Life of the Mind

UCTV is delighted to partner with the San Diego Union Tribune to assure that you stay connected and engaged even as we are physically isolated from one another. Enjoy this special selection of programs from our archives, including informative health and science programs, cultural and musical presentations and performances, and socially relevant lectures. New programs will be posted each week.

January 15, 2021

Fire and Early Homo Sapiens Innovations

More than any other technology, the use of fire distinguishes human from non-human primate behavior. Fire was first employed by pre-Homo sapiens hominins more than a million years ago, and once people learned to control and reproduce fire its usefulness broadened and played a key role in hominin evolution. Developing fire technology beyond the basic uses of light, warmth, cooking, and protection from predators, Homo sapiens used fire in increasingly sophisticated ways. These included medicinal smoke, the forging of weapons, and the creation of other useful products. This in turn led to expanding trade and the rise of early economies.

Watch Fire and Early Homo Sapiens Innovations


Making the Most of a Gap Year

A “gap year” is a semester or full year of experiential learning typically taken between high school graduation and college enrollment, though they are also taken between academic years. They are intended to give students a break from academics to discover themselves and consider what kind of education and career they want to pursue. There are pros and cons in interrupting one’s formal education, but a growing consensus among educators holds that the benefits outweigh potential disadvantages. In this program experts discuss how gap year programs are faring during the COVID-19 pandemic, including observations from a current gap year student.

Watch Making the Most of a Gap Year


Beatles Revolutions: Let It Be

Alan Parsons was a teenage sound engineer at Abbey Road Studios when assigned to record audio for the Beatles as they worked through their penultimate album (followed by Abbey Road). In this dialogue between Parsons and Music Professor David Novak (UC Santa Barbara) they discuss recording equipment, studio layouts, song inspirations, the musical and personal interplay of the band members, producer Phil Spector’s controversial participation, the personal and artistic turmoil surrounding the making of the album, and the complicated history of Michael Lindsay-Hogg’s Let It Be documentary. Parsons also comments on the tensions that frequently accompany the creative process.

Watch Beatles Revolutions: Let It Be

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