A new Tree of Life reminds us to question what we know Since Darwin’s day, scientists have worked to map all of life on a single tree to show how all forms of life on Earth evolved and are related. The DNA sequencing revolution has allowed us to fill in more of the blanks than ever before, greatly accelerating research into biodiversity and Earth’s ecosystems and constantly changing our understanding of life. Last week, our perspective shifted dramatically when researchers unveiled a newly updated Tree of Life showing a whole branch of heretofore-unknown microbes that appear to dominate Earth’s biodiversity. We asked biodiversity mathematician and TED Fellow Hélène Morlon – who uses computer models and the Tree of Life to better understand the forces that shape evolution – to explain why the new phylogenetic tree is changing the way we view life on Earth.
Why Boredom Is Good for Your Creativity Like most creatives, you probably have a low boredom threshold. You’re hardwired to pursue novelty and inspiration, and to run from admin and drudgery. Boredom is the enemy of creativity, to be avoided at all costs. Or is it? Unlocking the Mysteries of The Artistic Mind Consider the flightless fluffs of brown otherwise known as herring gull chicks. Since they're entirely dependent on their mothers for food, they're born with a powerful instinct. Whenever they see a bird beak, they frantically peck at it, begging for their favorite food: a regurgitated meal. But this reflex can be manipulated. Expose the chicks to a fake beak—say, a wooden stick with a red dot that looks like the one on the end of an adult herring gull's beak—and they peck vigorously at that, too.
On Bob Dylan And Jonah Lehrer, Two Fabulists : The Record hide captionBob Dylan at a press conference at the Savoy Hotel in London in 1966. Fiona Adams/Redferns/Getty Images Bob Dylan at a press conference at the Savoy Hotel in London in 1966. Yesterday my husband and I had the same thought at the same time. 10 talks on being creative Radio host Julie Burstein has found the perfect analogy for creativity—raku pottery. A Japanese art form in which molded clay is heated for 15 minutes and then dropped in sawdust which bursts into flames, what makes this pottery so beautiful is its imperfections and cracks. Burstein interviewed hundred of artists, writers, musicians and filmmakers for her book, Spark: How Creativity Works, and heard many of them describe their process in similar terms — that the best parts of their work came from embracing challenges, misfortunes and the things they simply couldn’t control. As Burstein explains in this talk given at TED2012, “I realized that creativity grows out of everyday experiences more often than you would think.”
Schrödinger's cat: A thought experiment in quantum mechanics - Chad Orzel Here’s are more TED-Ed Lessons by the same educator: Particles and waves: The central mystery of quantum mechanics and What is the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle? Schrödinger’s Cat is a very fertile subject for discussion, and has also been discussed in this lesson from Josh Samani. Here’s more about the thought experiment described briefly by Minute Physics.
Jonah Lehrer on How Creativity Works by Maria Popova Inside the ‘seething cauldron of ideas,’ or what Bob Dylan has to do with the value of the synthesizer mind. In his 1878 book, Human, All Too Human: A Book for Free Spirits, Nietzsche observed: Artists have a vested interest in our believing in the flash of revelation, the so-called inspiration… shining down from heavens as a ray of grace. In reality, the imagination of the good artist or thinker produces continuously good, mediocre or bad things, but his judgment, trained and sharpened to a fine point, rejects, selects, connects… All great artists and thinkers are great workers, indefatigable not only in inventing, but also in rejecting, sifting, transforming, ordering.” Some 131 years later, Elizabeth Gilbert echoed that observation in her now-legendary TED talk.
Beauty and the Brain Illustration by Gluekit Why is something beautiful? David Hume argued that beauty exists not in things but “in the mind that contemplates them.” And everyone has at some point heard the old saw that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Charles Bukowski: Depression and Three Days in Bed Can Restore Your Creative Juices (NSFW) Pico Iyer once called Charles Bukowski the “laureate of American lowlife,” and that’s because he wrote poems for and about ordinary Americans — people who experienced poverty, the tedium and grind of work, and sometimes frayed relationships, bouts of alcoholism, drug addiction and the rest. Bukowski could write so eloquently about this because he came from this world. He grew up in a poor immigrant household with an abusive father, took to the bottle at an early age, worked at a Los Angeles post office for a decade plus, and had a long and tumultuous relationship with Jane Cooney Baker, a widow eleven years his senior, who drank to excess and died at 51, leaving Bukowski broken. And then there’s the depression. Bukowski experienced that too. But he knew how to channel it, how to turn days of darkness into sources of personal and creative renewal.
The Greatest Ever Economic Change 13 September 2012 The Greatest Ever Economic Change Professor Douglas McWilliams Introduction I am very grateful to Gresham College for allowing me to borrow the title of Mercers School Memorial Professor of Commerce for three years. I have had many illustrious predecessors and am immensely flattered to have the opportunity to follow in their footsteps. What really happens to the plastic you throw away - Emma Bryce If you watched this video, you’re probably interested in how plastics are made, and what impact they have on the environment. For starters, you might want to watch this video that shows you how plastic bottles are produced. The American Chemistry Council also has some helpful guidelines on how the material is manufactured, what different types there are, and what role monomers and polymers play in the manufacturing process. (What are monomers and polymers anyway? You can read more about how they’re used in plastics, here.) Moving on from the molecular stuff, plastic also has more visible impacts on the earth.
Austin Kleon on Cultivating Creativity in the Digital Age by Maria Popova The genealogy of ideas, why everything is a remix, or what T.S. Eliot can teach us about creativity. UPDATE: Kleon’s Steal Like an Artist synthesizes his ideas on creativity and is absolutely fantastic. Austin Kleon is positively one of the most interesting people on the Internet. Wired 13.02: Revenge of the Right Brain Logical and precise, left-brain thinking gave us the Information Age. Now comes the Conceptual Age - ruled by artistry, empathy, and emotion. By Daniel H. PinkPage 1 of 2 next » When I was a kid - growing up in a middle-class family, in the middle of America, in the middle of the 1970s - parents dished out a familiar plate of advice to their children: Get good grades, go to college, and pursue a profession that offers a decent standard of living and perhaps a dollop of prestige.
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values (ZAMM), first published in 1974, is a work of philosophical fiction, the first of Robert M. Pirsig's texts in which he explores his Metaphysics of Quality. The book sold 5 million copies worldwide. It was originally rejected by 121 publishers, more than any other bestselling book, according to the Guinness Book of Records. The title is an apparent play on the title of the book Zen in the Art of Archery by Eugen Herrigel. In its introduction, Pirsig explains that, despite its title, "it should in no way be associated with that great body of factual information relating to orthodox Zen Buddhist practice.