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If we're not in pain, we're not alive

You invest so much in it, don't you? It's what elevates you above the beasts of the field, it's what makes you special. Homo sapiens, you call yourself. Wise Man. Do you even know what it is, this consciousness you cite in your own exaltation? Do you even know what it's for?
Dr. Peter Watts is no stranger to MetaFilter. But look past his sardonic nuptials, heartbreaking eulogies, and agonizing run-ins with fascists (and fasciitis) and you'll find one of the most brilliant, compelling, and disquieting science fiction authors at work today. A marine biologist skilled at deep background research, his acclaimed 2006 novel Blindsight [full text] -- a cerebral "first contact" tale led by a diverse crew of bleeding-edge post-humans -- is diamond-hard and deeply horrifying, wringing profound existential dread from such abstruse concepts as the Chinese Room, the Philosophical Zombie, Chernoff faces, and the myriad quirks and blind spots that haunt the human mind. But Blindsight's last, shattering insight is not the end of the story -- along with crew/ship/"Firefall" notes, a blackly funny in-universe lecture on resurrecting sociopathic vampirism (PDF - prev.), and a rigorously-cited (and spoiler-laden) reference section, tomorrow will see the release of Dumbspeech State of Grace Echopraxia [website], the long-delayed "sidequel" depicting parallel events on Earth. Want more? Look inside for a guide to the rest of Watts' award-winning (and provocative) body of work. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Aug 25, 2014 - 83 comments

"I hate celebrity culture"

Given to the Oxford Union, I submit a lecture on the nature of celebrity by one Jack Gleeson, best known as "Little Boy" in Batman Begins, but also for his role in HBO's "Game of Thrones".
posted by TheNewWazoo on Apr 11, 2014 - 37 comments

American History: a very qualified "Yaaay"

After a year of production, John Green's Crash Course US History has come to an end, traveling from the conflicts between the native Americans and the Spanish to the Affordable Care Act.
posted by The Whelk on Feb 11, 2014 - 40 comments

Giving you the tools to understand and appreciate art

Grayson Perry's lectures on art: "Art is very popular but I think many people are still quite insecure around galleries, particularly commercial galleries which are quite intimidating. I want to answer a few of the very basic questions that perhaps people even in the art world think that it’s almost too gauche to ask. They might think they’re irrelevant or even that they’ve all been answered now and everybody knows the answer. I’m starting with this lecture called Democracy Has Bad Taste, because I want to talk about the issue of quality because I think this is one of the most burning issues around – how do we tell if something is good? Who tells us that it’s good? And of course does it really matter? And I want to talk about what are the criteria by which we judge art made today." [more inside]
posted by DanCall on Oct 28, 2013 - 10 comments

Billions and Billions of Path Traces

The Physics of Light and Rendering is a talk given at QuakeCon 2013 by John Carmack, co-creator of Doom, Quake, and many other games at id Software and beyond. It provides a detailed but surprisingly understandable history of 3D rendering techniques, their advantages and tradeoffs, and how they have been used in games and movies. (SLYT, 1:32:01, via)
posted by cthuljew on Oct 17, 2013 - 9 comments

My God, it's full of... everything

Revelations in the field of quantum physics have resulted in the discovery of the Amplituhedron, a jewel-like higher dimensional object whose volume elegantly predicts fundamental physical processes that took the brilliant Dr. Richard Feynman hundreds of pages of abstruse mathematics to describe. The theoretical manifold not only enables simple pen-and-paper calculation of physics that would normally require supercomputers to work out, but also challenges basic assumptions about the nature of reality -- forgoing the core concepts of locality and unitarity and suggesting that space and time are merely emergent properties of a timeless, infinitely-sided "master amplituhedron," whose geometry represents the sum total of all physical interactions. More: The 152-page source paper on arXiv [PDF] - Lead author Nima Arkani-Hamed's hour-long lecture at SUSY 2013 - Scans of Arkani-Hamed's handwritten lecture notes - A far more detailed lecture series "Scattering Without Space Time": one, two, three - Arkani-Hamed previously on MeFi - A hot-off-the-presses Wikipedia page (watch this space)
posted by Rhaomi on Sep 18, 2013 - 128 comments

Science doesn't teach anything; experience teaches it.

I think we live in an unscientific age in which almost all the buffeting of communications and television--words, books, and so on--are unscientific. As a result, there is a considerable amount of intellectual tyranny in the name of science. [...] Science alone of all the subjects contains within itself the lesson of the danger of belief in the infallibility of the greatest teachers of the preceding generation. What is Science?, a lecture by Richard Feynman.
posted by Rory Marinich on Jun 1, 2013 - 84 comments

I had never seen a hole playing for Temple.

Structural Archaeology
Geoff Carter's radical view of building in the ancient world, especially the archaeology of the lost timber built environment of Southern England. It is new research into of prehistory of architecture
With the ultimate conclusion that Stonehenge is the remains of a roofed shelter. [more inside]
posted by Mitheral on May 19, 2013 - 76 comments

Persistence of Vision: Reading the Language of Cinema

2013 Jefferson Lecture with Martin Scorsese (text) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on May 9, 2013 - 3 comments

Robert Adams

Robert Adams delivers book reviews as lectures. TVO's Big Ideas posts the videos on the internet. So far, they have posted lectures on: Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections, Mohsin Hamid's The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Aravinda Adiga's The White Tiger, Muriel Barbery's The Elegance of the Hedgehog, and Elie Wiesel's The Forgotten.
posted by smcg on Apr 17, 2013 - 3 comments

Aspiring Animators & Game Designers, Study Your Calculus & Combinatorics

Every film Pixar has produced has landed in the top fifty highest-grossing animated films of all time. What's their secret? Mathematics. Oh, and 22 Rules of Storytelling. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Mar 8, 2013 - 40 comments

Neurosciencey stuff→Loss of critical faculties

Oxford University neuroscience professor Dorothy Bishop delivers a scathing lecture (text version) about the overselling of weak neuroscience, both in the news and within the scientific literature. [more inside]
posted by overeducated_alligator on Aug 24, 2012 - 22 comments

I heard the iPhone 5 is going to be made out of lasers.

Secrets at Apple's Core A talk by Adam Lashinsky (Fortune's editor at large) about how Apple has become the most admired (and secretive) company in the world.
posted by azarbayejani on Jul 13, 2012 - 10 comments

Christopher Alexander lectures at Berkeley

Legendary architect-philosopher Christopher Alexander delivers a fascinating lecture at Berkeley, in which he criticizes "modular" design and offers a radical new vision of architecture's relation to nature. Alexander is best known for A Pattern Language, which aimed to make buildings and towns more "alive" through a series of pleasing and comfortable patterns (five sample patterns can be found here). His most recent work, the four-part The Nature of Order, theorizes that life, whether organic or inorganic, emerges from a single simple process, which can be found on page 4 of Amazon's preview of the third volume. In the first volume Alexander lists fifteen properties that make a structure whole. Also worth reading: Alexander's classic essay A City is not a Tree.
posted by Rory Marinich on May 9, 2012 - 28 comments

Barbarian from Beyond the Clouds Collects Tribute from Barbarians Beyond the Seas.

The Eunuch Admiral: A Ming cup leads to a Berkeley scholar and the marvelous tale of China’s greatest seafarer.
posted by Winnemac on Oct 22, 2011 - 14 comments

"It's very sad when it rains in a cathedral"

EMS electronic music pioneer Dr. Peter Zinovieff discusses the story of computers and early electronic music. Transcript here. [more inside]
posted by ifjuly on Nov 26, 2010 - 9 comments

Squishy Goodness

Charlie Rose: The Brain Series
posted by cthuljew on Nov 23, 2010 - 8 comments

The Future of Fundamental Physics

Renowned theoretical physicist Nima Arkani-Hamed gave a series of five Messenger lectures on "The Future of Fundamental Physics" at Cornell University two weeks ago. 1 3 4 5 [more inside]
posted by bread-eater on Oct 20, 2010 - 15 comments

All this happened, more or less.

Kurt Vonnegut - How To Get A Job Like Mine A lecture at Albion College in 2002. [more inside]
posted by xod on Aug 9, 2010 - 12 comments

2009 John H. Glenn Lecture

On the eve of the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, the Annual John H. Glenn Lecture took place at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Tickets were in high demand for the event, which featured the Apollo 11 astronauts - among others - discussing the past, present, and future of manned spaceflight. [more inside]
posted by futureisunwritten on Jan 2, 2010 - 17 comments

Obama's Peace Prize Lecture

Obama's Nobel Peace Prize lecture
posted by Dumsnill on Dec 10, 2009 - 155 comments

The Lurking Fear

Lovecraft 101: Get To Know The Master of Scifi-Horror. For more detailed insights into each of Lovecraft's tales in publication order you might want to follow the H.P.Lovecraft Literary Podcast. For another story-by-story guide to Lovecraft you might want to check out Kenneth Hite's Tour De Lovecraft (also available in expanded form as a book). China Mieville on Lovecraft and racism and a lecture at Treadwells by Archaeologist James Holloway which delves deep into Lovecraft and identity. The making of the Call of Cthulhu RPG. The making of Cthulhu (Hipsters! Ego! Madness!). Happy Halloween with H.P. Lovecraft!
posted by Artw on Oct 31, 2009 - 54 comments

Murdoch v. the BBC

"If you think you can get fucking angry, I can get fucking angry." [more inside]
posted by Jakey on Sep 1, 2009 - 43 comments

I am a strange loop.

Douglas Hofstadter's Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid has been recorded as a series of video lectures for MIT's Open Courseware project.
posted by loquacious on May 30, 2009 - 74 comments

The Gutenberg Method

The Lecture System in Teaching Science "Meanwhile, back at the classroom, the lecture is drawing to a close. Just as the bell rings, the lecturer, if he's a really smooth operator, comes to the end of a sentence, a paragraph, a nice neat unit. He lays down his last piece of chalk — he knows exactly how many pieces the lecture will take — picks up his precious lecture notes, and goes out. The students, tired but happy, rise up and follow after him. Their heads are empty, but their notebooks are full. Their necks are a little tired; it's been like a sort of vertical tennis match: board, notebook, board, notebook. But other than that, everything is all right. Any student will tell you, "I never had any trouble with the course until the first examination."" [via]
posted by dhruva on Feb 6, 2009 - 63 comments

Videos of university courses

Academic Earth collects lectures on a wide variety of subjects from UC Berkely, Harvard, MIT, Princeton, Stanford and Yale that the universities have released under Creative Commons. The site is still in beta so it doesn't quite have the thousands of lectures its frontpage promises. It has many full courses, for example Benjamin Polak teaching game theory, Amy Hungerford on the American novel since 1945, Charles Bailyn's introduction to astrophysics, John Merriman on the history of France since 1871, Shelly Kagan on death and Oussama Khatib's introduction to robotics.
posted by Kattullus on Feb 4, 2009 - 10 comments

Welcome to the Khan Academy

Sal Khan likes explaining things, and he's really good at it. Here he is on CNN giving an excellent explanation of the financial crisis. And here's a great explanation of Newton's Law of Gravitation. His YouTube channel has over 700 lectures and you leave understanding everything he talks about no matter the subject.
posted by y10k on Jan 31, 2009 - 21 comments

You and Your Research

You and Your Research was a talk given by Richard Hamming in 1986. Read it if you have an interest in doing first-class work.
posted by parudox on Jan 4, 2009 - 24 comments

iBioSeminars

iBioSeminars is a new project from the American Society for Cell Biology to release freely available lectures from leading scientists on the web. It features talks on such diverse areas as stem cells, malaria, HIV, and biofuel production.
posted by pombe on Oct 30, 2008 - 4 comments

23C3 Body Hacking

What happens when we leave behind cosmetics and societal norms to modify our bodies and minds to enhance who we are and what we can do? In this talk, journalist Quinn Norton explores how technology and flesh are coming together.
posted by Hypocrites on Aug 23, 2008 - 10 comments

Randy Pausch dies at 47

Randy Pausch, who became famous for his "last lecture" after being diagnosed with terminal cancer, has died at 47. (previously) The last lecture video went viral in late 2007. Pausch became a minor celebrity and made a commencement address at Carnegie Mellon which also gained media attention. Homepage (currently being overwhelmed) and Wikipedia.
posted by brassafrax on Jul 25, 2008 - 75 comments

Somewhere, Richard Feynman is smiling.

Swinging from pendulums and facing down wrecking balls, MIT professor Walter Lewin shows students the zany beauty of science.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Mar 14, 2008 - 10 comments

A DNA-driven world

Transcript and video of the 32nd Richard Dimbleby lecture by Craig Venter.
posted by sushiwiththejury on Dec 12, 2007 - 9 comments

Randy Pausch's Last Lecture

Randy Pausch is a pioneer in virtual reality, a computer science professor, a Disney Imagineer, an innovative teacher, and the co-founder of the best video game school in the world. One year ago he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and after a long and difficult fight he's been given just a few more months to live. This week he gave his powerful, funny, and life-affirming last lecture to a packed auditorium at Carnegie Mellon University, entitled "How to Live Your Childhood Dreams". The WSJ's summary, and a direct link to the complete video of the lecture (2 hours, and unfortunately streaming WMV). Warning: hilarious jokes about dying.
posted by xthlc on Sep 20, 2007 - 30 comments

Words make for some easy listening

Listening to words allows you to find, listen to and discuss free lectures from around the web. [via mefi projects] [mi]
posted by Terminal Verbosity on Apr 17, 2007 - 11 comments

Bruce Sterling's Talk at SXSW

Bruce Sterling's talk at SXSW is described on the landing page as a 'rant'. It isn't. What it is is a survey from 10,000 feet at what's happening in culture and technology and on the web, and I reckon it's worth spending the hour of your life it'll take to listen to it. I hope you agree. [mp3, 59 minutes]
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken on Mar 19, 2007 - 52 comments

The world is thinking

Fora Tv is a good place to watch videos of lectures and discussions on topics ranging from politics and science to religion and the arts. Whether you'd like to see Jim Lehrer talk about politics and prose, or watch Brian Eno and Will Wright discuss the joys and techniques of generative creation, you might find something here to like
posted by localhuman on Jan 24, 2007 - 4 comments

145 educational lecture podcasts

The Productive Strategies blog links directly to 145 podcast feeds from universities.
posted by jbickers on Dec 27, 2006 - 14 comments

Physics for Future Presidents

Physics for Future Presidents is a class taught at UC Berkeley by Physics professor Richard Muller. It's a class specifically for non-physics majors and teaches the real world results of the sometimes impenetrable math involved in university physics. After every lecture, you should come away with the feeling that what was just covered is important for every world leader to know. I just sat through the entire hour and 13 minute nukes lecture and was riveted.
posted by quite unimportant on Nov 7, 2006 - 26 comments

Science Live

Science Live site I found this because of the live coverage of the Festival of Science 2006 from Norwich, but found lots of other great links! Great for kids, but good for anyone curious about science. "What if you could watch any popular science lecture you wanted to? What if you could participate in any popular science event? What if you could find out what scientists themselves have to say about the issues that are important in society today? ScienceLive is an initiative that seeks to bring some of the best popular science events (discussions, lectures, interviews) directly to your home, so that you can watch these events whenever and from whereever you can.
posted by k8t on Sep 6, 2006 - 3 comments

Royal Society Library

The Royal Society has an excellent video library of lectures given there over the past few years. For example Jared Diamond with Collapse: how societies choose to fail or survive. Martin Nowak with Why we cooperate, or try Sir David Attenborough Perception, deception and reality.
posted by econous on Sep 1, 2006 - 2 comments

Proofs and Pictures: The Role of Visualization in Mathematical and Scientific Reasoning

Proofs and Pictures: The Role of Visualization in Mathematical and Scientific Reasoning [video] "The picture is a telescope for looking into Plato's heaven." -- James Brown [cached]
posted by Chuckles on Aug 20, 2006 - 27 comments

Con-man, the next Einstein, or...?

Rupert Sheldrake, author of several books (The Sense of Being Stared At; Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home) that detail evidence for the existence of various extra-sensory perceptions. In a lecture for Microsoft Research [page contains link to a 73 minute streaming ASX file] entitled "The Extended Mind: Recent Experimental Evidence", he attacks the mechanistic view of nature and the materialistic view of the mind, and presents his own theory, which involves fields of Morphic Resonance, formative causation, and what he calls "The Extended Mind". Feel free to dismiss after watching.
posted by goethean on Oct 21, 2003 - 38 comments

Water War Iraq

Is the looming war with Iraq the first Water War? Should the signs really be saying No Blood for Water? From -Water Wars: a lecture by (Adel Darwish) "Oil has always been thought of as the traditional cause of conflict in the Middle East past and present. Since the first Gulf oil well gushed in Bahrain in 1932, countries have squabbled over borders in the hope that ownership of a patch of desert or a sand bank might give them access to new riches. No longer. Now, most borders have been set, oil fields mapped and reserves accurately estimated - unlike the water resources, which are still often unknown. WATER is taking over from oil as the likeliest cause of conflict in the Middle East."
posted by thedailygrowl on Mar 17, 2003 - 25 comments

Thomas Friedman Lecture

The lecture Thomas Friedman gave at SAIS a few days ago. A longer form, very interesting and informative explanation of what he's learned post-Sept. 11th about the Middle East. Windows Media video and Real video and audio all available.
posted by turbodog on Mar 10, 2003 - 10 comments

The state of Florida has charged a teenage student with a felony violation of a wiretapping law for taping her chemistry class lecture.
posted by jfuller on Feb 28, 2001 - 32 comments

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