Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘animation’

23 JANUARY, 2014

The Life-Cycle of a Single Water Drop, in a Pop-Up Book Animated in Stop-Motion

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Nature’s rhythms in masterful paper engineering.

Given my soft spot for pop-up books, I was instantly taken with this collaboration between paper engineer extraordinaire Helen Friel (who brought us those amazing 3D paper sculptures of Euclid’s elements), photographer Chris Turner, and animator Jess Deacon, visualizing the life-cycle of a single drop of water as a pop-up book animated in stop-motion, nearly a year in the making:

To fully appreciate the incredible craftsmanship that went into the project, here is a timelapse of the making-of:

Complement with a different kind of 3D papercraft labor-of-love, celebrating favorite books.

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12 DECEMBER, 2013

A Miraculous “Accident of Physics”: Carl Zimmer Explains How Feathers Evolved, Animated

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“Feathers are some of the most remarkable things ever made by an animal. They’re gorgeous in their complexity, delicate in their construction, and yet strong enough to hold a bird thousands of feet in the air.”

Charles Darwin devoted nearly three chapters of his famed treatise Descent of Man to feathers — one of the most miraculous products of evolution. In his book Feathers: The Evolution of a Natural Miracle (public library), conservation biologist Thor Hanson marvels that “nothing competes with feathers for sheer diversity of form and function” — they can be soft or barbed, can store water or repel it, can conceal or attract, and are “a near-perfect airfoil and the lightest, most efficient insulation ever discovered.” But how did feathers actually come about?

In this lovely short film from TED Ed, animated by Armella Leung, the inimitable Carl Zimmer — one of the finest science writers working today, and the author of the delightful Science Ink — explains how feathers evolved, a case of “an accident of physics” that took fifty million years to unfold:

Myriad more such fascinating stories can be found in Zimmer’s Evolution: Making Sense of Life (public library), a collaboration with evolutionary biologist Douglas Emlen. Pair this particular marvel of evolution with this great explanation of how bird wings work and an illustrated anatomy of the unfeathered bird.

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11 DECEMBER, 2013

Brené Brown on Vulnerability, Human Connection, and the Difference Between Empathy and Sympathy, Animated

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“The truth is, rarely can a response make something better — what makes something better is connection.”

In 2010, shame and empathy researcher Dr. Brené Brown gave us the wonderful and culturally necessary The Gifts of Imperfection, exploring the uncomfortable vulnerability and self-acceptance required in order to truly connect with others. In this charming short film, the folks of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, better-known as the RSA, put a twist on their usual live-illustrated gems and take a page out of the TED-Ed book, teaming up with animator Katy Davis to bring to life an excerpt from Brown’s longer talk on the power of vulnerability and the difference between empathy and sympathy, based on her most recent self-helpy-sounding but enormously insightful and rigorously researched book, Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead (public library).

The truth is, rarely can a response make something better — what makes something better is connection.

And that connection often requires mutual vulnerability. Brown writes in Daring Greatly:

Vulnerability isn’t good or bad. It’s not what we call a dark emotion, nor is it always a light, positive experience. Vulnerability is the core of all emotions and feelings. To feel is to be vulnerable. To believe vulnerability is weakness is to believe that feeling is weakness. To foreclose on our emotional life out of a fear that the costs will be too high is to walk away from the very thing that gives purpose and meaning to living.

[…]

Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.

Watch Brown’s full RSA talk below:

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