Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘animation’

10 AUGUST, 2012

The Science of How Music Enchants the Brain, Animated

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How harmony, melody, and rhythm trigger the same reward systems that drive our desires for food and sex.

The profound connection between music and the brain has long fascinated scientists and philosophers alike, and has even shaped the course of our evolution. The wonderful duo Mitchell Moffit and Gregory Brown, better known as AsapSCIENCE, breaks down music’s ability to create a state of arousal by inducing the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which also regulates the neurochemistry of love, offsetting a reward circuit similar to the one drugs exploit — something I can certainly attest to as a hopeless music addict.

In the same way that a drug-induced dopamine surge leaves you craving more, music becomes addictive — the dopamine tells your body it was rewarded and creates a desire to seek out more.

For more, see these 7 essential books on music, emotion, and the brain.

It’s Okay To Be Smart

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07 AUGUST, 2012

How Big Is Infinity? An Animated Explanation from TED

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On the whimsy and limitations of mathematics.

Beloved novelist Umberto Eco believed that we use lists to make infinity comprehensible. Quantum computation pioneer David Deutsch teased apart the beginning and unboundedness of infinity. But what, exactly, is “infinity” and how big is it?

The fine folks at TED-Ed have teamed up with educator Dennis Wildfogel and animation studio Augenblick to explore the dimensions of infinity through this stimulatingly mind-bending lesson on legacies of mathematicians Georg Cantor, David Hilbet, Kurt Gödel, and Paul J. Cohen, exposing both the genius and limitations of mathematics.

For more on this fascinating subject, see George Gamow’s 1961 gem One Two Three . . . Infinity: Facts and Speculations of Science, which features more than 120 pen-and-ink illustrations by the author himself, such as this:

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27 JULY, 2012

Illustration (The Finest Occupation): An Animated Short Film

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A charming tongue-in-cheek testament to the art of taking joy in one’s work.

I recently had the delight of moderating an AIGA conversation on the future of illustration with all-star illustrators Christoph Niemann, Nicholas Blechman, and Jennifer Daniel, in which two things became immediately clear: The borders of what illustration actually is are ever-shifting, and the finest illustrators take enormous pride and pleasure in their work, despite its creative frustrations.

From Temujin Dorandocumentarian, illustrator, language-lover, provocateur — comes Illustration (The Finest Occupation), a lovely short film about illustration based on a poem he wrote in his last year of (illustration) school, “a fictitious congratulatory letter written by a proud tutor to a recent graduate.” Doran’s drawings reminiscent of Edward Gorey and tongue-in-cheek rhymes, despite their irreverent tone, deliver the same tremendously important message Ray Bradbury so passionately articulated: Work with joy, always.

The greatest illustration
is not mere decoration
but succinct accumulation
of creative demonstration
and ratifying observation
of the intended subjectation
with alarming innovation
and shining punctuation
of all relevant information
done with stoic consideration
for its intended situation
exceeding all expectation
with regard to the examination
of images domination
to that of textual affectation
that commands generation upon generation
to convey without hesitation
their continued exultation
at its supreme imagination
within the realms of communication.

Thus it delights be beyond all anticipation
to relay my admiration
and relentless adoration
at your unbridled determination
towards your education
and after serious meditation
in the height of contemplation
it becomes my acclimation
to give you confirmation
after just deliberation
and close interrogation
of your startling illumination
variation
adaptation
and exemplification
accomplished in the field of illustration.

And so after such examination
it is my proud pronunciation
of your swift galvanization
a first rate qualification
you may receive with due humiliation
despite its floccinaucinihilipilification
(worthless accreditation)
so it becomes my recommendation
without prevarication
for celebration
and recreation
to be your obligation

Yours truly
Professor Toby Flosotation
B.A. M.A. Ph. D. Illustration

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