Intelligent YouTube Channels
September 26, 2010 10:20 PM   Subscribe

Intelligent YouTube Channels. A large collection from many sources, such as the Richard Dawkins channel l The 92nd Street Y l Big Think l Philip Scott Johnson's collection of art videos l MoMA l Vanity Fair l Yad Vashem a leader in Holocaust education l KQED Public Media l The Research Channel l YouTube EDU, which centralizes all of its educational/academic content. This is the best place to start if you’re looking for lectures and courses l The Spoken Verse l universities like Stanford and Cambridge. Previously.
posted by nickyskye (15 comments total) 123 users marked this as a favorite
One of the best results of the Internet has been to free up talks/speeches from real-time physical space. Not just classroom, but the book author talk or graduation speech etc.. the kind of ephemeral live presentation material that makes up a big part of culture. I mean, @GoogleTalks alone has enough amazing material to watch for a lifetime; I seem to learn and retain material from there as well or in some cases better than books. And these videos are more like books, since they are static and never change, discreet packages with a clear start and end, unlike websites which are constantly in flux.
posted by stbalbach at 10:49 PM on September 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

@GoogleTalks (better view)
posted by stbalbach at 10:58 PM on September 26, 2010 [2 favorites]

nptel for the win. Full-length engineering courses, and sequences of them.

I've looked over MIT courseware, etc., previously, but I haven't found the solid mass of lectures following any one discipline from the American universities.
posted by sebastienbailard at 1:19 AM on September 27, 2010 [2 favorites]

Unintelligent YouTube Channels, such as the Dhammaloka Buddhist Centre channel | Sixty Symbols | Juho's collection of art videos | MoHM | frumsatire a leader in Orthodox Jewish comedy | The Supreme Master Channel | NEP League is starting now, but you get the idea...
posted by shii at 3:00 AM on September 27, 2010

This is amazing! I had no idea. Please, if anyone has any more links to resources like these, please post them. I personally like the math/software/engineering stuff most, I guess, but all of it is great.

And, stbalbach, you're right except that I think there's enough info to last 100 lifetimes!

If this stuff is one tenth as helpful as it looks, then there are few reasons for anyone who can afford broadband to not educate themselves.

Thanks, folks!!!
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 3:09 AM on September 27, 2010

I'd like to know under what circumstances a lecture video becomes an efficient way to get information? I have bookmarked quite a few of these sites and downloaded lecture podcasts and videos on iTunes, but rarely watch or listen to them, and feel somewhat guilty about it. I start watching a lecture or TED talk or course podcast, and immediately think to myself, "Why aren't I reading a book? I get ten times as much information ten times faster, I can review things I don't understand with lightning speed, I can skim, I can use the index and bibliography, I can deal with the ideas directly, without falling into wondering about the lecturer's hairline or sex life." The only exception I can think of is listening to podcasts of lectures in the car, while driving. That's pretty much fun and better than the radio. But for the most part, listening to a lecture on the internet strikes me as a kind of loose, baggy steampunk anachronism, by comparison to which, a plain old book on the same subject is a sleek, powerful information bullet.
posted by Faze at 3:52 AM on September 27, 2010 [4 favorites]

Some lectures have a kind of artistic quality to them because of the passion with which they are delivered; this is somewhat like the advantage of hearing song lyrics as compared to reading printed poetry. So, a lecture can be more fun than a book - if you have a really good lecturer. However, the only real educational advantage of a live lecture as compared to a book is that if you are present at the lecture, and the lecturer has time, you can ask questions. Of course, that advantage does not apply to taped lectures. So yes, I agree with Faze that books are more useful.
posted by grizzled at 5:53 AM on September 27, 2010

I'd like to know under what circumstances a lecture video becomes an efficient way to get information?

Under the circumstance that the person who needs the information is someone other than you? I mean, I'm like you, I much prefer text. But it's no secret that lots of people are the opposite, and find it more efficient to watch a lecture. They're not wrong, just different.
posted by escabeche at 5:54 AM on September 27, 2010

Mainly I think they're good introductions to topics people can then go and find a book on.

I won't browse in the library for an introduction to rocket science but I may well randomly click around youtube until the first two minutes of a lecture engage my interest and I start thinking rocket science might be interesting enough to look up in a book.

In the same way my university offers free afternoon and evening lectures on a wide variety of things I wouldn't think of actually studying until they're offered and convenient. It's kind of like listening to NPR or the World Service, who'd have thought the private lives of 13th century nuns in Lichtenstein was a thing worth knowing about until you were bored on the train one day.

So it's more like metafilter than college - a broad range of randomly interesting things in fairly short doses that you can go and look up later if they were sufficiently intriguing.

A lot depends on the lecturer too, some are entertaining enough to make almost anything seem fascinating.
posted by shinybaum at 5:55 AM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

In the front page video on the Dawkins page the physicist makes the claim that these statements are equivalent: "Here's how the universe began;" "Here's why there is a universe at all." But, of course they aren't.

I thought this was symptomatic of the video. It was clear that much of what he was saying was, rhetorically speaking, nothing more than laying the foundation for certain lines of attacks in philosophy. In the second half of the video it got kind of heavy handed.

Given Dawkins's ideological position I imagine the other videos are much the same.
posted by oddman at 6:01 AM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

@oddman, yeah pretty much my response too. I balked at Dawkins' channel being the first listed of "intelligent" channels. There's a lot of intelligent atheist advocates out there. Dawkins' isn't one of them.
posted by brenton at 8:05 AM on September 27, 2010

re: Lectures vs Books, it's not really an either/or .. each has a place, as anyone who has attended school knows. For me, lectures are a good introduction to a subject, they last 20-60 minutes and are humanly engaging. I've gone on to read many books after watching the lecture, books are the aquifer from which the spring of lectures flow. Also for some reason looking at a person talk makes it more memorable than words on a page, probably for good reason, humans are social animals which have been using our eyes and ears for social clues from other human animals for millions of years, versus reading for only a few hundred years (in most cases).
posted by stbalbach at 8:38 AM on September 27, 2010

oddman, brenton: try to put your distaste for Dawkins to one side and understand that this is an aggregator channel for good science videos as much as for stuff about atheism, religion, reason etc. Arguably moreso, actually. There are many very respected and reputable people featured on that channel who have nothing to do with Dawkins or any line of his you find distasteful. The Brian Greene and Lawrence Krauss videos in particular give fairly eye-opening (although necessarily high-level) insights into some of the latest developments in cosmology.
posted by Decani at 10:05 AM on September 27, 2010

In the front page video on the Dawkins page the physicist makes the claim that these statements are equivalent: "Here's how the universe began;" "Here's why there is a universe at all." But, of course they aren't. - oddman

I didn't see anywhere in that video where a claim was made equating the "how" question with the "why" question. In physics those would have very different meanings.

The video is a very generalized intro to String Theory for the layman. The point that Brian Greene is trying to make there isn't one of philosophy, but one of physics. Various other physical evidence indicates that all observable matter in the universe emanated from a single point all at once, around 13 billion years ago (with a lot of uncertainly and debate around that specific number, the general range is 7 to 24 billion). The classical physical theories of Relativity and Quantum Mechanics completely fail to explain what happened in the small instant of time just after the event because the matter and energy was too dense and hot. They also fail to predict what conditions were like before that which caused the big bang to occur. The hope of string theorists is to come up with a new model that can do many things, including both of those.

The "how" question is: how things proceeded just after the big bang? If you start with the conditions of the entire mass and energy of the universe with infinite density (or even very high, above some threshold), relativity and quantum mechanics aren't enough to predict what would happen that would lead to the type of observable universe that we see today.

The "why" question is: what were the conditions before the big bang and in the framework of those conditions, what caused the big bang to occur? This gets extra complicated if you allow for what we know as "time" to have only started at or shortly after the big bang, as many versions of string theory predict. But you could still have some set of physical laws, expressed using mathematics that could describe those pre-big bang conditions and also predict the occurrence of the big bang.

String theory is cutting edge stuff in modern physics and is far from settled. There are many different versions of string theory promoted by different researchers and it's not even solidly established that any version of it is ever going to work out. The major problem so far is coming up with a model that makes testable predictions that could differentiate it from previous physical theories. It's been a couple of decades now without this type of confirmation through physical experiments, so it may never pan out. There are competing theories, though none as popular as string theory.
posted by dodecapus at 10:19 AM on September 27, 2010

Dodecapus - they were having a nice, satisfying little pop at Dawkins. Why did you have to ruin it all by taking the objection at face value?
posted by Summer at 1:58 AM on September 28, 2010

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