Although I live near Oxford and used to work for the University, this week I discovered something I didn’t know before: the University has a huge library of podcasts, available for free on iTunes.
Browsing through, I was struck by the huge range of topics on offer. You can search by podcast series, by people, by college and by department: The Philosophy Faculty, The Mathematical Institute, The Physics Department, the Department of Experimental Psychology, the Law Faculty, to name just a few.
My eyes scanned intriguing topics such as: Exploring the early universe with gravitational waves, Women poets in WW1, The Science of Mindfulness, Torture and Human Dignity...
I settled on the series entitled “Big Questions with Oxford Sparks,” which are short talks and interviews with Oxford’s professors and researchers on the big questions we face today. I found plenty of interesting talks: How fast is Greenland moving? How do you teach a machine to drive a car? How do you turn an orange into a grapefruit?
I listened to: Should I take a selfie with a wild animal? Conservationist and Ecologist Dr. Tom Moorhouse explains the impact of tourist attractions that take us up close and personal with wild animals (performing dolphin shows, riding elephants, etc.). Tom has been researching the effect of this on the animals and on conservation efforts that are in place. He encourages us to research these sites thoroughly before visiting them and read reviews online on sites such as TripAdvisor before considering visiting. He found that on TripAdvisor if 20% or more people gave bad reviews, that was a good indication of there being a problem with animal welfare at the tourist site. This was a really interesting talk that I learned something from in under 13 minutes!
This resource is a great way to expand your knowledge and thinking and to provide you with a new viewpoint. If you don’t have iTunes on your computer, you can access all the podcasts here!