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H. Rafael Chacón- What My Genes Tell Me
Art Historian H. Rafael Chacón talks about how an academic exercise turned into a personal journey when he had his DNA sequenced by the National Geographic Geno 2.0 project. Rafael is professor of Art History and Criticism in the School of Art at the University of Montana. A specialist on renaissance and baroque art, Rafael teaches a range of topical courses on the history of art and art criticism. His academic interests lie in the ways societies articulate their most profound values through art; in particular he researches, lectures and writes about architectural history and historic preservation.
A Time Traveller’s Primer: Ryan North
Ryan North is the author of the long-running Dinosaur Comics (qwantz.com), the acclaimed Adventure Time comic series (kaboom-studios.com), and the recordbreaking To Be Or Not To Be: That Is The Adventure (hamletbook.com) a choose-your-own-path re-imagining of Hamlet. He also coedited the bestselling Machine of Death anthology (machineofdeath.net).
He studied Computational Linguistics at U of T (utoronto.ca). He is 32 years old and lives in Toronto with his wife and dog, Noam Chompsky (chompsky.tumblr.com).
Pico Iyer: Where is home?
More and more people worldwide are living in countries not considered their own. Writer Pico Iyer — who himself has three or four “origins” — meditates on the meaning of home, the joy of traveling and the serenity of standing still.
Pico Iyer’s travel writing chronicles fascinating (and often jarring) examples of cultural mashups. Now he shows how travel can rescue us from our technological distractions.
WHY YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO HIM?
Acclaimed travel writer Pico Iyer began his career documenting a neglected aspect of travel — the sometimes surreal disconnect between local tradition and imported global pop culture. Since then, he has written ten books, exploring also the cultural consequences of isolation, whether writing about the exiled spiritual leaders of Tibet or the embargoed society of Cuba.
Iyer’s latest focus is on yet another overlooked aspect of travel: how can it help us regain our sense of stillness and focus in a world where our devices and digital networks increasing distract us? As he says: “Almost everybody I know has this sense of overdosing on information and getting dizzy living at post-human speeds. Nearly everybody I know does something to try to remove herself to clear her head and to have enough time and space to think. … All of us instinctively feel that something inside us is crying out for more spaciousness and stillness to offset the exhilarations of this movement and the fun and diversion of the modern world.”
“[Iyer] writes the kind of lyrical, flowing prose that could make Des Moines sound beguiling.” Los Angeles Times
Myths and misconceptions about evolution – Alex Gendler
How does evolution really work? Actually, not how some of our common evolutionary metaphors would have us believe. For instance, it’s species, not individual organisms, that adapt to produce evolution, and genes don’t “want” to be passed on — a gene can’t want anything at all! Alex Gendler sets the record straight on the finer points of evolution.
Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man of math – James Earle
What’s so special about Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man? With arms outstretched, the man fills the irreconcilable spaces of a circle and a square — symbolizing the Renaissance-era belief in the mutable nature of humankind. James Earle explains the geometric, religious and philosophical significance of this deceptively simple drawing.