Wonders of the National Parks: A Geology of North America [TTC Video]

Wonders of the National Parks: A Geology of North America [TTC Video]
Wonders of the National Parks: A Geology of North America by Ford Cochran
Course No 1707 | MP4, AVC, 870 kbps, 856x480 | AAC, 135 kbps, 2 Ch | 36x30 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 7.89GB

In 1872, a wondrous region called Yellowstone was set aside as the world’s first national park, giving adventurous travelers access to a geologist’s paradise that seethes with pent-up volcanic forces. As more and more national parks were created—not just in the United States but also in Canada and Mexico—geologists were revolutionizing their field, piecing together a detailed understanding of how the world works. National parks have made these magnificent reminders of the awe-inspiring power of our planet accessible to everyone. Today, there is no better education in the remarkable forces that formed our world than a tour of the national parks of North America. These parks capture a special place in our hearts and draw millions of tourists each year.

From Yellowstone’s bubbling, steaming landscape to the great slabs of granite along Acadia’s shores, each park contributes its own chapter to the story of Earth. Most visitors get only a superficial view of these sites, guided by the informational signposts or tour books, but there is so much more to be discovered. Our national parks offer profound lessons for anyone who loves history, geology, and nature. This course provides in-depth insights, intriguing perspectives, and riveting little-known facts about these treasured places that you won’t find simply by driving through them. And the next time you do drive or hike through a national park, you’ll have a deeper appreciation for the forces—geological, historical, and otherwise—that shaped it.

You will learn how our majestic parks provide dramatic evidence of geological processes such as:

  • Colliding continents: From Maine’s Acadia National Park to the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee, the rolling Appalachians are the eroded remnants of once-mighty peaks formed in the collision of ancient continents.
  • Glaciation: The magnificent valley that welcomes visitors to Yosemite National Park is the work of vanished glaciers that were nearly a mile thick. Glaciers sculpted this region and much of North America in a succession of pulses during Earth’s latest ice age.
  • Uplift and erosion: Imagine a board lifting into a buzz saw. A similar phenomenon produced the Grand Canyon and other breathtaking chasms in the American West, as the Colorado Plateau rose and fast-flowing rivers sliced through the land.
  • Volcanic Hotspots: Deep beneath Yellowstone National Park is a huge magma chamber that erupted as a supervolcano 640,000 years ago and will explode again. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park hides a tamer, fiery hotspot.

Formed just 16 years after Yellowstone was dedicated as a park, the National Geographic Society has led the way in securing protection for America’s most important natural wonders. With a connection to the national parks that stretches back all the way to the 1800s, the National Geographic Society has maintained an abiding interest in their creation and preservation, sponsoring scientific and exploratory expeditions; featuring the parks in scores of magazine articles, books, and films; and working to raise awareness and support for national parks at home and abroad. Apart from the National Park Service itself, no other organization has compiled as impressive an archive of maps and images, assembled as knowledgeable a staff, or been as committed to educating the public on the subject of these national treasures.

We are proud to join forces with this extraordinary institution to present Wonders of the National Parks: A Geology of North America, a fascinating introduction to geology that forged North America’s national parks. Beautifully illustrated, these 36 half-hour lectures take you to more than a hundred spectacular sites guided by geologist and former college professor Ford Cochran, who is currently the Director of Programming for National Geographic Expeditions. He is a storyteller and an explorer at heart who specializes in interpreting landscapes for a variety of audiences.

No previous background in geology or science is needed to experience the thrill that these lectures offer, just a sense of curiosity as you unravel the mysteries of some of the most beautiful landscapes on the planet.

Learn about Every National Park…and More

The scope of this course is truly astonishing. Professor Cochran covers every national park in the United States, together with exceptional state parks, national monuments, historical parks, marine sanctuaries, and other preserves, plus a number of outstanding parks in Canada, Mexico, and beyond. Anyone planning a trip to one or more of these sites, whether a weekend outing or a transcontinental expedition, will find their experiences immeasurably enriched by Professor Cochran’s insightful and entertaining presentation. And just staying at home watching the series is an adventure itself!

As a special bonus, three of National Geographic’s top experts appear in interview segments following many of the lectures. Photojournalist Chris Johns was the first journalist onto Mount Saint Helens after it erupted in 1980, and he recently stepped up from Editor-in-Chief of National Geographic magazine to oversee all editorial content creation at National Geographic. Biologist and wildlife documentary producer John Francis is currently National Geographic’s Vice President for Research, Conservation, and Exploration. And Kaitlin Yarnall is one of the gifted cartographers behind National Geographic’s famous maps, now serving as Executive Editor for Cartography, Art, and Graphics at National Geographic magazine as well as Director of Cartography for the Society. These three creative professionals add their fascinating perspectives to Wonders of the National Parks, rounding out the experience to provide truly enriching lessons.

The Greatest Spectacle on Earth

Many visitors to national parks never go beyond the most accessible sites, but this course shows how to experience the breathtaking diversity of these places in depth. You learn how each park fits into the geological epic of North America—a story of mountain ranges created by the collision of tectonic plates, of oceans rising and drowning the lowlands, of volcanoes raining ash and liquid fire, of glaciers growing to towering heights and scouring the terrain down to the bedrock, of desert sands burying entire regions, of earthquakes transforming the land in an instant, and of the tenacious, erosive power of flowing water. If it sounds like the greatest spectacle on Earth, it is!

Drawing on his wide experience as a field geologist and National Geographic expedition lecturer, Professor Cochran has plenty of recommendations for must-see attractions and activities. Here are just a few:

  • Driving: A National Geographic staffer once told Professor Cochran that Canada’s Icefields Parkway was “the most spectacular drive anywhere.” He took the trip and discovered why. The largest icefield in the Rocky Mountains, it stretches from Banff National Park to Jasper National Park along the Continental Divide.
  • Hiking: Among the many hikes suggested by Professor Cochran, he especially loves the West Rim Trail at Zion National Park. The awe-inspiring views of the sandstone canyons carved by the North Fork of the Virgin River are well worth the walk.
  • For the more adventurous:
  • Canoeing and kayaking: A tranquil river trip takes you through the dramatic badlands of the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument, retracing a portion of Lewis and Clark’s epic voyage.
  • Rock climbing: One of the oldest rivers on the continent, paradoxically called the New River, has worn a gorge into a uniquely hard form of sandstone that is a nearly perfect rock for climbers, who flock to New River Gorge National River to test their skills.

Remind Yourself: “This Is Real!”

In addition to geology, Wonders of the National Parks also touches on botany, zoology, atmospheric science, and other disciplines as they relate to specific protected areas. The course also explores the role that humans have played in these distinctive landscapes. For example:

  • Gettysburg: Gettysburg National Military Park provides a geology lesson wrapped up in a history lesson. Little Round Top, Cemetery Ridge, and other key sites in the three-day battle owe their existence to the rifting that opened the Atlantic when the supercontinent Pangaea split apart.
  • Gold rush: Wrangell–St. Elias National Park and Preserve includes gold formations mined during Alaska’s great gold rush. Just as in California’s gold fields, seafloor subduction and other tectonic forces created the right conditions to concentrate the glittering element in rocks near the surface.
  • John Wesley Powell: One of the founders of the National Geographic Society was John Wesley Powell, who led the first expeditions through the canyon country of the Colorado Plateau, including the Grand Canyon. His vivid reports brought these future parklands to public attention.
  • Ansel Adams: The world’s most revered nature photographer did his most famous work in the parks of the American West. Professor Cochran takes Adams’s classic view of Yosemite Valley and reads it like a book, pointing out the riveting geological story it tells.

With a career at National Geographic spanning more than 20 years, plus his professional training in geology, Professor Cochran is the ideal lecturer for this course: a deeply knowledgeable scientist, an experienced and enthusiastic traveler, and a consummate storyteller who lives and breathes the Society’s mission to “inspire, illuminate, teach.”

You may even be able to detect Professor Cochran’s background in English literature, which he pursued as an undergraduate before falling in love with geology. He often peppers his lessons with quotes and stories, adding an additional dimension of elucidation. For example, in his lectures on Yosemite, he quotes the great author and naturalist John Muir, whose eloquence helped preserve Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks in the 1890s. Professor Cochran has a similar way with words, describing one of the Yosemite hikes as follows: “The soaring scale and beauty of the granite landscape from this portion of the John Muir Trail are so extraordinary that, though you’re there and seeing it—actually seeing it—you still have to remind yourself: This is real!”

The Everyday Gourmet: Rediscovering the Lost Art of Cooking [TTC Video]

The Everyday Gourmet: Rediscovering the Lost Art of Cooking [TTC Video]
The Everyday Gourmet: Rediscovering the Lost Art of Cooking [TTC Video] by Bill Briwa
Course No 9231 | AVI, XviD, 2318 kbps, 720x540 | AC3, 1926 kbps, 2 Ch | 24x35 mins | 14.77GB

There’s a strong sense of pride and accomplishment that comes from cooking your own meals; from taking ingredients and combining them to create eye-catching and mouth-watering dishes that can please you and your family and friends. The only problem: For many of us, cooking looks so complex and frustrating that it doesn’t seem worth our time.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, all it takes to build confidence in the kitchen is a firm grasp of the basic concepts, methods, and techniques used every day by chefs. While cookbooks are pretty to look at and cooking shows are certainly entertaining, neither of them truly teaches the lost art of cooking; neither of them truly demonstrates the fundamentals and step-by-step strategies that go into creating a wide range of dishes.

With just a bit of education, you can master how to cook and forget about being anxious in the kitchen. You’ll be able to

  • transform everyday ingredients into restaurant-quality dishes,
  • create delicious meals for both casual weekday dinners and large holiday celebrations,
  • learn how to work with unique tastes and ingredients to expand your palate,
  • avoid spending money on expensive meals or unhealthy fast food, and
  • rediscover the joy of cooking and eating.

Of course, it’s rare to find a truly gifted chef who can actually show you how to cook; who can engage your mind to think about food in new ways. Now, The Great Courses has joined forces with the prestigious Culinary Institute of America to give you just that. The Everyday Gourmet: Rediscovering the Lost Art of Cooking is a course of 24 highly visual and instructional lessons in which you’ll learn about and build all the foundational culinary skills you need to turn out delicious and impressive meals. Filmed on location at the CIA’s Greystone campus in Napa Valley, California, and delivered by Chef Bill Briwa—one of the CIA’s experienced instructors and a chef with more than 35 years of professional experience—these lessons show you how to cook and evaluate dishes, from starters and main courses to desserts and vegetarian meals. They also offer a master chef’s insight into tips, tricks, and secrets that will elevate any dish you make from good to great.

Master the Skills for a Great Meal

Even though cuisine changes constantly and tastes come and go, there’s a stable foundation on which all cooking rests. It is this foundation that Chef Briwa shows you how to build. To do so, he’s developed these lessons around three broad themes:

  • Working with high-quality ingredients and knowing what those ingredients can and cannot do
  • Understanding basic cooking techniques and knowing when to use them
  • Tapping into—and appreciating—the intriguing interaction between taste and flavor
  • And it all begins with a thorough introduction to building your essential kitchen. To get you more comfortable in your surroundings, Chef Briwa demonstrates how to organize your kitchen so that you can make the most of what space and cooking surfaces you have. He’ll help you become savvy with picking and using a kitchen’s most important tools, including knives, pots and pans, and cutting boards. He’ll also give you tips on managing the mess that cooking can sometimes make, preparing your ingredients in advance, and much more.

Explore a Range of Cooking Methods

From there, you’ll explore in depth each of the major cooking techniques any chef must know. You’ll follow Chef Briwa as he explains what makes each technique so different and how it can have a dramatic impact on the look and taste of your food. In each instance, you’ll make a range of delicious dishes and gain the skills to practice cooking on your own.

  • Roasting: Try your hand at this classic cooking method that uses dry heat, avoids fat, and requires just a small amount of patience. It’s an elegant art, as you’ll see by roasting a classic meal of chicken and potatoes.
  • Grilling: Traditionally reserved for summer, grilling can be done any time of the year with the right equipment. Gain insight into how to grill steak, mahi-mahi, and vegetables to get the right amount of tenderness, texture, and juiciness.
  • Poaching: A cooking method that pairs perfectly with a handsome cut of fish, poaching’s use of moist heat delivers a powerful taste payoff. In addition to poaching monkfish, you’ll discover how you can use the remaining liquid to create the perfect accompanying sauce.
  • Stir-frying: This classic Asian cooking method using hot oil in a wok is a great way to whip up a quick meal—but it demands organized preparation. Learn how to make traditional stir-fry dishes, including a Vietnamese noodle salad and Ma Pa Tofu.

What’s more, in many cases, Chef Briwa deliberately makes small mistakes to show you what happens when a technique isn’t done properly and to teach you how to avoid them in your kitchen. By comparing successful cooking methods with unsuccessful ones, you’ll become better informed about the steps involved in cooking—in a way you can’t by watching a cooking show on TV, where mistakes are often left on the editing room floor.

Learn to Handle Any Ingredient

The Everyday Gourmet: Rediscovering the Lost Art of Cooking shows you how to adapt these methods to every major type of ingredient you’re likely to cook with in everyday life. With Chef Briwa’s insider tips and helpful demonstrations, you’ll find yourself able to handle with confidence these and other ingredients.

  • Broths and sauces: Offering depth of flavor and a culinary flourish, broths and sauces can take any dish to a new level. Learn how to use broths to braise and stew large cuts of meat, and whip up international sauces, including a French béchamel sauce and a Thai curry sauce.
  • Meat and seafood: Spend several lessons focusing on selecting, preparing, cooking, and serving different meats and seafood and avoiding the mistakes that can make them tough and inedible. Get recipes for everything from the perfect pork chop and hamburger to roasted fish with fennel and mussels with white wine and shallots.
  • Herbs and spices: Start making more sense of the vast range of herbs and spices available in the marketplace, and tap into the ways that many of them—including herbs de Provence, Indian spices, and saffron—can enhance your dishes in bold and subtle ways.
  • Pasta and grains: Oftentimes the perfect side dish, pasta and grains are amazingly versatile ingredients. In addition to learning how to make your own pasta, you’ll put your cooking techniques to use making pasta soups, rice pilaf, and a risotto with wild mushrooms.

Plus, you’ll see how a master chef plates dishes, pairs wine with particular flavors, and even prepares an entire three-course meal. The result of all these lessons is a comprehensive reference to everything you need to know to become the great cook you’ve always wanted to be.

Discover Lasting Confidence in the Kitchen

Whether you’re learning how to roast a medley of vegetables, make a perfect French onion soup, or poach eggs for a mouth-watering breakfast, you’ll always be engaging your senses in The Everyday Gourmet: Rediscovering the Lost Art of Cooking.

Because you’re learning from one of the CIA’s best professional instructors, you’ll be getting a first-hand education in the essentials of cooking from an expert who’s not just entertaining, but trained to teach how to actually cook. Chef Briwa has devoted his entire career to showing audiences around the world the craft behind cooking, gastronomy, and flavor dynamics. A former chef at several California restaurants, he’s also spoken, presented, and judged at professional cooking conferences and competitions, including the International Association of Culinary Professionals Conference and the National Restaurant Association Show.

And since these lessons were produced in the kitchens of the CIA, you’ll be seeing this chef instructor in his natural environment, cooking right in front of your eyes. Taken all together, The Everyday Gourmet: Rediscovering the Lost Art of Cooking is a masterful course that lets you peer over the shoulder of a master chef, invites you to participate in the joy of cooking, engages your senses, and leaves you with the lasting confidence you need to make the most out of every meal you cook.

Physics and Our Universe: How It All Works [TTC Video]

Physics and Our Universe: How It All Works [TTC Video]
Physics and Our Universe: How It All Works [TTC Video] by Richard Wolfson
Course No 1280 | AVI, 1024 kbps, 512x384 | MP3, 128 kbps, 2 Ch | 60x30 mins | 14.87GB

Physics is the fundamental science. It explains how the universe behaves at every scale, from the subatomic to the extragalactic. It describes the most basic objects and forces and how they interact. Its laws tell us how the planets move, where light comes from, what keeps birds aloft, why a magnet attracts and also repels, and when a falling object will hit the ground, and it gives answers to countless other questions about how the world works.

Physics also gives us extraordinary power over the world, paving the way for devices from radios to GPS satellites, from steam engines to nanomaterials. It's no exaggeration to say that every invention ever conceived makes use of the principles of physics. Moreover, physics not only underlies all of the natural sciences and engineering, but also its discoveries touch on the deepest philosophical questions about the nature of reality.

Which makes physics sound like the most complicated subject there is. But it isn't. The beauty of physics is that it is simple, so simple that anyone can learn it. In 60 enthralling half-hour lectures, Physics and Our Universe: How It All Works proves that case, giving you a robust, introductory college-level course in physics. This course doesn't stint on details and always presents its subject in all of its elegance—yet it doesn't rely heavily on equations and mathematics, using nothing more advanced than high school algebra and trigonometry.

Your teacher is Professor Richard Wolfson, a noted physicist and educator at Middlebury College. Professor Wolfson is author or coauthor of a wide range of physics textbooks, including a widely used algebra-based introduction to the subject for college students. He has specially designed Physics and Our Universe to be entirely self-contained, requiring no additional resources. And for those who wish to dig deeper, he includes an extensive list of suggested readings that will enhance your understanding of basic physics.

Explore the Fundamentals of Reality

Intensively illustrated with diagrams, illustrations, animations, graphs, and other visual aids, these lectures introduce you to scores of fundamental ideas such as these:

  • Newton's laws of motion: Simple to state, these three principles demolish our intuitive sense of why things move. Following where they lead gives a unified picture of motion and force that forms the basis of classical physics.
  • Bernoulli effect: In fluids, an increase in speed means a decrease in pressure. This effect has wide application in aerodynamics and hydraulics. It explains why curve balls curve and why plaque in an artery can cause the artery to collapse.
  • Second law of thermodynamics: Echoing the British novelist and physicist C. P. Snow, Professor Wolfson calls this law about the tendency toward disorder "like a work of Shakespeare's" in its importance to an educated person's worldview.
  • Maxwell's equations: Mathematically uniting the theories of electricity and magnetism, these formulas have a startling outcome, predicting the existence of electromagnetic waves that move at the speed of light and include visible light.
  • Interference and diffraction: The wave nature of light looms large when light interacts with objects comparable in size to the light's wavelength. Interference and diffraction are two intriguing phenomena that appear at these scales.
  • Relativity and quantum theory: Introduced in the early 20th century, these revolutionary ideas not only patched cracks in classical mechanics but led to realms of physics never imagined, with limitless new horizons for research.

A Course of Breathtaking Scope

The above ideas illustrate the breathtaking scope of Physics and Our Universe, which is broken into six areas of physics plus an introductory section that take you from Isaac Newton's influential "clockwork universe" in the 17th century to the astonishing ideas of modern physics, which have overturned centuries-old views of space, time, and matter. The seven sections of the course are these:

  • Introduction: Start the course with two lectures on the universality of physics and its special languages.
  • Newtonian Mechanics: Immerse yourself in the core ideas that transformed physics into a science.
  • Oscillations, Waves, Fluids: See how Newtonian mechanics explains systems involving many particles.
  • Thermodynamics: Investigate heat and its connection to the all-important concept of energy.
  • Electricity and Magnetism: Explore electromagnetism, the dominant force on the atomic through human scales.
  • Optics: Proceed from the study of light as simple rays to phenomena involving light's wave properties.
  • Beyond Classical Physics: Review the breakthroughs in physics that began with Max Planck and Albert Einstein.

As vast as this scope is, you will not be overwhelmed, because one set of ideas in physics builds on those that precede it. Professor Wolfson constantly reviews where you've been, tying together different concepts and giving you a profound sense of how one thing leads to another in physics. Since the 17th century, physics has expanded like a densely branching tree, with productive new shoots continually forming, some growing into major limbs, but all tracing back to the sturdy foundation built by Isaac Newton and others—which is why Physics and Our Universe and most other introductory physics courses have a historical focus, charting the fascinating growth of the field.

An interesting example is Newtonian mechanics. Developments in the late 19th century showed that Newton's system breaks down at very high speeds and small scales, which is why relativity and quantum theory replaced classical physics in these realms. But the Newtonian approach is still alive and well for many applications. Newtonian mechanics will get you to the moon in a spacecraft, allow you to build a dam or a skyscraper, explain the behavior of the atmosphere, and much more. On the other hand, for objects traveling close to the speed of light or events happening in the subatomic realm, you learn that relativity and quantum theory are the powerful new tools for describing how the world works.

Seeing Is Believing

Physics would not be physics without experiments, and one of the engaging aspects of this course is the many on-screen demonstrations that Professor Wolfson performs to illustrate physical principles in action. With a showman's gifts, he conducts scores of experiments, including the following:

  • Whirling bucket: Why doesn't water fall out of a bucket when you whirl it in a vertical circle? It is commonly believed that there is a force holding the water up. But this is a relic of pre-Newtonian thinking dating to Aristotle. Learn to analyze what's really going on.
  • Bowling ball pendulum: Would you bet the safety of your skull on the conservation of energy? Watch a volunteer release a pendulum that swings across the room and hurtles back directly at her nose, which escapes harm thanks to the laws of physics.
  • Big chill: What happens when things get really cold? Professor Wolfson pours liquid nitrogen on a blown-up balloon, demonstrating dramatic changes in the volume of air in the balloon. Discover other effects produced by temperature change.
  • Energy and power: How much power is ordered up from the grid whenever you turn on an electric light? Get a visceral sense by watching a volunteer crank a generator to make a light bulb glow. Try a simple exercise to experience the power demand yourself.
  • Total internal reflection: How does a transparent medium such as glass act as an almost perfect mirror without a reflective coating? See a simple demonstration that reveals the principle behind rainbows, binoculars, and optical fibers.
  • Relativity revelation: What gave Einstein the idea for his special theory of relativity? Move a magnet through a coil, then move a coil around a magnet. You get the same effect. But in Einstein's day there were two separate explanations, which made him think ...

Math for Those Who Want to Probe Deeper

Professor Wolfson doesn't just perform memorable experiments. He introduces basic mathematics to analyze situations in detail—for example, by calculating exactly the speed a rollercoaster needs to travel to keep passengers from falling out at the top of a loop-the-loop track, or by showing that the reason high voltage is used for electrical power transmission is revealed in the simple expression that applies Ohm's law, relating current and voltage, to the formula for power.

You also see how amazing insights can be hidden in seemingly trivial mathematical details. Antimatter was first postulated when physicist Paul Dirac was faced with a square root term in an equation, and instead of throwing out one of the answers as would normally have been done, he decided to pursue the implications of two solutions.

Whenever Professor Wolfson introduces an equation, he explains what every term in the equation means and the significance of the equation for physics. You need not go any further than this to follow his presentation, but for those who wish to probe deeper he works out solutions to many problems, showing the extraordinary reach of mathematics in analyzing nature. But he stresses that physics is not about math; it's the ideas of physics that are crucial.

Understand the World in a New Way

Above all, the ideas of physics are simple. As you discover in this course, just a handful of important concepts permeate all of physics. Among them are

  • conservation of energy,
  • conservation of momentum,
  • second law of thermodynamics,
  • conservation of electric charge,
  • principle of relativity, and
  • Heisenberg uncertainty principle.

The key is not just to think in terms of these principles, but also to let go of common misconceptions, such as the idea that force causes motion; in fact, force causes change in motion. As you progress through Physics and Our Universe, you'll inevitably start to see the world differently.

"I love teaching physics and I love to see the understanding light up in people's eyes," says Professor Wolfson. "You'll see common, everyday phenomena with new understanding, like slamming on the brakes of your car and hearing the antilock brake system engage and knowing the physics of why it works; like going out on a very cold day and appreciating why your breath is condensing; like turning on your computer and understanding what's going on in those circuits. You will come to a much greater appreciation of all aspects of the world around you."

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