Sunday Lectures is a weekly roundup of the internet’s most interesting educational videos. Get smarter without getting out of bed.
Explorer Lee Berger on the Discovery of New Species Homo naledi
This week, paleoanthropologist Lee Berger announced his discovery of a new ancestral species, shaking up the human family tree. Here, Berger tells journalist Bill Blakemore how he found the hidden cave of bones, squeezed his team through its narrow entrance, and how his find might change our view of human evolution forever.
The Nazis Next Door: How America Became A Safe Haven For Hitler’s Men
Recently discovered documents suggesting the U.S. government protected Nazis after WWII are at the heart of journalist Eric Lichtblau’s book The Nazis Next Door. Pretty bold claims he’s making here, but he backs them up, explaining how the German expats were shaped by the Feds to become spies, intelligence assets, and leading scientists and engineers.
Is Masturbation Good For You?
A surprising amount of research has gone into proving that, uh, manual labor provides much more than a quick fix. Bean flickers and hand shandiers of the world rejoice: Turns out your favorite pastime might boost immunity, ward off cancer, and improve sleep in addition to making showering infinitely more fun.
The Right To Die
Should doctors be allowed to help the terminally ill come to a merciful end? Ethicists, policymakers, and medical professionals have been debating the matter for years. Here, Dr. Helen Joyce, international editor of the Economist, discusses why the idea of physician-assisted suicide gets so much support while the idea of legalizing it does not.
The Science of Origami
To Harvard’s physics-and-biology whiz Dr. L. Mahadevan, origami is so much more than paper cranes and cicadas. Mahadevan believes the ancient art of paper folding exists at the crossroads of art and science, mimicking the complex shapes found in the biological world and serving as the foundation for countless new engineering applications.
Bonus: Bill Nye and Neil deGrasse Tyson discussing Interstellar
Not a lecture. Just awesome.