Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘animation’

26 MARCH, 2013

Happy Birthday, Richard Dawkins: An Atheist’s Animated Altercation with God

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Knocking on heaven’s door of lamentable ignorance.

Yesterday, we explored humanity’s age-old paradox of grappling with mortality. Today, as evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins — tireless myth-buster, vocal atheist, and one level-headed dad — celebrates his seventy-second birthday, LA-based filmmaker Kevin R. Breen brings us Richard Dawkins Dies: a delightfully South-Park-esque confrontation between Dawkins and God as the two engage in a smack-down at the heart of the creationism vs. evolution quasi-debate.

The best excuse for [people who don't believe in evolution] is lamentable ignorance.

Complement with The Magic of Reality: How We Know What’s Really True, Dawkins’s science-driven antidote to creationist mythology, one of the best children’s books of 2011.

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28 FEBRUARY, 2013

Stardust: A Mesmerizing Short Film About the Voyager 1 and the Wonder of the Universe

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The breathtaking beauty and destruction of the cosmos, animated.

“Everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was … lived there — on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam,” Carl Sagan observed in his timelessly poetic Pale Blue Dot monologue, titled after the iconic photograph of Earth taken in 1990 by the Voyager 1 — the spacecraft launched in 1977 that gave us the story of how Sagan fell in love and went on to become as the first man-made object to travel out of the Solar System, an eternal witness to the unimaginable beauty and brutality of the universe.

From Dutch designer and director Mischa Rozema comes Stardust — a breathtaking short film based on a combination of real NASA footage and science fiction imagery, celebrating the legacy of the Voyager 1 and inspired by Dutch graphic designer Arjan Groot, who passed away from cancer at the age of 39. For maximum goosebumps, immerse yourself in full-screen mode:

Rozema tells us:

I wanted to show the universe as a beautiful but also destructive place. It’s somewhere we all have to find our place within. As a director, making Stardust was a very personal experience but it’s not intended to be a personal film and I would want people to attach their own meanings to the film so that they can also find comfort based on their own histories and lives.

The original score by Guy Amitai is available on iTunes, with 100% of proceeds benefiting the Dutch Cancer Society.

Complement with Neil deGrasse Tyson on whether the universe has a purpose.

It’s Okay To Be Smart

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01 FEBRUARY, 2013

The Science of Which Came First, the Chicken or the Egg, Animated

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What the ancient proto-chicken has to do with how wolves became dogs.

Since the dawn of recorded history, philosophers have pondered which came first, the chicken or the egg, as a causality dilemma exploring grander existential inquiries into the origin of life and the universe. But, it turns out, science has an answer that bypasses the metaphysical and dives right into the nitty-gritty of the tangible and concrete. In yet another illuminating animation, AsapSCIENCE enlist evolutionary biology in answering the age-old question, comparing the process to how dogs became dogs and ultimately demonstrating that — like much of science — the solution may have more to do with semantics and nomenclature than with actual scientific evidence.

No one mutation can ever really constitute a new species.

AsapSCIENCE have previously covered the science of why money can’t buy happiness, the science of productivity, what alcohol does to your brain, why we blush, the science of lucid dreaming, how music enchants the brain, the neurobiology of orgasms, and why we are all female.

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