Words - Radiolab

We've been talking about language development at university (I'm training to be a primary school teacher) and I thought of this podcast I'd listened to a while ago and found really interesting.

There are a whole bunch of interesting things they discuss to do with the relationship between language and thinking. A woman recounts meeting a deaf man with no language, some experiments that show that perhaps without language you simply can't imagine some concepts, there's some brief word chemistry by Shakespeare, a neuroanatomist describes her own stroke, and a really fascinating story of some deaf children with no language inventing their own sign language whilst at school, and some implications that followed.

Anyway, simply fascinating, well worth listening to. 1 hour long.

It’s almost impossible to imagine a world without words. But in this hour of Radiolab, we try to do just that.

We meet a woman who taught a 27-year-old man the first words of his life, hear a firsthand account of what it feels like to have the language center of your brain wiped out by a stroke, and retrace the birth of a brand new language 30 years ago.

"The limits of my language are the limits of my life."
Ludwig Wittgenstein


This is a playlist on YouTube I've enjoyed recently, it's essentially an introduction to and basic explanation of Einstein's Relativity.

I've never been comfortable with the theory, and considering how often it's mentioned that fact had led me to believe it wasn't something that CAN be explained intuitively. But these vidoes hit the nail on the head, and I found them fascinating.

Philosophy quizzes

I discovered a site with some great philosophy activities which I highly recommend trying out. Want to ferret out the inconsistencies in your beliefs about God? Ever heard of the trolley thought experiments? Think you know what part of you is really you?

Play them all at the website for The Philosophers' Magazine here!

Der Digitale Planet

An excellent conference held in 1998 with Douglas Adams, Richard Dawkins, Dan Dennett, Steven Pinker and Jared Diamond, on many fascinating topics. Quality is poor but well worth watching/listening to.

65 Million Years With A Creationist.

I agree with V0r4xiz in the comments when he says
"That's the sort of 'fairy tale' that should be in the kids' books."

Voltaire Lecture 2010 - Prof Brian Cox on "The Value of Big Science"

A video for you - one hour long, a lecture by a guy called Brian Cox, who works at the Large Hadron Collider, about science, physics, the LHC, the big bang and many interesting subjects. I enjoyed it immensely.

The Greatest Story Ever Told - Starts With A Bang

Over at Starts With A Bang (great blog by the way) theoretical astrophysicist Ethan Siegel has been posting a series explaining the extent of our understanding of the beginning of the Universe, the context in which the Big Bang plays its part. He's on part 8 right now, click through to parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 and get educated!

Hitler, Stalin and Mao

I haven't written many posts myself here but that is the purpose of this blog - to share things I find interesting, including thoughts.

I was watching a debate to do with religion and the "Hitler, Stalin and Mao" subject came up. It's a retort made by religious proponents in response to having the great evils religion has been responsible for pointed out.

"...when you talk about the needless suffering that religion has caused, I think it's time for me to address the historical record; because I think that religion's record is nothing less than exemplary compared to irreligion..."

I could just see it coming as he spoke, it's always mentioned - "religion might be bad but" Hitler, or Stalin, or whoever. When he said it I could hear the usual responses in my head, but they've never satisfied me. Then it seemed to clear up for me - the argument is not that religion simply makes the world worse but that it's in direct opposition to good in a lot of ways. So whether or not it's done good it frequently stands in the way of it and this is gravely important.

Evolution of Life in 60 Seconds

First saw this a long time ago but everyone should watch it :)
"By condensing 4.6 billion years of history into a minute, the video is a self-contained timepiece. Like a specialized clock, it gives one a sense of perspective. Everything — from the formation of the Earth, to the Cambrian Explosion, to the evolution of mice and squirrels — is proportionate to everything else..."

Evolution of Life in 60 Seconds § SEEDMAGAZINE.COM

Some People Are Less Than Awesome

I'm sorry to lower the tone with this video, but it's just priceless. I think the embarrassment of the whole affair peaks when he starts watching his shadow!

Sports Videos, News, Blogs

"A Monkey's Mind" - an interview with Dr Stephen Suomi

There are a fascinating mix of concepts from psychology, philosophy and biology featured in this short interview. The attempted punchline wasn't delivered with much conviction, I fear, but there's enough of interest despite that to make it a worthwhile watch.

Edit: Oh and here's a link to the article I found the video.

Happy new year and…

...all you need is love.

The diversity of the human race is incredible, and that people from all over the globe can come together like this is nothing less than mind blowing! Happy New Year!