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Wasting time on YouTube? Watch out, you might learn something

The world’s biggest video site, YouTube, is like a public library. It contains pretty much every kind of video, just as a library contains pretty much every kind of book. YouTube gets a lot of stick about funny cat videos and other amusing fluff, but this is no reason to avoid it as a low-brow site. Who would avoid visiting their public library for serious research just because it also contains tacky romance novels and ghost-written celebrity autobiographies?

Astrobiology: the science of speculation

If you haven’t watched the Jodie Foster film Contact, watch it now. We’ll wait.

Good, you’re back. So, do you believe she was transported through a wormhole to a distant civilization? If you do, this course is for you. It’s also for you if you don’t, because as a science, astrobiology applies rigorous critical reasoning to basic questions like ‘Is there anybody else out there?’, ‘What other forms of life are possible apart from us?’ and ‘What are the conditions elsewhere in the cosmos that might support life?’

Where is my mind? - visual psychology 101

So, what’s up with the blob of jelly inside our skulls? How does it work, and why does it make us do what we do? Answering these questions is the domain of psychology. There are plenty of introductions to psychology out there, but there’s a new one from a top Yale professor that delivers the ideas in a memorable way.

Close encounters of the furred kind: careers with animals

Working with animals. What images do those words conjure up? Veterinary nurse or surgeon? Animal shelter worker? Professional dog walker?

Those are undeniably jobs that involve animals, but the picture is so much bigger than that. How about Police Dog Handler? Animal Welfare Charity Inspector? Zoologist? Wildlife Documentary Maker? Forestry Worker? Beekeeper?

Penguinologist? A viable career option according to

Can we stop hurricanes?

The 2017 hurricane season has been one of the most violent on record, with the highest number of major hurricanes since 2005 and it’s not even over yet. The storms have marched across the Atlantic in seemingly endless succession, and the alphabetic-order names have kept coming: Gert, Harvey, Irma, José, Katia, Lee, Maria, Nate, Ophelia … let’s hope at the time of writing that there isn’t a Philippe.