Narrator: Listen to a conversation between a student and the director of campus activities.
Student: I’m here ’cause… well, there’s something I don’t understand.
I set an announcement for an event.
And this morning I checked the events section of the university’s website. And nothing, there is no mention of it.
Director: And when did you summit this request?
Student: Last Wednesday. I followed the instructions very carefully.
I am sure it was Wednesday, because know announcements have be submitted three business days ahead of the posting day.
Director: And what’s it for?
Student: A reading.
Director: A reading?
Student: Yes. A poetry reading.
Director: Oh, OK. When is it?
Student: In three days. It is an author from France we have been trying to get for a while.
And now that he has finally agreed to come, no one will be there.
Director: Wow. This person is really coming all the way from France?
Student: Oh, no. He is teaching promising there will be in New York City this year.
We were able to sell him on a nice size crowd , felt confident about that. Because the idea by I know how enthusiastic our group is.
Director: And your group … do you have a name?
Student: Um … it is kind of a loose group, you know, just a bunch of students in the French department who are interested in French literature.
There’s no formal structure or anything. I guess you could call us the French Literature Reading Group.
Director: OK. And it is a recognized group? By the university, I mean.
Student: But the French Department is funding this, on the condition that we do all the legwork.
Director: All right. Hold on a second while I check. Well, it looks like we did receive your announcement last Wednesday.
Uh, looks like the editors must have decided not to include your event in this week’s listings.
Student: Not included? Why?
Director: Well, we don’t post things automatically. We get so many requests that we couldn’t possibly post them all.
So events that are thought to be too specialized, without the potential for really wide appeal…
Student: Wow, I got to say that does surprise me. What am I going to do now? I mean, he really is quite famous.
I really do think there would be a genuine interest beyond my group. It would be a shame if no one shows up
because there isn’t enough publicity. Is there anyone else I can talk to?
Director: I don’t think that would do you much good since we are already working on next week’s schedule.
But maybe you could ask the French department to post the announcement on its website.
And maybe you could approach some other departments as well, you know, relevant ones.
Student: I knew we should have done a poster. But everybody was like, oh, you can just post it online.
In any event, thanks for you help. It’s something to consider.
Narrator: Listen to a conversation between a student and his English professor.
Professor: Hi, Bob. How is it going? Are you enjoying the Introduction to Literature class?
Bob: Yeah, it’s great. Araby, that short story by James Joyce we read last week, it was awesome.
Professor: I’m glad you like it. Most of Joyce’s work is very complex.
A lot of students say that he is hard to understand.
Normally, you wouldn’t tackle Joyce in an Intro class,
but I’d like to give my first year students a taste of his style,
his psychological approach to literature,
because … mainly because it influenced other writers.
I only wish we had more class time to discuss it.
Bob: Me too. So why did you pick Araby instead of some other story?
Professor: Well, um, first you should know that Araby is one of fifteen short stories by Joyce in a book called Dubliners.
Uh, all the stories are related to one another, and they are set in the same time period.
But Araby is the easiest one to follow. Though all the stories in the collection are written in stream of consciousness,
which as you know, means they are told through the narrator’s thought, through an inner monologue,
as opposed to dialogue or an objective description of events.
But Araby is easier because it’s linear, the story unfold chronologically.
Bob: Still, I wish we could read whole novels by Joyce and discussed them in class.
Professor: That’s what happens in my Master Writer Class.
Bob: Master Writer Class?
Professor: Yeah, I teach one on Joyce every spring. It’s such a privilege,
spending an entire term diving into a single body of work.
And my students, they bring so much insight to the table that it’s easy to forget who the professor is.
Bob: Oh, wow. That could actually solve my dilemma, uh, what I originally wanted to ask you …
um, I am working on my schedule for next term, and I’ve got room for one more course, and I’d like to take more literature.
Could I take your Master Writer Class on Joyce?
Professor: I’m sorry. I should have mentioned. Uh, Master Writer is an advanced seminar.
So students need to get a strong foundation in literary theory and criticism before I let them in the room.
Bob: But I have gotten really good grades on all my paper so far, I’m sure I can keep up.
Couldn’t you make an exception?
Professor: Your grades are excellent.
But in our intro class, you are reviewing the basics, like plots, setting and character and getting your first real exposure to different literary styles.
Bob: But why do I have to study different styles to understand Joyce’s novels?
Professor: There are a lot of little details involved in interpreting literature.
And like with Joyce. His novels have very unique structures.
The only way to appreciate how you meet there is by studying a variety of authors.
Bob: Oh, OK. So could you suggest a different literature class then?
Professor: Sure. There’s doctor Clain’s course on nineteenth-century novels.
It’s more focused than the class you’re in now.
But it will build on your current knowledge base and give you the background you need.
That, plus a couple more foundational classes, and you will definitely be ready for my seminar.
Bob: Sweet. Thanks.
Narrator: Listen to part of a lecture in an archaeology class.
Professor: I was talking to one of my colleagues in the physics department the other day,
and we ended up discussing how one discovery can change everything.
My colleague mentioned how the theory of relativity completely changed the field of physics.
At any rates, that conversation got me thinking about archaeological finds that really changed our understanding of ancient civilizations.
So I want to talk about the discovery of the Antikythera Mechanism.
The Antikythera Mechanism was found a hundred years ago,
under water in an ancient Greek shipwreck in the Mediterranean Sea.
It was in extremely poor condition and in many corroded pieces.
But once we figured out what it was and reconstructed it.
Well, I simply don’t have the words to convey how extraordinary this find was.
The Antikythera Mechanism is a relatively small device, roughly the size of a shoebox, made of gears fitted inside a wooden case.
In its original state, there were rotating dials and other indicators on the top, with letters and drawings showing the Sun,
the phases of the moon and different constellations. Inside the box, bronze gears would have rotated the displays.
The displays, uh, the indicators of the Antikythera Mechanism,
would then moved to show the motion of the Sun and moon relative to the planets and stars.
The device could be used to tell the different phases of the moon and much more.
Well, scientists have recently analyzed the inscriptions on the mechanism and re-examine the other cargo in the ship wreck,
and the evidence makes an absolute case that this device dates back to ancient Greece somewhere between 150 and 100 B.C.E.
What makes that so fascinating is that before we found the Antikythera Mechanism,
the earliest device we had that could track the Sun and moon like this was invented over 1,000 years later.
So when this was first found, people literally would not believe it.
Some of my colleagues insisted it had to have been made well after 100 B.C.E.
But this physical evidence was conclusive. It was that old.
Of course part of what made this find so unusual is that the Antikythera Mechanism is constructed of bronze.
Now, it is not that bronze was all that rare in Greece then, it is just that bronze was valuable and could easily be recycled.
It would have been relatively easy for a person with knowledge of metals to melt down bronze objects and forge them into …
well, say, coins. Bronze was used to made money back then. Or mold the bronze into anything else of value for that matter.
We are very fortunate that the device ended up under water,
because otherwise it probably would have ended up recycled into … who knows what.
Now, it was a challenge to figure out the Antikythera Mechanism.
It spent over 2,000 years at the bottom of the sea before it was discovered.
And even after it was discovered, it was still a number of years before we really understood what it was. You see,
the mechanism had corroded underwater, and many of the gears were stuck together in a mass.
Cleaning it was only partly successful.
We could only get a good look at the structure of the gears after gamma-rays were used to see inside,
very similar to the way X-rays are used to see your bones.
Now, once we got a good look inside, we saw a really complex device.
The many gears not only moved in a way that could indicate the phases of the moon.
The Antikythera Mechanism also tracked both the lunar year and the solar year.
Additionally, the gears also moved to match the motions of the planet and predicted eclipses.
But one thing that is particularly notable is that the mechanism was so precise that it even took into account a particular irregularity in the moon’s orbit,
which requires some very complex math to replicate in mechanical device.
You could say that the Antikythera Mechanism was a very precise calendar,
which stands to reasons calendars were very important to ancient peoples.
Religious festivals had to be held at the right time of year, crops needed to be planted at the right time as well.
And let’s not forget that eclipses in planetary motions had important symbolic meanings.
Narrator: Listen to part of a lecture in an environmental science class.
Professor: Basically, a cloud either contributes to the cooling of Earth’s surface or to its heating.
Earth’s climate system is constantly trying to strike a balance between the cooling and warming effects of clouds.
It’s very close, but overall the cumulative effects of cloud are to cool Earth rather than heat it.
And this balance between the amount of solar radiation, energy from the Sun,
that’s absorbed by Earth, and the amount that’s reflected back into space.
We call this Earth’s radiation budget.
And one way we keep track of the radiation budget is by looking at the albedo of the different surfaces on the planet.
A surface’s albedo is the percentage of incoming solar energy, sunlight,
that’s reflected off that surface back into space. Oceans have a low albedo,
because they reflect very little energy.
Most of the solar energy that reaches the ocean gets absorbed and heats the water.
Um… rainforests also have low albedos.
Well, by contrast, deserts and areas covered by ice and snow,
these places have high albedos. And clouds, in general, cloud also have high albedos.
That means that a large percentage of the solar energy clouds receive is reflected into space.
- Now, when we say that clouds have a high albedo.
We are talking about the effect of all the clouds on earth averaged together.
But different types of clouds have different reflective properties,
they have different albedos.
Student: So which type of clouds cools Earth?
And which type heat it?
Professor: Well, high thin clouds contribute to heating while low thick clouds cool Earth.
High thin clouds are very transparent to solar radiation, like, uh, clear air.
So they mostly transmit incoming solar energy down to Earth.
There’s not much reflection going at all.
At the same time, these clouds trap in some of Earth’s heat.
Because of the trapped heat, these clouds have an overall heating effect.
Student: Oh. OK. Since low thick clouds are not transparent to radiation…
Professor: Exactly. They block most of the solar energy so it never reaches Earth’s surface.
They reflect much of it back out into space.
Student: So that’s how they contribute to cooling?
Professor: Yep. And as I said earlier, this cooling effect predominates.
Now, what if there was a process that could control the type of clouds that form?
Student: Are you talking about controlling the weather?
Professor: Well, I am not sure I would go that far.
But we recently noticed an increase in cloud cover over an area of the ocean waters around Antarctica.
An increased area of low thick clouds, the type that reflects a lare portion of solar energy back to space and cools the Earth.
Well, the reason for this increased cloud cover,
it turns out, is the exceptionally large amount of microscopic marine plants.
Well, the current hypothesis is that these microorganisms produce a chemical,
dimetho sulfide that interacts with the oxygen in the air,
creating conditions that lead to the formation of the low thick clouds we observed.
Well, that’s true. It could have huge implications.
So, maybe we are talking about controlling the weather.
Perhaps, if the microorganisms near Antarctica really are responsible, perhaps we can accelerate the process somehow.
Narrator: Listen to part of a lecture in a marine biology class.
Professor: We have been talking about how sea animals find their way underwater,
how they navigate, and this brings up an interesting puzzle,
and one I’m sure you’ll all enjoy. I mean, everybody loves dolphins, right?
And dolphins, well, they actually produce two types of sounds.
Uh, one being the vocalizations you are probably all familiar with,
which they emit through their blowholes.
But the one we are concerned with today is the rapid clicks that they use for echolocation,
so they can sense what is around them.
These sounds, it has been found, are produced in the air-filled nasal sacs of the dolphin.
And the puzzle is how does the click sounds get transmitted into the water?
It’s not as easy as it might seem.
You see, the denser the medium, the faster sound travels.
So sound travels faster through water than it does through air.
So what happens when a sound wave um … OK.
You’ve got a sound wave traveling merrily along through one medium,
when suddenly; it hits a different medium, what does gonna happen then?
Well, some of the energy is going to be reflected back,
and some of it is going to be transmitted into the second medium.
And … and … and if the two media have really different densities,
like air and water, then most of the energy is going to be reflected back,
very little of it will keep going, uh, get transmitted into the new medium.
I mean, just think how little noise from the outside world actually reaches you when your head is underwater.
So, how did the dolphin’s clicks get transmitted from its air-filled nasal sacs into the ocean water?
Because given the difference in density between the air in the nasal cavity and the seawater,
we’d expect those sounds to just kind of go bouncing around inside the dolphin’s head,
which will do it no good at all.
If it’s going to navigate it, needs those sounds to be broadcast and bounced back from objects in its path.
Well, turns out dolphins have a structure in their foreheads,
just in front of their nasal sacs, called a melon.
Now, the melon is kind of a large sac-like pouch,
made up of fat tissue. And this fat tissue has some rather fascinating acoustical properties.
Most of the fat that you find in an animal’s body is used for storing energy,
but this fat, which you find in dolphins, and only in the melon and around the lower jaw.
This fat is very different, very rich in oil. And it turns out it has a very different purpose as well.
Now, one way to um, modify the overcome this mismatch in the density of air and water would be …
if you travels through velocity of the sound wave, make it precisely match the speed at which water.
And that’s exactly what marine biologists have discovered the melon Note that the bursa,
these little projections at the rear of the melon, are right up against the air-filled nasal sacs.
And these bursa, it turns out, are what’s responsible for transferring sound to the melon.
The sound waves are then transmitted by the bursa through the melon. First through a low velocity core,
and then through a high velocity shell, where their speed is increased before they are transmitted into the surrounding seawater.
So now the signals can be efficiently transferred into the water, with minimal reflection.
The only other place, this special fatty tissue, like that in the melon,
the only other place is found in the dolphin, is in the lower jaw.
Turns out that the lower jaw, well, it is made of a specially thin bone.
And it is very sensitive to vibrations, to sound energy traveling through the seawater.
It turns out that the jaw is primarily responsible for capturing and transferring returning sound waves to the dolphin ‘ s inner ear.
So these rapid clicks that are sent out bounce off objects, maybe a group of fish swimming over here, a boat coming from over there.
The sounds bounce off them and the lower jaw captures the returning sounds,
making it possible for the dolphin to sense what’s in the surrounding water and decide where to swim.
Narrator: Listen to part of a lecture in a choreography class.
Professor: Now, when you think about choreography, well, uh, for your last assignment,
you choreographed the dance that was performed on stage in front of live audience.
Now, screen dance is very different.
It is a dance routine you will be choreographing specifically to be viewed on a screen, on a computer screen, a TV screen, in a movie theater, any screen.
So the question we have to ask is, what’s the difference between choreography for a live performance and choreography for on-screen viewing?
- Think for a minute. When you see a movie, is it just a film of people acting on a stage?
Of course not. Movies use a variety of camera angles and creative editing.
Movies can distort time, slow movement down, or speed it up, show actors fading in and out of scenes, etc.
All of these … all of these film-making techniques, things that can’t be used in a live performance, are possible in a screen dance.
Now, we’ll cover these concepts in greater detail later,
but you should be getting the idea that I don’t want you to just film dancers on stage and turn it in as your screen dance project. Uh, Yes? Debbie.
Student: But isn’t something lost here, Professor Watson?
I am a dancer, and when I perform on stage,
I am so energized by the audience’s reactions, the applause.
I actually, and for a lot of dancers, it … it really inspires us.
Professor: You’re right. Screen dance, which is a relatively new, isn’t for everyone.
Uh, some dancers may seem reluctant to participate in your project,
because they do thrive on the immediacy of performing live.
If this happens, you could point out that screen dance offers other ways for dancers to connect to their audience.
For example, dancers can express themselves, even change the whole mood of the scene through a facial expression.
And you could film close-up shots of their faces. Facial expressions aren’t as important in live performances generally,
because the choreographer knows that someone in the back row of a theater may not be able to see a dancer’s face clearly.
Student: But … um, I have never used a movie camera or edited film before. How will we learn everything we need to know to … ?
Professor: Oh, don’t worry. The cameras you will be using are pretty simple to operate.
And you’ll get to play with the film-editing software several times before beginning your project.
You’ll also have the option of working with a student in the film department, someone who’s familiar with the technology.
But the choreography and the end result will be your responsibility of course.
Student: Could you talk some more about the film – making techniques, you know, the ones that work best forscreen dances?
Professor: I’ll show some of my favorite screen dances next week to give you a better idea.
But, uh, OK. Here’s one technique that can create the illusion of flow in a screen dance.
You film the same dancer, entering and exiting the frame several times.
Moving slowly at first, then faster and faster.
Then in the editing room, you can digitally manipulate these images,
like you might put five or ten or twenty copies of that same dancer meeting himself in the middle of the screen, to make it look like he is dancing with himself.
Obviously, this can’t be done in a live performance.
Another example, in one screen dance I saw, the dancers leap through sheets of fire in a big abandoned building.
Of course, the building wasn’t really on fire.
A technique called super-imposing was used.
The dancers were filmed and layered in the editing room.
The fire was added to the background.
Student: That sounds awesome. But if anyone can watch a dance on a computer screen.
Why would they pay to go see a live performance?
What if screen dance got so popular that it replaced live dance?
Professor: Screen dance is an entirely different type of presentation.
It could never replicate the immediacy, the kind of drama that live performance offers.
There will be an audience for that. I think what screen dance will do, though, is heighten awareness of dance in general.
Because it is a way … u h, it can reach people in their homes, in their workplaces, at anytime really.
And if someone discovers that they love dance by watching a screen dance,
there’s a good chance they will get interested enough to buy a ticket to see a live performance.