Free open distance education courses from Yale


There are a lot of Open Course Wares (OCW) on the Internet. But, it would be nice if you can get direct online courses from Ivy league institutions, that only a few can study. Yale seems to make that dream come true by making their courses truly open. What does that mean. Well, you will have access to the same high-quality education and world-renown professors. The following seven free courses :

  • Frontiers and Controversies in Astrophysics – Instructed by Professor Charles Bailyn, this fascinating class discusses areas of astronomy that are changing rapidly. This includes Extra-Solar Planets, Black Holes and Dark Energy.
  • Modern Poetry – Instructed by Professor Langdon Hammer, this course covers the characteristics and major influences in modern poetry. Hammer’s work is frequently published in The New York Times and he is currently the poetry editor of The American Scholar.
  • Death – Professor Shelly Kagan discusses the philosophical aspect of death and dying in this course. Kagan is Clark Professor of Philosophy at Yale.
  • Fundamentals of Physics – Professor Ramamurti Shankar introduces students to the fundamentals of physics, though the course is designed for those with a solid background in mathematics.
  • Introduction to Political Philosophy – Instructed by Professor Steven B. Smith, this course examines political philosophy as seen through popular texts and influential thinkers. Smith is the Alfred Cowles Professor of Political Science and Master of Branford College at Yale.
  • Introduction to Psychology – This course, taught by Professor Paul Bloom, provides a comprehensive overview of thought and behavior. Bloom is Professor of Psychology at Yale University and did his doctoral work at MIT.
  • Introduction to the Old Testament – Professor Christine Hayes examines both the religious significance and historical documentation of the Old Testament in this course. Hayes is the Robert F. and Patricia Ross Weis Professor of Religious Studies in Classical Judaica at Yale.

[ – Guest posting: Seven free distance courses from Yale – ]

New World Order:the balancing of power & Asia

My feeling is that the US can not open another war front and to flock it ahead successfully while they are losing two other invasions (not wars) . But the US administration has not shown signs for of retiring from their efforts to hit at Iran.

But I am amazed at the (strong) Iranian responses, because they appeared so bold and it seems the Americans are backing off, a bit, even if they are verbally very aggressive. Afghanistan and Iraq are different cases IMHO. Iran has an active military, research and development programs. More than that, they have energy resources.

And I believe more than the military might, energy will play a key role, if this attack ever materialize. Because the rising Asian economies of India and China are fighting for big energy resources (and Indians are losing to Chinese companies recently) but the planned pipelines from Iran via arch rival Pakistan may help Indians to achieve their rising energy needs to a small extent. U.S.A itself is depending on other nations on their conventional energy needs. So, they can’t just come and say to stop all the dealings with the Iranians to other nations.

As each day progress, the East Asia is getting bigger in terms of economic might (but don’t confuse they are as big as the US, that will take decades, but one day they will be there), making it difficult for the US to bully on them.

Anyway the Chinese are too big for them to bully, but they can surely try it on Indians, but the opposition is strong in India and there is a strong opposition to the nuclear deal which everyone outside India thinks is a bargain for the Indians.

A summary at FPRI on Kaplan’s latest work on the new balance of power.

Kaplan feels that we tend to divide the world up artificially into old Cold War classifications of the Middle East, the South Asian Indian subcontinent, and the Pacific Rim of East Asia. These divisions were forced on the U.S. by the Cold War, in which the country had a whole world to patrol, in a way. And so Washington broke it up into academic specialties in order to get a better grip on things. But increasingly, as China, North Korea, Japan, and India do more and more trade with Iran and Syria, and the Indian and Chinese navies are increasingly in the Persian Gulf, these boundaries are breaking apart. A holistic map of Eurasia is reasserting itself. Any conflict with Iran would involve India and China in some way, because of all the trade they do there. The Persian Gulf is about to become much more clogged with oil supertankers than it ever was. That is because among a number of big phenomena going on in the world today, Kaplan said, one is the growth of the Chinese and Indian middle classes.

India has 1.5 billion people. Its middle class is growing from 200 million to a predicted 350 million. China has similar statistics. Middle classes are acquisitive, Kaplan observed. They buy things and consume a lot of energy. And so the growth of these middle classes means tremendous energy consumption, much of which is going to have to be solved by oil. Ninety percent of India’s energy requirements are going to be filled by oil in the Persian Gulf within a few years, as opposed to 65 percent today. China’s statistics are similar. We are about to see a major energy highway from the Persian Gulf across the Indian Ocean to the strait of Malacca to China and Japan and across the Persian Gulf to the west coast of India. Energy politics are going to tie China and India much more closely to the Arab and Persian world than they ever were before.

This is why the U.S. position now in the Middle East is untenable, Kaplan argued. The U.S. has to find a way gradually, with carrots and sticks, to open up Iran and have some sort of normalized relationship with that country. The rest of the world is not going to wait the U.S. out, but is moving closer to Iran and Russia, because crude oil petroleum prices are going to continue to go up over the long run because of the growth of middle classes around the world.

Run your Cell Phone using water

This is cool. Samsung is planning to introduce cell-phones that is powered by water. Yes, you got it right, it is water. Samsung always got something interesting research going on in their labs. But the best part is that you may be able to get your hands on one in 2010. So, instead of finding recharging socket, you can just use water.

It will  basically be a fuel-cell powered device. In the case of other fuel cells they required methanol, but the new Samsung technology will do it with water

When the handset is turned on, metal and water in the phone react to produce hydrogen gas. The gas is then supplied to the fuel cell where it reacts with oxygen in the air to generate power. Other fuel cells need methanol to produce hydrogen, while Samsung’s needs only water. [- -]

References and Links

  1. Get Ready for Water powered Cell phones
  2. Samsung: Water powered Cell Phones by 2010