lectures
Fun
What Happens When You Reply to Email Scams
"Solomon, Your email intrigues me."... READ ON
Videos
Oliver Sacks: What Hallucination Reveals About Our Minds
"Kermit the frog means nothing to me!"... READ ON
Videos
David Foster Wallace: "I Wish You More Than Luck"
"The capital-T Truth is about life BEFORE death." -David Foster Wallace, 2005... READ ON
Videos
Hank Green: "You Have No Obligation to Your Former Self"
Videos
Lunchtime Lecture: How to Rebuild the World
Article
Lectures for a New Year: Philip Glass Performs "Mad Rush"
In 1979, Philip Glass wrote a solo piano piece called "Mad Rush" (a piece of "indefinite length") in honor of the 14th Dalai Lama's visit to North America. I find the piece very moving -- there's something simultaneously contemplative and urgent about the music. I listen to it a lot while writing, in its 13-minute version from Glass's album Solo Piano -- the whole album is terrific, and nerds may recognize one piece from its appearance on Battlestar Galactica (apparently Kara Thrace's dad was Philip... READ ON
Article
Lectures for a New Year: Mary Roach is an Awesome Space Nerd
Mary Roach is thoroughly awesome: she's funny, whip-smart, and well-read. In other words, she's one of us. Roach is the author of Stiff, Spook, Bonk, and most recently Packing for Mars; in this lecture, Roach tells stories about space (mainly from NASA), including exactly the kinds of questions we all have about space: what's it like to be there? Does it smell weird? How does food work? What if you get mad at your fellow astronauts? And of course, what's up with the toilets?? Topics: funny (and... READ ON
Article
Lectures for a New Year: Fourth Week in Review
For the month of January I'm bringing you a great lecture every weekday. This week I picked my favorite RSA Animate Talks, along with their associated full lectures. In case you missed one, here's a review of the lectures posted this week. Our Broken Educational System First up, an “RSA Animate” talk — a whiteboard drawing done by hand (although edited a bit to speed it up), along with the audio from a lecture by Sir Ken Robinson. The lecture, like all of Robinson’s work,... READ ON
Article
Lectures for a New Year: What Motivates Us, Aside from Money
In this RSA Animate video, author and former Al Gore speechwriter Dan Pink discusses a series of studies about what motivates people -- and more practically, what motivates workers. He takes apart the simplistic notion that monetary rewards result in better performance; such rewards do improve performance for purely mechanical tasks, but when you get into knowledge work, it's not just about the money. In this talk, Pink lays out a simple set of guidelines that will help any worker or employer understand... READ ON
Article
Lectures for a New Year: Is Time on Your Side?
In this brilliant talk, Professor Philip Zimbardo discusses different ways human minds focus on time. Do you focus on the past? If so, are you "Past Positive" (focusing on the good times) or "Past Negative" (focusing on failures)? Do you focus on the present? If so, are you hedonistic or do you just feel it doesn't pay to plan? As Zimbardo says, "Most of us are here because we're future-oriented. We have learned to work, rather than play -- to resist temptation. But there's another way to be... READ ON
Article
Lectures for a New Year: The Divided Brain
In this eleven-minute animation, psychiatrist Iain McGilchrist explains how our notion of the hemispheres of the brain being ultra-separate is a drastic oversimplification, and has had consequences for how we think about our behavior, our culture, and our society. This talk complements Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor's talk (posted in this series two weeks back), in which she discusses the profoundly different minds present in her own hemispheres -- and how she experienced the world differently during and after her... READ ON
Article
Lectures for a New Year: We are Empathic Monkeys
In this RSA Animate presentation, economist Jeremy Rifkin discusses emerging research on empathy. It's a fast-paced, smart talk -- and it deals with the core question what is empathy? More than wondering what it is, Rifkin discusses how we observe it arise in each human (anyone who has been around kids has observed this progression), research on animals that demonstrates the neurological basis of empathy, and the philosophical implications of empathy for our world. Why does empathy matter? Ultimately... READ ON
Article
Lectures for a New Year: Our Broken Educational System
This week I'll bring you the best RSA talks -- a series of lectures a bit like TED from the UK. First up, an "RSA Animate" talk -- a whiteboard drawing done by hand (although edited a bit to speed it up), along with the audio from a lecture by Sir Ken Robinson. The lecture, like all of Robinson's work, discusses what's wrong with our educational system, at a deep level -- in a very brief talk, he lays out a cogent argument that our educational system is predicated on systems of thought that are hundreds... READ ON
Article
Lectures for a New Year: Third Week in Review
For the month of January I’m bringing you a great lecture every weekday. This week I picked my favorite TED Talks -- and got some great suggestions for more! In case you missed one, here’s a review of the lectures posted this week. How to Enjoy Classical Music Benjamin Zander is the conductor of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra, and a hell of a speaker. He’s funny, engaging, and adorably English — exactly the sort of speaker who commands and rewards attention. In this twenty-minute talk, he... READ ON
Article
Lectures for a New Year: Malcolm Gladwell on Spaghetti Sauce
Malcolm Gladwell is the author of iconic books including Blink and The Tipping Point. He has a formula for most of his work: find a core assumption about the world that everyone assumes is correct, then prove that the opposite is actually correct. (For example, in Blink one assumption was that rigorous, detailed study of something like a work of art would lead to the best determination of whether it was a forgery; but it turns out that the best forgery detectors in the world actually operate on gut... READ ON
Article
Lectures for a New Year: How Schools Fail Creative Kids
Sir Ken Robinson is an educator (a former professor) who believes that the fundamental principles we use to educate our children are wrong. In this talk, he lays out a series of anecdotes (most of which are hilarious) about education, kids, and how we're doing it wrong. This is a terrific talk for parents, educators, and kids themselves -- have you ever felt that school didn't nurture your creative instinct? I sure have. If you're like me, you'll find this talk instructive. Topics: dinner parties,... READ ON

Near the event horizon of a black hole (the boundary in spacetime surrounding said black hole), "spaghettification" will occur, stretching matter into thin strips.

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