventures as "The Millions”—the number of lies they believed marched across its pages. Those Venetians had chosen to turn away from a precious opportunity to glimpse China's wonders and better understand the world.
Every lecture of From Yao to Mao: 5000 Years of Chinese History may seem like a journey across a virgin landscape, for the ground it covers has been largely unexplored in the history courses most of us in the West have taken.
You learn about:
- The powerful dynasties that ruled China for centuries
- The philosophical and religious foundations—particularly Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism—that have influenced every iteration of Chinese thought
- The larger-than-life personalities, from both inside and outside its borders, of those who have shaped China's history.
- As you listen to these lectures, you see how China's politics, economics, and art reflect the forces of its past.
Explore China's Subtleties with an Expert
Few nations have as long and intricate a history as China. To bring alive the subtleties of that history in only 36 lectures requires a teacher intimately familiar with not only his subject, but the needs of listeners who may well be peering for the first time beyond that curtain that has long veiled the mysteries of China—indeed, of all Asia—from the eyes and understanding of Westerners.
Born and raised in Ohio, Professor Kenneth J. Hammond himself made that intellectual and cultural journey. He has lived and worked in Beijing and established exchange programs with schools in China and Korea.
In guiding you through the five millennia of China's history, he has organized his lectures around several major themes:
- The evolution of the social and political elite and how they acquired and asserted their power as rulers
- The history of political thought and the ways the Chinese have organized their society and government from the shamanistic roots of that political thought to the crafting and adapting of the Imperial Order, the rise of Communism, and the introduction of capitalism as China seeks economic growth
- How the Chinese have thought and written about themselves and the world
- The connections between economic and social life and the worlds of art, literature, and philosophy
- The interaction among cosmological ideas, the metaphysical insights of Buddhism and religious Daoism, and the perennial mysticism of popular religion
- China's history as it relates to the world beyond its borders.
China's Story: From Night Skies Ablaze to Opium
Dr. Hammond's lectures are richly detailed and lead you on compelling forays across many aspects of China's story. From a governing perspective, you'll learn how the short-lived Qin dynasty—with "legalism"as its often brutal ideology of governance—became the first unified empire, laying the basis for an enduring imperial order. And how the implementation of the imperial civil service examination system in the late 10th century gave intellectual issues renewed importance, and made the 11th century flourish with great debate and discussion about literature, philosophy, government, and art. You'll also learn the eye-opening story of how China was betrayed by the Allies at Versailles, precipitating riots in Beijing and helping pave the way for the emergence of the Communist Party.
From an historical point of reference, you'll see how a concubine named Wu Zetian rose to become the first and only empress to rule China . You'll also learn how opium became the commodity that allowed Great Britain to pry open China to the avarice of the West, making millions of Chinese into addicts, inciting the Opium Wars and a profound humiliation for China. You'll also be fascinated by the extraordinary story of a failed examination candidate named Hong Xiuquan, whose certainty that he was Jesus' younger brother drove him to lead a revolution that nearly succeeded in overthrowing the Qing dynasty. And then examine the conquest of China by the Mongols, including a riveting discussion of their culture and tactics.
You'll also explore how select artistic and intellectual events shaped China's history. For example, learn about the great ceramic center at Jingdezhen, which, in the 12th century, became one of the first true industrial cities in world history, its massive production lines setting the night sky ablaze with the glow from their great kilns. You'll be introduced to the Neo-Confucianist teachings of Zhu Xi, one of the great figures in Chinese intellectual history, whose sharply divergent commentaries on classical Confucian texts placed an emphasis on moral self-cultivation and the role of the individual. And finally, you'll visit the golden age of the Ming dynasty, when art and literature flourished amid economic growth and the revival of a great merchant class, including the invention of a postal system that became the foundation of a great trading network.
China: A Major Player
China continues to reassert itself as a major force. These above samplings can only hint at the fascination of this course and the immensity of its scope. However, the full course offers the history of this vast nation, reminding us that China is no stranger to that stage and, indeed, has more often than not been the most extraordinary player on it.
How to Boost Your Physical and Mental Energy [TTC Video]
09 September 2016, 06:24
Course No 1931 | MP4, AVC, 1024x576 | AAC, 64 kbps, 2 Ch | 12x30 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 2.3GB
Wouldn’t it be great if you could wake up every morning full of life and enthusiasm for a brand new day? If you loved going to work, and got a positive charge out of all your relationships? If you always had an unending reserve of energy?
Most of us no doubt feel energetic some of the time, but as we get older, the stressors and responsibilities of life, and the weight of our myriad obligations, inevitably take their toll, leaving us feeling tired, worn out, and generally depleted.
While energy is a limited resource within the body, there are things you can do to help you conserve the energy you have and tap into hidden energy reserves.
- Perform daily exercises, breathing rituals, and meditations to recharge your batteries.
- Adjust your diet and sleeping habits to operate more efficiently from one day to the next.
- Re-allocate wasted energy toward higher priorities, such as your family and friends.
- Find purpose in your work and relationships to boost your energy for the long run.
How to Boost Your Physical and Mental Energy offers a step-by-step curriculum for tapping into those hidden wells of energy and injecting your life with a much-welcomed jolt of vitality—that joie de vivre we all wish we had. Taught by Dr. Kimberlee Bethany Bonura, a highly acclaimed fitness and wellness consultant, these 12 accessible lectures serve as a toolkit for a more energetic you. Dr. Bonura shows you a series of practical exercises that will increase your energy in the short term, and you also learn how to make a personalized blueprint for long-term success.
When physicists talk about human energy, they talk about calories and joules, whereas most of us simply want to feel good and charged up. There is a science behind that ineffable sense of vitality, and Dr. Bonura shows you the latest research on everything from sleep to mindfulness to the importance of play and emotional well-being. How to Boost Your Physical and Mental Energy shows you how a few simple strategies could mean the difference between guzzling coffee while slouched over the breakfast table and walking out the front door with a spring in your step.
Learn Strategies for Self-Care
There are no shortcuts to an energetic life—no miracle tonic or 10 superfoods you must eat every day—but like weeding a garden for optimal growth, daily self-care is nonetheless critical to maximizing your energy. Dr. Bonura reveals several practices that can make a profound difference in how you feel throughout the day. In this course, she examines energy’s relationship to:
- Breathing: Facilitate relaxation through meditation and mindfulness.
- Work: See how to manage and protect your energy on the job.
- Relationships: Make sure your social life nurtures your energy levels.
- Environment: Streamline your life by simplifying daily decisions.
- Diet: Discover a few sensible guidelines rather than obsessing over calories.
You might be surprised to learn that one of the simplest ways to increase your energy is by sleeping eight hours a night. We’ve all heard that recommendation, but research confirms that people who get enough rest are in fact more alert, and more precise in their thinking, than those who only sleep a few hours a night.
Such advice is simple—eat well, sleep eight hours a night, nurture good relationships—but rather than being a luxury for those with unlimited time, proper self-care is a matter of self-preservation. Following Dr. Bonura’s guidelines will be a powerful step toward invigorating your life.
Discover a Toolkit of Practical Exercises
This course’s goal is ambitious: it seeks to help you build a more meaningful, enjoyable life. But these lectures also constitute a practical toolkit, offering a wealth of exercises you can try right away in your living room alongside Dr. Bonura, including:
- Meditation and mindfulness
- Breathing exercises
- Restorative yoga
You’ll also discover some “quick fixes” for an immediate boost of energy, such as chewing mint gum, drinking a glass of water, or simply walking in place. These exercises integrate physical well-being with mental health, helping you maximize your energy on all fronts.
Consider How to Live a Purposeful Life
While self-care is crucial for boosting energy from one day to the next, sustainable physical and mental energy is only possible within the framework of a meaningful life. An energetic life is a purposeful life, so Dr. Bonura challenges you to think about how you spend your days: are you satisfied with your career? With your relationships? What does success mean to you?
Energy is a limited resource, and may be wasted if channeled unproductively. The good news is that you can consciously choose where and how to allocate your energy. Practicing mindfulness, making time for play, considering your emotional perspectives, and reducing your cognitive load all help you move from a quick boost to sustained energy. The key is making choices that promote a happy life.
Whatever your age and whatever your health circumstances, How to Boost Your Physical and Mental Energy is an invaluable guide for increasing your ability to do the things you want to do in life.