Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘TED’

12 JANUARY, 2012

The Hidden Beauty of Pollination

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We’ve already marveled at the macro beauty of pollen, nature’s love-making mechanism. From Louie Schwartzberg’s film Wings of Life — an homage to “the love story that feeds the Earth,” inspired by the worrisome vanishing of the honeybees, nature’s irreplaceable Cupids — comes this stunning montage of high-speed images, revealing the intricate beauty of pollination:

Schwartzberg contextualizes the footage in his talk from TED 2011:

For a related moment of humility, treat yourself to Schwartzberg’s moving and rewarding TEDxSF talk on gratitude — it gets truly extraordinary at around 3:55:

You think this is just another day in your life. It’s not just another day — it’s the one day that is given to you, today. It’s given to you, it’s a gift. It’s the only gift that you have right now, and the only appropriate response is gratefulness. If you do nothing else but to cultivate that response to the great gift that this unique day is, if you learn to respond as if it were the first day in your life, and the very last day, then you would have spent this day very well.”

HT Smithsonian Retina

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05 DECEMBER, 2011

Kathryn Schulz on the Psychology of Regret and How to Live with It

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Three keys to making peace with regret, or what maritime travel has to do with curbside meltdowns.

My friend Kathryn Schulz, who penned the excellent book Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error and who is, in my opinion, one of the finest, bravest, most thoughtful journalists working today, recently gave a TED talk about regret. As the new owner of ink that makes me very happy, what got me to pay even closer attention was Kathryn’s extended example of her own tattoo as a lens for examining the psychology of regret, a vehicle for her characteristically potent formula of universal wisdom channelled through personal anecdotes and hard data.

Make sure you watch to the very end, it’s well worth it.

If we have goals and dreams and we want to do our best, and if we love people and we don’t want to hurt them or lose them, we should feel pain when things go wrong. The point isn’t to live without any regrets, the point is to not hate ourselves for having them… We need to learn to love the flawed, imperfect things that we create, and to forgive ourselves for creating them. Regret doesn’t remind us that we did badly — it reminds us that we know we can do better.”

For a related TED treat on imperfection and vulnerability, don’t miss Brené Brown’s wonderful talk on wholeheartedness, then add some of these essential books on the psychology of happiness to your reading list.

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17 NOVEMBER, 2011

Inside the Creative Process of Cut-Paper Storyteller Béatrice Coron

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Slicing the different layers we’re made of, or what an 18th-century French statesman has to do with the MTA.

Béatrice Coron has been a shepherdess, a truck driver, a factory worker, a cleaning lady, and a tour guide. But today, Coron is one of the world’s most remarkable cut-paper artists. I first encountered her astounding artwork on New York’s F train last year and was thrilled to see her take the TED stage this past spring. In her fantastic TED talk, Coron — whose beautiful visual storytelling is a living testament to combinatorial creativity, borrowing inspiration from wildly diverse fields and subjects — takes you through her exceptional creative process and how her stories come to life. (Bonus points for the factoid on the etymology of the word “silhouette” which, as we know, comes from French minister of finance Étienne de Silhouette, famous for slashing so many budgets that people said they could no longer afford paintings and would instead have their portraits as “silhouettes.”)

In life, and in paper-cutting, everything is connected — one story leads to another.” ~ Béatrice Coron

My inspirations are very eclectic. I’m influenced by everything I read, everything I see.” ~ Béatrice Coron

The stories, they have a lot of possibilities, they have a lot of scenarios. I don’t know the stories — I take image from our global imagination, from cliche, from things we are thinking about, from history. And everybody is a narrator, because everybody has a story to tell, but more important is everybody has to make a story to make sense of the world.” ~ Béatrice Coron

Charming, thoughtful, and relentlessly inventive, Coron, with her blend of indiscriminate curiosity and focused creative voice, is a true inspiration. Her work can be found in the beautiful Paper Cutting Book, which features 25 more masterful paper artists and a preface by Brain Pickings favorite Rob Ryan.

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14 NOVEMBER, 2011

Onward to the Edge: Another Symphony of Science Remix Gem

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A mashup ballad for the mystery of the universe.

As a general believer in remix culture and a particular fan of John Boswell‘s Symphony of Science mashup series, I’m all over Onward to the Edge — his latest brilliant installment, featuring the auto-tuned voices of rockstar particle physicist Brian Cox, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, and planetary scientist Carolyn Porco, mashing up material from Tyson’s My Favorite Universe video course, Cox’s BBC series Wonders of the Solar System, Porco’s TED talk, and scenes from National Geographic‘s A Traveler’s Guide to the Planets. It’s exquisite — enjoy:

Grab a download of the audio here, free or for a pay-what-you-will price, in which I too am a believer.

via Open Culture

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11 NOVEMBER, 2011

Human Brain: Extraordinary 48-Dancer Trailer for TEDxAmsterdam

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Human bodies + human brains = human nature.

This seems to be the year of the creative TEDx trailer. Now, from my friends at TEDxAmsterdam comes The Human Brain — a mesmerizing “trailer” for this month’s event, themed Human Nature, featuring 48 dancers from The Dutch National Ballet and an utterly smile-inducing original song titled “Turn the World Around” by Pigeon Horse Sex Tennis with Rutger Hauer, the British School, and children of Amsterdam.

The “trailer” is actually the dress rehearsal for the first “human brain” in a series of three to be performed live at TEDxAmsterdam on November 25th.

This piece of visual poetry — which seems to be the running theme here this week — comes from creative agency We Are Pi and production outfit 328 Stories.

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