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A List of Don'ts for Women on Bicycles circa 1895. Floating Worlds: Edward Gorey's Never-Before-Seen Letters and Illustrated Envelopes. By Maria Popova What a housefly has to do with Tim Burton and everything that makes snail mail great.

Floating Worlds: Edward Gorey's Never-Before-Seen Letters and Illustrated Envelopes

It’s no secret I’m an enormous fan of Edward Gorey’s, mid-century illustrator of the macabre, whose work influenced generations of creators, from Nine Inch Nails to Tim Burton. Between September 1968 and October 1969, Gorey set out to collaborate on three children’s books with author and editor Peter F. 7 Must-Read Books on Education. The Ancient Book of Sex and Science. By Maria Popova The alchemy of erotica, or what’s making Walt Disney blush in his grave.

The Ancient Book of Sex and Science

This summer, four insanely talented Pixar animators — Scott Morse, Nate Wragg, Lou Romano, and Don Shank — got together and released a racy side project exploring, in broad color and evocative commentary, humanity’s most popular topic from the least likely of angles. The Ghost Map: Lessons in Epidemiology from Victorian London. By Maria Popova What an ill Victorian infant has to do with the power of maps and the future of modern cities.

The Ghost Map: Lessons in Epidemiology from Victorian London

At around 6AM on the morning of August 28, 1854, the Lewis infant started vomiting and excreting greenish stools with a pungent smell. Her mother gathered the soils in a bucket of tepid water and tossed them into the cesspool in the family cellar. So began the story of London’s most horrific epidemic, the Broad Street cholera outbreak. 5 Timeless Commencement Addresses. By Maria Popova Gifts vs. choices, the benefits of failure, and what calligraphy has to do with Apple’s success.

5 Timeless Commencement Addresses

It’s graduation season, so commencement addresses by actors, politicians, writers, musicians and other luminaries are sweeping the world of higher education across the entire spectrum of mediocrity and profound wisdom. From Darth Vader to Jesus: Famous Lives in Minimalist Pictograms. By Maria Popova From the guillotine to lightsabers, or what vintage visual language has to do with pop culture.

From Darth Vader to Jesus: Famous Lives in Minimalist Pictograms

From Milan-based creative agency H-57 comes this brilliant series of minimalist pictogram posters for the life-and-times of famous characters, both fictional and historical, from Darth Vader to Marie Antoinette to Jesus — part Isotype, part Everything Explained Through Flowcharts, part something entirely and ingeniously its own. Somewhere, Otto Neurath is rolling in his grave — hard to tell whether he’s laughing or crying.

Understanding Urbanity: 7 Must-Read Books About Cities. By Maria Popova What airports have to do with Medieval towns, Brooklyn’s bookstores and Le Corbusier.

Understanding Urbanity: 7 Must-Read Books About Cities

“Cities are the crucible of civilization,” proclaimed Geoffrey West at last month’s TED Global. Cities are where most of humanity’s creative and intellectual ideation, communication, and innovation takes place, so understanding cities is vital to understanding our civilization. Earth Day the TED Way. By Maria Popova Oceans, omnivores, and what babies have to do with design manifestos.

Earth Day the TED Way

It’s Earth Day, so what better time to spotlight some of the smartest, most compelling thinking in sustainability from the past few years, and what better place for these ideas to manifest themselves than the TED stage? Today, we’re curating our five favorite sustainability-related TED talks of the past five years — from eye-opening revelations to ideological landmarks. We’re longtime fans of photographic artist Chris Jordan, whose work captures otherwise alienating and thus meaningless numbers and statistics in incredibly powerful and emotionally impactful collages. His first TED talk is compelling introduction to his extraordinary work and the vision behind it. Jordan’s most recent work focuses specifically on marine sustainability, which is a nice segue to…

The Stanford Prison Experiment Turns 40. By Maria Popova Insights on identity and the aberrations of authority from the most notorious psychology experiment of all time.

The Stanford Prison Experiment Turns 40

Forty years ago today, the Stanford Prison Experiment began — arguably history’s most notorious and controversial psychology experiment, which gleaned powerful and unsettling insights into human nature. Orchestrated by Stanford researcher Philip Zimbardo, the study randomly assigned 24 middle-class college-aged males, recruited via newspaper classifieds and pre-screened to have no mental health issues or criminal history, to the roles of prisoners and prison guards in a hyper-realistic simulated prison environment. 50 Famous Scientists on God, Part 2. Illustrated Portraits by 80 of the World's Most Exciting Artists. Animating Reality: A Collection of Short Animated Documentaries.

Bruce Gilden on the Other Side of The Camera. By Maria Popova What Coney Island mobsters have to do with Haiti and the smell of New York City streets.

Bruce Gilden on the Other Side of The Camera

Bruce Gilden is easily the most iconic street photographer of our time, particularly notorious for his merciless and indiscriminate use of the flash. Rich and raw at the same time, his portraits live inhabit the strange and mesmerizing world of orchestrated spontaneity. This short WNYC documentary about Gilden and his approach to street photography reveals as much about his creative angle as it does about his delightfully prickly and irreverent personality as the tables take a rare turn and put the master of urban voyeurism in front of rather than behind the camera. I use flash a lot because flash helps me visualize the feelings of the city — the energy, the stress, the anxiety that you find here.” ~ Bruce Gilden.

Digital Humanities Spotlight: 7 Important Digitization Projects. By Maria Popova From Darwin’s marginalia to Voltaire’s correspondence, or what Dalí’s controversial World’s Fair pavilion has to do with digital myopia.

Digital Humanities Spotlight: 7 Important Digitization Projects

Despite our remarkable technological progress in the past century and the growth of digital culture in the past decade, a large portion of humanity’s richest cultural heritage remains buried in analog archives. Bridging the disconnect is a fledgling discipline known as the Digital Humanities, bringing online historical materials and using technologies like infrared scans, geolocation mapping, and optical character recognition to enrich these resources with related information or make entirely new discoveries about them. As Europe’s digital libraries open up their APIs, techno-dystopian pundits lament that these efforts diminish “the mystery of history,” but such views are myopic and plagued by unnecessary nostalgia for a time when knowledge was confined to the privileged cultural elite.

Donating = Loving Share on Tumblr. Where children sleep, the radioactive orchestra, 7 important digitization projects and more. Hey there! If you missed last week's edition – 10 essential books on typography, visualizing creative influence across time and more – you can catch up right here. And if you're enjoying this, please consider supporting with a modest donation. Need to Want Less: Modern Philosophy via Graphic Design. By Maria Popova What Facebook and the food pyramid have to do with our deep desire for self-acceptance. The disconnect between our wants and needs is one of the most fundamental and universal paradoxes of being human. Virtually everyone comes in contact with it in various levels of intensity.

Mad Men: The Illustrated World. By Maria Popova Tips for the modern metrosexual from the 1960s, or what martinis have to do with Twitter. Yes, we love Mad Men goodies, who doesn’t? Nearly two years ago, we featured NYC-based illustrator, designer and comedian Dyna Moe‘s absolutely wonderful Mad Men illustrations.

The series eventually charmed AMC into launching the popular Mad Men Yourself app, which has since populated countless Twitter streams with Mad-Menified avatars. This fall, Dyna Moe released her dynamite work in Mad Men: The Illustrated World — a truly, truly fantastic book that captures not only everything we love about Mad Men, but also the broader cultural landscape of the era, from fashion and style to office culture to lifehacks like hangover workarounds and secretary etiquette.

How Music and Language Mimicked Nature to Evolve Us. By Maria Popova How auditory cheesecake was made with mother nature’s milk, or why our brains were not designed for reading. Speech and writing are our two most fundamental forms of communication yet, while we’re extraordinarily good at them, they remain an ever-mystifying frontier of intellectual inquiry. We’ve previously looked at how sounds evolved into shapes, 5 essential books on language, and 7 must-reads on music and the brain.

Now, from evolutionary neuroscientist Mark Changizi, comes compelling new evidence to unite these three domains of fascination. In Harnessed: How Language and Music Mimicked Nature and Transformed Ape to Man, Changizi explores the evolution of language and music as they came to separate us from our primate ancestors. William Kentridge: Anything Is Possible. South African Township Barbershops & Salons. The Scale of the Universe, Five Ways.

By Maria Popova What coffee beans, dinosaurs and lakeside picnics have to do with Isaac Asimov and formalized figments. Rare Early Photographs of Musicians Around the World. Ethnic Diversity in Russia 100 Year Ago, In Color. By Maria Popova From peasants to emirs, or nomads have to do with the political cornerstones of world history. Brain Bugs: How the Brain's Flaws Shape Our Lives. Tony Orrico, Human Spirograph. Ai Weiwei: Without Fear or Favour, a BBC Documentary. Jazz: A Rare Record of a Cultural Revolution. Albertus Seba's Amazing Cabinet of Natural Curiosities. 10 Life Lessons from Esquire's "What I've Learned" Interviews. The Lists, To-dos and Illustrated Inventories of Great Artists. The Best of TEDGlobal 2011. Jules Verne: The Man Who Invented the Future. Polymorphic Computing, Explained in Vintage Stop-Motion (1959)

7 Essential Books on Optimism. Built to Last: The Illustrated Secrets of Mankind's Greatest Structures. Ordering the Heavens: A Visual History of Mapping the Universe. Satchmo: A Documentary about the Life and Legacy of Louis Armstrong. Spomenik: Retrofuturistic Monuments of the Eastern Bloc. The Lost Thing: A Whimsical Story about Belonging by Shaun Tan. Before Walt Disney: 5 Animations by Early Cinema Pioneers. Visions of the Future: Isaac Asimov's Unrealized TV Series. The Post-Industrial Age: 7 Platforms for Collaborative Creation.

Shapes for Sounds: A Visual History of the Alphabet. 5 Must-Read Books by TED Global 2011 Speakers. 5 Must-Read Cross-Disciplinary Cookbooks. 7 Platforms Changing the Future of Publishing. Proteus: Ernst Haeckel at the Intersection of Art & Science. Happy 5th Birthday, TED Talks: 5 All-Time Favorite Talks.

How limitless choice limits social change, a peek inside great creators' notebooks & more. Artist Spotlight: Chris Jordan. Strange Sounds: 7 Curious Experimental Music Projects. See Something Cite Something: A Fair Use Flowchart. 5 Voyeuristic, Cross-Disciplinary Peeks Inside Great Creators' Notebooks. Obsessive Consumption: Life in a Material World, Illustrated. Green Porno: Isabella Rossellini Celebrates Animal Biology. Locals Only: The Early Days of Skateboarding. Hans Rosling for BBC: 200 Countries Over 200 Years in 4 Minutes.

SmarterComics: 6 Popular Business Books Adapted as Comics. (Almost) Everything You Need to Know about Culture in 10 Books. Brain Food: Hungry Planet. Happy Birthday, Ralph Waldo Emerson: The Ideal in America. 10 Books That Make Great Gifts. Not Your Mama's Guidebook: The Zinester's Guide to NYC. Summer Reading List: 10 Essential Books for Cognitive Sunshine. Creative Cartography: 7 Must-Read Books about Maps. The Holstee Manifesto: Making The Life You Want To Live. How Music Works. What Does It Mean to Be Human? E. chromi: Designer Bacteria for Color-Coded Disease Detection. Designing Minds: Uncovered Video Profiles of Prominent Designers. Incognito: David Eagleman Unravels the Secret Lives of the Brain. Thxthxthx: The Art of Finding Happiness in Everyday Gratitude.

7 Must-Read Books on the Art & Science of Happiness. 7 Ways to Have More by Owning Less. 7 Image Search Tools That Will Change Your Life.