Category Archives: Health

Why are we so fat?

Robert Lustig, professor of pediatrics at University of California, San Francisco, thinks he knows the culprit. It’s the sugar in all those sugary sodas, sugary sports drinks and fruit juices that we down so casually each day. He lays out … Continue reading

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A great human biology course

If you like your science spiced with drama, Robert Sapolsky is the professor for you. In his Stanford University course Human Behavioral Biology (iTunes), he serves up nature in all its gory glory, and narrates the tale of scientific breakthroughs … Continue reading

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Learning and Memory

How is Hollywood’s portrayal of amnesia almost always wrong? Can MRI brain imaging be used as a lie detector? How does the brain consolidate new memories? All of this and more is in Learning and Memory: How it Works and … Continue reading

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The Birth of a Nation: a narrative that shaped history

UCSD historian Michael Parrish has a great respect for the power of narrative. In lecture 6 of his current The United States in the 20th Century(feed), he takes time out from his own narrative of events to consider how early … Continue reading

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Time for a stretch

If your aching back and shoulders are telling you that you’ve been staring at your computer too long, help is at hand from UCLA’s Recreation Department, via iTunes U. I’ve already tried out 15 stretches that will change your life … Continue reading

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Freud was wrong about catharsis

Why does the “talking cure” pioneered by Sigmund Freud and his students help relieve anxiety, depression and other mental illnesses? Freud famously taught that psychotherapy helped the patient achieve catharsis, or purging of the emotions. This was helpful, Freud thought, … Continue reading

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Introduction to Biological Anthropology

UC Berkeley neurobiologist Terrence Deacon gives a rousing grand finale to his spring 2009 course Introduction to Biological Anthropology (iTunes). The final three lectures explore the ways that our bodies and minds have been shaped by evolution, sometimes in ways … Continue reading

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Neurobiology of sex: the birds, the bees, baboons and us

Stanford biology professor Robert Sapolsky is a smart funny guy who sprints from one topic to the next, strewing interesting ideas and punchlines in his path. Sapolsky has long been a favorite of mine (see The best health lecture on … Continue reading

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Two great sociology classes from UCSD

What was the difference between the apartheid regime in South Africa and the Jim Crow regime in the American South? According to UCSD sociologist Ivan Evans, the important difference was that South Africa used state power to terrorize and intimidate … Continue reading

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10 top things to do with your iPod during a financial meltdown

10) Learn about stress in baboons. Our primate cousins have a lot to teach us about handling stress according to this lecture (iTunes) by Stanford stress researcher Robert Sapolsky. 9) Take a meditation break. Get the free audio for short, … Continue reading

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