Lectures Watched
Since January 1, 2014
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My Notes on Massive Open Online Course:
A Brief History of Humankind
The course surveys the entire length of human history, from the evolution of various human species in the Stone Age up to the political and technological revolutions of the twenty-first century.
Notes on 48 Lectures I Watched in This Course:
The Context of History and Our Extended Human Family
How Walking Upright Led to Better Social and Cooperative Skills
The Importance of Fire and Cooking
Why Did Other Human Species Become Extinct?
The Cognitive Revolution and the Beginning of Human History
The Language of Homo Sapiens
How Fictive Language Enabled Larger Social Groups
The Power of Imagined Realities
How the Ability to Tell Stories Enabled Humans to Cooperate in Massive Groups
The Cognitive Revolution and the Variety of Human Communities
Spiritual Beliefs of Early Humans
Politics and Warfare of Pre-Agricultural Societies
45,000 Years Ago: Human's Decimation of Australia's Large Mammals
14,000 BC: Human Migration to the Americas
Agriculture: The Good and the Bad
10,000 BC: Agricultural Revolution
The Origins of Agriculture
The Code of Hammurabi and Other Imagined Realities
Inter-Subjective Reality and Romantic Consumerism
The Human Brain's Outsourcing of Mathematics
Unjust and Imagined Hierarchies
Imagined Hierarchies in History
Culturally Defined Gender
Three Theories of Gender Domination
The Direction of Humankind: Global Unity
The Essence of Money
The History of Money
The Historical Definition of Empire
The Relationship between Science, European Imperialism and Capitalism
Science, Capitalism and European Imperialism
Columbus: Last Man of the Middle Ages, Vespucci: First Man of the Modern Age
European Empires, Science, and Capitalism
How Capitalism is Based on Trust in the Future
On the Interdependence of Science and Capitalism
How Capitalism Enabled Small European Countries to Explore and Conquer the World
The Relationship Between Capitalism, the Slave Trade, and Free Market Forces
Industrialization, Energy and Raw Materials
The Second Agricultural Revolution and its Effect on Animal Treatment
The Ethics of Capitalism and Consumerism
On Limitless Energy Resources and the Hegemony of Modern Time Schedules
State/Market vs. Family/Community
Humankind's Rigid and Violent Past, and Flexible and Peaceful Present
Reasons for Our Current Unprecedented Era of International Peace
Three Theories on the History of Happiness
Psychological and Biological Happiness
Measuring Human Happiness
The Future of Cyborgs and Robots
What Do We Want to Want?
4 People I Have Learned About in this Course:
Fritz Haber (1868-1934)
German-Jewish chemist who developed method for synthesizing ammonia
  • won 1918 Nobel Prize in Chemistry
  • enabled Germans to create explosives during WWI since there was a lack of saltpeter to create explosives, and if it wasn't for his discovery, Germany would have been forced to surrender long before 1918
  • food production for half the world's current population depends on this method for producing fertilizer
George Stephenson (1781-1848)
English civil engineer who created steam locomotive
  • 1830: opened Liverpool and Manchester Railway
  • "Father of the Railways"
  • Victorians considered him a great example of diligent application and thirst for improvement
  • rail gauge of 4 feet 8.5 inches is called the "Stephenson gauge" and is the world's standard gauge
Harry Harlow (1905-1981)
American psychologist best known for his maternal-separation, dependency needs, and social isolation experiments on rhesus monkeys
  • demonstrated the importance of care-giving and companionship in social and cognitive development
  • worked at the University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • research in the 1950s
  • worked with Abraham Maslow (hierarchy of needs)
  • his experiments were controversial since they included rearing infant macaques in isolation chambers for up to 24 months
Lech Wałęsa (1943-)
Polish trade-union organizer, human-rights activist, and charismatic leader who co-founded Solidarity, then President of Poland from 1990-1995
  • Solidarity was the Soviet bloc's first independent trade union
  • won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1983
9 Vocabulary Words I Learned in this Course:
brigand, n. a robber or bandit, especially one of an outlaw band  "A local nobleman might draft everyone in the village to construct his castle without pay, yet later, you count on this nobleman to defend you from brigands, robbers, and barbarians."
dopamine, n. [DOH-pah-meen] a neurotransmitter i n the brain which plays a major role in reward-motivated behavior  "Most types of reward increase the level of dopamine in the brain, and a variety of addictive drugs increase dopamine neuronal activity."
exajoule, n. [EX-ah-jool] a unit of energy (EJ) equal to one quintillion joules, the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan had 1.41 EJ, and annual energy consumption in the United States is 94 EJ  "The annual energy consumption in the United States is about 94 EJ (exajoules), and the annual energy consumption of the world is about 500 EJ."
joule, n. [jool] a unit of energy, work, or amount of heat equal to the energy expended in applying a force of one newton through a distance of one meter, or in passing an electric current of one ampere through a resistance of one ohm for one second  "A gram of TNT releases 4100-4602 joules upon explosion."
oxytocin, n. [ahk-see-TOH-sin] a mammalian hormone produced by the hypothalamus and secreted by the posterior pituitary gland, playing an important role in the neuroanatomy of intimacy, specifically in sexual reproduction, in particular during and after childbirth, fascilitating birth and maternal bonding  "Oxytocin is sometimes referred to as "the bonding hormone"."
perspicuous, adj. of an account or representation, clearly expressed and easily understood, lucid  "It provides simpler and more perspicuous explanations than its rivals."
serotonin, n. [ser-i-TOHN-in] a neurotransmitter primarily found in the gastrointestinal tract, platelets (cellular element in blood), and the central nervous system of animals, including humans, and is popularly thought to be a contributor to feelings of well-being and happiness  "Research on the association between various polymorphisms and depression supports the idea that serotonin plays a role, not only in the treatment of depression but also in susceptibility to depression and suicide."
vendetta, n. a feud between two families or clans that arises out of a slaying and is perpetuated by retaliatory acts of revenge  "In the Ottoman Empire, family vendettas were often used to maintain order instead of maintaining a large police force and imperial courts."
vet, v. the process of performing a background check on someone before offering them employment, conferring an award  "Throughout most of history in most cultures, if you wanted to get married, or even if you didn't want to get married, the family often chose for you your partner, or at least vetted your prospective husband or wife."
2 Flashcards I Recorded in this Course:
first to translate Rosetta Stone
Jean-Francois Champollion
what three chemicals are known today to affect happiness and feelings of well-being
serotonin, dopamine, oxytocin