CAttle in Scottish highland (Image: StephanSmit/Shutterstock)
Science

A Zoologist Discusses the Science of Animal Hair

April 21, 2018

Animal hair is important to mammals for a number of reasons—insulation, self-defense, and even as a sensory organ. But what are some of the other properties that make this fuzzy collection of chemicals so unique to the animal kingdom? […]

Is it possible to understand the whole of the past, from the beginnings of everything to the present day? Is it even possible to tell such a story? If so, what would the story look like? Welcome to the study of Big History.
History

Big History: Putting All of History in Context

December 1, 2017

Is it possible to understand the whole of the past, from the beginnings of everything to the present day? Is it even possible to tell such a story? If so, what would the story look like? Welcome to the study of Big History. […]

Image of baby plants growing in germination sequence on fertile soil with natural green background
Science

Can Plants Think? The Torch Podcast

December 1, 2017

With almost 400,000 known species and thousands more identified every year, the variety of plant life is almost overwhelming—from the microscopic to the largest organism on Earth. In Plant Science: An Introduction to Botany, you will explore the astonishing adaptations that allow plants to live in an enormous variety of ecosystems, from deserts and the ocean floor to thousands of feet above sea level and on every continent. […]

Earth (Image: Triff/Shutterstock)
Ancient History

The Eight Fundamental Thresholds of Big History

December 1, 2017

David Christian structures his groundbreaking Big History course around eight fundamental thresholds. Each of them is associated with new forms of complexity, and each of which has new emergent properties. Here we will take a high-level look at the eight fundamental thresholds of Big History and the material covered within each. […]

Food—A Cultural Culinary History Podcast

Food Imperialism around the World

October 2, 2017

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, European colonialism expanded across the entire globe as a form of economic empire building, with food production as a primary form of wealth creation. […]

A group of fossilized ammonites (Image: MarcelClemens/Shutterstock)
Earth Science

Fossils: Life Cast in Ancient Stone

September 27, 2017

How can you turn a soft, organic, squishy organism into a fossil that can survive earthquakes, rising mountains, closing oceans, and colliding continents for millions, perhaps even billions, of years? Just what are the chances of some organism becoming a fossil? Learn about the necessary conditions required for a fossil to form and just how unlikely it is to happen. […]

The Torch Podcast

Anthropology—More Than Just Bones: The Torch Podcast

July 27, 2017

What does it mean to be human? Where did we come from? And what unites us in our diversity today? As the world population continues to explode, these big questions about humanity become increasingly important, and anthropology is the field of study that tackles them. From our tree-dwelling primate ancestors 63 million years ago through today’s globally connected citizens, anthropology looks at Homo sapiens to find out why we are the way we are. […]

This Week in History

This Week In History: July 16-22

July 16, 2017

This week in history: Catherine the Great Crowned, Mendel born, and Moon Day celebrated. Read more below and dive deeper with The Great Courses Plus. […]

Fresh tomatoes in hands on a wooden background
Cooking

The Tomato—Fruit or Vegetable?

July 9, 2017

Go to any grocery store’s produce section and you will most likeley find tomatoes displayed among their vegetable friends. Yet in the world of botany, they’re actually considered berries. Why do tomatoes suffer from this produce identity crisis? […]

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