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 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.
's last, shattering insight is not the end of the story -- along with crew
, a blackly funny in-universe lecture on resurrecting sociopathic vampirism
), 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]
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".
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]
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
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
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 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
- Arkani-Hamed previously on MeFi
- A hot-off-the-presses Wikipedia page
(watch this space)
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.
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]
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]
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.
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
The Eunuch Admiral:
A Ming cup leads to a Berkeley scholar
and the marvelous tale of China’s greatest seafarer
Renowned theoretical physicist Nima Arkani
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]
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]
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!
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
collects lectures on a wide variety of subjects
from UC Berkely
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
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.
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
, and biofuel production
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.
Randy Pausch, who became famous for his "last lecture
" after being diagnosed with terminal cancer, has died at 47
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
of the 32nd Richard Dimbleby lecture by Craig Venter.
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.
Listening to words
allows you to find, listen to and discuss free lectures from around the web. [via mefi projects
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]
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
The Productive Strategies blog
links directly to 145 podcast feeds from universities.
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.
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.
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
, 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.
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."
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.
The state of Florida has charged a teenage student with a felony violation of a wiretapping law
for taping her chemistry class lecture.