TOK Resources

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Why British English is full of silly-sounding words

From ‘gazump’ to ‘gobsmack’, ‘squiffy’ to ‘snog’, British English is full of words that sound like barmy balderdash. Christine Ro explains why.<p>“That wazzock dared to gazump me; I'm gobsmacked by this sticky wicket full of codswallop that's gone pear-shaped!”<br>That sentence may not sound serious. But …

Language

Mathematical formulation of TOK

A Mathematical formulation of TOK<p>Students and teacher when they first encounter TOK (Theory of Knowledge) are confused. This should not be seen as …

Meet the chef who’s debunking detox, diets and wellness

Anthony Warner – alias blogger turned author the Angry Chef – is on a mission to confront the ‘alternative facts’ surrounding nutritional fads and myths<p>A few minutes into my encounter with the Angry Chef, I begin to wonder if his moniker might be ironic, like the big guy whose friends call him …

Food

Coconut oil 'as unhealthy as beef fat and butter'

<b>Coconut oil is as unhealthy as beef dripping and butter, say US heart experts.</b><p>It is packed with saturated fat which can raise "bad" cholesterol, says the American Heart Association in updated advice.<p>Coconut oil is commonly sold as a health food and some claim the fat in it may be better for us than …

Why we can't trust academic journals to tell the scientific truth

Academic journals don’t select the research they publish on scientific rigour alone. So why aren’t academics taking to the streets about this?<p>Hundreds of thousands of scientists took to streets around the world in April. “We need science because science tells the truth. We are those who can fight …

Research

The Climate Change Problem

Let me make a confession to you. I don’t believe that human-caused climate change is a serious problem. Now let me be clear: when I look at the</i> …

Humanizing, harmonizing effects of music aren't a myth: Listening to music from other cultures furthers one's pro-diversity belief

Listening to music from other cultures furthers one's pro-diversity belief<p>Listening to music from other cultures furthers one's pro-diversity …

People With Creative Personalities Really Do See The World Differently

What is it about a creative work such as a painting or piece of music that elicits our awe and admiration? Is it the thrill of being shown something …

How we can be

‘I knew they were sugar pills but I felt fantastic’ – the rise of open-label placebos

IBS patient Linda Buonanno knew the pills she was given contained no active drugs, yet they had an immediate effect on her condition. So can placebos play a useful medical role?<p>Linda Buonanno had suffered 15 years of intense cramps, bloating, diarrhoea and pain she describes as “worse than labour”. …

Medicine

Knowing me…

The next two blogs will focus on the nature of two aspects of personal knowledge, namely, knowledge of oneself and knowledge of others. What the …

British Philosophy

Why Swearing Makes You Stronger

By several accounts, Donald Trump has spent a decent amount of time in recent weeks screaming at his television. Almost certainly he’s been swearing at it; what else do you scream at your television but expletives? Besides, the President doesn’t often censor himself, even in public. On the campaign …

When You Can't Afford to Make a Mistake, This’ll Keep You Sharp

<b>Peter Baumann</b> suggests that our <b>biases can get a bad rap</b>, but that <b>they’re essential</b>. He sees them as unconscious inclinations that we’ve developed …

What Is the Most "Godless" City on Earth?

Surveys reveal the least religious, most atheistic population centers in the world.<br>Read More

Atheism

'Anumeric' people: What happens when a language has no words for numbers?

Numbers do not exist in all cultures. There are numberless hunter-gatherers embedded deep in Amazonia, living along branches of the world’s largest …

Language

14 Soldiers Were Photographed Before, During, And After War. The Result Is Disturbing…

War changes people. Lalange Snow's photo series is a testament to this.<p>Credit: Lalange Snow<p>War changes people. If the number of veterans suffering …

Theory of Knowledge

“Civilians Attacked by Chemical Weapons!” Few headlines spark as much outrage. If a TOK class engages students in the questions of knowledge …

How fake are nature documentaries?

When you’re watching a nature documentary, you notice it right away: there’s something odd about the sound effects. They seem a little too…Hollywood. …

Do you pronounce 'scone' to rhyme with 'cone' or 'gone'? It depends where you're from

As linguists celebrate English Language Day and Shakespeare’s birthday, what does the ever-changing way we speak reveal about us?<p>It is a division as entrenched and as bitter as the split between Brexit backers and EU Remainers – though in this case, the issue is truly personal. Do you pronounce the …

Language

The World’s Most Beautiful Mathematical Equation

I was doing KenKen, a math puzzle, on a plane recently when a fellow passenger asked why I bothered. I said I did it for the beauty.<p>O.K., I’ll admit it’s a silly game: You have to make the numbers within the grid obey certain mathematical constraints, and when they do, all the pieces fit nicely …

Facts are not always more important than opinions: here's why

Which is more important, a fact or an opinion on any given subject? It might be tempting to say the fact. But not so fast…<p>Lately, we find ourselves …

Does Knowledge Have a Sell by Date?

<b>Naomi Klein’s</b> controversial book and subsequent film adaptation, <b>This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate</b> (2014 and 2015 respectively), was …

Spirituality

What is the historical evidence that Jesus Christ lived and died?

Today some claim that Jesus is just an idea, rather than a real historical figure, but there is a good deal of written evidence for his existence 2,000 years ago<p><b>How confident can we be that Jesus Christ actually lived?</b><br>The historical evidence for Jesus of Nazareth is both long-established and …

Theology

There’s a formula for happiness, but will it make our world a better place?

How content we feel depends on whether reality meets our expectations. If that gap is too wide, anxieties and resentment creep in<p>If you want to be happy, learn to be satisfied with what you’ve got: like all the best ideas, it’s both irresistibly simple and surprisingly hard to put into practice. …

Happiness

Drugs That Work In Mice Often Fail When Tried In People

Most potential new drugs fail when they're tested in people. These failures are not only a major disappointment, they sharply drive up the cost of developing new drugs.<p>A major reason for these failures is that most new drugs are first tested out in mice, rats or other animals. Often those animal …

Biology

Human expertise: it’s not what you know, it’s who…

Sharing knowledge is a form of playing, say Steven Sloman and Philip Fernbach. And it depends heavily on others<p>Most things are complicated – even things that seem simple. You wouldn’t be shocked to learn that modern cars or computers or air traffic control systems are complicated. But what about, …

Jesse Eisenberg

Rules of memory 'beautifully' rewritten

Health and science reporter, BBC News website<p><b>What really happens when we make and store memories has been unravelled in a discovery that surprised even the scientists who made it.</b><p>The US and Japanese team found that the brain "doubles up" by simultaneously making two memories of events.<p>One is for …

Who’s Guilty When It Comes to Crimes of Cultural Appropriation?

Why is a white artist disqualified from painting Emmett Till? Should under-represented cultures have their own monopolies on art, fiction, and style?<p>Dana Schutz is politely unrepentant. The artist knew she’d waded into controversial territory when she depicted Emmett Till, the African-American …

Racism

Colleges turn ‘fake news’ epidemic into a teachable moment

<b>On an unusually warm Tuesday</b> in February, students settle in to a classroom at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., for their Comm 203 class. Professor Beth Jannery, director of the school’s journalism program, asks students about current events they’ve been following. What have they researched …

George Mason University