Thursday, May 25, 2023

Your Brain: Perception Deception + Who's In Control?

It seems there was a moment a few years ago when our collective senses of reality were universally called into question. I am speaking, of course, about The Dress. Was it blue and black or white and gold? [Disclosure: I was on Team White and Gold in the moment.] And then ... was it Yanny or Laurel? [I only hear Yanny.] 

And one that I seem to have repressed: "Brainstorm" or "Green Needle"? That one added a new dimension of terror as your own brain could be flipped from Brainstorm to Green Needle by mere suggestion. The audio didn't change; your brain's interpretation changed. [Update: you can also roll with "Brain Needle" or "Green Storm" if you ... put your mind to it.]

Our faith in the fidelity of the realities our minds create around us turns out to be somewhat misplaced. This two-part series investigates that and more.

Nearly a hundred of the Exploratorium's Science Snacks involve perception. [Snacks can be sorted by subject; one of those subjects is "perception".]

Is what you see real? Join neuroscientist Heather Berlin on a quest to understand how your brain shapes your reality, and why you can’t always trust what you perceive. In the first hour of this two-part series, learn what the latest research shows about how your brain processes and shapes the world around you, and discover the surprising tricks and shortcuts your brain takes to help you survive.

Are you in control, or is your brain controlling you? Dive into the latest research on the subconscious with neuroscientist Heather Berlin. Sleepwalking, anesthesia, game theory, and more reveal surprising insights in this eye-opening journey to discover what’s really driving the decisions you make.

If you have ever encountered an utterly bewildering illusion, you know the powerful effect such images have on the mind. If we can't trust what we see, then what is reality? In this virtual field trip, Professors. Susana Martinez-Conde and Stephen Macknik will present a smorgasbord of mystifying illusions selected from their Best Illusion of the Year Contest. Martinez-Conde and Macknik, who study the intersection of neuroscience, illusions, and stage magic, will explain just why we think we see the things we see.

Friday, May 12, 2023

Conceptual Physics Alive! is now streaming freely

Great news, physics types! 

For your professional development, your classroom, or for your own delight, Paul Hewitt's classic CPAlive! lectures are gifted to you here for streaming or download. Enjoy! To learn more about Paul's latest (2023) "Conceptual Academy Physics" full high school program, visit Good Energy!

Conceptual Physics Alive! [A handy index page with links to episodes and question sets] 

Saturday, May 6, 2023

Physics for the 21st Century

Physics for the 21st Century is an 11-part series produced by the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and hosted at Annenberg Learner. A multimedia course for high school physics teachers, undergraduate students, and science enthusiasts; 11 half-hour programs, online text, facilitator’s guide, and website. Annenberg Learner Physics for the 21st Century site.

This might be something nice for after the AP exams in your AP Physics course. High school physics content was developed in the 17th-20th centuries. This series gets you past 1927.

Thursday, May 4, 2023

Chasing Carbon Zero

NOVA ran two climate change episodes for Earth Month, 2023. Weathering the Future was discussed in a previous post. Changing Carbon Zero was the next episode in season 50 of the program.

Climate journalist, Miles O'Brien, takes us on a journey whose destination is "Net Zero" carbon. That's where we're supposed to be by 2050 to avoid a range of climate-related catastrophes. Those catastrophes are starting to show themselves here in 2023, so the need is clear.

As with Weathering the Future, this documentary doesn't waste time making the case that climate change is happening. That's settled science. It's documented elsewhere in the world of documentaries.

This program is devoted to the nuts and bolts of how we get from here to carbon zero. It's a difficult, but not impossible task. For some key carbon contributors, innovation is no longer needed. We have the tools we need. But we need to implement them.