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When Ideas Have Sex: Matt Ridley on Innovation

Author Matt Ridley shows how, throughout history, the engine of human progress has been the meeting and mating of ideas to make new ideas. It’s not important how clever individuals are, he says; what really matters is how the meeting and mating of ideas.

The Transformative Power of Classical Music

Benjamin Zander has two infectious passions: classical music, and helping us all realize our untapped love for it — and by extension, our untapped love for all new possibilities, new experiences, new connections.

The Math Behind Music

How is it that Beethoven, who is celebrated as one of the most significant composers of all time, wrote many of his most beloved songs while going deaf? The answer lies in the math behind his music. Natalya St. Clair employs the “Moonlight Sonata” to illustrate the way Beethoven was able to convey emotion and creativity using the certainty of mathematics.

Also see her TED blog post The math behind Beethoven’s music.

Aristotle on Excellence

“Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act, but a habit.” — Aristotle

Charles Darwin on the Grandeur of Evolution

“There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning, endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.” —Charles Darwin, The Origin Of Species

Interesting enough the word “evolution” does not appear in Darwin’s work, though the last word is evolved:

“From so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.” —Charles Darwin, The Origin Of Species

Apparently Darwin preferred the phrase “descent with modification” to describe his theory. From the Online Etymology Dictionary:

“Charles Darwin used the word in print once only, in the closing paragraph of The Origin of Species (1859), and preferred descent with modification, in part because evolution already had been used in the discarded 18 [century] homunculus theory of embryological development (first proposed under this name by Bonnet, 1762) and in part because it carried a sense of ‘progress’ not present in Darwin’s idea.”