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googley goodness // linkage - Lograh — LiveJournal

Friday, 02.Nov.2007

8:01 - googley goodness // linkage

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So, I was turned on a while back, can't remember how, to the greatness that is Google Tech Talks. They are presentations sponsored by Google, where they have someone who knows lots of stuff on a topic come in and give a talk about that subject. These talks are recorded, as well as some of the Q&A session, and then the recordings are put online free for all to see. These talks are not always about computers (though most are), and not always highly technical. You should check them out.

This one is a Tibetan monk talking about a neurobiology research project he was participating in, where they were studying the biological changes in the brain when someone is thinking happy thoughts. The project also looked at long-term changes that occurred after prolonged periods of meditation devoted to thinking happy thoughts (metta meditation). Worth watching.

This other one is a professor from Iran talking about a computer science course he developed (with some other professors) designed for just-beginning CS students (only prerequisite is having knowledge of some programming language) where the students examine every level of the computer system. Sounds dull till you see how they do it. They start with a NAND gate and a definition for FALSE. The student builds all the logic gates needed for the arithmetic unit and the CPU, then builds the ALU, CPU, and Memory. Then encodes the machine language, builds the assembler that generates code for that language. Then the student writes the compiler for a higher-level language. Then they write a full program (like Tetris or Space Invaders) that compiles and runs on the computer system they built! All this takes place in one semester! Very fascinating talk, this one.

Best part is, the ones on Google Video (as opposed to the copies on YouTube or elsewhere) can be downloaded for offline viewing. So if you have an iPod (or other media device) that can do video, just toss these on there and you've got education on the go!

edit:fixed typoes

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