Subtitles and transcripts of podcasts

Subtitles and transcripts are available for some podcasts linked to this blog, for example for all videos on ted.com. Under the video, select Subtitles available in, and to the right of the video, select Open interactive transcript.
For Russian readers / Для русскоязычных читателей: Для некоторых подкастов, описанных в блоге, например, для подкастов на сайте ted.com, есть субтитры и записи текстов. Под видео выберите Subtitles available in Russian, а справа от видео выберите Open interactive transcript.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Roy F. Baumeister: Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength

Building Self-Control  (audio, 14 min)
In this short podcast, Roy Baumeister, Professor of Psychology at Florida State University and co-author (with John Tierney) of the book Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength, summarizes the often surprising results of recent research on willpower (also known as self-control or self-regulation).
  • Willpower is similar to muscle strength, in that it is a limited resource, it is renewable, and it can be strengthened.
  • Willpower is a limited resource. At any given moment in time, you have only so much of self-control, and you can deplete it (a phenomenon known as ego depletion). We have the same amount of willpower, which we use up for a variety of tasks, such as resisting the temptation to overeat, being patient and polite under stress, and even making decisions. Laboratory studies have shown that when subjects are given various self-control tests throughout the day, regardless of the order of the tasks, they tend to perform worse on the later tasks. Self-control can be measured in the lab using a variety of standard tests, for example the ability to resist cookies while hungry, or the ability to keep the hand immersed in very cold water.
  • Willpower is a renewable resource. Some of the ways to renew it is by eating or sleeping. After a meal or a good night sleep, people are better capable of self-control. Studies have shown that most diets are broken in the evening, not in the morning.
  • Willpower can be strengthened over time by exercising it. One surprising method of developing willpower is to follow arbitrary rules. In one of the studies, subjects were told to work on their posture (sit up straight, stand up straight) for two weeks. After that, their self-control improved on measures that had nothing to do with posture.
A few other interesting findings I learned from the book:

Monday, February 6, 2012

Tom Mueller: Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil

Extra Virginity: The Splendid Table podcast (audio, only the first 10 min part of this podcast episode).
Journalist, blogger and the author of Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil Tom Mueller explains why many olive oils labeled as "extra virgin, first cold pressed, made in Italy" are in fact not virgin, most certainly not pressed, and not Italian. The good news is that great extra virgin olive oil is commonly available and often not expensive. Find out how to find it on this great podcast.