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The Late Movies: 5 Smart People Say Smart Things in 5 Minutes or Less

Big Think has interviewed a staggering array of smart people, and is posting micro-interviews on YouTube. For tonight's viewing, I thought I'd collect five favorites. Yes, they're short, and sometimes they're simple -- but these are smart sentiments.

Bill Nye

"How is science education like comedy?" Bill Nye on the parallels between comedy and learning: it's all about making choices.

Neil deGrasse Tyson

On privatizing space exploration. Spoiler alert: he's not for it, except Low-Earth Orbit (for now). Also covered: the circumstances that might lead NDT to buy a lottery ticket.

Michio Kaku

On when the Singularity might occur, and how to prevent robots from killing us all.

Rainn Wilson

On what makes awkwardness funny to young people.

Henry Rollins

Rollins's statement to young people. A brief anecdote: I worked at a university event in Tallahassee in the late 90s where Rollins spoke. I worked the door, and noticed that somebody had poured soap in the fountain outside the hall, causing an explosion of suds (I seem to recall they were pink). Rollins's first statement upon getting on stage, if I may de-f-bomb it: "Listen, guys, somebody has to clean that up; it's not cool." Some people tuned in at that moment, some tuned out. Those who tuned in learned a lot that night.

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History
Royal Watch 1947: See Queen Elizabeth II Marry Prince Philip
AFP/Getty Images
AFP/Getty Images

In less than 24 hours, millions of royal enthusiasts will climb out of their beds at an ungodly hour, brew up the strongest pot of coffee they can manage, and watch Prince Harry and American actress Meghan Markle exchange their “I do”s. While gluing oneself to our personal electronics to witness all the lavish pomp and circumstance that surround a royal affair may seem like a relatively new pastime, the truth is that we’ve been doing it for years. Case in point: Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip’s 1947 wedding.

Though Elizabeth and Philip didn’t have dozens of television networks broadcasting their every step down the aisle, their nuptials did manage to attract more than 200 million earlobes, who listened in on the event via BBC Radio. Shortly thereafter, newsreel footage of the soon-to-be Queen’s big day made its way into movie theaters around the world. Now, thanks to the power of the internet, we can go back in time and tune in, too.

British Pathé has made a handful of videos from the wedding, which took place on November 20, 1947, available for streaming on YouTube. So if you want to start your royal marathon a little early, here’s your chance.

If you want to go back even further in time, The Royal Family’s YouTube channel includes footage of the 1923 wedding of Elizabeth’s parents, The Duke of York (later King George VI) and Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon (later Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother), which also took place at Westminster Abbey.

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entertainment
How to Craft the Perfect Gag, According to Buster Keaton
Buster Keaton seen with Donald O'Connor on the set of a film in 1957
Buster Keaton seen with Donald O'Connor on the set of a film in 1957
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Dubbed “The Great Stone Face” for his ability to hold a deadpan expression even as the world (quite literally) crashed down around him, Buster Keaton was “one of the three great silent comedians” in film history, according to filmmaker Tony Zhou.

A video by Zhou, spotted by The Kid Should See This, explains just how Keaton managed to pull off such memorable stunts, and why his scenes continue to influence modern actors and filmmakers. First, Keaton shunned title cards and subtitles, instead opting to advance the story through action. He disliked repetition and thought each movement should be unique, while also insisting on authenticity and proclaiming that a filmmaker should “never fake a gag.” If a gag couldn’t be captured all in one shot, he wouldn’t do it.

The angle and positioning of the camera was also paramount. Many of Keaton’s vaudeville-esque gags were visual in nature, toying with the viewer’s perspective to create illusions that led to hilarious reveals. But for that to be successful, the camera had to remain stationary, and the joke had to play out entirely onscreen.

A low-speed chase scene in Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel, where Ralph Fiennes's Gustave H. runs up a long staircase in the background to escape cops, is a modern example of this. “Like Wes Anderson, Buster Keaton found humor in geometry,” Zhou says.

Check out Zhou’s video below.

[h/t The Kid Should See This]

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