Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘film’

11 APRIL, 2012

It Started with Muybridge: Vintage Short Film by the U.S. Department of Defense, 1965

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What galloping horses have to do with nuclear reactors and supersonic missiles.

This week marked the 182nd birthday of photographer Eadweard Muybridge, who conducted some of the earliest experiments in chronophotography and whose locomotion studies shaped early animation. In 1965, more than half a century after Muybridge passed away, the U.S. Department of Defense commissioned It Started with Muybridge — a fascinating short documentary, currently in the public domain, tracing how Muybridge’s motion studies contributed to the science and technology of the Atomic Age, from testing the safety limits of nuclear reactors to measuring the speed of supersonic missiles.

Towards the beginning of the film is also a fine addition to this omnibus of famous definitions of science:

Discovery begins with observation. The scientist studies forms, movement, patterns — the commonplace with the unusual.

For some ownable Muybridge, see Eadweard Muybridge: The Human and Animal Locomotion Photographs and grab a print of his most iconic work from 20×200.

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05 APRIL, 2012

The Pleasure of the Inconceivable Nature of Nature: A Feynman Remix Featuring Joan Feynman

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What the science of auroras has to do with the art of romance.

After his fantastic Sagan Series and the first installment in the Feynman Series, mashup maestro Reid Gower is back with a second Feynman Series installment, featuring Joan Feynman. At about the two-minute mark begins my second favorite love story in science. (Here is my favorite.)

It’s all really there. That’s what really gets you. But you gotta stop and think about it to really get the pleasure about the complexity, the inconceivable nature of nature.”

Much of the raw material comes from the Feynman films of documentarian Christopher Sykes, who is largely responsible for elevating Feynman from a successful scientist to a cultural hero worthy of being nicknamed The Great Explainer.

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02 APRIL, 2012

Vowels: A Cinematic Homage to the Beauty of Language and Life

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A, E, I, O, U.

Language is beautiful. Vowels — not to be confused with the Ken Burns parody of the same name — is an exquisite reminder of that from filmmaker and visual storyteller Temujin Doran, who has previously delighted us with his thoughtful meditations on democracy and the art of protest, a bittersweet short film about his day job in a dying occupation, and some damn good advice. The film is based on a 1945 Linguaphone instructional recording.

Listen with headphones, watch in full screen.

For a related treat, see Radiolab’s Words.

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