Reminder: first MIT coronavirus lecture today at 11:30 Eastern time

September 1, 2020 • 8:15 am

Just a reminder: I announced yesterday a one-hour-a-week “all star” course at MIT on the pandemic and the virus—the first lecture in a course that goes through December 8.  There are of guest lecturers, some well known. It starts soon this morning, and note that the starting time (11:30 a.m.) is Eastern US time.

More information:

The class will run from September 1, 2020 through December 8, 2020 and begin each Tuesday at 11:30 a.m. ETSee the syllabus for lecture details.

How to watch it. The place where you go to watch the livestream is here, but you have to type in a password:

The class is open to allMIT students, as well as any eligible cross-registered students. The live stream will be available to the public, but only registered students may ask questions during the Q&A. To view the live stream, click on this link and type in the password: mit-covid. Miss a class? You’ll be able to view a video of the lecture on this page.

New MIT all-stars course on coronavirus and the pandemic starts TOMORROW (one hour per week)

August 31, 2020 • 9:00 am

Reader Andrea sent me a note about a new online course at MIT, one that you can watch for free. It starts tomorrow morning, and note that class times given are Eastern US times. It’s just one hour per week, and is likely worth your while.

Here’s the announcement, and notice all the Big Guns who are lecturing (click on screenshot to go to the page):

 

More information:

The class will run from September 1, 2020 through December 8, 2020 and begin each Tuesday at 11:30 a.m. ETSee the syllabus for lecture details.

How to watch it. The place where you go to watch the livestream is here, but you have to type in a password:

The class is open to allMIT students, as well as any eligible cross-registered students. The live stream will be available to the public, but only registered students may ask questions during the Q&A. To view the live stream, click on this link and type in the password: mit-covid. Miss a class? You’ll be able to view a video of the lecture on this page.

David Baltimore, Eric Lander, Anthony Fauci as guest speakers—how can you go wrong?

Pinker to post his “Rationality” lectures

February 9, 2020 • 1:30 pm

After I noted that Steve Pinker was teaching a course on Rationality at Harvard, and had put a lecture online, I’ve had a few inquiries about whether he’s going to publicly post all his lectures for the course. (Its website is below; click on screenshot.) The answer is yes for his lectures, but for guest lecturers he has to get their permission.

The lectures are being uploaded at this site, and there are already four of them posted. So tune in if you want to follow the course.

I am informed that Steve begins each lecture with a rock song appropriate to the topic of the day. And although, when I called attention to his first talk, I said I couldn’t see whether he was wearing cowboy boots, I’m additionally informed that he never lectures without cowboy boots and a necktie. The tie is partly is in memory of his grandfather Carl Wiesenfeld, who made ties in a factory in Montreal founded during the Depression (Metropolitan Cravat).

Pinker’s course on Rationality online—for free

February 3, 2020 • 1:30 pm

I didn’t realize that Steve Pinker was teaching a general-education course on Rationality at Harvard, nor did I know that it was livestreamed—for free. All of us can watch this course, and I’ll be tuning in from time to time. Here’s the relevant tweet with the link.

Today’s lecture begins with one of my favorite songs (and presumably Steve’s): “Reason to Believe”—the Rod Stewart version. I guess he precedes each lecture with a song, which is a great idea. From that I’ll be able to discern his taste in music.

Anyway, I’m watching this lecture at lunchtime (today’s topic: “Why should we follow reason”?), and you may want to peek in. A screenshot:

When you go to the lecture page, you’ll see a small video screen in the left corner and the Powerpoint slides, larger, to the right. If you want to see the video full-screen, click on the white box in the upper-right corner of the video. And you can toggle back between Powerpoints and the video.

Always the fashion plate, Pinker lectures in a tie and nice shirt, though I can’t see if he’s wearing cowboy boots.

A free course on Effective Altruism, taught by Peter Singer

January 15, 2018 • 9:45 am

Coursera is offering a free course in “Effective Altruism“—taught by the famous (and controversial) philosopher Peter Singer—starts on January 22.  Here’s the summary:

About this course: Effective altruism is built on the simple but unsettling idea that living a fully ethical life involves doing the most good one can. In this course you will examine this idea’s philosophical underpinnings; meet remarkable people who have restructured their lives in accordance with it; and think about how effective altruism can be put into practice in your own life.

It’s supposed to involve 10-15 hours of videos and assignments, and lasts nine weeks. You can see the syllabus and enroll (click blue button) here.

The 49 reviews give it 4.5 stars out of 5.  I’d take it myself but I have lots of commitments now, but if I had a bit more time I’d sign up. Again, it’s free, and you can sign up via Facebook or simply giving your email and creating a password.

h/t: Winnie

Duke again offers free Coursera course: “Introduction to genetics and evolution”

August 5, 2014 • 8:45 am

I’m happy to see that my second Ph.D student, Dr. Mohamed Noor (now chair of biology at Duke) is again offering his immensely popular “Introduction to Genetics and Evolution” course online, as a MOOC (I hate that word!).

The course will start on January 2 of next year and extend until March 23, and I’ve heard very good things about it. (If you’ve taken it, weigh in below.) Course information is here. I’m also glad to see that one of the suggested books is WEIT, although some nefarious students try to pirate the book from bootleg sites. (Note: don’t do that!)  Be sure to read the last Q&A exchange on the page.

You can sign up for the course, and I’d recommend your doing it soon, as I think there’s a course limit. Just click the “Join for Free” button on the right.  I highly recommend the course; Mohamed is a great teacher (and yes, he does talk fast!); and the material is good. But prepare to work hard—you can’t learn much if you slack off!

 

h/t: Merilee~

Free online course on human evolution

October 1, 2013 • 6:59 am

UPDATE: Note that I know very little about this course, so this listing is for information purposes and is not a recommendation.  In the comments below, reader AlexY says he is taking this course and has been disappointed with it. Caveat emptor (even though it’s free).

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Reader Sajee has informed me that there’s a free online course, “Introduction to Human Evolution,” that started at Wellesley on Sept. 25. I presume it’s not too late to join in, and you can audit it. For more information on the course, or to register, go here.

Here’s the blurb:

ABOUT THIS COURSE

As contemporary humans, we are a product of our evolutionary past. That past can be directly observed through the study of the human fossil record, the materials preserved for archaeological study, and the DNA of living and extinct human populations. This course will provide an overview of human evolutionary history from the present–contemporary human variation in a comparative context–through our last common ancestor with the living great apes, some 5-7 million years in the past. Emphasis will be placed on major evolutionary changes in the development of humans and the methodological approaches used by paleoanthropologists and related investigators to develop that knowledge. The course will begin by asking basic questions about how evolution operates to shape biological variation and what patterns of variation look like in living humans and apes. We will then look at how the human lineage first began to differentiate from apes, the rise and fall of the Australopithecines, the origin and dispersal of the genus Homo, and eventually the radical evolutionary changes associated with the development of agricultural practices in the past 15,000 years. Throughout the course students will be exposed to the primary data, places and theories that shape our understanding of human evolution.

Insect photography workshop in Belize

May 22, 2013 • 10:55 am

Now I suppose this will interest only a subset of our photography enthusiasts here, but I wanted to call attention to an upcoming week-long course on insect photography in Belize, whose instructors include two superb nature photographers that I’ve often featured on this site: Piotr Naskrecki and Alex Wild.

The flyer is below, and the website for the course is here. I’m told that there are only a few slots left.

BelizeFlier1

Besides the photography instruction, of course, there’s plenty of chances to learn natural history from experienced field biologists. Here, for example, is a photo Wild took during the last class (the caption from PopSci):

In the jungles of Belize last January, entomologist Alex Wild noticed something odd about the trap-jaw ants passing through his outdoor insect photography class: They all had shrunken heads and swollen abdomens. A day after making the observation, Wild and his students came upon an ant with a worm bursting out of its side. Parasites were at work. Nematode worms enter the ants as larvae and grow inside the ants’ body cavity, siphoning off nutrients and distorting their hosts’ natural anatomy. When the eight-inch-long nematodes are ready to mate a few weeks later, they push their way out of their half-inch-long hosts, killing them.

Antbig