√ Campus Life. √ History. √ Literature. √ Campus Life. √ Computers. √ Geography.
1 Campus Life.
W: What is that weird phone for, anyway? M: The one with the blue lights? W: Yeah. M: That’s an emergency phone. You just push the red button, and you get campus security. W: I guess that’s a good idea. It probably works more as a deterrent than a phone though. M: What do you mean? W: Well, I was just thinking that if you were going to attack somebody, you wouldn’t do it anywhere near a blue light phone. M: Yeah, I guess I never thought of that. It can also be used for other emergencies though---like, if you hurt yourself. W: Does anybody ever use it even when they don’t have an emergency? M: I think there’s a pretty hefty fine if you do. I mean, if you press that button and don’t say anything, they know your location and will get there pretty fast. W: They know your location? That’s a good idea. Sometimes, you can’t communicate in an emergency. M: Yeah, that’s why the prank calls are taken so seriously. They’ll still come out here to verify that there isn’t a problem, even if you don’t utter a word. W: So, what if you’re inside, and you need help? M: Same as anywhere else... you call 9-1-1. W: But wouldn’t it be better to call campus security? I mean, they’re a lot closer. M: Yeah, you can call campus security, and then they’ll call 9-1-1. That’s probably a better idea, actually. W: Yeah, but then again, you’re not going to take the time to look up the number during an emergency. M: Yeah, It’d be a good idea to keep the number by your phone. W: And what about those campus phones? For a normal call you have to dial 9 first. So, do you have to dial 9-9-1-1, or does 9-1-1 work automatically? M: No, I think you do have to dial 9-9-1-1. W: That’s good to know. M: Another thing, campus security has two numbers. You have to make sure you’re calling the right one. W: What’s the other one for? M: Non-emergency situations. W: Non-emergency? Like what? M: Like if you need to report a crime. You call 9-1-1 if there’s a fire, or if you have a medical emergency... W: Yeah, or a crime, right? M: A crime in progress, yes. But suppose you’re not in any immediate danger. Suppose you are the victim of a crime, then you would report it to campus security by calling the non-emergency number. W: Like if someone stole your history paper? M: Very funny. No, but if someone stole your CD player, you could report that. W: I wouldn’t go to the regular police for something like that? M: For a CD player? No. That’s something you’d report to the campus police. W: I’ve been really lucky. I haven’t had any emergencies or crimes in the past two years. M: Except for that stolen history paper.
M: Good day students! I’m pretty jazzed about today’s lecture topic, and I hope you all will be, too. If you find simply remembering and regurgitating names and dates a little dull, then this topic may be of interest to you. There are names and dates involved, but today I want you to engage, weigh, and analyze the information I present. Sound good? All right, let’s continue. In your textbooks and other various sources, you will encounter several contradictory theories regarding pre-Columbian discoveries of America. Can any of you clarify what I mean by “pre-Columbian”? Yes? W: That means before Columbus arrived in the Americas, right? Before 1492? M: Very good. That’s correct. Most of us have learned that Columbus somehow “discovered” the continents, despite the fact that people were already living there... doesn’t really make sense, now does it? The Native American people who had been living in the Americas for thousands of years aside, there are several claims that Europeans, Africans, or Asians had visited the Americas before Columbus. Historians typically either reject or accept these notions outright. A good historian, however, avoids both of these extremes. Since I want all of you to become good historians, then you too should avoid both of these extremes. As I mentioned, you must engage, weigh, and analyze the available information before coming to a conclusion, and even then, such conclusions can be tentative at best. Umm, OK, let’s look at some examples. Let’s begin with theories of early European contact. There are some sculptures of Peruvian gods that look nearly identical to Greek sculptures of Medusa. This has led to talk of an Ancient Greek presence in the Americas. In addition, people of the Hopi nation located in the southwestern US have stories about “Anasazi,” or “ancient ones,” who visited them. Some say the Hopi culture shows signs of Greek influence. Furthermore, the Aztec had a god called “Quetzalcoatl” who featured a white beard and was said to have come from the East. Could this god have been an Ancient Greek? Moving from Greece, now, there are also medieval Muslim reports from Moorish Spain. They speak of sailing across “the ocean of darkness and fog” and finding new populated lands there. While it is true that this ocean was the Atlantic, it is not clear if they landed in the Americas or just in some Atlantic islands. OK, so far we have some artistic similarities, some possible physical similarities with the white beard, and some textual clues from Europe. How do you feel about these? Are you convinced? W: Well, not really. M: OK. Why not? W: Well, I’ve seen the pictures in the textbook of the Peruvian “Medusa” and well, I think the Peruvian people could have just invented their own god with a passing resemblance to the Greek Medusa. I don’t think it’s really the same deity. Also, like you said, the text could have just been referring to some islands in the Atlantic rather than a new continent. M: Great job. As historians, we must approach evidence with a skeptic’s mind. There is, though, one clear-cut case with solid evidence. Norse Vikings did explore and settle present-day Canada at least 500 years before Columbus. Leif Eriksson, son of Erik the Red, the founder of Greenland, discovered a new land that he called Vinland, which is now thought to be in Newfoundland, a Canadian province. There would be at least five additional Viking expeditions to Canada and even some temporary settlements. At first, we found textual evidence for these journeys in Norse sagas. Since then, we have strong physical, archaeological evidence to show this contact did take place. For example, there are the remains of Viking houses and villages, as well as old Viking tools found in the area. In fact, there are now three UNESCO world heritage sites in Canada devoted to Viking archaeological remains. So, to reiterate, this combination of historical texts detailing Viking trips to the New World with actual physical evidence left behind by the Vikings allows us to say with certainty that the Vikings “discovered” the Americas long before Columbus. Now, there are numerous other claims relating to explorers from such places as Africa, Japan, and China. These are all very interesting and are fun to imagine, but all must be taken with a grain of salt. Accepting them without hard evidence would be just as irresponsible as dismissing them altogether.
3 Literature. M1: Excuse me, professor. I have a question about the coursework listed here. W: OK, what’s up? M1: Well, umm, this course is called Introduction to World Literature, right, but everything on this syllabus list you handed out is European. I thought we’d be reading more international works. W: Ah ha. Good point. Let’s go ahead and address this. Largely, you are right, and this is unfortunate, so I empathize with your concerns. The reason for focusing on European literary works is that there was a big push in the mid-twentieth century to standardize what was called “The Western Canon,” a set of great literary works that literature departments in several countries believed that all students should read. Of course, when I use the term “canon,” I don’t mean the kind you would find on a pirate’s ship, I mean a group of books. Now, this “Western Canon” is comprised of three eras. You see, literature departments wanted their students to gain exposure to literature from a wide variety of times as well as styles. The first of these three eras is the Theocratic Age, from the beginning until 1321. Can anyone tell me or guess at what “theocratic” means? M2: Umm... is it similar to “democratic”? W: Well, in a way it is, they both end with “cratic,” don’t they? Who controls the power in a democratic system? M2: The voters... the people, right? W: Exactly right, but in a theocratic system, it’s a god or a supernatural authority that has the power. The Theocratic Age, then, was a time in which most nations were ruled according to religious laws. Books of the Western Canon from the Theocratic Age include the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh, Roman and Greek works like The Odyssey, and the Old English epic poem, Beowulf. I hope you’ll notice that all of these works are epic tales with righteous heroes. Now, umm, the second of the three ages covered in the Western Canon is The Aristocratic Age. The works of this age start with Dante’s Comedia Divina and run up to Goethe’s Faust, Part Two penned in 1832. Other works of this age include Cervantes’s Don Quixote, Shakespeare’s oeuvre, The Canterbury Tales, and so on. This period saw the emergence of comedy and shorter forms of poetry like sonnets and ballads. Is everyone keeping up? The Theocratic Age featured epics and heroic tales and the Aristocratic Age saw the emergence of other styles, like comedies and short poems. Now, the third period covered in the Western Canon is the Democratic Age. We mentioned how people have the power in democratic systems. Well, in the Democratic Age, we saw writers from many different backgrounds get published and gain prominence. The works of this period mainly include English, French, and Russian writers, including Flaubert’s Madame Bovary, Dostoyevski’s Crime and Punishment, and Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn. Those already familiar with these works will recognize that these works incorporate new and interesting voices that were not represented in past ages. Indeed, the major advances in the Aristocratic Age include the psychological novel, the antihero, and the new voices and perspectives I mentioned. Now, admittedly, this is a very Eurocentric and, more particularly, very Anglo-centric grouping of literature. There is, of course, a wealth of literature from other areas of the world. East Asian literature, for example, was particularly rich, featuring works such as the Tao and Analects of Confucius among many others. The Vedas and Bhagavad-Gita of ancient India certainly deserve attention, as do the Koran and the writings of the Arab philosophers who guarded the torch of learning while Europe slept through the Dark Ages. Of course, there is also a wealth of oral tradition from many other places in the world. Hopefully, in the future, this European slant will give way to a more eclectic sampling. I certainly encourage all of you to seek out this literature as much as you can. It is important to remember, however, that the 21st century world is, well, held together by the glue of English. Um, I mean that English is the universal language now and Anglo-American culture has the greatest influence throughout the world, for better or for worse. So, my point is, knowledge of this culture is useful for all of us.
4 Campus Life. M: Have you thought about what you’re going to do this summer, Gloria? W: Well, I can work full time at the restaurant if I want to. M: That’s where you worked last summer, right? W: Yes, and I’m still working there part time. M: Do they pay pretty well? W: Yes, with tips the money is pretty good, but I’m graduating next year, so I’d like to get some experience in my field. M: That’s a good idea. Maybe you should try to get an internship. W: An internship? I’d love to. It would mean a pay cut, but it’d be worth it. M: Yeah, they don’t pay very well, but in the long run, they sure do pay off. Not only do you get experience, you make all kinds of contacts. W: Yes, it would be good to have some experience and some references under my belt when I start looking for work after graduation. I just have no idea how to go about finding a summer internship. M: Why don’t you go to the Summer Job/Internship fair? W: I didn’t know such a thing existed! When do they hold that? M: Hang on, I’ve got the pamphlet in my backpack. W: Great. M: Here it is...let’s see...it’s actually next week, on the 16th. It starts at 9:30 a.m. and goes until 3:00 p.m. W: Is it here on campus? M: At the University Center Ballroom. W: That’s great. Is it casual, or should I dress as if I’m going to an interview? M: It says here that it’s business casual. W: So, should I bring my resumé? M: Umm...it’s not mandatory, but it’s a good idea. W: OK. Does it say there what kinds of internships are available? M: You’re into logistics, right? W: Yup. M: They’ve got something at Office Depot and at Wal-Mart. W: Fantastic. Are you going, too? M: Yes, I’m going to try to get hired on at a summer camp. W: Oh, that sounds like fun. M: It sure would be. It would be a good experience, too, since I’m studying to be a teacher. W: Yeah, that would be excellent. Are there many camps listed on there? M: There are three. One’s at Camp Ton-A-Wandah, one’s at Wesley Woods, and the other is at Camp Webb. W: Camp Ton-A-Wandah? I went there when I was a kid! I had a horrible time. The camp counselors were awful. M: Really? Well, I’ll be different. W: I’m sure you will. I’ll give you a few pointers some time. M: Let’s just wait and see if I get the job. W: You won’t have any trouble. You’re at the top of your class, and you do all that volunteer work. M: Thanks for the vote of confidence. And good luck to you. W: Thanks, I’ll need it. Hey, do you want to go together? M: Sure. We should go early. W: Good idea. We’ll look enthusiastic that way. M: Let’s meet at 9:15.
5 Computers. W: A few years ago, director Steven Spielberg made a movie called AI. It told the story of someone who looked and acted like a little boy, but wasn’t a little boy. He was a robot, right? I can see some of you remember that one. Not the greatest movie ever made, but it’s relevant to today’s topic. Who can tell me what AI stands for? Yes. M: Artificial intelligence, of course. W: Right you are. I guess we’re all familiar with this term these days from playing too many video games! Though video games relate to our topic of artificial intelligence, I do not recommend playing them as a means of studying for the course! Back on topic. We use artificial intelligence to produce not only video games to challenge us, but also useful machines that perform human tasks requiring intelligent behavior. We haven’t yet produced the human-like robots seen in Spielberg’s AI, of course, but we are getting closer. In the meantime, we are using AI for some very important tasks. These include military applications, answering customer questions, and understanding and transcribing speech. AI systems are now routinely used by businesses and hospitals, and they are built into common home computer software such as Microsoft Office and the video games we all know and love. Now, it’s important to note that there are several different branches of AI. With one branch, called Logical AI, a machine uses deductive logic to decide how it should act. Information about the world, the machine’s specific situation, and its goals are represented by logical mathematical language. The machine decides what to do by inferring that certain actions are appropriate for achieving its goals. Another branch is Search AI. This program is able to rapidly examine a large number of possibilities and choose the best option. This is used, for example, in computers that play chess. A third branch of AI is called Pattern Recognition. We can program a machine to compare what it sees with a pattern. If a machine looks into a crowd of people, for example, it will match a pattern of eyes and a nose in order to find a face that it recognizes. Pattern recognition is also useful for understanding and transcribing human speech. A fourth branch is Inference AI. With Inference AI, a machine is programmed for something called default reasoning. In default reasoning, when we hear of a bird, we infer that it can fly. However, if we learn the bird is a penguin, we have to reverse our conclusion about flight. Default reasoning allows the machine to change its original inference in situations like this. Now... yes, question? M: Does AI want to make machines that are as intelligent as people? W: Yes. The ultimate effort is to make computer programs that can solve problems and achieve goals in the world as well as humans. M: How long before that happens? W: Quite a while, I suspect. The Spielberg movie, remember, was set many years in the future. One problem is that common-sense reasoning is the area in which AI is furthest from the human level. Another problem is that machines presently cannot be programmed to learn the same way as a child does. Machines can’t learn from physical experience like a child does, and they can’t understand language well enough to learn much by reading. Furthermore, computers are not social beings as humans are. Where humans pick up on a myriad of tiny, often subconscious signals from the people around them, computers cannot. OK, let’s recap a bit. AI, or artificial intelligence, is the attempt to program computers to have human-like adaptability and intelligence. There are four main branches of artificial intelligence, including Logical AI, Search AI, Pattern Recognition AI, and Inference AI. Each branch focuses on one way in which human minds deal with the stimuli around us. Logic AI focuses on deductive reasoning using mathematical language, Search AI focuses on choosing appropriate actions from a list of possibilities, Pattern Recognition AI focuses on extrapolating a larger pattern from evidence of a smaller part of it. And finally, Inference AI focuses on using input to override default reasoning, like the example that birds fly, yet discovering that a bird is a penguin can override that default reasoning. As you know, computers and machines using artificial intelligence have numerous applications in homes, offices, factories, laboratories, and even in your video games. These applications can only grow in number and importance as our ability to program AI improves.
6 Geography. M: Good day everyone. Today, we’re going to be looking at some of the effects the moon has on our lives. Can anyone tell me one such effect? W1: Well, ummm, I’ve heard that full moons make people do crazy things. M: Ha ha. Yes, I’ve heard that, too. Some statistics support that idea, but other studies refute it. In any case, you can debate that more in your psychology classes. But this is geography, so what physical effect does the moon have on our planet? W1: Oh, OK then. Well, how about the tides? The moon’s gravitational pull causes the tides, right? M: Right you are. That’s the information I was looking for, thank you. So, we know the moon causes tidal movement in the oceans, but can the moon cause rain? Do the moon and sun create tidal effects in the atmosphere as well as the oceans? In the past century, an air tide, or rather a kind of shifting of the atmosphere has been recognized. That, specifically, is what we’re going to discuss today. As always, you are more than welcome to ask any questions you have as we go along. The possibility of gravitational tides in the Earth’s atmosphere was first suggested by Sir Isaac Newton. Newton is most famous for what discovery? Anyone? W2: Wasn’t he the gravity guy? M: The gravity guy? Yes, I think you could say that. Newton was the first person to describe the force of gravity. Now, he came up with this theory on atmospheric tides while developing an explanation for ocean tides. Since 1918, scientists have been measuring air tides in the Northern Hemisphere, and although the changes in air pressure are small, their effects are not. Studies have shown that more cloudiness, rainfall, and storms are generated during certain lunar phases, such as the full moon. In fact, even before Newton set down his theories on tides, people were aware that lunar phases corresponded with the rise and fall of the ocean tides. More recently, we have found that the moon is even able to cause deformations in the solid crust of the Earth. So, much in the same way the moon affects tidal movement in certain ways, it also pulls on the Earth’s crust as well, causing it to move, too. Yes. Amazing, isn’t it? The ground we walk on every day isn’t necessarily as solid as it seems! Yes, there in the blue sweater? W1: The textbook mentions that the moon can cause an atmospheric tide, and that it can create changes in air pressure. Is this an air tide, and is it true that these changes in air pressure can cause hurricanes? M: Ah, as I was saying earlier, studies have shown an increase in storms corresponding to certain lunar phases. While we cannot yet explain this in full, it does appear that the moon has an influence on the weather. Whether they directly cause hurricanes or not, well, we’ll have to wait for further research to determine that with any certainty, I’m afraid. Let’s look more at what happens during a full moon, though. Researchers at the University of Arizona discovered that at the time of a full moon, the temperature of the lower four miles of the Earth’s atmosphere increases by a few hundredths of a degree. Now, a few hundredths of a degree may not sound like much to you, and you probably couldn’t feel the difference yourselves, but it is significant. These researchers suggest that the moon warms our atmosphere in two ways. First, the moon’s surface is heated by the sun and radiates thermal energy at the Earth. This energy is much less intense than the energy we get directly from the sun, but it is supplemented by a second phenomenon. The moon of course mirrors, or reflects, sunlight at the dark, or night, side of the Earth. However, the mirror effect is relatively slight because it reflects just 10 percent of the light of the sun. Nonetheless, as you all have experienced, I’m sure, that 10 percent is quite significant when compared to the zero percent reflected during a new moon. The difference is night and day, so to speak, if you’ll forgive the pun. Anyhow, what I want you to take away from today’s lecture is the fact that the moon can affect our weather. While we still have much to learn we may well be justified in blaming the moon for a rainy day!