Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘culture’

28 APRIL, 2011

Human Planet: BBC Unravels Earth’s Secrets

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What rainforest tribes in the jungle have to do with reindeer swimmers in the Arctic.

What are the secrets of this amazing planet we call home, and what exactly is our place in it? This question has been tickling humanity’s curiosity in a profound way since time immemorial and, now, the BBC is making an unprecedented effort to answer it.

Human Planet — an ambitious, jaw-dropping, exquisitely cinematic series exploring mankind’s rich and complex relationship with nature across the globe, out this week on DVD, Blu-ray and video-on-demand.

Filmed on more than 80 locations across remote lands, underwater worlds and aerial heights, it covers everything from the first recorded footage of the world’s last uncontacted tribe in the Brazilian rainforest…

It’s important for humanity these people exist. They remind us it is possible… to live in a different way.” ~ Jose Carlos Meirelles

…to fox hunting with a golden eagle in Mongolia…

…to extreme fishing at Victoria Falls…

…to the magnificent swim of 3,000 reindeer across the icy Arctic waters.

At once exhilarating and profoundly humbling, Human Planet is the kind of journey you go on and never fully come back from, your worldview and self-conception forever changed by the intensity and richness of the experience.

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28 APRIL, 2011

HyperCities: Every Past is a Place

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What 17th-century Manhattan has to do with Peru’s grid and the Renaissance in Berlin.

We love cities, maps and urban storytelling. So we’re all over HyperCities — a digital research and educational platform for exploring the layered histories of cities and public spaces, based on the idea that “every past is a place.”

The fundamental idea behind HyperCities is that all stories take place somewhere and sometime; they become meaningful when they interact and intersect with other stories.”

From a digital recreation of Manahatta in 1609 to an archival print of Berlin’s 1772 geometric grid, the project is absolutely fascinating and a treasure trove of urban time travel.

Most recently, HyperCities mapped real-time voices from Cairo using social media, offering an entirely different way to experience the news, not by digesting static newswires and frontpage headlines but by actively hearing the reality of the people on the ground — something last week’s Tweets from Tahrir tried to capture in a different medium.

The project, which received a Google Digital Humanities Award last year, is the brainchild of Todd Presner, Yoh Kawano, and David Shepard and is a collaboration between UCLA and USC.

HyperCities is currently available for 19 cities, including London, Shanghai, Tel Aviv, Tokyo, Berlin, New York, Los Angeles and Mexico City. You can contribute to the project by adding your own georeferenced map — here’s how.

via @kirstinbutler

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27 APRIL, 2011

Animated Infographic: Unspilling the Gulf Oil

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This week marks the one-year anniversary of the Gulf Oil Spill, one of the largest environmental disasters in history. On Monday, we revisited photographer Edward Burtynsky’s gripping Oil series as a visceral reminder of just how dependent we are on this highly politicized resource. Today, Brooklyn-based animator Chris Harmon approaches the same subject from an entirely different angle: A numbers-driven infographic animation illustrating the exact scale of the spill by exploring what could’ve been done with the 205,000,000 (that’s million) gallons that poured into the Gulf.

The 205 million gallons of oil lost in the Gulf is the same amount the United States consumes in less than 7 hours.”

For a more serious and in-depth look at the oil economy, you won’t go wrong with Pulitzer Prize winner Daniel Yergin’s The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money & Power.

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