Narrator: Listen to a conversation between a student and the librarian employee.
Student: Hi, I am looking for this book—the American judicial system. And I can’t seem to find it anywhere.
I need to read a chapter for my political science class.
Librarian: Let me check in the computer. Um… doesn’t seem to be checked out and it’s not on reserve.
You’ve checked the shelves I assume.
Student: Yeah, I even checked other shelves and tables next to where the book should be.
Librarian: Well, it’s still here in the library. So people must be using it.
You know this seems to be a very popular book tonight. We show six copies.
None are checked out. And, yet you didn’t even find one copy on the shelves. Is it a big class?
Student: Maybe about Seventy Five?
Librarian: Well, you should ask your professor to put some of the copies on reserve. You know about the ‘Reserve system’, right?
Student: I know that you have to read reserve books in the library and that you have time limits.
But I didn’t know that I could ask a professor to put a book on the reserve.
I mean I thought the professors make that kind of decisions at the beginning of the semester.
Librarian: OH… they can put books on reserve at anytime during the semester.
Student: You know reserving book seems a bit unfair.
What if someone who is not in the class wants to use the book?
Librarian: That’s why I said some copies.
Student: Ah, well, I’ll certainly talk to my professor about it tomorrow. But what I am gonna do tonight?
Librarian: I guess you could walk around the Poli-Sci —– ‘Political Science’ section and look at the books waiting to be re-shelved.
Student: There are do seem to be more than normal.
Librarian: We are a little short of staff right now. Someone quit recently, so things aren’t getting re-shelved as quickly as usual.
I don’t think they’ve hired replacement yet, so, yeah, the un-shelved books can get a bit out of hand.
Student: This may sound a bit weird. But I’ve been thinking about getting a job. Um… I’ve never worked at the library before, But…..
Librarian: That’s not a requirement. The job might still be open.
At the beginning of the semester we were swamped with applications, but I guess everyone who wants the job has one by now.
Student: What can you tell me about the job?
Librarian: Well, we work between six and ten hours a week, so it’s a reasonable amount.
Usually we can pick the hours we want to work.
But since you’d be starting so late in the semester, I’m not sure how that would work for you.
And… Oh… we get paid the normal university rates for student employees.
Student: So who do I talk to?
Librarian: I guess you talk to Dr. Jenkins, the head librarian. She does the hiring.
Narrator: Listen to a conversation between a student and his faculty adviser.
Advisor: HI ，Steven I schedule this appointment, because it has been a while since we touch this.
Student: I know I have been really busy— a friend of my works on a school a paper.
He asks me if I would like to try to reporting so I did and I really love it.
Advisor: Hey…that’s sounds great!
Student: Yeah… the first article I wrote it was profile of the chemistry professor—the one whose name teacher the year.
My article ran on the front page. When I saw my name, I mean my byline in print, I was hooked. Now I know this is what I want to do— be a reporter.
Advisor: Isn’t it great to discover something that you really enjoy? And I read that the article too? It was very good.
Student: To be honest, the articles got a lot of editing. In fact I barely recognized a couple of paragraphs.
But the editor explained why the changes were made. I learned a lot and my second article didn’t meet nearly many changes.
Advisor: Sound like you got a real neck for this.
Student: Yeah… anyway, I am glad you schedule this meeting because I want to change my major to journalism now.
Advisor: Um，the university doesn’t offer major in journalism.
Student: Oh no…
Student: I… I mean… should I transfer to another school, or major in English?
Advisor: Er… wait a minute. Let me explain why the major isn’t offered. Editors at the newspaper… editors… um…
I mean when you apply for a reporting job, editors look at the two things— they want to see clips, you know, some of your published articles, though also want to try out,
though give you an assignment like… covering a price of conferences some other event, then see if you can craft the story about it, accurately, on dead line.
Student: So they don’t even to look at my major?
Advisor: It is not that they don’t look at it… it is… well, having a degree in something other than journalism should actually work to your advantage.
Advisor: Most journalism specialized these days. They only write about science or business or technology for example.
Is there a type of reporting you think you may like to specialize then?
Student: Well… I think it can be really cool to cover the Supreme Court. I mean… their decision affects so many people.
Advisor: That is really a goal worth striving for. So, why not continue major in political science?
And as elective, you could take some Pre-Law classes like Constitution Law, and as for you work on the student newspaper paper,
maybe they let you cover some local court cases— once that the student and professor here would want to read about.
Student: Do you know of any?
Advisor: I do. Actually, there is case involving this computer software program that one of our professors wrote.
The district courts decide in if the university entitle to any of our professors’ profits?
Student: Wah…. I will definitely follow upon that!
Narrator: Listen to part of a lecture in a psychology class
Professor: We’ve said that the term “Cognition” refers to mental states like:
knowing and believing, and to mental processes that we use to arrive at those states.
So for example, reasoning is a cognitive process, so it’s perception.
We use information that we perceive through our senses to help us make decisions to arrive at beliefs and so on.
And then there are memory and imagination which relate to the knowledge of things that happen in the past and may happen in the future.
So perceiving, remembering, imagining are all internal mental processes that lead to knowing or believing.
Yet, each of these processes has limitations, and can lead us to hold mistaken believes or make false predictions.
Take memory for example, maybe you have heard of studies in which people hear a list of related words.
Ah…, let`s say a list of different kinds of fruit. After hearing this list, they are presented with several additional words.
In this case, we`ll say the additional words were “blanket” and “cheery”.
Neither of these words was on the original list, and, well, people will claim correctly that “blanket” was not on the original list,
they’ll also claim incorrectly that the word “cheery” was on the list.
Most people are convinced they heard the word “cheery” on the original list.
Why do they make such a simple mistake?
Well, we think because the words on the list were so closely related, the brain stored only the gist of what they heard.
For example, that all the items on the list were types of the fruit.
When we tap our memory, our brains often fill in details and quite often these details are actually false.
We also see this “fill-in” phenomenon with perception.
Perception is the faculty that allows us to process information in the present as we take it via our senses.
Again, studies have shown that people will fill in information that they thought they perceived even when they didn`t.
For example, experiments have been done where a person hears a sentence, but it is missing the word, that logically completes it.
They’ll claim to hear that word even though it was never said.
So if I were to say…er…the sunrise is in the…and then fill to complete the sentence, people will often claim to have heard the word “east”.
In cognitive psychology, we have a phrase for this kind of inaccurate “filling in of details”— it’s called: A Blind Spot.
The term originally refers to the place in our eyes where the optic nerve connects the back of the eye to the brain.
There are no photoreceptors in the area where the nerve connects to the eye. So that particular area of the eye is incapable of detecting images.
It produces “A Blind Spot” in our field vision. We are unaware of it,
because the brain fills in what it thinks belongs in its image, so the picture always appears complete to us.
But the term “blind spot” has also taken on a more general meaning—
it refers to people being unaware of a bias that may affect their judgment about the subject.
And the same “blind-spot phenomenon” that affects memory and perception also affects imagination.
Imagination is a faculty that some people use to anticipate future events in their lives.
But the ease with which we imagine details can lead to unrealistic expectations and can bias our decisions.
So…er…Peter, suppose I ask you to image a lunch salad, no problem, right?
But I bet you imagine specific ingredients.
Did yours have tomatoes, Onion, Lettuce? Mine did?
Our brains fill in all sorts of details that might not be part of other people’s image of asalad, which could lead to disappointment for us.
If the next time we order a salad in a restaurant, we have our imagined salad in mind, that’s not necessarily what we’ll get on our plate.
The problem is not that we imagine things, but that we assume what we’ve imagined is accurate.
We should be aware that our imagination has this built-in feature, the blind spot, which makes our predictions fall short of reality.
Narrator: Listen to part of a lecture in a biology class.
Professor: Almost all animals have some way of regulating their body temperature;
otherwise they wouldn’t survive extreme hot or cold conditions—sweating, panting, swimming to cooler or warmer water;
ducking into somewhere cool like a burrow or a hole under a rock; these are just a few.
And that’s body is colder or warmer than the surrounding environment, because it’s a microclimate.
A microclimate is a group of climate conditions that affect the localized area, weather features like temperature, wind, moisture and so on.
And when I say localized, I mean really localized, because microclimates can be, as the name suggests, pretty small, even less than a square meter.
And microclimates are affected by huge number of other variables. Obviously weather conditions in the surrounding areas are a factor.
But other aspects of the location like, um… the elevation of the land,
the plant life nearby, and so on, have a substantial effect on microclimates.
And of course the human development in the area, eh, a road will affect a nearby microclimate.
It’s also interesting to know that microclimates thither or near each other can have very different conditions.
In the forest for example, there can be a number of very different microclimates close to each other,
because of all the variables I just mentioned.
Student: So how does a hole in the ground, a burrow, stay cool in a hot climate?
Professor: Well, since cold air sinks, and these spots are shaded, they are usually much cooler than the surrounding area.
And these spots are so important because many animals rely on microclimates to regulate their body temperature.
Hmm, for instance, there is a species of squirrel, in the Western part of the United States that can get really hot when they were out foraging for food.
So they need a way to cool down. So what’d they do? They go back to their own burrow.
Once they get there, their body temperatures decrease very, very quickly.
The trip to the burrow prevents the squirrel from getting too hot.
Student: But squirrels are mammals, right? I thought mammals regulate their temperature internally.
Professor: Mammals do have the ability to regulate their body temperature,
but not all can do it to the same degree, or even the same way.
Like when you walk outside on a hot day, you perspire, and your body cools itself down, a classic example of how mammal regulates its own body temperature.
But one challenge that squirrels face, well many small mammals do,
is that because of their size, sweating would make them lose too much moisture.
They dehydrate. But on the other hand, their small size allows them to fit into very tiny spaces.
So for small mammals, microclimates can make a big difference. They rely on microclimates for survival.
Student: So cold blood animals, like reptiles, they can’t control their own body temperature,
so I can image the effect of microclimate would have on them.
Professor: Yes, many reptile insects rely on microclimates to control their body temperature.
A lot of reptiles use burrows or stay under rocks to cool down.
Of course with reptiles, it’s a balancing act. Staying in the heat for too long can lead to problems, but staying in the cold can do the same.
So reptiles have to be really precise about where they spend their time, even how they position their bodies.
And when I say they’re precise, I mean it— some snakes will search out a place under rocks of a specific thickness,
because too thin a rock doesn’t keep them cool enough, and too thick a rock will cause them to get too cold.
That level of precision is critical to the snake for maintaining its body temperature.
And even microscopic organisms rely on microclimates for survival.
Think about this, decomposing leaves create heat that warms the soil;
the warm soil in turn affects the growth, the conditions of organisms there.
And those organisms then affect the rate of decomposition of the leaves.
So a microclimate can be something so small and so easily to disturbed that even a tiny change can have a big impact.
If someone on a hike knocks a couple of rocks over, they could be unwittingly destroying a microclimate that an animal or organism relies on.
Narrator: Listen to part of a lecture in an astronomy class.
Professor: OK, last time we talked about ancient agricultural civilizations that observed the stars and then used those observations to keep track of the seasons.
But today I want to talk about the importance of stars for early seafarers, about how the fixed patterns of stars were used as navigational aids.
OK, you’ve all heard about the Vikings and their impressive navigation skills,
but the seafaring people of the pacific islands, the Polynesians and the Micronesians, were quite possibly the world’s greatest navigators.
Long before the development of, uh, advanced navigational tools in Europe,
pacific islanders were travelling from New Zealand to Hawaii and back again, using nothing but the stars as their navigational instruments.
Um, the key to the pacific islanders’ success was probably their location near the equator.
What that meant was that the sky could be partitioned, divided up, much more symmetrically than it could farther away from the equator.
Unlike the Vikings, early observers of the stars in Polynesia or really anywhere along the equator would feel that they were at the very center of things,
with the skies to the north and the skies to the south behaving identically,
they could see stars going straight up in the east and straight down in the west.
So it was easier to discern the order in the sky than farther north or farther south, where everything would seem more chaotic.
Take the case of the Gilbert Islands, they are part of Polynesia, and lie very close to the equator.
And the people there were able to divide the sky into symmetrical boxes, according to the main directions, north, east, south and west.
And they could precisely describe the location of a star by indicating its position in one of those imaginary boxes.
And they realized that you had to know the stars in order to navigate.
In fact there was only one word for both in the Gilbert Islands, when you wanted to the star expert, you ask for a navigator.
Um, islanders from all over the pacific learned to use the stars for navigation, and they passed this knowledge down from generation to generation.
Some of them utilized stone structures called stone canoes, ah, and these canoes were on land, of course, and you can still see them on some islands today.
They were positioned as if they were heading in the direction of the points on the sea horizon where certain stars would appear and disappear during the night, and,
um, young would-be navigators set by the stones at night and turned in different directions to memorize the constellations they saw,
so they could recognize them and navigate… by them later on when they went out to sea.
One important way the Polynesians had for orienting themselves was by using zenith stars.
A zenith star was a really bright star that would pass directly overhead at particular latitude…
at a particular distance from the equator, often at a latitude associate with some particular pacific island.
So the Polynesians could estimate their latitude just by looking straight up,
by observing whether a certain zenith star passed directly overhead at night, they’d know if they have rates the same latitude as a particular island they were trying to get to.
Um, another technique used by the Polynesians was to look for a star pair, that’s two stars that rise at the same time, or set at the same time,
and navigators could use these pairs of stars as reference points, because they rise or set together only at specific latitudes.
So navigators might see one star pair setting together. And, uh…would know how far north or south of the equator they were.
And if they kept on going, and the next night they saw the pairs of stars setting separately, then they would know that they were at a different degree of latitude.
So looking at rising and setting star pairs is a good technique.
Um…actually it makes more sense with setting stars; they can be watched instead of trying to guess when they’ll rise.
Uh, OK, I think all this shows that navigating doesn’t really require fancy navigational instruments;
the peoples of the pacific islands had such expert knowledge of astronomy as well as navigation that they were able to navigate over vast stretches of Open Ocean.
Uh, it’s even possible that Polynesian navigators had already sailed to the Americas, centuries before Columbus.
Narrator: Listen to part of the lecture in the archaeology class.
Professor: When we think of large monumental structures built by early societies and Egyptian pyramid probably comes to mind.
But there are some even earlier structures in the British Isles also worth discussing,
and besides the well-known circle of massive stones of Stonehenge which don’t get me wrong is remarkable enough, well, other impressive Neolithic structures are found there too.
Oh, yes, we are talking about the Neolithic period here, also called new Stone Age, which was the time before stone tools began to be replaced by tools made by bronze and other metals.
It was about 5000 years ago, even before the first Egyptian pyramid that some of amazing Neolithic monuments—tombs, were racketed at the very size around ironed Great Britain and costal islands nearby.
I am referring particular to structures that in some cases, look like ordinary natural hills.
But we definitely build by humans, well-organized communities of human’s to enclose a chamber or room within stone walls and sometimes with a high, cleverly designed sealing of overlapping stones.
These structures are called Passage Graves, because in the chamber, sometime several chambers in fact, could only be entered from the outside through a narrow passage way.
Michael: Excuse me, professor, but you said Passage Graves. Was this just monument to honor the dead buried there or were they designed to be used somehow by the living?
Professor: Ah, yes! Good question, Michael.
Besides being built as tombs, some of these Passage Graves were definitely what we might call Astronomical Calendars,
with chambers they flooded with some light on the certain special days of the year, which must see miraculous and inspired good dealer of they really just wonder.
But research indicates that not just light but also the physics of sound help to enhance this religious experience.
Michael: How so?
Professor: Well, first the echoes. When religious leaders started chanting with echoes bounced off the stonewalls over and over again,
it must seem like a whole chorus of other voices, spirits of God maybe join in.
But even more intriguing is what physicists called Standing Waves.
Basically, the phenomenon of Standing Waves occurs when sound waves of the same frequency reflect off the walls and meet from opposite directions.
So, the volume seems to alternate between very loud and very soft. You can stand quite near a man singing in loud voice and hardly hear him.
Yet step little further away and voice is almost defining. As you move around chamber, the volume of the sound goes way up and way down, depending on where you are and these standing waves.
And often the acoustic makes it hard to identify where sounds are coming from. It is powerful voices that are speaking to you or chanting from inside your own head.
This had to engender powerful sense of all Neolithic worshipers. And another bit of physics I played here is something called Resonance.
I know physics, but well I imagine you have all below near of top empty bottles and heard sounds it makes.
And you probably notice that depending on its size— each empty bottle plays one particular music note.
Or it is the physics might put it, each bottle resonates at a particular frequency. Well, that’s true of these chambers too.
If you make a constant noise inside the chamber, maybe by steadily beating drum at certain rate, a particular frequency of sound will resonate.
We will ring out intensely, depending on the size of chamber. In some of large chambers though, these intensified sound may be too deep for us to hear, we can feel it.
We are mysteriously agitated by a….but it is not a sound our ears can hear.
The psychological effects of all these extraordinary sounds can be profound,
especially when they seem so disconnected from human doing drumming or chanting.
And there can be observable physical effects on people too.
In fact, the sounds can cause headaches, feelings of dizziness, increase heartache, that sort of thing, you see.
Anyway, what is we experience inside one of these Passage Graves clearly could be far more intense than everyday reality outside which made them very special places.
But back to your question, Michael, as to whether these Graves were designed to be used by the living.
Well, certainly, we have got to ask economical or calendar function. That seems pretty obvious, and I want to go into more detail on that now.