Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Expanding my brain

Probably for the same reason that I stopped craving for processed meats and started developing a taste for fruits and vegetables, I've lost my appetite for comics, movies, and television series. It used to be that I'd, er, procure my entertainment fare religiously on a weekly basis: Chuck, Doctor Who, Numb3rs.... Nowadays I just don't have the patience for them anymore. If I'm intrigued by some story line, I'd much rather read the plot from summaries on Wikipedia. The same goes for fiction novels.

These days, my entertainment is mixed in with education. Most times, it happens when I'm in the car or out for a walk. I listen to netcasts and lectures. Here's a list of what's been on my playlist recently:

  1. In Our Time from BBC4, hosted by Melvyn Bragg. Each week, Bragg and some very erudite guests gather to discuss topics on culture, history, philosophy, religion, and science. Topics are diverse, but always engaging, even if the British tones are rather dry. What amazes me is how much they're able to cover in 45 minutes, and exactly 45 minutes!
  2. The Tolkien Professor, lectures and discussions by Dr. Corey Olsen, a professor of Medieval literature from the University of Washington. Dr. Olsen started out with an analysis of The Hobbit, which I quite liked, and now features recordings of his classes on other topics. It's rekindled my interest in fantasy literature by giving me new insights into its history and framework. Dr. Olsen is a really lively speaker.
  3. Youtube EDU, with lectures and presentations from all over. It's through Youtube EDU that I found other great series like Justice with Michael Sandel. Other worthwhile channels are MIT, University of Michigan, and Chemical and Engineering News.