Brain Pickings

The Wisdom of TED in Kinetic Typography


What cross-disciplinary self-actualization has to do with motion graphics remix.

Starting tomorrow, we’ll be reporting live from TED 2011: The Rediscovery of Wonder. Last week, we warmed up with 5 must-read books by some of this year’s TED speakers. Today, we’re revisiting a Brain Pickings remix culture original, part of the TEDify project, celebrating what we most love about TED: The incredible cross-pollination of ideas across different disciplines that radically alters how we see the world and what we make of our role in it.


Previously on TEDify: The secret of happiness, as articulated by a collage of TED perspectives.

For complete coverage of this year’s event, keep an eye on the Twitter feed and swing by here starting tomorrow for exclusive soundbites and photos.

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Make Love, Not Porn: Technology’s Hardcore Impact on How We Act


Last month, TED made a bold first move into publishing with the launch of TEDBooks — a revolutionary model for adapting the most compelling TED talks into low-priced ebooks under Amazon’s new Kindle Singles imprint for short nonfiction. Today, we’re thrilled for the release of Make Love Not Porn: Technology’s hardcore impact on human behavior — the excellent new TEDBook by our friend Cindy Gallop, whose project of the same name tackles one of the most underaddressed yet important facets of contemporary culture.

Sample the book with Cindy’s fantastic 2009 TED talk:

Coupling TED’s unshakable curatorial vetting with the radically low price point, we hope Make Love Not Porn will serve as a potent conversation starter for wrapping our collective mind around an issue we have failed to address intelligently, even though it permeates nearly every aspect of our lives, from our media habits to our private selves to our public personas.

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Street Artist JonOne Celebrates Abbé Pierre


In 1949, iconic French activist Henri Marie Joseph Grouès, better-known as Abbé Pierre, founded the Emmaus movement — a charitable effort to combat poverty and homelessness. One cold winter night in 1954, after a lady froze to death in the streets of Paris, he went on the French national radio and asked everyone in France to sleep in the street for a night. Many did, and the incident propelled him into the public eye.

He passed away four years ago, but his legacy and his eponymous foundation remain a powerful force in social justice. To commemorate this, French agency BDDP Unlimited partnered with New York graffiti artist JonOne on a street art operation to raise awareness about Abbé Pierre’s work among young people by painting a stunning mural on a wall donated by the city of Paris. Recall is a poetic short film that captures the project, to the soundtrack of Abbé Pierre’s original speech remixed with the music of Jean-Gabriel Becker.

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Alfred Hitchcock on the “Fright Complex”


What The Little Red Riding Hood has to do with the art and science of suspense cinema.

Last month, we looked at The Power of Nightmares — a provocative BBC miniseries exploring fear manipulation in political propaganda. Today, we turn a different lens on the same subject: Exploiting human fear for entertainment value.

In May of 1964, BBC’s Huw Weldon interviewed iconic film director Alfred Hitchcock for the TV program Monitor. Brilliantly insightful and ever-so-subtly condescending as ever, the great filmmaker shares priceless insights on the social psychology of fear, the gender balance of film audiences, and ratio of intuition vs. calculation in American and English cinema.

It’s all based on Red Riding Hood, you see. Nothing has changed since Red Riding Hood. So what [audiences] are frightened of today is exactly the same thing they were frightened of yesterday. Because this…shall we call it ‘fright complex’…is rooted in every individual.” ~ Alfred Hitchcock

The assembly of pieces of film to create fright is the essential part of my job, just as much would a painter, by putting certain colors together, create evil on canvas.” ~ Alfred Hitchcock

[A good cry] is the satisfaction of temporary pain. And that’s the same thing when people endure the agonies of a suspense film — when it’s all over, they’re relieved.” ~ Alfred Hitchcock

For more of the iconic director, we highly recommend Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection — an ambitious collection of 14 digitally remastered Hitchcock gems, accompanied by fascinating documentaries, featurettes, commentary and a collectible book, and encased in stunningly designed velvet packaging.

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