Prove It: The Art of Mathematical Argument [TTC Video]

Prove It: The Art of Mathematical Argument [TTC Video]
Prove It: The Art of Mathematical Argument [TTC Video] by Bruce H Edwards
Course No 1431 | M4V, AVC, 640x480 | AAC, 128 kbps, 2 Ch | 24x30 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 8.43GB

Mathematical proof is the gold standard of knowledge. Once a mathematical statement has been proved with a rigorous argument, it counts as true throughout the universe and for all time. Imagine, then, the thrill of being able to prove something in mathematics. The experience is the closest you can get to glimpsing the abstract order behind all things.

Only by doing a proof can you reach the deep insights that mathematics offers—that tell you why something is true, not merely that it is true. Such insights are invaluable for getting a grasp of the key concepts in every branch of mathematics, from algebra to number theory, from geometry to calculus and beyond.

And by advancing from one proof to a related one, you begin to see how mathematics is a magnificent, self-consistent system with unexpected links between different ideas. Moreover, this system forms the foundation of fields such as physics, engineering, and computer science.

But you don’t have to imagine the exhilaration of constructing a proof. You can do it. You can prove it! Consider these proofs that are not only profound and elegant, but easily within reach of anyone with a background in high-school mathematics:

  • The square root of 2: Can the square root of 2 be expressed as a rational number—that is, as a fraction of two integers? The proof discovered by the ancient Greeks had dangerous consequences for one mathematician.
  • Gauss’s formula: What is the sum of the first 100 positive integers? As a child, the great mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss discovered that the solution has a simple formula, which can be proved in several different ways.
  • Geometric series: Is the repeating decimal 0.99999… less than 1? Or does it equal 1? The proof surprises many people and provides a launching point into the analysis of infinite geometric series in calculus.
  • Countably infinite sets: An eye-opening proof shows that the set of all rational numbers is the same size as the set of all positive integers, even though there are infinitely many rational numbers between two consecutive integers.

Mathematicians marvel at the clarity that comes from completing a proof. It is as if a light has suddenly switched on in a dark room, bringing simplicity and understanding to what was formerly obscure and confusing. And since research mathematicians spend much of their time working on proofs, you can get a feel for what it’s like at their esoteric heights by putting pencil to paper and working out elementary proofs.

Prove It: The Art of Mathematical Argument initiates you into this thrilling discipline in 24 proof- and information-filled lectures suitable for everyone from high school students to the more math-savvy. The course is taught by award-winning Professor Bruce H. Edwards of the University of Florida. The author of many widely used textbooks, Professor Edwards has a knack for making mathematics as exciting to his audience as it obviously is to him.

In the course, Professor Edwards walks you through scores of proofs, from the simple to the subtle. The accompanying guidebook includes additional practice problems that help you gain confidence and mastery of a challenging, satisfying, and all-important mathematical skill.

Techniques and Tips

The modern concept of mathematical proof goes back 23 centuries to the Greek mathematician Euclid, who introduced the method of proving a conjecture by starting from axioms, or propositions regarded as self-evidently true. Once proved by logic, a conjecture is called a theorem. The beauty of Euclid’s system is that the same conjecture can often be proved in markedly different ways.

In Prove It: The Art of Mathematical Argument, Professor Edwards introduces you to the principles of logic to give you the tools to reason through a proof. Then he surveys a wide range of powerful proof techniques, including these:

  • Direct proof: Start with a hypothesis, do some math, then arrive at the conclusion. This is the most straightforward approach to a proof and is based on the simple logical relation, “P implies Q.”
  • Proof by contradiction: Assume that a mathematical proposition is false. If that leads to a contradiction, then it must be true. Using this technique, Euclid devised an elegant proof showing the true nature of the square root of 2.
  • Induction: Logical induction is used to prove that a given statement is true for all positive integers. The first step is to prove a “base case.” This case establishes that the next case is true, and the next, and the next, ad infinitum.
  • Visual proof: Sometimes geometric figures can be used to show that a mathematical conjecture must be true. One such “proof without words” is credited to James A. Garfield, who later became president of the United States.

A teacher with a knack for bringing abstract material down to earth, Professor Edwards has many practical tips to help sharpen your proof-writing skills. For example,

  • First things first: Before you try to prove a conjecture, stop and ask yourself if it makes sense. Do you believe what is being proposed?
  • Try some examples: Plug in numbers. You may see right away that the conjecture is true and that you’ll be able to prove it.
  • Know where you’re going: Keep your goal in mind as you work on a proof. Use scratch paper to jot down ideas. Often, you’ll see the way to a proof.
  • Don’t be daunted: When you’re studying a finished proof, remember that you don’t see the mathematician’s notes. The proof could be easier than it looks.

Tales of Proofs

Throughout the course, Professor Edwards tells stories behind famous proofs. For example, the Four Color theorem says that no more than four colors are needed to color the regions of a map so that no two adjacent areas have the same color. It’s simple to state, but attempts to prove the Four Color theorem were fruitless until 1976, when two mathematicians used a computer and a technique called enumeration of cases to solve the problem. You get a taste for what’s involved by working through several simpler proofs using this technique.

You also hear about celebrated paradoxes in which logic leads to baffling conclusions, such as Bertrand Russell’s paradox that shook the foundations of set theory. It involves a barber who cuts the hair of all the people who do not cut their own hair—in which case, who cuts the barber’s hair?

And often in Prove It: The Art of Mathematical Argument, you’ll come across unproven conjectures—deep problems that are so far unsolved, despite the efforts of generations of mathematicians. It just goes to show that there are unending adventures ahead in the thrilling quest to prove it!

Prove It: The Art of Mathematical Argument [TTC Video]

The History of the English Language, 2nd Edition [TTC Video]

The History of the English Language, 2nd Edition [TTC Video]
The History of the English Language, 2nd Edition [TTC Video] by Seth Lerer
Course No 2250 | AVI, XviD, 640x480 | MP3, 128 kbps, 2 Ch | 36x30 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 6.89GB

Sixteen centuries ago a wave of settlers from northern Europe came to the British Isles speaking a mix of Germanic dialects thick with consonants and complex grammatical forms. Today we call that dialect Old English, the ancestor of the language nearly one in five people in the world speaks every day.

How did this ancient tongue evolve into the elegant idiom of Chaucer, Shakespeare, Twain, Melville, and other great writers? What features of modern English spelling and vocabulary link it to its Old English roots? How did English grammar become so streamlined? Why did its pronunciation undergo such drastic changes? How do we even know what English sounded like in the distant past? And how does English continue to develop to the present day?

The History of the English Language, 2nd Edition, is Professor Seth Lerer's revised and updated investigation of the remarkable history of English, from the powerful prose of King Alfred in the Middle Ages to the modern-day sermons of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Throughout its history, English has been an unusually mutable language, readily accepting new terms and new ways of conveying meaning. Professor Lerer brings this second edition up-to-date by including discussions of the latest changes brought about through such phenomena as hip hop, e-mail, text messaging, and the world wide web.

Are you a logophile—someone who

  • Pauses over a word to wonder about its origin
  • Stops to consider if a phrase or word is "proper"
  • Savors a colorful idiom or slang phrase
  • Is concerned about the use—and abuse—of English
  • Is just plain curious about words?

Then you will find these 36 half-hour lectures endlessly fascinating and immensely rewarding.

Hear the Sound of English over the Centuries

The author of numerous authoritative books and articles on the English language and English literature, Professor Lerer is an expert who knows how to get people excited about their mother tongue, as evidenced by his many teaching awards. Washington Post reviewer Michael Dirda praised the first edition of this course as "justly popular," and went on to applaud Professor Lerer's style as "erudite without ever becoming dull."

Professor Lerer captures your interest from the start of lecture 1 when he recites a series of literary passages in their conjectured historical pronunciation. The three quotations begin as follows:

Nu sculon herigean heofonrices Weard

Whan that Aprill with his shoures soote

To be, or not to be: that is the question

The first is the opening of Caedmon's Hymn, the earliest extant poem in Old English, composed around the year A.D. 680. Most people are hard-pressed to see any connection to modern English, but you will discover that there are many hidden traces.

The second passage is from the prologue to Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, written in Middle English in the late 1300s. This is recognizable as English, but with a mix of baffling vocabulary. You will find that many of the unfamiliar words are just slightly disguised versions of words we use today.

The last quotation, of course, is from Shakespeare's Hamlet, composed around 1600. But you may be startled to hear Professor Lerer's reading of this celebrated soliloquy, which hardly sounds like the pronunciation of modern British Shakespearean actors. That is because English in Shakespeare's time did not sound like what we've become accustomed to hearing on the stage.

The Great Vowel Shift and More

From this core sample of English over the centuries, you begin your journey. Professor Lerer proceeds chronologically, beginning with the roots of English in the postulated ancient languages known as Indo-European, probably spoken 5,000 to 6,000 years ago by a group of agricultural peoples living around the Black Sea.

Never written down, the Indo-European languages were discovered in the 19th century when an English scholar noticed that certain words, such as the Sanskrit raj, the Latin rex, the German reich, and the Celtic rix, were similar in sound and meaning (they all mean king or ruler). These and other clues suggested that most of the languages from Ireland to India descended from a common language or group of dialects, which came to be called Indo-European. Germanic arose from this protolanguage, and Old English evolved out of Germanic.

Linguists have developed remarkable tools for charting how languages change over time. In this course, you will employ these tools to investigate four specific areas:

  • Pronunciation: As you can see from the Old English sample above, the sound of English has changed radically. The best known example is the Great Vowel Shift, a systematic change in the pronunciation of vowels that occurred in the 15th and 16th centuries. Professor Lerer's reading of several lines from Shakespeare's Richard III shows that the shift was not yet complete in the Elizabethan age.
  • Grammar and Morphology: Grammar describes the way words work together, and morphology describes their form, such as whether nouns and verbs are inflected. The evolution of such features is fascinating to observe, as in the Old English and Middle English expression methinks, where me is not the subject but rather the indirect object. The compound translates as "it seems to me."
  • Meaning (Semantic Change): Words change meaning. Take the word silly, which comes from the root selig, meaning blessed. Over time, the word came to describe not the inner spiritual state of being blessed but the observed behavior of someone who acts foolishly. When reading an older text, beware that seemingly familiar words may not mean what you think.
  • Attitudes toward Language Change: What are we to make of the wide variation in language use across the people who speak English? The 18th-century English lexicographer Samuel Johnson wrestled with this challenge while compiling his famous dictionary. The debate is reflected in today's debate over prescriptivism (the idea that correct linguistic behavior should be taught) versus descriptivism (the idea that linguistic behavior should only be described).

From English to American

Published in London in the mid-18th century, Samuel Johnson's Dictionary of the English Language was the first reference work used as we use a dictionary today: as a source for everyday, individual questions on spelling, pronunciation, and grammatical usage.

Another influential dictionary figures prominently in the last third of the course, which focuses on English in America. In the early 19th century, Noah Webster compiled a dictionary devoted to America's forthright and commonsensical relationship with the English language. Today's differences between American and English spelling—for example, color versus colour, defense versus defence—are due to Webster. He also recorded American pronunciations and advocated that all the syllables in a word be enunciated: "necessary" and "secretary," not "necessry," and "secretry."

Professor Lerer encourages you to step back and observe your own pronunciation. If you are from the South, do you pronounce the words pin and gem with the same vowel? Professor Lerer himself is from Brooklyn, but the sharpest elements of his accent were ironed out long ago by his mother, a speech therapist for the New York City schools. However, like many former dialect speakers, he can revert to his roots, and he demonstrates how he used to pronounce often and orphan the same way.

Experience a Great Civilization through Its Words

English has come a long way since those first Germanic settlers crossed the North Sea to Britain. The words you use every day are like archaeological artifacts connecting our age to theirs. To study the history of this wonderful language with Professor Lerer is to experience the literature, politics, culture, ways of thought, and world outlook of a great civilization through its most precious legacy: its words.

The History of the English Language, 2nd Edition [TTC Video]

English in America: A Linguistic History [TTC Video]

English in America: A Linguistic History [TTC Video]
English in America: A Linguistic History [TTC Video] by Natalie Schilling
Course No 2274 | M4V, AVC, 854x480 | AAC, 160 kbps, 2 Ch | 12x30 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 1.15GB

Think about this: How would you address a group of two or more people? Would your default terminology be: ”you all,” “yous,” ”you lot,” “you guys,” “you’uns,” “yinz,” “you,” “y’all,” or something else? Would that change depending on whom you were talking to or where you were using it? What do you call a long sandwich that contains cold cuts and vegetables? Is it a “sub,” “grinder,” “hoagie,” “hero,” “poor boy,” “bomber,” “Italian sandwich,” or something else? Your answers can provide revealing insights about who you are, where you grew up or live now, and your social, economic, and educational background.

Welcome to the enthralling world of linguistics. If you’ve ever been curious how words like “awesomesauce” ever came to be, let alone made it into the Oxford English Dictionary, or if you’ve ever wondered why you say “firefly” and someone else calls the same insect a “lightning bug,” English in America: A Linguistic History is for you.

There’s an incredibly rich and colorful history behind American English. A profoundly diverse assortment of cultures and heritages has influenced our vocabulary, pronunciation, and grammar, and the language continues to grow and shift. Dialect variations are widespread and actually increasing, and the new words, accents, and sentence structures both reflect and shape changes in our culture and society. Investigating these dialects is the domain of sociolinguistics, the study of the intricate interrelation between language variation and cultural, interpersonal, and personal identity. At the forefront of the study of American English dialects is Natalie Schilling, Associate Professor of Linguistics at Georgetown University, who guides you on this intriguing and enlightening journey.

The ABCs of American Vocabulary: Absorbing, Borrowing, and Creating

Start by exploring the dialects of English in our first colonies, and learn how settlers adopted many Native American words for locations, foods, and more. As you travel through the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, you’ll see how accents shifted, grammar changed, and new words were coined. These changes were often connected to the cultural, technological, and political phenomena of the time. You’ll delve into the early formative period of American English, when it was influenced by Spanish, French, and Dutch colonists as well as many Native American languages and the West African languages of slaves. You’ll also examine the effects of later immigration, as English speakers absorbed foreign words and sayings to add nuance, color, and expressiveness.

In addition to borrowing and adapting words from other cultures, the founding Americans were notorious for making words up simply to suit their needs—a creative exercise we still practice today. Benjamin Franklin created a plethora of words and phrases in order to describe his inventions, words that are now staples of our language, such as: battery, condenser, conductor, charge, plus, minus, electric shock, and electrician. Thomas Jefferson was credited with generating more than one hundred new words, including: electioneering, indecipherable, odometer, and belittle.

Some of these new words were Americanisms—a term coined by John Witherspoon and referring to words and word usages that became associated with America or the American experience—and often gained international recognition. Some Americanisms we now take for granted include:

  • “raccoon” and “chipmunk,” based on adaptations of Native American words
  • “backwoods” and “bifocal,” new words made up of existing English word stock, including what were originally bits of Latin
  • “filibuster,” which appears to come from Dutch via French and Spanish influences

Americanisms were not always widely accepted, especially during the colonial era and the first decades of nationhood, as this period in history was rife with conflict over independence and identity. Even Witherspoon himself, who enjoyed collecting and documenting Americanisms, called some of the terms “improprieties and vulgarisms.” Acceptance grew as the American dialect became more stable and its speakers more confident.

English in America Becomes American English

Linguist Edgar Schneider has studied the historical development of a variety of English dialects around the world. He found that these dialects typically pass through similar stages of development, despite the very different end results. These five stages are:

  • Foundation: The founders bring their dialects to the new location. There is dialect mixing among the founders and contact with indigenous languages in the new land.
  • Exonormative Stabilization: Dialects continue to mix and speakers begin to creatively innovate, but they still look to the home country for norms.
  • Nativization: Dialect mixing and borrowing from other languages continues, and there is an explosion of linguistic creativity that widens the gulf between the new dialect and the old world variety.
  • Endonormative Stabilization: The dialect begins to set its own language standards, looking inward to create norms of usage, codified in dictionaries, grammars, and spelling books, rather than relying on those set by the ancestral country.
  • Differentiation: As speakers of the dialect become secure in their linguistic identity, they can turn then their focus from presenting a united political and linguistic front, to considering their own intra-national cultural and linguistic diversity.

You’ll trace the arc of the development of American English through each of these stages, up to its current state—and projected future development. The Endonormative Stabilization stage is of particular interest to many people, as that period featured many pivotal advocates of American English whose works have become immortalized today: Noah Webster, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Walt Whitman, and Mark Twain, among others.

Noah Webster was a political activist and educational reformer as well as a lexicographer. He firmly believed that the separation of the United States from England required a “system of our own, in language as well as government,” which motivated him to publish dictionaries and spelling books of the English language that focused on American vocabulary, spellings, and usages. He advocated for spelling reforms such as dropping the “u” from the British spelling of words such as “color” and “labor,” as well as more straightforward spellings for words such as “tire.” Although he cataloged hundreds of new words and Americanisms, he himself claimed to contribute only one new entry: “demoralizing.”

The Influence of Ethnicity and Technology

Throughout the course, you’ll encounter a wide range of ethnic and social groups that have shaped the course of the development of American English over the centuries: English speakers from all over the British Isles; speakers of West African languages, who were enslaved; immigrants from western Europe, particularly Germans; people hailing from Eastern Europe; speakers of languages from Asia; and Spanish speakers from all over the world.

In considering the contributions of these groups, you’ll also gain deep insights into the perceptions—and misperceptions—about language and dialect variation. For example, when Americans hear a British accent, we might still think of the speaker as “better” than us: more educated, more cultured, or at least more linguistically adept. You’ll discover how often-changing beliefs about “proper” usages have been used to elevate some groups and discriminate against others. And you’ll take an in-depth look at how writers such as Mark Twain have used depictions of dialects to both perpetuate and dispel linguistic stereotypes, as well as to define and distinguish American literature. Twain in particular had an amazing ear for linguistic details and could capture the dialects of people of various regions, races, and classes without relying on exaggerated stereotypes.

Two ethnic dialects, African American English and Latino English, have been particularly stigmatized by speakers of other dialects. Contrary to common misconceptions, both of these dialects are governed by consistent and intricate rules and capably convey a rich variety and depth of expression. With time and cultural contact, stigma associated with ethnic dialects often diminishes; for example, Jewish American English has left a deep impact on General American English, especially its lexicon, and African American English is emulated by young people all over the world.

Throughout the 20th century in particular, advances in technology have left their mark on American English. Our methods of communication changed drastically with the advent and increasingly widespread use of radio, television, telephones, the Internet, and more. In many ways, this led to greater connections between diverse Americans, which would seemingly reduce the number of regional dialects. However, instead, new dialects and dialect features arose out of these advancements. Sometimes, as different people intercommunicate more frequently, the fear of loss of cultural distinctiveness serves to promote increasing dialect differentiation.

In leading you through these centuries of change, Professor Schilling is an engaging and authoritative guide. She specializes in the study of language variation and change in American English dialects, including regional, ethnic, and gender-based language varieties, and is the author and coauthor of three books that are standards in sociolinguistics. Bringing to bear her main expertise in stylistic variation (how and why individuals use different language styles as they shape and reshape personal, interpersonal, and group identities and relations), the concluding lectures take a penetrating look at modern dialects and where American English is heading.

As you’ll discover, American English is simply an umbrella term for many different EnglishES. This glorious linguistic variety reflects who we are, and have always been, as a nation: e puribus unum—out of many, one.

English in America: A Linguistic History [TTC Video]

Playing Dead: A Journey Through the World of Death Fraud [EPUB]

Playing Dead: A Journey Through the World of Death Fraud [EPUB]
Playing Dead: A Journey Through the World of Death Fraud by Elizabeth Greenwood
2016 | EPUB | 5.13MB

Is it still possible to fake your own death in the twenty-first century? With six figures of student loan debt, Elizabeth Greenwood was tempted to find out.

So she sets off on a foray into the world of death fraud, where for $30,000 a consultant can make you disappear—but your suspicious insurance company might hire a private detective to dig up your coffin…only to find it filled with rocks.

Greenwood tracks down a man who staged a kayaking accident and then returned to live in his own house while all his neighbors thought he was dead. She takes a call from Michael Jackson (yes, he’s alive—or so some would have her believe), talks to people contemplating pseudocide, and gathers intel on black market morgues in the Philippines, where she may or may not succeed in obtaining some fraudulent goodies of her own. Along the way, she learns that love is a much less common motive than money, and that making your death look like a drowning virtually guarantees you’ll be caught. (Disappearing while hiking, however, is a great way to go.)

Playing Dead is an utterly fascinating and charmingly bizarre investigation into our all-too-human desire to escape from the lives we lead, and the men and women desperate enough to lose their identities—and their families—to begin again.

Pablo Escobar: Beyond Narcos [EPUB]

Pablo Escobar: Beyond Narcos [EPUB]
Pablo Escobar: Beyond Narcos by Shaun Attwood
2016 | EPUB | 0.3MB

The mind-blowing true story of Pablo Escobar and the Medellín Cartel beyond their portrayal on Netflix.

Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar was a devoted family man and a psychopathic killer; a terrible enemy, yet a wonderful friend. While donating millions to the poor, he bombed and tortured his enemies - some had their eyeballs removed with hot spoons. Through ruthless cunning and America's insatiable appetite for cocaine, he became a multi-billionaire, who lived in a $100-million house with its own zoo.

PABLO ESCOBAR: BEYOND NARCOS demolishes the standard good versus evil telling of Pablo's story. The authorities were not hunting Pablo down to stop his cocaine business. They were taking over it.

Going to Pieces Without Falling Apart: A Buddhist Perspective on Wholeness [EPUB]

Going to Pieces Without Falling Apart: A Buddhist Perspective on Wholeness [EPUB]
Going to Pieces Without Falling Apart: A Buddhist Perspective on Wholeness by Mark Epstein
2013 | EPUB | 1.81MB

For decades, Western psychology has promised fulfillment through building and strengthening the ego. We are taught that the ideal is a strong, individuated self, constructed and reinforced over a lifetime. But Buddhist psychiatrist Mark Epstein has found a different way.

Going to Pieces Without Falling Apart shows us that happiness doesn't come from any kind of acquisitiveness, be it material or psychological. Happiness comes from letting go. Weaving together the accumulated wisdom of his two worlds--Buddhism and Western psychotherapy--Epstein shows how "the happiness that we seek depends on our ability to balance the ego's need to do with our inherent capacity to be." He encourages us to relax the ever-vigilant mind in order to experience the freedom that comes only from relinquishing control.

Drawing on events in his own life and stories from his patients, Going to Pieces Without Falling Apart teaches us that only by letting go can we start on the path to a more peaceful and spiritually satisfying life.

The Tunnels: Escapes Under the Berlin Wall and the Historic Films the JFK White House Tried to Kill [EPUB]

The Tunnels: Escapes Under the Berlin Wall and the Historic Films the JFK White House Tried to Kill [EPUB]
The Tunnels: Escapes Under the Berlin Wall and the Historic Films the JFK White House Tried to Kill by Greg Mitchell
2016 | EPUB | 1.56MB

A thrilling Cold War narrative of superpower showdowns, media suppression, and two escape tunnels beneath the Berlin Wall

In the summer of 1962, the year after the rise of the Berlin Wall, a group of young West Germans risked prison, Stasi torture, and even death to liberate friends, lovers, and strangers in East Berlin by digging tunnels under the Wall. Then two U.S. television networks heard about the secret projects and raced to be first to document them from the inside. NBC and CBS funded two separate tunnels in return for the right to film the escapes, planning spectacular prime-time specials. President John F. Kennedy, however, was wary of anything that might spark a confrontation with the Soviets, having said, “A wall is better than a war,” and even confessing to Secretary of State Dean Rusk, “We don’t care about East Berlin.” JFK approved unprecedented maneuvers to quash both documentaries, testing the limits of a free press in an era of escalating nuclear tensions.

As Greg Mitchell’s riveting narrative unfolds, we meet extraordinary characters: the legendary cyclist who became East Germany’s top target for arrest; the Stasi informer who betrays the “CBS tunnel”; the American student who aided the escapes; an engineer who would later help build the tunnel under the English channel; the young East Berliner who fled with her baby, then married one of the tunnelers. Capturing the chilling reach of the Stasi secret police, U.S. networks prepared to “pay for play” yet willing to cave to official pressure, a White House eager to suppress historic coverage, and the subversive power of ordinary people in dire circumstances, The Tunnels is breaking history, a propulsive read whose themes still reverberate.

The Writer's Survival Guide: An Instructive, Insightful Celebration of the Writing Life [EPUB]

The Writer's Survival Guide: An Instructive, Insightful Celebration of the Writing Life [EPUB]
The Writer's Survival Guide: An Instructive, Insightful Celebration of the Writing Life by Rachel Simon
2016 | EPUB | 0.3MB

This inspirational guide for aspiring and experienced writers was originally published in 1997. Written in a friendly, hopeful, and gently humorous tone, it focuses on the creative process and emotional ups and downs of the creative life, providing insights into how to persist in the face of rejection, frustration, feelings of inadequacy, lack of support from loved ones, and more. It also offers practical how-to advice, from organizing your time so you actually sit down and write to reading as a writer.

This ebook’s rerelease of The Writer’s Survival Guide includes a new introduction that discusses the origins of the book and how, in spite of the many changes in publishing and technology, it remains relevant today.

Peirce on Signs: Writings on Semiotic [EPUB]

Peirce on Signs: Writings on Semiotic [EPUB]
Peirce on Signs: Writings on Semiotic by Charles Sanders Peirce, edited by James Hoopes
2014 | EPUB | 16.77MB
Charles Sanders Peirce (1839-1914) is rapidly becoming recognized as the greatest American philosopher. At the center of his philosophy was a revolutionary model of the way human beings think. Peirce, a logician, challenged traditional models by describing thoughts not as "ideas" but as "signs," external to the self and without meaning unless interpreted by a subsequent thought. His general theory of signs -- or semiotic -- is especially pertinent to methodologies currently being debated in many disciplines.

This anthology, the first one-volume work devoted to Peirce's writings on semiotic, provides a much-needed, basic introduction to a complex aspect of his work. James Hoopes has selected the most authoritative texts and supplemented them with informative headnotes. His introduction explains the place of Peirce's semiotic in the history of philosophy and compares Peirce's theory of signs to theories developed in literature and linguistics.

Appearance and Reality: A Metaphysical Essay [EPUB]

Appearance and Reality: A Metaphysical Essay [EPUB]
Appearance and Reality: A Metaphysical Essay (Muirhead Library of Philosophy) by F H Bradley
2016 | EPUB | 2.06MB

F. H. Bradley (1846–1924) was the foremost philosopher of the British Idealist school, which came to prominence in the second half of the nineteenth century. Bradley, who was a life fellow of Merton College, Oxford, was influenced by Hegel, and also reacted against utilitarianism. He was recognised during his lifetime as one of the greatest intellectuals of his generation and was the first philosopher to receive the Order of Merit, in 1924. His work is considered to have been important to the formation of analytic philosophy. In metaphysics, he rejected pluralism and realism, and believed that English philosophy needed to deal systematically with first principles. This work, first published in 1893, is divided into two parts: 'Appearance' deals with exposing the contradictions that Bradley believed are hidden in our everyday conceptions of the world; and in 'Reality', he builds his positive account of reality and considers possible objections to it.

The Notorious Mrs. Clem: Murder and Money in the Gilded Age [EPUB]

The Notorious Mrs. Clem: Murder and Money in the Gilded Age [EPUB]
The Notorious Mrs Clem: Murder and Money in the Gilded Age by Wendy Gamber
2016 | EPUB | 2.61MB

In September 1868, the remains of Jacob and Nancy Jane Young were found lying near the banks of Indiana’s White River. It was a gruesome scene. Part of Jacob’s face had been blown off, apparently by the shotgun that lay a few feet away. Spiders and black beetles crawled over his wound. Smoke rose from his wife’s smoldering body, which was so badly burned that her intestines were exposed, the flesh on her thighs gone, and the bones partially reduced to powder.

Suspicion for both deaths turned to Nancy Clem, a housewife who was also one of Mr. Young’s former business partners. In The Notorious Mrs. Clem, Wendy Gamber chronicles the life and times of this charming and persuasive Gilded Age confidence woman, who became famous not only as an accused murderess but also as an itinerant peddler of patent medicine and the supposed originator of the Ponzi scheme. Clem’s story is a shocking tale of friendship and betrayal, crime and punishment, courtroom drama and partisan politicking, get-rich-quick schemes and shady business deals. It also raises fascinating questions about women’s place in an evolving urban economy. As they argued over Clem’s guilt or innocence, lawyers, jurors, and ordinary citizens pondered competing ideas about gender, money, and marriage. Was Clem on trial because she allegedly murdered her business partner? Or was she on trial because she engaged in business?

Along the way, Gamber introduces a host of equally compelling characters, from prosecuting attorney and future U.S. president Benjamin Harrison to folksy defense lawyer John Hanna, daring detective Peter Wilkins, pioneering "lady news writer" Laura Ream, and female-remedy manufacturer Michael Slavin. Based on extensive sources, including newspapers, trial documents, and local histories, this gripping account of a seemingly typical woman who achieved extraordinary notoriety will appeal to true crime lovers and historians alike.

Forty Stories by Donald Barthelme [EPUB]

Forty Stories by Donald Barthelme [EPUB]
Forty Stories by Donald Barthelme
2012 | EPUB | 2.16MB

William H. Gass has written of Donald Barthelme that "he has permanently enlarged our perception of the possibilities open to short fiction." In Forty Stories, the companion volume to Sixty Stories, we encounter a dazzling array of subjects: Paul Klee, Goethe, Captain Blood, modern courtship, marriage and divorce, armadillos, and other unique Barthelmean flights of fancy. These pithy, brilliantly acerbic pieces tangle with the ludicrous, pose questions that remain unresolved, and challenge familiar bits of language heretofore unexamined. Forty Stories demonstrates Barthelme's unrivaled ability to surprise, to stimulate, and to explore.

Black Square: Adventures in the Post-Soviet World [EPUB]

Black Square: Adventures in the Post-Soviet World [EPUB]
Black Square: Adventures in the Post-Soviet World by Sophie Pinkham
2016 | EPUB | 2.02MB

‘When I first lived in Ukraine, I was preoccupied with its ideas of the past and future. Once Maidan started, there was nothing but the present; every hour held the possibility of transformation, and of terrible violence…’

After leaving university in 2004, Sophie Pinkham moved to Siberia to volunteer for the Red Cross, tackling the rising AIDS crisis by folding origami tulips. Over the next decade, she travelled and worked across the post-Soviet world, from Lake Baikal to the Black Sea, at a time when the young countries of the region were struggling to define their new identities.

Black Square is a multidimensional portrait of a period of tumultuous change, and of a generation that came of age after the fall of the USSR, only to see protestors shot on Kiev’s main square, Crimea annexed by Russia, and a bitter war in eastern Ukraine. We meet a charismatic doctor fighting the AIDS epidemic even as he struggles with his own drug addiction; an iconoclastic artist with a penchant for public nudity; and a Russian-Jewish clarinettist agitating for Ukrainian liberation.

With a deep knowledge of the literature and legends of the region, and a keen outsider’s eye for the dark absurdities of post-Soviet society, Black Square delivers an indelible impression of a region, and a world, on the brink.

Practical Female Psychology: For the Practical Man [EPUB]

Practical Female Psychology: For the Practical Man [EPUB]
Practical Female Psychology: For the Practical Man by Joseph South, David Clare, Franco
2015 | EPUB + AZW3 | 0.3/0.2MB

Practical Female Psychology for the Practical Man is a unique examination of women and relationships in an era of material equality between the sexes. Despite vast gains in the welfare of women, especially in the modern West, both men and women are finding relationships ranging from dating to marriage increasingly difficult. The authors draw upon cutting edge science in evolutionary biology, and neuropsychology, and vast personal experience with women to distill some simple and practical principles men will find useful for creating and maintaining relationships with emotionally compatible women.

Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space [EPUB]

Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space [EPUB]
Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space by Carl Sagan, Ann Druyan
2011 | EPUB | 2.21MB

In Cosmos, the late astronomer Carl Sagan cast his gaze over the magnificent mystery of the Universe and made it accessible to millions of people around the world. Now in this stunning sequel, Carl Sagan completes his revolutionary journey through space and time.

Future generations will look back on our epoch as the time when the human race finally broke into a radically new frontier--space. In Pale Blue Dot Sagan traces the spellbinding history of our launch into the cosmos and assesses the future that looms before us as we move out into our own solar system and on to distant galaxies beyond. The exploration and eventual settlement of other worlds is neither a fantasy nor luxury, insists Sagan, but rather a necessary condition for the survival of the human race.

The Dao of Capital: Austrian Investing in a Distorted World [Audiobook]

The Dao of Capital: Austrian Investing in a Distorted World [Audiobook]
The Dao of Capital: Austrian Investing in a Distorted World [Audiobook] by Mark Spitznagel, read by Jeremy Arthur
2014 | MP3@64 kbps + EPUB | 11 hrs 28 mins | 316.98MB

As today's preeminent doomsday investor Mark Spitznagel describes his Daoist and roundabout investment approach, "one gains by losing and loses by gaining." This is Austrian Investing, an archetypal, counterintuitive, and proven approach, gleaned from the 150-year-old Austrian School of economics, that is both timeless and exceedingly timely.

In The Dao of Capital, hedge fund manager and tail-hedging pioneer Mark Spitznagel-with one of the top returns on capital of the financial crisis, as well as over a career-takes us on a gripping, circuitous journey from the Chicago trading pits, over the coniferous boreal forests and canonical strategists from Warring States China to Napoleonic Europe to burgeoning industrial America, to the great economic thinkers of late 19th century Austria. We arrive at his central investment methodology of Austrian Investing, where victory comes not from waging the immediate decisive battle, but rather from the roundabout approach of seeking the intermediate positional advantage (what he calls shi), of aiming at the indirect means rather than directly at the ends. The monumental challenge is in seeing time differently, in a whole new intertemporal dimension, one that is so contrary to our wiring.

Spitznagel is the first to condense the theories of Ludwig von Mises and his Austrian School of economics into a cohesive and-as Spitznagel has shown-highly effective investment methodology. From identifying the monetary distortions and non-randomness of stock market routs (Spitznagel's bread and butter) to scorned highly-productive assets, in Ron Paul's words from the foreword, Spitznagel "brings Austrian economics from the ivory tower to the investment portfolio."

The Dao of Capital provides a rare and accessible look through the lens of one of today's great investors to discover a profound harmony with the market process-a harmony that is so essential today.

The Monkey's Voyage: How Improbable Journeys Shaped the History of Life [Audiobook]

The Monkey's Voyage: How Improbable Journeys Shaped the History of Life [Audiobook]
The Monkey's Voyage: How Improbable Journeys Shaped the History of Life [Audiobook] by Alan de Queiroz, read by Jonathan Todd Ross
2014 | MP3@64 kbps + EPUB | 12 hrs 12 mins | 336.3MB

How did species wind up where they are today? Scientists have long conjectured that plants and animals dispersed throughout the world by drifting on large landmasses as they broke up, but in The Monkey's Voyage, biologist Alan de Queiroz offers a radical new theory that displaces this passive view.

He describes how species as diverse as monkeys, baobab trees, and burrowing lizards made incredible long-distance ocean crossings: pregnant animals and wind-blown plants rode rafts and icebergs and even stowed away on the legs of sea-going birds to create the map of life we see today. In the tradition of John McPhee's Basin and Range and David Quammen's The Song of the Dodo, The Monkey's Voyage is a beautifully told narrative of a profound investigation into the importance of contingency in history and the nature of scientific discovery.

Confidence Game: How Hedge Fund Manager Bill Ackman Called Wall Street's Bluff [Audiobook]

Confidence Game: How Hedge Fund Manager Bill Ackman Called Wall Street's Bluff [Audiobook]
Confidence Game: How Hedge Fund Manager Bill Ackman Called Wall Street's Bluff [Audiobook] by Christine S Richard, read by Caroline Shaffer
2012 | MP3@64 kbps + EPUB | 13 hrs 30 mins | 372.29MB

An exposé on the delusion, greed, and arrogance that led to America's credit crisis.

The collapse of America's credit markets in 2008 is quite possibly the biggest financial disaster in U.S. history. Confidence Game: How a Hedge Fund Manager Called Wall Street's Bluff is the story of Bill Ackman's six-year campaign to warn that the $2.5 trillion bond insurance business was a catastrophe waiting to happen. Branded a fraud by the Wall Street Journal and New York Times, and investigated by Eliot Spitzer and the Securities and Exchange Commission, Ackman later made his investors more than $1 billion when bond insurers kicked off the collapse of the credit markets.

  • Unravels the story of the credit crisis through an engaging and human drama
  • Draws on unprecedented access to one of Wall Street's best-known investors
  • Shows how excessive leverage, dangerous financial models, and a blind reliance on triple-A credit ratings sent Wall Street careening toward disaster

Confidence Game is a real world "Emperor's New Clothes", a tale of widespread delusion, and one dissenting voice in the era leading up to the worst financial disaster since the Great Depression.

The Science of Love and Betrayal [Audiobook]

The Science of Love and Betrayal [Audiobook]
The Science of Love and Betrayal [Audiobook] by Robin Dunbar, read by Eric Brookes
2013 | MP3@64 kbps | 10 hrs 17 mins | 283.07MB

A scientific exploration of some of humanity's most puzzling questions: What is love? Why do we fall in (and out) of love? And why would we have evolved to feel something so weird, with so many downsides?

Whether you live for Valentine's Day or are the type to forget your wedding anniversary, love is, quite simply, part of being human. In The Science of Love, renowned evolutionary anthropologist Robin Dunbar uses the latest science to explore every aspect of human love. Why do we kiss? What evolutionary benefit could there be to feeling like you would die for your mate? If love exists to encourage child-bearing and child-rearing, why do we love until death do us part (and beyond)? Is parental love anything like romantic love? Dunbar explores everything science has discovered about romance, passion, sex, and commitment, answering these questions and more.

Draws on the latest scientific research to examine the many aspects of love-passion, commitment, intimacy, hugging, kissing, monogamy, cheating, and more-and explain why we have evolved to behave as we do. Filled with fascinating insights into specific human behaviours and experiences, from the European air kiss on both cheeks to the phenomenon of love at first sight.

Written by Robin Dunbar, a prominent anthropologist and evolutionary psychologist whose work have been featured in Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point and many other books.

Truths, Half Truths and Little White Lies [Audiobook]

Truths, Half Truths and Little White Lies [Audiobook]
Truths, Half Truths and Little White Lies [Audiobook] by Nick Frost, read by the Author
2015 | MP3@64 kbps + EPUB | 8 hrs 28 mins | 232.94MB

If I'm going to tell the story of a life, my life, then I need to tell it warts and all. If the tale is too saccharine sweet then what can the reader take away from it? What do they learn about you? I've written everything down. The shit, the death, fun, naughtiness, addiction, laughter, laughter, laughter, some tears and lots of love and happiness. That ,to me, is a better reflection of a human's life.

Nick's family life was difficult, blighted by alcoholism, illness and sudden misfortune, meaning they lost everything overnight. He left school early and drifted from job to job, dogged by his own personal demons. It's something of a miracle that Nick survived and even more that he would achieve such success with his writing, acting and comedy.

In Truths, Half Truths and Little White Lies, Nick paints a brilliantly funny, moving and brutally candid portrait of childhood, adolescence and eventual success.

The Invisible Hands: Top Hedge Fund Traders on Bubbles, Crashes, and Real Money [Audiobook]

The Invisible Hands: Top Hedge Fund Traders on Bubbles, Crashes, and Real Money [Audiobook]
The Invisible Hands: Top Hedge Fund Traders on Bubbles, Crashes, and Real Money, Revised and Updated [Audiobook] by Steven Drobny, Nouriel Roubini, Jared Diamond, read by Basil Sands
2014 | MP3@64 kbps + EPUB | 14 hrs 43 mins | 407.59MB

Hedge fund managers who survived and profited through the 2008 financial crisis share their secrets.

In light of the colossal losses and amidst the resulting confusion that still lingers, it is time to rethink money management in the broadest of terms. Drastic changes need to be made, and managers who actually made money during 2008 make for a logical starting place.

The Invisible Hands provides investors and traders with the latest thinking from some of the best and the most successful players in money management, highlighting the specific risk and return objectives of each, and discussing the evolution of certain styles and beliefs in money management.

  • Contains revealing interviews with top hedge fund managers who survived and prospered through the 2008 financial crisis
  • Outlines investments and strategies for the rocky road ahead

Good Derivatives: A Story of Financial and Environmental Innovation [Audiobook]

Good Derivatives: A Story of Financial and Environmental Innovation [Audiobook]
Good Derivatives: A Story of Financial and Environmental Innovation [Audiobook] by Richard L Sandor, Ronald Coase, read by Victor Bevine
2012 | MP3@64 kbps + PDF | 18 hrs 38 mins | 511.37MB

Through the eyes of an inventor of new markets, Good Derivatives: A Story of Financial and Environmental Innovation tells the story of how financial innovation - a concept that is misunderstood and under attack - has been a positive force in the last four decades. If properly designed and regulated, these "good derivatives" can open vast possibilities to address a variety of global problems.

Filled with provocative ideas, fascinating stories, and valuable lessons, this book will provide both an insightful interpretation of the last 40 years in capital and environmental markets and a vision of world finance for the next 40 years.

As a young economist at the Chicago Board of Trade, Richard Sandor helped create interest-rate futures, a development that revolutionized worldwide finance. Later, he pioneered the use of emissions trading to reduce acid rain, one of the most successful environmental programs ever. He will provide unique insights into the process of creating these new financial products. Covering successes and failures, he describes the tireless process of inventing, educating and creating support for these new inventions in places like Chicago, New York, London, and Paris, and how it is unfolding today in Mumbai, Shanghai and Beijing.

The book will tell the story of the creation of the Chicago Climate Exchange and its affiliated exchanges (European Climate Exchange, Chicago Climate Futures Exchange, and Tianjin Climate Exchange, located in China). The lessons learned in these markets can play a critical role in effectively addressing global climate change and other pressing environmental issues. The author argues that market-based trading systems are a far more effective means of reducing pollutants than "command-and-control". Environmental markets may ultimately help to find solutions to issues such as rainforest destruction, water problems, and biodiversity threats.

Written in an engaging, narrative style, Good Derivatives will be of interest to both practitioners and general listeners who want to better understand the creative process of financial innovation. In the middle of so much distrust of markets, it is also a recipe for how transparent, well-regulated markets can be a force for good in the environmental, health, and social areas.

Fingers in the Sparkle Jar: A Memoir [Audiobook]

Fingers in the Sparkle Jar: A Memoir [Audiobook]
Fingers in the Sparkle Jar: A Memoir [Audiobook] by Chris Packham, read by the Author
2016 | MP3@64 kbps + EPUB | 8 hrs 47 mins | 241.35MB

Every minute was magical, every single thing it did was fascinating and everything it didn't do was equally wondrous, and to be sat there with a kestrel, a real live kestrel, my own real live kestrel on my wrist! I felt like I'd climbed through a hole in heaven's fence.

An introverted, unusual young boy, isolated by his obsessions and a loner at school, Chris Packham was only at home in the fields and woods around his suburban home. But when he stole a young kestrel from its nest, he was about to embark on a friendship that would teach him what it meant to love - and that would change him forever.

In his rich, lyrical and emotionally exposing memoir, Chris brings to life his childhood in the '70s, from his bedroom bursting with fox skulls, birds' eggs and sweaty jam jars to his feral adventures. But pervading his story is the search for freedom, meaning and acceptance in a world that didn't understand him. Beautifully wrought, this coming-of-age memoir will be unlike any you've ever heard.

The Elements of Eloquence: How to Turn the Perfect English Phrase [Audiobook]

The Elements of Eloquence: How to Turn the Perfect English Phrase [Audiobook]
The Elements of Eloquence: How to Turn the Perfect English Phrase [Audiobook] by Mark Forsyth, read by Simon Shepherd
2014 | MP3@64 kbps + EPUB | 5 hrs 42 mins | 150.71MB

In an age unhealthily obsessed with substance, this is a book on the importance of pure style, from the best-selling author of The Etymologicon and The Horologicon. From classic poetry to pop lyrics and from the King James Bible to advertising slogans, Mark Forsyth explains the secrets that make a phrase - such as 'Tiger, Tiger, burning bright', or 'To be or not to be' - memorable.

In his inimitably entertaining and witty style he takes apart famous lines and shows how you, too, can write like Shakespeare or Oscar Wilde. Whether you're aiming for literary immortality or just an unforgettable one-liner, The Elements of Eloquence proves that you don't need to have anything to say - you simply need to say it well.

The Horologicon: A Day's Jaunt Through the Lost Words of the English Language [Audiobook]

The Horologicon: A Day's Jaunt Through the Lost Words of the English Language [Audiobook]
The Horologicon: A Day's Jaunt Through the Lost Words of the English Language [Audiobook] by Mark Forsyth, read by Don Hagen
2014 | MP3@64 kbps + EPUB | 6 hrs 27 mins | 178.32MB

From Mark Forsyth, the author of the international bestseller The Etymologicon, comes a boo

k of weird words for familiar situations - so you can finally say, with utter accuracy, exactly what you mean.

Do you wake up feeling rough? Then you're philogrobolized


Find yourself pretending to work? That's fudgelling.

And this could lead to rizzling, if you feel sleepy after lunch. Though you are sure to become a sparkling deipnosopbist by dinner. Just don't get too vinomadefied; a drunk dinner companion is never appreciated.

The Horologicon (or book of hours) contains the most extraordinary words in the English language, arranged according to what hour of the day you might need them. From Mark Forsyth, the author of the international bestseller The Etymologicon, comes a book of weird words for familiar situations. From ante-jentacular to snudge by way of quafftide and wamblecropt, at last you can say, with utter accuracy, exactly what you mean.

Understanding Literature and Life: Drama, Poetry and Narrative [TTC Video]

Understanding Literature and Life: Drama, Poetry and Narrative [TTC Video]
Understanding Literature and Life: Drama, Poetry and Narrative [TTC Video] by Arnold Weinstein
Course No 210 | AVI, XviD, 640x480 | MP3, 128 kbps, 2 Ch | 64x30 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 12.02GB

All too often, people fail to give the great books the attention they deserve. They might feel locked out of these masterpieces because they believe themselves unequipped to savor their richness. Or they might feel that great literature has only some antiquarian or museum value. As an introduction to the major texts of Western culture from antiquity to the present, this course empowers you to enter into these great works of the past.

A Gratifying and Enlightening Experience

Taught by an extraordinary scholar and educator, this course is a gratifying experience that can widen your views on self and society in enduring ways.

Dr. Arnold Weinstein of Brown University has been honored as Brown's Best Teacher in the Humanities and has studied and taught at major universities all over the world.

His remarkable ability to make a writer's voice come alive makes this one of our most exciting literature courses. And he has made a point of creating a wide-ranging, enriching experience.

The course has been designed to exhibit not only the themes and techniques of great literature but also to expose both the power and limitations of several different analytic tools in assisting our understanding of these monuments of the human spirit, including:

  • Feminism
  • Marxism
  • Freudianism
  • Deconstruction
  • Close reading.

A Pandora's Box of "Potent Stuff"

"Literature—that of the past and that of the present—is potent stuff," says Professor Weinstein, serving not only as transcription of history but also as a literary Pandora's box, capable of shedding light on those transactions which remain in the dark for many of us: love, death, fear, desire.

"We are talking about more than artful language; we are talking about the life of the past and the life of the world."

These lectures with Professor Weinstein examine great works in the three forms of literary expression: drama, poetry, and narrative.

Understanding Drama

The lectures on drama begin with the pre-eminent text of Western culture, Sophocles's Oedipus the King, continue through Shakespeare and Molière, and then go on to the realist and naturalist work of the 19th century, closing with Beckett's Waiting for Godot.

Theater itself is a profoundly social art form. It possessed a religious character for the Greeks and its staging of values and crises are still resonant today.

The sequence of plays discussed thus illuminate for us the changing notions of "representative man," from Sophocles's king to Beckett's clowns.

You learn that theatrical literature makes visible the conflicts and wars of culture in ways other forms cannot manage, because theater is founded on the agon, the struggle between disparate subjectivities and voices.

Notions of self, human relationship, and meaningful action are debated, forged, actualized, and undone before our very eyes. This enables a holistic and environmental picture of life that we do not have in our daily affairs.

Understanding Poetry

Poetry is at once the most artful and most elemental form of literature.

Its conventions of rhyme, meter, metaphor, and the like distinguish poetry unmistakably from the prose we use all the time. It enables it to go to the heart of human existence with a purity and power akin to surgery.

It is truly a privileged form of expression, a mode of discovery that bids to challenge and change the way we customarily do business.

The means by which it gains its remarkable power include its:

  • "Thickened" language
  • Economy of verse
  • Startling vistas of metaphor and simile
  • Play of rhythm
  • Sheer concentration of vision.

Portraits of Private Psyche and Public Setting

From Shakespeare's sonnets through the great poets of our own times, Dr. Weinstein demonstrates what a bristling human document the poem can be and how it offers a unique portrait of private psyche and public setting.

More than any other art form, poetry captures the dance of the human mind. It displays for us the way meanings are made and makes us understand just how precious a resource language itself is in our lives.

Understanding Narrative

Narrative is doubtless the most familiar form of literary expression, since everyone reads, or used to read, novels.

The perspective of this section is long-range, with the lectures beginning with a medieval Arthurian romance and closing with Alice Walker's The Color Purple.

The varied list of works includes:

  • The picaresque classic, The Swindler
  • The 18th-century saga of a self-made woman, Moll Flanders
  • Classic coming-of-age stories by Dickens and Brontë
  • Metaphysical probes by Melville and Kafka
  • Faulkner's The Bear, which asks painful questions about race and progress.

The lectures reveal some astonishing common ground, including the emphasis on rites-of-passage; the fit or misfit between self and society; the creation of an identity; and the weight and presence of the past.

You learn that narrative is especially constituted to convey the curve of time in human life; the central business of the novel is to tell the life story, enabling a possession of that life that is hardly imaginable any other way.

Encounter Works of Undisputed Value

Though notions of "completeness" and coverage make little sense in a course such as this, the texts chosen are of undisputed literary and historical value and place particular emphasis on the English and American traditions.

Dr. Weinstein's approach to each of these works is multifaceted, including:

  • Acquaintance with the historical moment
  • Introduction to the verbal and formal features of the work
  • Close study of both the artist's craft and the larger meanings of the text
  • Final consideration of the "life" of the text
  • Its analogues in other cultures
  • Its continued vitality in other times.

This course is meant to widen your view by using single texts as touchstones for other texts and other moments.

A Dialogue of Books Across the Centuries

Reading great literature makes it possible to grasp something of the march and struggles of history and to apprehend the contours of a second history—a history composed of books that signal to one another and that are revisited and replayed throughout the centuries.

"Civilization and its discontents" is Freud's term for the external and internal warfare and policing that characterize the work of culture.

These lectures show that works of art give us vital testimony about the actual cost of civilization—about the tensions between anarchy and order and between experience and language.

"It should be no surprise," notes Dr. Weinstein, "that literature is a privileged locus for these conflicts, conflicts that we would scarcely understand at all if it were not for the record provided by art.

"The study of literature, then, must be both microscopic and macroscopic, attuned to the nuances and craft of artistic packaging no less than the larger philosophical and socio-political forces that attend human life."

Understanding Literature and Life: Drama, Poetry and Narrative [TTC Video]

Power over People: Classical and Modern Political Theory [TTC Video]

Power over People: Classical and Modern Political Theory [TTC Video]
Power over People: Classical and Modern Political Theory [TTC Video] by Dennis Dalton
Course No 443 | AVI, DivX5, 640x480 | MP3, 128 kbps, 2 Ch | 16x45 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 2.76GB

Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Machiavelli, Marx, Gandhi—these exceptional thinkers sculpted, piece by piece, Western political thought from its inception in 5th-century (B.C.) Athens.In so doing, they grappled with such imposing questions as

  • What is the correct relationship of the individual to society?
  • What is the connection between individual freedom and social and political authority?

Are human beings fundamentally equal or unequal?

In 16 in-depth lectures, Professor Dennis Dalton puts the key theories of power formulated by several of history's greatest minds within your reach.

Dr. Dalton traces two distinct schools of political theory, idealism and realism, from their roots in ancient India and Greece through history and, ultimately, to their impact on the 20th century—via the lives and ideas of two charismatic, yet utterly disparate, leaders: Adolph Hitler and Mahatma Gandhi.

Explore the Fundamental Questions of Western Political Theory

Professor Dalton (Ph.D., Political Theory, University of London) was dubbed by Newsday "the guru of Barnard"; his courses are so popular that the Columbia Student Guide warns, "To get a seat in his class, you must arrive half an hour early (we're not joking.)"

The issues Professor Dalton addresses in these lectures—and in Western political theory generally—fall into three sets of fundamental questions.

His lectures show how these competing theories of political power address these three sets of questions. And the lectures show how those answers determine when it is legitimate for one person to have power over another.

The first set of fundamental questions involves the essential characteristics of human nature and the good society.

Is human nature essentially spirit or matter? Is it directed by reason or dominated by passion? Is it fixed or malleable? Is it innately sinful, aggressive, and violent, or is it fundamentally benign, cooperative, and nonviolent?

Will the good society be characterized by perfect harmony or by continued conflict? If conflict is inevitable in the good society, must it be controlled through the leader's discretionary use of coercive power, or can it be contained constructively within political institutions?

Are social unity and harmony achievable or even desirable? Do the progress and vigor of society depend, by contrast, upon some form of struggle?

The second set of fundamental questions involves the relationship between the individual and society.

What is the right relationship of the individual to society? What is the relationship of individual freedom to social and political authority?

What constitutes legitimate political authority? Does it come ultimately from God, the state, or the individual? Are human beings fundamentally equal or unequal?

The final set of fundamental questions involves theories of change.

Are there inexorable laws of history that produce change? What role is played by discretionary leadership or moral values in effecting change? Is an unchanging, enduring, universal system of ethical values possible? Must such a system be grounded in a theory of absolute truth?

If an enduring, universal system of values is possible, what precisely are those values, and what is their relevance for political and social action? Should transformative leadership be based on the hard facts of political reality and human weakness or on the knowledge of absolute truth? Is the most fundamental change ideological, economic, or psychological in nature?

Should agents of change pursue reform through gradual, evolutionary means, or should they pursue the total transformation of society and human nature through revolution? Should radical change be pursued through violence or nonviolence? Should it rely mainly on spontaneity or on authoritarian organization?

Are There Definitive Answers? Addressing Those Fundamental Questions

Those questions orient our study of a wide range of theories of power and its use. Professor Dalton contrasts Plato's idealism with Aristotle's realism, Marx's optimism with Freud's pessimism, and Hitler's exclusionism and exaltation of violence with Gandhi's inclusionism and insistence on nonviolence.

"For centuries such questions have eluded final solution, and we should not expect to answer them definitively here," says Professor Dalton. "The questions should prompt us, however, to think more deeply about ourselves, the standards that guide our behavior, and our obligations, if any, to society."

As Professor Dalton addresses these fundamental questions, you'll learn, for example, how Hindu idealism prefigured Socratic and Platonic thought in emphasis upon self-mastery and its focus on teaching by example.

You'll understand exactly how Plato's Republic set the parameters for subsequent Western political theory.

You'll examine how Machiavelli's brutally realistic theories about politics marked the transition between the classical and modern political traditions.

You'll study the Romantic idealism—the social and political utopias, if you will—of Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Karl Marx.

Professor Dalton also shares several unique perspectives to better explain the realism vs. idealism debate.

You will, for instance, examine the writings of the Greek playwright Sophocles, whose long-celebrated work Antigone offers a literary context for Plato's philosophy, where the state is an agent of virtue.

You'll also explore psychiatrist Sigmund Freud's pessimistic vision of man, which contrasted sharply with those of Rousseau and Marx.

And, you learn how author Henry David Thoreau, in his timeless work, Civil Disobedience, echoed the Hindu tradition and emphatically rejected a fundamental contention of Plato and Aristotle that the state has any moral authority.

Finally, Professor Dalton takes you on an intellectual expedition that juxtaposes and explores Hitler's violent politics of exclusion with Gandhi's equally powerful, but strictly non-violent, politics of inclusion.

Through this course you will be able to:

  • Identify the fundamental questions and concerns that shape classical and modern political theory.
  • Explain the essential differences between the "idealist" and "realist" traditions in political theory.
  • Describe the influence of one's understanding of human nature upon one's vision of the good society.
  • Compare and contrast the views of theorists regarding the purpose of the state, the relationship between politics and ethics, and the qualifications for exercising political power.
  • Discuss views of leading political theorists regarding the meaning of freedom, the sources of legitimate political authority, the legitimacy of individual resistance against constituted authority, and the obligations of individuals to the state or society.
  • Distinguish among the differing attitudes toward the use of violence that are held by the theorists examined in this course.
Power over People: Classical and Modern Political Theory [TTC Video]