Episode 67: An Overview of Language Part 2

• November 24th, 2014

Concluding the brief exploration of language begun last time, this episode examines semantics, including the distinction between sense and reference and different types of utterances, pragmatics, including conversational maxims and implicatures, and sociolinguistics, including prestige dialects and speech acts. Recommended pre-listening is Episode 66: An Overview of Language Part 1.

Listen Now:



Share | Comments | Embed | Download | Plays (Loading)


Episode 66: An Overview of Language Part 1

• September 30th, 2014

In this first of a two-part episode, I discuss the phenomenon of language. Here we consider phonetics, how sounds are produced and articulated, phonology, how different sounds are distinguished from one another and treated across different languages, morphology, how sounds are combined into units of meaning called morphemes, and in turn how these are combined into words, and syntax, how words are put together in accordance with particular rules to form sentences.

Listen Now:



Share | Comments | Embed | Download | Plays (Loading)




Episode 65: Money, Inflation, and Interest Rates

• August 31st, 2014

An introduction to the concept of money, including its uses, purpose, and a brief account of its history. I discuss the notion of money as a medium of exchange, a unit of account, and a store of value, and some of the properties that make particular goods useful as money. I also discuss various measures of the money supply, and briefly outline the difference between the monetary base and money created through the fractional reserve system. I discuss inflation, including its definition, causes, and effects on the economy, before concluding with a brief look at interest rates and exchange rates.

Listen Now:



Share | Comments | Embed | Download | Plays (Loading)




Episode 64: Knowledge Representation

• July 27th, 2014

A look at how we understand and think about semantic knowledge. I discuss semantic and propositional networks, the spreading activation model, present some evidence in favour of these models, and discuss the promising new approach of connectionism. I also examine how we classify objects into categories, looking at prototype and exemplar theories, family resemblance, graded membership, and the theory-theory of concepts.

Listen Now:



Share | Comments | Embed | Download | Plays (Loading)




Episode 63: The Nervous System

• June 30th, 2014

An overview of the structure and function of the nervous system, including a discussion of the autonomic and somatic divisions of the peripheral nervous system, the spinal cord, and the brain. I discuss the major regions and structures of the brain, including the brainstem, the cerebellum, the cerebral cortex, and various subcortical structures. I conclude with some brief remarks about lateralization and the relationship between brain size and IQ.

Listen Now:



Share | Comments | Embed | Download | Plays (Loading)




Episode 62: Organic Chemistry Demystified

• June 1st, 2014

An overview of organic chemistry, beginning with a discussion of the nature of organic compounds, the history of vitalism and its influence on the development of organic chemistry, and what makes carbon so special. I then discuss some important concepts in organic chemistry, including IUPAC nomenclature, functional groups, aromaticity, fullerenes, polymers, and organic synthesis. Recommended prelistening is Episode 15: Chemical Bonding, and Episode 23: Chemical Reactions.

Listen Now:



Share | Comments | Embed | Download | Plays (Loading)




Episode 61: Magnetism

• April 27th, 2014

A discussion of the basic concepts of magnetism, including magnetic fields, magnetic poles, and electromagnets. I also discuss the ultimate subatomic source of magnetic force in the phenomenon of electric spin, and explain how this leads to the different types of magnetic materials: ferromagnets, paramagnets, and diamagnets. I conclude with some applications of electromagnetism, including electric generators and motors, transformers, and a brief discussion of Maxwell's equations. Recommended prelistening is Episode 43: Electric Forces and Fields. 

Listen Now:



Share | Comments | Embed | Download | Plays (Loading)




Episode 60: Memory Encoding and Recall

• March 16th, 2014

An analysis of memory, including a discussion of the different types of memory, the capacity of short term memory, how environment and depth of processing influences learning and recall, the relationship between memory and familiarity, and different types of amnesia. Complements Episode 20: The Reliability of Memory.

Listen Now:



Share | Comments | Embed | Download | Plays (Loading)




Episode 59: Smell

• February 19th, 2014

A analysis of the sense of smell, beginning with the nose, the olfactory epithelium and the different types of receptor proteins, and progressing through the processes of sensory transduction, transmission of neural signals to the olfactory bulb, and thence into the higher regions of the brain. I also discuss the sense of smell in humans compared to that of other animals, with a focus on the special abilities of bloodhounds. Recommended prerequisite is Episode 38: Neurons and Synapses.

Listen Now:



Share | Comments | Embed | Download | Plays (Loading)




Episode 58: Taste

• January 28th, 2014

A discussion of how our sense of taste works, including an overview of the basic anatomy of the tongue and relevant brain circuits, a discussion of taste buds and how they work, a review of the five basic tastes and how they differ, and a look at some other interesting topics such as pungency and aftertaste. Recommended pre-listening is Episode 10: The Cell and Episode 38: Neurons and Synapses.

Listen Now:



Share | Comments | Embed | Download | Plays (Loading)




« Older episodes ·

Quantcast