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New Releases on Sale
  • The Great Tours: Ireland and Northern Ireland

    Professor Marc C. Conner, Ph.D.

    Available Formats: Instant Video, DVD
    The Great Tours: Ireland and Northern Ireland guides you through the enchanting history, people, and places that make up the Irish identity. Taught by Professor Marc C. Conner, president of Skidmore College, these 24 captivating lessons give you a sweeping tour of the Emerald Isle, from the Cliffs of Moher to the hallowed stage of the Abbey Theatre to the battle-scarred towns of Northern Ireland.
    View Lecture List (24)
    The Great Tours: Ireland and Northern Ireland guides you through the enchanting history, people, and places that make up the Irish identity. Taught by Professor Marc C. Conner, president of Skidmore College, these 24 captivating lessons give you a sweeping tour of the Emerald Isle, from the Cliffs of Moher to the hallowed stage of the Abbey Theatre to the battle-scarred towns of Northern Ireland.
    View Lecture List (24)
    24 Lectures  |  The Great Tours: Ireland and Northern Ireland
    Lecture Titles (24)
    • 1
      A Destination like No Other
      Begin your course with a look at two of Ireland's most iconic tourist spots, the Rock of Cashel and the Guinness Brewery. These sites represent a microcosm of the fascinating story of Ireland, as well as an introduction to the people and the landscape of the Emerald Isle. Get a preview of the grand tour before you. x
    • 2
      Prehistoric and Celtic Ireland
      Ireland is steeped in myth, its ancient history shrouded in mystery. Investigate the origins of civilization in Ireland by visiting several ancient sites, including Newgrange and the great Hill of Tara. See what the beautiful ruins can tell us about the Celtic people, their religion, and some of the marvelous myths of Irish history. x
    • 3
      Early Christian and Medieval Ireland
      St. Patrick is one of the greatest figures in Irish history, inextricably linked to the story of both the island and Christianity. Here, visit several important sites: Croagh Patrick in western Ireland, St. Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin town, and the Clonmacnoise monastery in the center of Ireland. x
    • 4
      Ireland during the Protestant Ascendancy
      Much of Irish history involves its entanglement with Great Britain. From the Norman castles to the battlefield of Aughrim to the Georgian architecture in Dublin, the Irish landscape is imbued with relics of British imperialism. Explore the British-Irish divide, which is also a Catholic-Protestant divide. x
    • 5
      From the Easter Rising to the Present Day
      Round out your survey of Irish history with an exploration of the 20th century. Stops on your tour include the general post office in Dublin, which played a critical role in the 1916 uprising; the town of Derry, home of the infamous Bloody Sunday tragedy; and a typical modern farmhouse in the Irish countryside. x
    • 6
      Dublin's Fair City
      Shift your attention to modern-day Dublin, the focus of the next several lessons. Here, you will consider the vestiges of the city's medieval roots, including the wood quay that marks the site of the Viking invasion and St. Audoen's Gate, a relic of the old walled city. Then, take a tour of Dublin Castle and Trinity College. x
    • 7
      Dublin Today, South and North of the Liffey
      Dublin today is one of the most dynamic, cosmopolitan, and exciting cities in all of Europe, and the beauty of Dublin is that it remains a walker's city. Join Professor Conner for a walking tour of Dublin, from St. Stephen's Green to the Liffey River and O'Connell Bridge to the Abby Theatre, and more. x
    • 8
      The Churches of Dublin
      One of the most distinctive characteristics of Irish culture is its rich and complex religious history. Since the churches of Dublin are particularly potent examples of this characteristic, embark on a tour of Christ Church, St. Mary's Pro-Cathedral, and a variety of smaller churches that are hidden gems" of Dublin." x
    • 9
      The Museums of Dublin
      Dublin is blessed with some of the finest museums in the world, museums that purpose to specifically tell the Irish story-especially if you know what to look for. In this lesson, Professor Conner guides you through the National Museum of Ireland for Archaeology, the Chester Beatty Museum, the National Museum of Natural History, the National Gallery, and more. x
    • 10
      Day Trips from Dublin
      If you have a week to spend in Dublin, your visit wouldn't be complete without a few excursions to the countryside. Learn about the attractive village of Slane, the astonishing monastic settlement of Monasterboice, and the mysterious Wicklow Mountains, home of the unforgettable site of Glendalough. x
    • 11
      Kilkenny, the Rock of Cashel, and Cahir
      From Dublin, Professor Conner takes you on a grand loop around Ireland, starting with the fascinating town of Kilkenny. Enjoy the breathtaking expanse of Kilkenny Castle with its strategic view of the River Nore. After touring Kilkenny, you will revisit the Rock of Cashel as well as Cahir Castle, two essential stops for the serious traveler. x
    • 12
      Exploring Cork
      County Cork is the southernmost county in Ireland, and the city of Cork is the third-most populous city of the island. Investigate Cork's place in Irish history, and then take a tour of the city, from the quays along the river to the art gallery and the Custom House. Round out your visit with a study of St. Fin Barre's Cathedral and Blarney Castle. x
    • 13
      Killarney and the Ring of Kerry
      Continue your loop around Ireland by traveling southwest to County Kerry, known for its long history of independence and rugged pride. Here, the history is profound, but it is the landscape that is most astonishing; it's among the most beautiful in all of Ireland. Visit the abbeys, parks, and farms of this extraordinary corner of Ireland. x
    • 14
      The Dingle Peninsula
      Of all the magical places in Ireland, perhaps none is as special as the Dingle Peninsula, in the far west of County Kerry. Here you may find the Irish language spoken as the everyday language of commerce and conversation. The language, the poetry, the traditional music, the history, and the archaeology all make this stop an unforgettable part of any Irish journey. x
    • 15
      North Kerry, from Tralee to the Shannon
      Conclude your tour of County Kerry with an exploration of the region known as North Kerry. Sheer cliffs, rocky hikes, geological wonders, and enchanting lakes will give you the feeling of being alone in the misty deeps of the past. Professor Conner also takes you into the town of Tralee and other nearby villages. x
    • 16
      Clare and Galway, the Heart of the West
      County Clare and County Galway are the central counties on the western seaboard of Ireland, and they are known for their traditional Irish music, their remarkable literature, their lush greenlands, and the dramatic rocky landscapes that give such contrast and beauty to the scenery in this part of Ireland. Sites in this amazing region include the Cliffs of Moher, the Burren, Galway City, and more. x
    • 17
      Traveling Ireland's Northwest
      Venture through the sweeping country from Galway to Sligo, a region that is among the wildest and most picturesque in all of Ireland. Professor Conner ferries you out to the Aran Islands, over to the Kylemore Abbey, and on to the famous shrine to St. Mary at Knock. This lesson ends with a look at the ancient town of Sligo and rugged County Donegal. x
    • 18
      The Ireland of W. B. Yeats
      A native of Sligo, the poet W. B. Yeats captured the spirit of Ireland like none other. Visiting some of the locations he wrote about-including the inspiration for The Lake Isle of Innisfree" and the mountain Ben Bulben-gives you a new appreciation for both the country and the poet, as well as an understanding of Yeats's role in the Irish Revival." x
    • 19
      The Irish Revival in Literature and Art
      The struggle for Irish independence in the early 20th century is one of the most remarkable periods in world history, accompanying a flourishing of great literature and art. In this lesson, Professor Conner introduces you to the artistic era and its key figures, including Yeats, Lady Gregory, J. M. Synge, James Joyce, and many more. x
    • 20
      James Joyce's Ireland
      James Joyce is the most acclaimed of all the world-famous Irish writers. He is also, perhaps, the most resolutely Irish writer who has ever lived. Meet this brilliant, eccentric writer and examine the relationship between his biography and the story of Ireland. Encounter the places he immortalized in his great work. x
    • 21
      Experiencing Belfast
      One cannot understand Ireland without understanding the North, and while Northern Ireland is part of Great Britain, it is also unmistakably Irish. After an introduction to the country and its troubled history, this lesson takes you inside the Belfast of today. Gain a visceral sense of the deep-seated conflict that underlies this beautiful and fascinating city. x
    • 22
      Northern Ireland beyond Belfast
      While Northern Ireland retains evidence of sectarian strife, it also is home to some of the most stunning and beautiful landscapes on the island, as well as places of great historic and cultural interest. Learn about Carrickfergus Castle, traverse the Giant's Causeway, check out the Bushmills Distillery, and reflect on the town of Derry. x
    • 23
      Pub Life and Traditional Irish Music
      Traditional Irish music is deeply rooted in Ireland's past, intrinsically connected to the countryside, and known the world over. Experience Ireland's pub life, have a drink, and encounter the music, ambience, and hospitality you can't find anywhere else. Your pub crawl includes Dublin's Brazen Head, O'Connor's in the rural west, and others. Cheers! x
    • 24
      Ireland in Film and Sport
      Music, pubs, and poetry might be the first aspects of Irish culture that you think about, but films also embody the spirit of Ireland. See how The Quiet Man, Ryan's Daughter, and others led to a star-studded native film industry. Your great tour concludes with a look at Irish sports, and the way Gaelic football, hurling, and golf are important to Irish culture today. x
  • The Botanist's Eye: Identifying the Plants around You

    Professor Catherine Kleier, Ph.D.

    Available Formats: Instant Video, DVD
    How can you learn to better see—and appreciate—the world of plants? In The Botanist’s Eye: Identifying the Plants around You, explore the most common plant families in North America, as well as some of the fascinating species within them. Along the way, learn the history of botanical science, tips and tricks botanists use to identify seemingly similar plants, and the myriad ways plants define what it means to be human.
    View Lecture List (24)
    How can you learn to better see—and appreciate—the world of plants? In The Botanist’s Eye: Identifying the Plants around You, explore the most common plant families in North America, as well as some of the fascinating species within them. Along the way, learn the history of botanical science, tips and tricks botanists use to identify seemingly similar plants, and the myriad ways plants define what it means to be human.
    View Lecture List (24)
    24 Lectures  |  The Botanist's Eye: Identifying the Plants around You
    Lecture Titles (24)
    • 1
      Why Learn the Names of Plants?
      Knowing how to name plants can help you develop a better relationship with the outdoors. In this introductory lesson, get a brief overview of how life is divided and classified, walk through an example of taxonomy using a ponderosa pine tree, and consider helpful tools every good casual botanist may need. x
    • 2
      Before There Were Flowers
      Non-flowering plants have been on Earth longer than plants with flowers. Here, start with mosses, liverworts, and hornworts. Then turn to ferns and fern allies and discover tried-and-true methods for identifying them. Lastly, consider several phyla of gymnosperms and their species, including the Gingko tree. x
    • 3
      Plants Are Named like People
      Dive into the many classification systems botanists used (and still use) to name plants. Among these are the binomial system popularized by Carl Linnaeus; the phenetic classification system, which aimed at revealing relationships based on shared characteristics; and the three ways botanists determine the ancestral traits of plants. x
    • 4
      Organizing the Huge Diversity of Plants
      Professor Kleier helps you to make sense of the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group (APG), which botanists now use to classify flowering plants. You'll learn how APG came about, what it does, and why it's so important to field botanists. Then you'll explore the six guiding principles for naming a plant species. x
    • 5
      The Language of Botany
      From roots and stems to leaf hairs and fruits, learn to determine the parts of plants so you can make your own identifications in the field. What are the two main types of root systems? What are the most common leaf arrangements? What are the three different symmetry types for flowers? x
    • 6
      What the Terms Monocot, Dicot, and Eudicot Tell You
      Embark on your in-depth exploration of the major plant families. First, learn to recognize the difference between monocots and eudicots. Then, explore the most ancient plant family in North America and four basal angiosperms. Among the plants you'll encounter are: water lilies, magnolia trees, pawpaws, and avocado trees. x
    • 7
      Parts of Three: The Monocots
      In this lesson, investigate monocot plants, which grow from bulbs and tend to bloom early in the spring. You'll cover the Easter lilies of the Liliaceae family, the purple heart of the Commelinaceae family, the corpse flower of the Araceae family, and the Arecaceae (or Palmae) family with its instantly recognizable palm trees. x
    • 8
      Monocots: Orchids, Asparagus, and Irises
      Continue your look at monocots with a lesson on four more plant families: the Orchidaceae (the second largest family of flowering plants); the Asparagaceae (which does include asparagus as well as agave plants); the Amaryllidaceae (which includes daffodils and paper whites); and the iris family, or Iridaceae. x
    • 9
      Grassy Monocots: Grasses and Relatives
      The grasses, or Poaceae, are fairly easy to recognize-but are rather difficult to break down into individual species. There are four families you'll learn about in this lesson: three which look superficially like grasses (rushes, sedges, and cattails), and the Bromeliaceae, or the pineapple family. x
    • 10
      Early Eudicots: Buttercups and Poppies
      Now, enter the largest group of flowering plants: the eudicots, which all form a good group because they all have a similar pollen structure. Professor Kleier discusses three families (Ranunculaceae, Berberidaceae, and Papaveraceae) and also shares the floral diagrams and formulas botanists use to remember plant family characteristics. x
    • 11
      Eudicots: Crassula, Euphorbs, and Willows
      You've already met some succulents in the Asperagaceae family, which includes agaves. Here, meet two other families that include succulents, the Crassulaceae and the Euphorbiaceae, and some other plant families that decidedly don't include succulents but are related: Saxifragaceae, Violaceae, and Salicaceae. x
    • 12
      Eudicots: Peas and Beans
      The Fabaceae family is so diverse and so prevalent in the Northern Hemisphere that it deserves its own lesson. Home to important crops such as soybeans, green beans, peas, and alfalfa, this fabulous family is easily recognized by the wings, banner, and keel" arrangement of the flowers." x
    • 13
      Rose Eudicots: Roses, Mulberries, and Elms
      The economically important rose family produces many tree fruits, including cherries, plums, apricots, nectarines, peaches, and almonds. Here, explore the rose family, the Rosaceae and some closely related families: the Moraceae, the mulberry or fig family; the Ulmaceae, or elm family; and the Cannabaceae, the hemp, hops, and hackberry family. x
    • 14
      Eudicots: Squashes, Oaks, and Birches
      In this lesson, look at the Cucurbitaceae, the cucumber and gourd family, and the Fagaceae, the oak family, both of which are defined by their fruit types. Also consider three families closely related to oaks: the walnut family (Juglandaceae), the birch family (Betulaceae), and the she-oaks" common to tropical beaches (Casuarinaceae)." x
    • 15
      Eudicots: Maples, Cashews, and Chocolate
      Meet five plant families that are mixed in terms of woody and herbaceous members. Begin with the Sapindaceae, which in addition to maples, includes lychee. Continue with the cashew family, the Anacardiaceae; the Malvaceae, the mallow family, which includes hibiscus, cotton, and chocolate; and the Geraniaceae, or the geranium family. x
    • 16
      Brassica Eudicots: The Mustards
      Why learn to recognize the Brassicaceae? Because, as you'll learn, it's the sixth largest family in North America, including around 650 species. And one of them, Brassica oleracea, has been cultivated into kale, collard greens, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, red and white cabbage, Chinese broccoli, and other delicious vegetables. x
    • 17
      Pink Eudicots: Pinks, Cacti, and Relatives
      In this lesson, learn the easiest way to recognize a carnation in the wild (hint: look at the leaves); gain a greater appreciation for the humble tumbleweed (also known as the Russian thistle); and explore the cactus family, with their iconic modified leaves (botanically called spines) and smaller bristles (called glochids). x
    • 18
      Heath and Dogwood Eudicots
      Which plant genus produces berries that are almost all edible? What relationship exists between roses and rhododendrons (Greek for "rose tree")? How can you determine whether or not a tree or shrub belongs to the dogwood family? Discover answers to these and other questions about heath and dogwood eudicots. x
    • 19
      Gentian Eudicots from Milkweed to Coffee
      First, take a closer look at the milkweeds and dogbanes of the Apocynaceae family, known for their opposite leaves and milk sap. Second, learn about the Rubiaceae family, which gives us gardenias, quinine, and coffee. Lastly, consider the beautiful blue gentians in the Gentianaceae family-some of the only true-blue plants around. x
    • 20
      Tomato-Type Eudicots
      Most of the plants you'll meet in this lesson are herbaceous and have petals joined at the base. They are the Solanaceae, or nightshade family (which includes tomatoes and peppers); the Convolvulaceae family, whose members are usually vines; and the Boraginaceae, whose generally hairy members include the forget-me-nots. x
    • 21
      Minty Eudicots with Liplike Flowers
      In this lesson that focuses on liplike flowers, Professor Kleier introduces you to one of the easiest plant families to identify-the Lamiaceae, or mints-and one of the hardest: the Plantaginaceae, or plantain family. Plus, explore an intriguing plant family, the Orobanchaceae, whose plants are partly (if not all) parasitic. x
    • 22
      Sunflower Eudicots: More than You Think
      What makes a weed a weed? Turns out, it's not a botanical term at all-it's just the name for plants that grow where they're not wanted. In this lesson, you'll meet two families: the bell-flower family, or the Campanulaceae; and the sunflower family, or Asteraceae, which includes everyone's favorite weed, dandelion. x
    • 23
      Parsley Eudicots: Plants with Umbels
      Examine a family of plants (known for their compound umbel inflorescences and hollow stems) that include a great many herbs and spices-coriander, cumin, cilantro, dill anise, and fennel-as well as some very toxic plants including poison hemlock. Also, consider examples from the ginseng family and the honeysuckle family. x
    • 24
      Now You See Plants
      To conclude the course, Professor Kleier gives you a brief review of 20 plant families: 10 of the most speciose and 10 she considers just as important. Then, she offers her insights on the future of botany and how new genetic evidence could change how we identify certain plants. x
  • Real Zen for Real Life
    Course  |  Real Zen for Real Life

    Professor Bret W. Davis, PhD

    Available Formats: Instant Video, DVD
    With the academic purview of a philosophy professor, the view of an academic scholar, and the spiritual experience of a practitioner and teacher of Zen, Professor Bret W. Davis’s Real Zen for Real Life reflects the push and pull between Eastern and Western traditions and cultures with the goal of making the study and practice of Zen more accessible and engaging to all viewers.
    View Lecture List (24)
    With the academic purview of a philosophy professor, the view of an academic scholar, and the spiritual experience of a practitioner and teacher of Zen, Professor Bret W. Davis’s Real Zen for Real Life reflects the push and pull between Eastern and Western traditions and cultures with the goal of making the study and practice of Zen more accessible and engaging to all viewers.
    View Lecture List (24)
    24 Lectures  |  Real Zen for Real Life
    Lecture Titles (24)
    • 1
      What Is Zen? Recovering the Beginner's Mind
      Professor Davis introduces you to the concept of Zen by explaining that you need to clear your mind of anything you think Zen might be in order to understand what Zen actually is. Further explaining this, the practice of clearing the heart-mind, or emptying of our cup, is a Zen meditation in order to properly set out on the path of Zen. He will debunk common Western interpretations of what Zen is not, while introducing what we can take away from traditional Zen teachings and apply in modern Western culture. x
    • 2
      The Zen Way to Know and Forget Thyself
      Reflect on how Zen helps you understand who you really are. Professor Davis first helps you move past superficial titles you might use to define yourself and understand more about who you really are through holistic meditation. As he walks you through a brief practice meditation-whether it's your first time or you're a pro-he'll help you understand how to better empty your mind and leave the meditation with less" than you came in with: less stress, less mental clutter and emotional agitation, fewer attachments and prejudices-fewer things that close, rather than open, our hearts and minds." x
    • 3
      Zen Meditation: Clearing the Heart-Mind
      Professor Davis helps you achieve a better intellectual understanding of meditation by breaking down the different methods of meditation, providing tips on how best to prepare, and addressing how to overcome common blocks to meditating properly, such as anxiety about wasting time, fear of silence, or feelings of boredom. He breaks down five important benefits of successful meditation and reveals how it can help give rise to an inner confidence that is both firm and flexible. x
    • 4
      How to Practice Zen Meditation
      Moving you from learning about Zen meditation to actually trying it, Professor Davis walks you through setting up an optimal time and place for your practice, determining which positions work best for you. He provides an in-depth explanation of the best ways to properly breathe and how to focus on your breathing, in order to calm the monkey mind"-a common term used to compare a hyperactive mind to a monkey swinging from one branch to another." x
    • 5
      The Middle Way of Knowing What Suffices - Meditation Checkup: The Middle Way of Meditation
      As Professor Davis notes, It is impossible to understand Zen Buddhism without learning something about the teachings of the Buddha." This lesson provides explanations and applications of basic Buddhist teachings. Professor Davis analyzes the traditional concept of the Middle Way through stories and diagrams and looks at how we have reinterpreted the meaning in the context of modern western culture." x
    • 6
      Embracing the Impermanence of Life
      Continuing to follow the philosophical journey of the Buddha, Professor Davis breaks down the doctrine that became the framework for the Buddha's other teachings: The Four Noble Truths. Through anecdotes, examples, and parables, you'll gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for the goals of the Buddha's teaching. Professor Davis will challenge you to examine and potentially reconsider desires you may have previously had. x
    • 7
      The True Self Is Egoless - Meditation Checkup: Lead with the Body and Physical Stillness
      Moving on from an exploration of the origins and meanings of common Buddhist principles, Professor Davis introduces the first of three lessons focused on the philosophical core of Zen Buddhism-which he admits, up front, may be the most intellectually and emotionally challenging. The crux of this lesson focuses around how we are not, and can never be, exactly the beings we deeply desire to be, and how the true self may be ungraspable. x
    • 8
      Loving Others as Yourself
      Spend this lesson looking further into the interconnected nature of the true self and what it means to say that the whole world is you." Bringing in examples from other world views, particularly focused on the teachings of Jesus, Professor Davis explores the concept of self and others. With a focus on the senses and coexistence, this lesson shows you how to "taste" the oneness of all life without losing sight of the real differences between individual lives." x
    • 9
      Taking Turns as the Center of the Universe - Meditation Checkup: From Mindless Reacting to Mindful Responding
      What happens when two persons who have had a realization of their true self meet? Do worlds collide? Is the world big enough for more than one true self? Look at how we are united in our differences as you explore the answers to these questions and more. Examine the idea that to realize oneself as the center of the universe requires, paradoxically, letting go of all self-centeredness. x
    • 10
      Who or What Is the Buddha?
      Take a step back with Professor Davis to look at who Buddha actually was, as you explore the various meanings of Buddha" across the various traditions of Buddhism. Looking at Buddha through the lens of Western examples, you'll gain a deeper understanding of how the meaning of "Buddha" is by no means restricted to a historical teacher, but rather an appellation that means "awakened one" or "enlightened one."" x
    • 11
      Mind Is Buddha: If You Meet Him, Kill Him! - Meditation Checkup: Dealing with Unavoidable Pain
      In this lesson, Professor Davis continues to discuss Zen's understanding of the Buddha. You'll look more closely at the manner in which the term Buddha" is used in Zen, beginning with the idea that "mind is Buddha" and ending with what is perhaps the most shocking statement in any religious tradition, namely Zen master Linji's admonition, "If you encounter the Buddha, kill the Buddha!" Examine the idea that Zen is all about freeing ourselves from our fixations on the ones we already have." x
    • 12
      Dying to Live: Buddhism and Christianity
      Take an in-depth look at how Eastern and Western religious beliefs and philosophies can work in tandem as Professor Davis addresses our most entrenched attachment. He focuses namely on our attachment to our egos. Examine how in Zen, as in Christianity, in order to truly live, we must undergo a great spiritual death and rebirth. x
    • 13
      Zen beyond Mysticism: Everyday Even Mind
      Discover how altered states of consciousness can manifest during meditation-and why you should ignore them and focus on the ordinary. The goal of Zen practice is to get rid of the things that crowd your mind, not add new clutter. Learn how to attain and keep the everyday even mind" rather than reach toward the mystical or the superficially profound." x
    • 14
      Engaged Zen: From Inner to Outer Peace - Meditation Checkup: Dealing with Distractions
      What does it mean to achieve peace? Should we punish evil or enlighten the ignorant? Take a closer look at how Zen Buddhism frames inner peace as the means to attaining outer peace through practice and example. Also look at the ways Zen Buddhism can give you invaluable insight into the ways we conceive of justice, peace, and personal responsibility. x
    • 15
      The Dharma of Karma: We Reap What We Sow
      Karma is not about comeuppance. Rather, it is about your own behaviors and how they shape the person that you are-or who you want to be. Examine the meaning of situated freedom" and learn the truth about karma beyond the simplistic ideas of reward/punishment or retribution. Gain a more thorough understanding of your own role in karma as a concept of cause and effect and its relationship to free will." x
    • 16
      Zen Morality: Follow and Then Forget Rules
      Zen teachings on morality have often been distorted to present the idea of being beyond good and evil." In reality, Zen Buddhism takes a view of morality that is more complex than this duality, instead focusing on how to alleviate suffering in ourselves and others. Examine the concept of a morality that is not dictated by fixed rules of right and wrong and learn how to confront moral dilemmas through the lens of reducing harm." x
    • 17
      The Zone of Zen: The Freedom of No-Mind
      What does it mean to be free from ego and selfishness? In the Zen concept of no mind," you are able to free yourself from binary thinking and achieve a more childlike state of openness and wonder. Look closely at how zazen (Zen meditation) can help you live in the moment and be present in every step of your own journey instead of obsessively focusing on end results or future outcomes." x
    • 18
      Zen Lessons from Nature: The Giving Leaves - Meditation Checkup: Three Ways of Breathing In and Out
      Freedom and responsibility, according to Zen, are not found by way of transcending the forces and flows of nature, but rather by getting back in touch with them. Learn about the practice of samu, in which you engage wholeheartedly with the task at hand, no matter how insignificant that task may seem. Professor Davis reveals his own personal journey as you discover how to become a part of the give-and-take of nature, embrace gratitude, and release yourself from the weight of expectation. x
    • 19
      Zen Art: Cultivating Naturalness
      Is it a paradox to cultivate spontaneity? Perhaps, yet as you will learn, Zen teaches us how to develop our human capacity for participating in nature in ways that offer both structure and originality. Look at the Ways of Zen-the cultivated artistic and creative methods of Zen practitioners-and see how form and discipline can lead to greater freedom and creativity in your own pursuits. x
    • 20
      Zen and Words: Between Silence and Speech - Meditation Checkup: Chanting as a Meditative Practice
      As you will see, the Zen stance on the written word can seem contradictory. Zen is a practice that both values poetry, stories, parables, and other writings, yet also encourages practitioners to go beyond words" and embrace silent meditation and reflection. Dig into this seeming contradiction to understand why Zen values the power of the language, but also acknowledges its many limitations." x
    • 21
      Zen and Philosophy: The Kyoto School
      The West has long made a distinction between philosophy and religion, but East and South Asian practices like Zen (and others) don't feel the need for this binary division. Look closer at how Zen emphasizes a holistic approach to both practicing and understanding its tenets and see why Zen is more than an intellectual exercise. Learn about the Kyoto School and its approach to acknowledging philosophy as a part-but not the whole-of Zen Buddhism. x
    • 22
      Just Sitting and Working with K?ans - Meditation Checkup: Walking Meditation
      Delve into the two major Japanese schools of Zen: S?t? Zen and Rinzai Zen. First, examine the direct approach of the S?t? school, in which the practice of sitting and clearing the mind to a state of nonthinking" is emphasized above intellectual exercises. Then, turn to the "pressure cooker" Rinzai approach, which focuses on k?ans and examining the paradoxical nature of being to work towards enlightenment. As you will see, there is no absolute path to Zen." x
    • 23
      Death and Rebirth: Or, Nirvana Here and Now
      Is change a disruption of continuity, or a part of that continuity itself? In Zen Buddhism, change is an accepted and acknowledged part of life, with death merely being another change every living thing must face. Delve into the core teachings of Zen surrounding life and death and better understand why it is important to face your own mortality and embrace impermanence to live fully here and now. x
    • 24
      Reviewing the Path of Zen: The Oxherding Pictures - Finding a Zen Community
      Bring your exploration of Zen Buddhism to a close as you follow Professor Davis through a commentary on a beloved Zen text: Ten Oxherding Pictures. This series of illustrated poems, recreated from the work of a 12th-century monk, portray the path of a Zen practitioner through the stages toward enlightenment and offers a glimpse into the cyclical nature of self-discovery. After all, the journey is the destination. x
  • Mathematical Brain Teasers and Logic Puzzles

    Professor Jason Rosenhouse, PhD

    Available Formats: Instant Video, DVD
    Professor Jason Rosenhouse presents his favorite brain teasers and logic puzzles. Each lesson starts with a relatively simple puzzle that illustrates a mathematical idea or problem-solving strategy. From there, you progress to more challenging problems that will provide hours of amusement. Puzzles include the Bridges of Königsberg, the Monty Hall problem, the “Hardest Logic Puzzle Ever,” and many more.
    View Lecture List (12)
    Professor Jason Rosenhouse presents his favorite brain teasers and logic puzzles. Each lesson starts with a relatively simple puzzle that illustrates a mathematical idea or problem-solving strategy. From there, you progress to more challenging problems that will provide hours of amusement. Puzzles include the Bridges of Königsberg, the Monty Hall problem, the “Hardest Logic Puzzle Ever,” and many more.
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    12 Lectures  |  Mathematical Brain Teasers and Logic Puzzles
    Lecture Titles (12)
    • 1
      Why We Love Puzzles
      Why do we create puzzles simply for the pleasure of solving them? After proposing a few theories, Professor Rosenhouse notes that mathematicians love puzzles, especially those that lead to deep mathematical insights. Get warmed up for the course with six brain teasers involving hourglasses, a restaurant order, a biased coin, the numbers on a clock face, and two chessboard scenarios. x
    • 2
      Thinking outside the Box
      Test your wits against the puzzle that likely inspired the famous expression thinking outside the box." Then apply this strategy to a variety of brain teasers, involving matchsticks, cards, light switches, and other objects in interesting and puzzling situations. Also ponder the legendary physics exam question: How can you find the height of a building by using a barometer?" x
    • 3
      You Don't Need No Algebra!
      First, find a shortcut solution to a classic word problem in algebra. This introduces the lesson's theme: forget your algebra and use cleverness to solve problems without x's and y's. Along the way, you'll learn that sometimes having too much information can make a problem harder. Also find out why transcontinental flights take longer in one direction than the other-not counting wind effects. x
    • 4
      Knights, Knaves, and Normals
      Now turn to logic puzzles, trying to distinguish between knights who only make true statements, and knaves who only tell falsehoods. Start with simple cases. Then introduce tricky if-then" statements. Next, what if the knight or knave is insane and thus has false beliefs? This makes things trickier! Finally, add a third category: normal people who are sometimes truthful, sometimes not." x
    • 5
      Lewis Carroll's Game
      Lewis Carroll, author of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, wrote a book of logic puzzles for children. Take a crack at some of these fun exercises, which Carroll designed to illustrate the principles of Aristotelian logic. See what you can conclude from such categorical statements as all wasps are unfriendly, and all puppies are friendly." Carroll's syllogisms get progressively more elaborate." x
    • 6
      Question Puzzles and Coercive Logic
      Return to the Island of Knights and Knaves from Lesson 4 to consider puzzles where asking the right questions is the point of the problem. Work your way up to the famous heaven or hell" puzzle. Then close with an exercise in coercive logic, devised by noted mathematician and puzzle master Raymond Smullyan. Easy riches hinge on a very simple bargain that sounds too good to be true. Do you accept?" x
    • 7
      The Saga of the Hardest Logic Puzzle Ever
      Learn about biconditional statements of the form, p if and only if q." Then tackle the notorious "Hardest Logic Puzzle Ever," devised by philosopher George Boolos. You have three yes/no questions to identify three gods: the god who always answers truthfully, the god who always lies, and the god who randomly mixes true and false answers. One big problem: They answer in their own language, which you don't speak." x
    • 8
      The Muddy Children Puzzle
      Finish your study of logic with puzzles where you must draw conclusions based on what other people can infer from information they are given. Your first example is the muddy children" puzzle, in which children with muddy faces must conclude with logical certainty-without looking in a mirror, feeling their faces, or being told-that they have muddy faces. Such puzzles are unusually subtle." x
    • 9
      The Perils of Probability
      Ponder probability, starting with the chances of getting an ace of spades when you turn over the top cards on two well-shuffled decks. In probability, it's a safe bet that your first instinct is wrong! Investigate other phenomena, including the chances that your suitcase is lost when 98 percent of the luggage has arrived at baggage claim, but yours has not. Your odds may be better than you think. x
    • 10
      A New Look at the Monty Hall Problem
      Study the famous Monty Hall problem from the game show Let's Make a Deal. Your quandary: A new car is hidden behind one of three doors; after making your choice, your door is left shut and one of the doors without the car is opened. Do you care to switch to the other closed door? Find out why one expert says, No other statistical puzzle comes so close to fooling all the people all the time."" x
    • 11
      Arithmetic Amusements
      Discover the fun of arithmetic and other simple mathematics. Begin with the game Krypto, in which your goal is to make a given number with arithmetical operations on five other numbers. Then try out the four fours" puzzle. Next, see how perfect squares and perfect triangles reveal algebra and geometry working together. Finally, reason out why a negative number multiplied by itself a is a positive number." x
    • 12
      Algorithmic Puzzles
      Take up algorithmic puzzles, which require a carefully thought-out procedure-or algorithm-to solve. Algorithms have notable applications in computer science, but they also come in handy for dividing pirate gold, transporting hungry animals to an island, and solving life-or-death riddles posed by movie villains. At least, that's the entertaining approach you take in this final lesson. x
  • Introduction to Machine Learning

    Professor Michael L. Littman, PhD

    Available Formats: Instant Video, DVD
    Taught by Professor Michael L. Littman of Brown University, this course teaches you about machine-learning programs and how to write them in the Python programming language. For those new to Python, a “get-started” tutorial is included. The professor covers major concepts and techniques, all illustrated with real-world examples such as medical diagnosis, game-playing, spam filters, and media special effects.
    View Lecture List (25)
    Taught by Professor Michael L. Littman of Brown University, this course teaches you about machine-learning programs and how to write them in the Python programming language. For those new to Python, a “get-started” tutorial is included. The professor covers major concepts and techniques, all illustrated with real-world examples such as medical diagnosis, game-playing, spam filters, and media special effects.
    View Lecture List (25)
    25 Lectures  |  Introduction to Machine Learning
    Lecture Titles (25)
    • 1
      Telling the Computer What We Want
      Professor Littman gives a bird's-eye view of machine learning, covering its history, key concepts, terms, and techniques as a preview for the rest of the course. Look at a simple example involving medical diagnosis. Then focus on a machine-learning program for a video green screen, used widely in television and film. Contrast this with a traditional program to solve the same problem. x
    • 2
      Starting with Python Notebooks and Colab
      The demonstrations in this course use the Python programming language, the most popular and widely supported language in machine learning. Dr. Littman shows you how to run programming examples from your web browser, which avoids the need to install the software on your own computer, saving installation headaches and giving you more processing power than is available on a typical home computer. x
    • 3
      Decision Trees for Logical Rules
      Can machine learning beat a rhyming rule, taught in elementary school, for determining whether a word is spelled with an I-E or an E-I-as in diet" and "weigh"? Discover that a decision tree is a convenient tool for approaching this problem. After experimenting, use Python to build a decision tree for predicting the likelihood for an individual to develop diabetes based on eight health factors." x
    • 4
      Neural Networks for Perceptual Rules
      Graduate to a more difficult class of problems: learning from images and auditory information. Here, it makes sense to address the task more or less the way the brain does, using a form of computation called a neural network. Explore the general characteristics of this powerful tool. Among the examples, compare decision-tree and neural-network approaches to recognizing handwritten digits. x
    • 5
      Opening the Black Box of a Neural Network
      Take a deeper dive into neural networks by working through a simple algorithm implemented in Python. Return to the green screen problem from the first lecture to build a learning algorithm that places the professor against a new backdrop. x
    • 6
      Bayesian Models for Probability Prediction
      A program need not understand the content of an email to know with high probability that it's spam. Discover how machine learning does so with the Naive Bayes approach, which is a simplified application of Bayes' theorem to a simplified model of language generation. The technique illustrates a very useful strategy: going backwards from effects (in this case, words) to their causes (spam). x
    • 7
      Genetic Algorithms for Evolved Rules
      When you encounter a new type of problem and don't yet know the best machine learning strategy to solve it, a ready first approach is a genetic algorithm. These programs apply the principles of evolution to artificial intelligence, employing natural selection over many generations to optimize your results. Analyze several examples, including finding where to aim. x
    • 8
      Nearest Neighbors for Using Similarity
      Simple to use and speedy to execute, the nearest neighbor algorithm works on the principle that adjacent elements in a dataset are likely to share similar characteristics. Try out this strategy for determining a comfortable combination of temperature and humidity in a house. Then dive into the problem of malware detection, seeing how the nearest neighbor rule can sort good software from bad. x
    • 9
      The Fundamental Pitfall of Overfitting
      Having covered the five fundamental classes of machine learning in the previous lessons, now focus on a risk common to all: overfitting. This is the tendency to model training data too well, which can harm the performance on the test data. Practice avoiding this problem using the diabetes dataset from lecture 3. Hear tips on telling the difference between real signals and spurious associations. x
    • 10
      Pitfalls in Applying Machine Learning
      Explore pitfalls that loom when applying machine learning algorithms to real-life problems. For example, see how survival statistics from a boating disaster can easily lead to false conclusions. Also, look at cases from medical care and law enforcement that reveal hidden biases in the way data is interpreted. Since an algorithm is doing the interpreting, understanding what is happening can be a challenge. x
    • 11
      Clustering and Semi-Supervised Learning
      See how a combination of labeled and unlabeled examples can be exploited in machine learning, specifically by using clustering to learn about the data before making use of the labeled examples. x
    • 12
      Recommendations with Three Types of Learning
      Recommender systems are ubiquitous, from book and movie tips to work aids for professionals. But how do they function? Look at three different approaches to this problem, focusing on Professor Littman's dilemma as an expert reviewer for conference paper submissions, numbering in the thousands. Also, probe Netflix's celebrated one-million-dollar prize for an improved recommender algorithm. x
    • 13
      Games with Reinforcement Learning
      In 1959, computer pioneer Arthur Samuel popularized the term machine learning" for his checkers-playing program. Delve into strategies for the board game Othello as you investigate today's sophisticated algorithms for improving play-at least for the machine. Also explore game-playing tactics for chess, Jeopardy!, poker, and Go, which have been a hotbed for machine-learning research." x
    • 14
      Deep Learning for Computer Vision
      Discover how the ImageNet challenge helped revive the field of neural networks through a technique called deep learning, which is ideal for tasks such as computer vision. Consider the problem of image recognition and the steps deep learning takes to solve it. Dr. Littman throws out his own challenge: Train a computer to distinguish foot files from cheese graters. x
    • 15
      Getting a Deep Learner Back on Track
      Roll up your sleeves and debug a deep-learning program. The software is a neural net classifier designed to separate pictures of animals and bugs. In this case, fix the bugs in the code to find the bugs in the images! Professor Littman walks you through diagnostic steps relating to the representational space, the loss function, and the optimizer. It's an amazing feeling when you finally get the program working well. x
    • 16
      Text Categorization with Words as Vectors
      Previously, you saw how machine learning is used in spam filtering. Dig deeper into problems of language processing, such as how a computer guesses the word you are typing and possibly even badly misspelling. Focus on the concept of word embeddings, which define" the meanings of words using vectors in high-dimensional space-a method that involves techniques from linear algebra." x
    • 17
      Deep Networks That Output Language
      Continue your study of machine learning and language by seeing how computers not only read text, but how they can also generate it. Explore the current state of machine translation, which rivals the skill of human translators. Also, learn how algorithms handle a game that Professor Littman played with his family, where a given phrase is expanded piecemeal to create a story. The results can be quite poetic! x
    • 18
      Making Stylistic Images with Deep Networks
      One way to think about the creative process is as a two-stage operation, involving an idea generator and a discriminator. Study two approaches to image generation using machine learning. In the first, a target image of a pig serves as the discriminator. In the second, the discriminator is programmed to recognize the general characteristics of a pig, which is more how people recognize objects. x
    • 19
      Making Photorealistic Images with GANs
      A new approach to image generation and discrimination pits both processes against each other in a generative adversarial network," or GAN. The technique can produce a new image based on a reference class, for example making a person look older or younger, or automatically filling in a landscape after a building has been removed. GANs have great potential for creativity and, unfortunately, fraud." x
    • 20
      Deep Learning for Speech Recognition
      Consider the problem of speech recognition and the quest, starting in the 1950s, to program computers for this task. Then delve into algorithms that machine-learning uses to create today's sophisticated speech recognition systems. Get a taste of the technology by training with deep-learning software for recognizing simple words. Finally, look ahead to the prospect of conversing computers. x
    • 21
      Inverse Reinforcement Learning from People
      Are you no good at programming? Machine learning can a give a demonstration, predict what you want, and suggest improvements. For example, inverse reinforcement turns the tables on the following logical relation, if you are a horse and like carrots, go to the carrot." Inverse reinforcement looks at it like this: "if you see a horse go to the carrot, it might be because the horse likes carrots."" x
    • 22
      Causal Inference Comes to Machine Learning
      Get acquainted with a powerful new tool in machine learning, causal inference, which addresses a key limitation of classical methods-the focus on correlation to the exclusion of causation. Practice with a historic problem of causation: the link between cigarette smoking and cancer, which will always be obscured by confounding factors. Also look at other cases of correlation versus causation. x
    • 23
      The Unexpected Power of Over-Parameterization
      Probe the deep-learning revolution that took place around 2015, conquering worries about overfitting data due to the use of too many parameters. Dr. Littman sets the stage by taking you back to his undergraduate psychology class, taught by one of The Great Courses' original professors. Chart the breakthrough that paved the way for deep networks that can tackle hard, real-world learning problems. x
    • 24
      Protecting Privacy within Machine Learning
      Machine learning is both a cause and a cure for privacy concerns. Hear about two notorious cases where de-identified data was unmasked. Then, step into the role of a computer security analyst, evaluating different threats, including pattern recognition and compromised medical records. Discover how to think like a digital snoop and evaluate different strategies for thwarting an attack. x
    • 25
      Mastering the Machine Learning Process
      Finish the course with a lightning tour of meta-learning-algorithms that learn how to learn, making it possible to solve problems that are otherwise unmanageable. Examine two approaches: one that reasons about discrete problems using satisfiability solvers and another that allows programmers to optimize continuous models. Close with a glimpse of the future for this astounding field. x
  • Learning Italian: Step by Step and Region by Region

    Professor Kristina Olson, PhD

    Available Formats: Instant Video, DVD

    In this exciting course on Italian, you’ll learn to speak about the present, the past, and the future through detailed work with verbs, nouns, and adjectives, plus you’ll learn vocabulary on numerous, useful subjects. Among Italy’s richly diverse regions, you’ll discover the romantic beauties of Campania, The “Marches”, Il Veneto, and Tuscany, in an unforgettable immersion into Italy’s splendorous language and culture.

    View Lecture List (24)

    In this exciting course on Italian, you’ll learn to speak about the present, the past, and the future through detailed work with verbs, nouns, and adjectives, plus you’ll learn vocabulary on numerous, useful subjects. Among Italy’s richly diverse regions, you’ll discover the romantic beauties of Campania, The “Marches”, Il Veneto, and Tuscany, in an unforgettable immersion into Italy’s splendorous language and culture.

    View Lecture List (24)
    24 Lectures  |  Learning Italian: Step by Step and Region by Region
    Lecture Titles (24)
    • 1
      Benvenuti to Italian and Italy's 20 Regions!
      Begin with a preview of the content of the course, as you will study the Italian language within the cultural context of Italy's 20 geographic regions. Learn about vowels and consonants in Italian, and important principles of pronunciation. Study the subject pronouns, the verbs essere and stare (both meaning to be"), daily greetings, and practice the elements of a simple conversation." x
    • 2
      Nouns and Articles / Sicily
      Discover the island of Sicily, as you build knowledge of Italian grammar and vocabulary. Dive into a text describing Sicily's topography, history, and ancient treasures. Using the text, explore Italian nouns as they express gender and number. Then look at indefinite articles in Italian (a" and "an" in English) and definite articles ("the" in English), and learn a practice dialogue." x
    • 3
      Nouns and Adjectives / Sicily II
      Delve further into the history and culture of Sicily in this lesson. Study the plural forms of nouns, and how numbers are spoken in Italian. Practice both elements using an imaginary dialogue concerning a Sicilian literary character. Learn how to describe people, places, and things with adjectives; how adjectives reflect gender and number; and practice describing a Renaissance painting. x
    • 4
      Verbs Ending in -are / Lombardy
      Take an overview of the region of Lombardy; its geography, culture, and food traditions. Learn the present indicative conjugation for -are" verbs, covering a group of highly useful verbs. Use your new knowledge in talking about daily routines and discussing a classic Italian film, Il Posto. Review numbers in Italian, and look at one of Lombardy's gems, The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci." x
    • 5
      Verbs Ending in -ere / Lazio
      The region of Lazio contains the city of Rome, and much history regarding Italian art, politics, and society. Take in its cultural highlights as you practice second conjugation" verbs, ending in "-ere". Build facility with these verbs in the present indicative, using a text about the iconic film La Dolce Vita. Learn idiomatic expressions using avere (to have), and ways of forming questions." x
    • 6
      Verbs Ending in -ire / Aosta and Trentino-Alto Adige
      Start this lesson by reading texts describing two of the northernmost regions of Italy, the Valle d'Aosta and Trentino-Alto Adige, focusing on their mountainous geography and beautiful landscapes. Then study third conjugation" verbs, ending in -ire, taking note of important irregular -ire verbs. Also learn the calendar, seasons, days of the week, and vocabulary concerning sports activities." x
    • 7
      Possessive Adjectives and Pronouns / Puglia
      Grasp how possessive adjectives (my," "your," and "our" in English) and possessive pronouns ("mine," "yours,"and "ours") function in Italian. Explore their use in text describing the geography, scenic landscapes and coastline, and traditional houses of the Puglia region, and add important vocabulary about the family. Practice what you've learned in discussing Tre Fratelli and Le Mine vaganti, two films set in Puglia." x
    • 8
      Prepositions / Abruzzo and Molise
      Travel to the beautiful regions of Abruzzo and Molise, which feature stunning natural scenery, fine cuisine, and much history. Dig deeply into the use of prepositions in Italian (as in from," "with," and "about" in English), which connect all the parts of speech. Also, note how prepositions express unspecified quantities, and learn vocabulary about the weather and seasonal activities." x
    • 9
      Modal Verbs, Sapere, and Conoscere / Liguria
      Modal" verbs are verbs that precede another infinitive, as in "I want to eat." Work with dovere (to have to), potere (to be able to), and volere (to want to), as you discover Liguria's natural beauties, picturesque towns, and culinary and artistic riches. Then investigate the verbs conoscere and sapere, which relate to knowledge, and look into the creations of Genoese architect Renzo Piano." x
    • 10
      The Imperative Mood / Campania
      The imperative mood expresses commands, as in, Repeat after me," in English. Explore the two types of imperative verbs in Italian, the informal and the formal, and when to use each. Also, study irregular forms of the imperative. Practice the imperative by describing the popular Campania region, famous for its capital of Naples, its ancient sites, beautiful islands, and the scenic Amalfi Coast." x
    • 11
      Direct Objects / Emilia-Romagna
      Here, your subject matter for practice is the beautiful central region of Emilia-Romagna, which boasts the medieval city of Bologna, stunning Adriatic beaches, and a wealth of famous food specialties. Study direct object pronouns (as in it" and "them" in English, standing in for nouns), as well as two vital adjectives, buono and bello, and use them in describing the sights of Emilia-Romagna." x
    • 12
      Indirect Objects / Friuli-Venezia Giulia
      Continue your study with the indirect object pronouns, which function as in I give the book to him" in English. Also explore double object pronouns, as in "I give it to him." Then practice the verb piacere, which expresses likes and dislikes, as you explore the multilingual region of Fruli-Venezia Guilia, highlighting its beautiful and diverse scenery and the fascinating city of Trieste." x
    • 13
      Irregular Nouns / Basilicata
      The less-visited southern region of Basilicata contains rich treasures of history and culture. Discover its ancient rock-carved houses and lunar landscapes as you return to Italian nouns, working with their plural endings and irregular forms. Then add the interrogative nouns and pronouns (who," "what," "why"), as you learn about Carlo Levi's celebrated novel which made this region famous." x
    • 14
      Reflexive Pronouns and Verbs / The Marches
      Reflexive verbs direct the action onto the subject, as in I wash myself." Practice key Italian reflexive verbs along with their pronouns for talking about daily routines and wellness. In the Marches region, reflect on its picturesque scenery, Renaissance and medieval architecture, and the legacy of Raphael and Rossini, and learn the vocabulary of the body as well as how to tell time in Italian." x
    • 15
      Reciprocal Verbs and Negatives / Veneto
      The splendors of the Veneto region are your material for this lesson, from its iconic visual artists and the glorious city of Venice to its traditions of literature and theater. In speaking about the region, add reciprocal verbs, which describe actions that are shared reciprocally, as in, They love each other." Also, explore negative constructions and the expressive range of Italian adverbs." x
    • 16
      Present Progressive and Suffixes / Piedmont
      Study text describing the rich attractions of the Piedmont region, its alpine geography, the beautiful capital of Torino, and famed artisanal products. Work with the present progressive construction, which describes actions occurring in the present moment, as in I'm eating lunch." Learn about Italian suffixes, word endings that convey extra meaning, and about expressive Italian hand gestures." x
    • 17
      Indefinite Pronouns, Ci, and Ne / Sardinia
      Indefinite pronouns describe nonspecific qualities or quantities, as in some," "any," or "many" in English. Study how these work in Italian, as you discuss ancient sites, agriculture, and tourism on the scenic island of Sardinia. Also, explore the unique pronouns ci and ne, which replace phrases within sentences. Then see how the beauties of Sardinia have been depicted in Italian films." x
    • 18
      Passato Prossimo with Avere / Umbria
      The verdant region of Umbria is known as The Green Heart of Italy." Read text about its natural beauties, art and architecture, artisanal industries, and religious history. Work with the basic past tense, the passato prossimo ("Have you eaten?"). Learn to form this compound tense with avere (to have), and use it in discussing Umbrian culture. Also, study regular and irregular participles." x
    • 19
      Passato Prossimo with Essere / Tuscany
      Tuscany is perhaps Italy's most celebrated and popular region, and the cradle of the Renaissance. Learn about its breathtaking medieval cities, beloved food specialties, and its iconic artists and writers. See how the passato prossimo tense is used with the auxiliary verb essere. Study expressions of time, and practice your skills in describing the life of Florentine painter Sandro Botticelli. x
    • 20
      The Imperfect Tense / Calabria
      The imperfetto (the imperfect) describes actions in the past that were ongoing or not completed, as in I was reading." Read text about the untamed beauty, prehistory, and Greek/Byzantine legacy of Calabria, noting the use of the imperfetto. Learn to conjugate the imperfetto, and practice choosing where to use it, as opposed to the passato prossimo, in text on the treasures of ancient Calabria." x
    • 21
      The Impersonal Voice / Liguria II
      Take a second look at the natural beauty and artistic culture of Liguria. Study the impersonal voice, which is used to refer to an unspecified subject, as in One should" or "Everyone knows." See how this voice expresses what people can do, see, or experience. Then return to modal verbs, as well as conoscere and sapere, and see how these verbs take on different meanings based on the tense used." x
    • 22
      The Imperative with Pronouns / Campania II
      Return to the culturally rich Campania region as you review the imperative mood (commands), and learn how the imperative functions with pronouns (where Eat the pizza!" becomes "Eat it!"). Explore both the informal and formal imperative, double pronouns ("Give it to her."). Then practice them in describing Campania's ancient cities, scenic beauties, and beloved culinary specialties." x
    • 23
      The Future Tense / Lazio II
      Speak about the sights and history of Rome, the eternal city, as you learn the future tense in Italian (I will go."). Practice the conjugation of the future tense, and explore the verb stem changes that characterize it. Take into account the different meanings of the future tense, including its use to express probability, as well as the future perfect construction ("I will have gone.")." x
    • 24
      Comparatives, Superlatives, and Arrivederci! / Tuscany II
      Conclude the course with a return to the beloved region of Tuscany. Expand your knowledge of the past tense in discussing Tuscany's topography; food culture; and literary giants Dante, Petrarch, and Boccaccio. Learn to make comparisons, of equality (as good as") and of inequality ("better than"). Finally, explore Italian superlatives ("the worst", "the best")." x
  • England, the 1960s, and the Triumph of the Beatles

    Professor Michael Shelden, PhD

    Available Formats: Instant Video, DVD

    In England, the 1960s, and the Triumph of the Beatles, best-selling biographer, Professor Michael Shelden offers a fresh look at how a pop band became one of the most compelling voices against the status quo. Taking you deeper than any simple music survey, these 12 lectures zero in on the story of how the Beatles emerged as a worldwide phenomenon—and the songs like “Yesterday” and “Help!” that defined them.

    View Lecture List (12)

    In England, the 1960s, and the Triumph of the Beatles, best-selling biographer, Professor Michael Shelden offers a fresh look at how a pop band became one of the most compelling voices against the status quo. Taking you deeper than any simple music survey, these 12 lectures zero in on the story of how the Beatles emerged as a worldwide phenomenon—and the songs like “Yesterday” and “Help!” that defined them.

    View Lecture List (12)
    12 Lectures  |  England, the 1960s, and the Triumph of the Beatles
    Lecture Titles (12)
    • 1
      The Magical Mystery of the Beatles
      What happened between September 1963 and February 1964 to launch the Beatles toward international stardom? In this opening lecture, discover some of the major social and sonic factors at work in the transformation of these young musicians into a pop culture hurricane that would soon take over (or invade") America." x
    • 2
      Fateful Intersections in Liverpool
      The Beatles were not born in a vacuum. Rather, they were a product of the many worlds contained within 1950s and 1960s Liverpool. Explore how the band soaked up this post-industrial and culturally vibrant scene, storing ideas and impressions that would later turn up, with surprising sophistication, in some of their early tunes. x
    • 3
      Finding the Beat in the Beatles
      The beat" in the Beatles was about more than just the music-it was about the new group's look and attitude. Explore the Bohemian fringe known as the beatniks; follow John, Paul, and George as they search for the right drummer; and consider the importance of the Beatles' apprenticeship in Hamburg in refining their iconic sound." x
    • 4
      Nowhere Men: The Dark Side of the Beatles
      Here, Professor Shelden reveals some of the less flattering characteristics of the Beatles. Chief among these: anger-both as a problem for John Lennon (who nearly killed a friend just months before the launch of Beatlemania) and as an outlet for creativity (best seen in one of the Beatles' early successes, Help!")." x
    • 5
      Beatles for Sale: Brian Epstein's Genius
      Meet band manager Brian Epstein, without whom the Beatles would never have pushed their musical talents beyond the world of Liverpool. Discover how Epstein put the show on the road, and made sure that road went all the way around the world (and on The Ed Sullivan Show)-despite a strong degree of resistance to the band in its early days. x
    • 6
      The Cold War, JFK, and the Beatles
      During the early 1960s, the Beatles became the West's most irresistible export, as well as the best asset in the propaganda war with the East. Learn how the Cold War transformed the Beatles from a provincial act to superstars of the Western world. Also, consider new ways to think about the controversial song, Back in the USSR."" x
    • 7
      The Beatles Conquer America
      When the Beatles finally arrived in the United States of America, they did so with all the fanfare usually accorded to heads of state. How did so much sound and energy come from only four people? Plunge into the captivating fervor, communal spirit, and bacchanal of abandon that would soon be known as Beatlemania. x
    • 8
      The Englishness of A Hard Day's Night
      In summer 1964, the cinematic Beatles vehicle A Hard Day's Night broke almost every rule in Hollywood at the time. Professor Shelden reveals what lies underneath the film's surface charm and musical numbers: an overall attitude of irreverence and defiance in the face of authority, and a challenge for audiences to think for themselves. x
    • 9
      Help! The Beatles at the Top in 1965
      Take a trip to Abbey Road, a welcome escape for John, Paul, George, and Ringo from Beatlemania. More than a home away from home, Abbey Road would allow the Beatles to operate-under the guidance of producer George Martin-with an unimaginable freedom that produced hits like Yesterday" and the groundbreaking album Rubber Soul." x
    • 10
      Crossroads: The Beatles in 1966
      In 1966, the road ahead for the Beatles seemed limitless. Nevertheless, misfortune struck that year in the form of a changing American music market, and a disastrous summer tour to Germany, Japan, North America, and the Philippines that would leave the Beatles more disillusioned than ever with the show business demands of fame. x
    • 11
      The Summer of Sgt. Pepper's
      Go inside the invention of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, an experiment in everything that was untried and risky that allowed the Beatles to start over as a different group. From “A Day in the Life” to "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds," consider the album's surreal, psychedelic appeal-both then and now. x
    • 12
      Hello, Goodbye: The End of the 1960s
      In their last years together, all four of the Beatles seemed headed in new directions as they grew up-and apart. Nevertheless, witness how these final years brought a range of sounds, including protest songs, mystic melodies, anthems of friendship, and an iconic double album called simply, The Beatles, but better known as the White Album."" x
  • Tai Chi for Strength, Balance, and Tranquility

    David-Dorian Ross, International Master Tai Chi Instructor

    Available Formats: Instant Video, DVD

    Practiced in the East for centuries, the flowing movements of the ancient martial art of tai chi have been known to promote health and inner harmony. Welcome to Tai Chi for Aging with Strength and Tranquility, led by International Master Tai Chi Instructor David-Dorian Ross. With his calming voice and easy manner, he encourages you to just follow along and copy his healing movements—not to memorize the tai chi forms or focus on the technique of any particular posture. Simply by copying the movements of your instructor, you’ll have the opportunity to deepen your physical practice, as well as your understanding of the tai chi philosophy.

    View Lecture List (10)

    Practiced in the East for centuries, the flowing movements of the ancient martial art of tai chi have been known to promote health and inner harmony. Welcome to Tai Chi for Aging with Strength and Tranquility, led by International Master Tai Chi Instructor David-Dorian Ross. With his calming voice and easy manner, he encourages you to just follow along and copy his healing movements—not to memorize the tai chi forms or focus on the technique of any particular posture. Simply by copying the movements of your instructor, you’ll have the opportunity to deepen your physical practice, as well as your understanding of the tai chi philosophy.

    View Lecture List (10)
    10 Lectures  |  Tai Chi for Strength, Balance, and Tranquility
    Lecture Titles (10)
    • 1
      Tai Chi Fit in Paradise
      On the Hawaiian sand and with the beautiful Pacific Ocean in the background, your instructor takes you through a tai chi practice that includes a warm up, two workout sessions, and a cool down. As you listen to the waves and watch their motion, you'll gently move side to side and up and down with the classic tai chi postures Embrace the Moon, Penetrating Heaven and the Earth, Cloud Hands, and more. x
    • 2
      Tai Chi Fusion: Fire
      This practice combines tai chi with the martial art of kung fu, which translates to high-level work. Together, they combine into a practice focused on intensity, the most intense workout of the series. Discover how to bring the fire into your whole being, mind, energy, and spirit, while still maintaining a physical practice that is appropriate for your body and physical capabilities. Explore the classic postures of Snake Creeping through the Grass, Solitary Whip, and more. x
    • 3
      Tai Chi Fusion: Iron
      Combining the principles of weight lifting and tai chi, this practice is a lesson in contrast and mindfulness. As you practice with your weighted sticks-or with lightweight wooden spoons from your kitchen, as you choose-contrasting aspects of life will become apparent: heavy and light, what you do and do not do, what you notice and ignore. Explore the classic postures of Playing the Pipa and Seizing the Sparrow's Tail, among many others. x
    • 4
      Tai Chi Fusion: Bamboo
      Your instructor teaches this gentle workout in a beautiful bamboo forest. Combining yoga and tai chi in a practice that emphasizes the principle of surrender, you will learn about gratitude, benevolence, and generosity, especially toward yourself. The two disciplines progress seamlessly through the workout and include the classic tai chi postures of Sinking the Chi and Fending Off the Monkey, among others. x
    • 5
      Tai Chi Fit: 24 Form
      This diverse practice includes four separate workout options, as well as a warm up and cool down. As you follow along with your instructor along at the pace and intensity that works best for you-and you will be continually encouraged to do exactly that-you will be exposed to a wide variety of classic tai chi postures, including The Fair Maiden Weaves the Loom, The White Crane Spreads Its Wings, and Bouncing on the Toes Seven Times to Drive Away All Illness. x
    • 6
      Tai Chi Fit over 50: Balance Exercises
      Since the mid-1990s, the American Medical Association has recommended tai chi as the number-one form of exercise for maintaining balance and fall prevention. In this program, you'll be encouraged to do the workout the way you need to do it with respect to your own balance-holding on to a wall or even keeping just one finger on the back of a chair for stability. As you work on building the muscles needed for balance, you will explore the use of weighted tai chi balls as well as the classic postures of Old Woman Digs in the Garden and The Monkey, among others. x
    • 7
      Tai Chi Fit over 50: Seated Workout
      There are many different reasons for any individual to do a seated workout. In this program, you'll learn that practicing tai chi from a seated position can be just as beneficial and challenging as standing. You'll follow your teacher's gentle movements from his own chair as you explore the classic tai chi postures of Embracing the Moon and The Opening of Your Heart, among many others. x
    • 8
      Tai Chi Fit over 60: Gentle Exercises for Beginners
      This program provides the most gentle option for tai chi beginners-of any age. As with the other programs in this series, there is nothing to learn or memorize. Just follow along with your instructor as he moves slightly up and down and gently side to side. With his easy manner and relaxed sense of humor, you'll feel immediately comfortable in this ancient form of exercise. And while you're following along, you'll also be exploring the classic tai chi postures of Opening the Door and The Twisting Dragon, among others. x
    • 9
      Tai Chi Fit over 60: Healthy Joints
      While pain and inflammation in the joints can keep us from doing the things we love, lack of activity makes the joints weaker and leads to a downward spiral. Tai chi is well-known to heal the joints with some simple movements, even practicing just a few minutes a day. While you're copying your instructors gentle movements in this program, you'll be exploring the classic tai chi postures of Princess on the Mountaintop and Holding Up the Heavens like a Pillar. x
    • 10
      Tai Chi Fit over 60: Live Longer, Feel Younger
      As your instructor points out, if you want to live longer and feel younger, then you have to look at the people who live long, fruitful lives and do what they do. The best way to take care of your human machine certainly includes a routine tai chi practice. With his relaxed and humorous style, your instructor invites you to have some fun, as you continue on the path of your tai chi practice-exploring the classic tai chi postures of Cloud Hands and Sinking the Chi, among many others. x