8-Bit Music, Free Will, and White Holes | Sunday Lectures

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Sunday Lectures is a weekly roundup of the internet’s most interesting educational videos. Get smarter without getting out of bed.

Are Animals Smarter Than We Think?

Professor David Harper of the University of Wellington doesn’t think we’re all that superior to our beastly brethren. Comparing our abilities in areas of complex cognition such as memory, language, and abstraction challenges the idea that humans rule the Earth.

The Mechanics of Old-School Music

Artists from D.R.A.M. to Jay-Z have sampled old-school video game jams in their hits. But how did those beeps and bloops come to constitute music in the first place? The 8-bit guy explains.

Can We Stop an Earthquake?

Californians have learned to live with their faults. The plates of the San Andreas constantly threaten to destroy the Golden State, but scientists, architects, and civil engineers have learned enough about earthquakes to build infrastructure protecting against absolute devastation. But do they know enough to stop one altogether?

What Are White Holes?

Turns out black holes have a hypothetical cousin — white holes. The former are created when massive stars explode and suck space into their immense gravity vacuum. The latter, in theory, are pretty much the reverse.

Do We Have Free Will?

For millennia, humans have been trying to shirk responsibility by blaming our actions on the invisible hand that makes us do what we do. But how agency do we actually have? Recent advances in cutting-edge neuroscience have given researchers a glimpse into exactly how and when our neurons decide to fire, adding fuel to the debate.

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