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The Cognitive Tradeoff Hypothesis

   2019    Science
Join us on a journey into the mysterious depths of the human psyche as we investigate the strange and surprising terrain of the Mind Field.
Chimps and Humans can be traced biologically back to a common ancestor. The Cognitive Tradeoff Hypothesis theorizes about the two different paths of development - particularly cognitive development - that occurred in these two species after the split. Chimps stayed in the trees and developed some extraordinary cognitive capabilities which are shown by the research work of Japanese scientists, while humans came down into the savanna and developed social capabilities and language.
The hypothesis is that humans 'traded' some aspects of cognitive capabilities by re-purposing areas of the brain that had evolved in the context of other uses. Those capabilities are kept in chimps and are far surpassing that of normal humans. This is shown by the research work of scientists at the Primate Research Center connected with Kyoto University.
Series: Mind Field

The Stanford Prison Experiment

   2019    Culture
It all begins as a study on the psychology of prison life led by Stanford psychology professor Dr. Philip Zimbardo. 24 volunteers - 12 guards and 12 prisoners - have agreed to spend the next two weeks recreating life in a correctional facility. Normal people can become monsters, given the right situation, that's the standard narrative of the Stanford Prison Experiment, one of the most famous psychological experiments of all time.
But what if the cause of its participants' cruel behavior wasn't what we've always been told?
Series: Mind Field

Weirder and Weirder

   2018    Science
Dr Hannah Fry explores a paradox at the heart of modern maths, discovered by Bertrand Russell, which undermines the very foundations of logic that all of maths is built on. These flaws suggest that maths isn't a true part of the universe but might just be a human language - fallible and imprecise. However, Hannah argues that Einstein's theoretical equations, such as E=mc2 and his theory of general relativity, are so good at predicting the universe that they must be reflecting some basic structure in it. This idea is supported by Kurt Godel, who proved that there are parts of maths that we have to take on faith.
Hannah then explores what maths can reveal about the fundamental building blocks of the universe - the subatomic, quantum world. The maths tells us that particles can exist in two states at once, and yet quantum physics is at the core of photosynthesis and therefore fundamental to most of life on earth - more evidence of discovering mathematical rules in nature. But if we accept that maths is part of the structure of the universe, there are two main problems: firstly, the two main theories that predict and describe the universe - quantum physics and general relativity - are actually incompatible; and secondly, most of the maths behind them suggests the likelihood of something even stranger - multiple universes.
We may just have to accept that the world really is weirder than we thought, and Hannah concludes that while we have invented the language of maths, the structure behind it all is something we discover. And beyond that, it is the debate about the origins of maths that has had the most profound consequences: it has truly transformed the human experience, giving us powerful new number systems and an understanding that now underpins the modern world.
Series: Magic Numbers

Fahrenheit 11/9

   2018    Culture
Michael Moore examines the current state of American politics, particularly the Donald Trump presidency and gun violence, while highlighting the power of grassroots democratic movements. Fahrenheit 11/9 finds the filmmaker in fine fighting form, delivering a political call to action that ranks among his most effective works.

How to Live Longer

   2017    Medicine
Our lifespan is increasing by 2.5 years every decade - and a third of all babies born today can expect to live to 100. But living longer can come at a cost. Old age itself brings with it a range of debilitating illnesses, many of which are the result of accumulating damage during our lifetime. Three diseases in particular have become the main killers in the developed world - cancer, heart disease and dementia. But a revolution in bio-medicine is now offering new hope for the treatment of these ailments, and the potential to extend our lives still further. Methods such as gene editing and stem cell therapies are transforming the way medicine can conquer disease today. "How to Live Longer" counts with the guide of the Nobel laureate Sir Paul Nurse, for whom the big question isn't just what science can do to fix our bodies and extend our lives, but whether it's right to use all the tools and techniques available.
Series: The Big Think
The Germanic Tribes
The Germanic Tribes

   2007    History
The Last Dance
The Last Dance

   2020    Culture
Senna
Senna

   2010    Culture
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece

   2013    History
Chef's Table
Chef's Table

   2017    Art
Minimalists
Minimalists

   2021    Culture
Tiger
Tiger

   2020    History
Nova Wonders
Nova Wonders

   2018    Science