Symphony of Science: Children of Africa

By Phil Plait | July 8, 2011 7:00 am

I’m very pleased to find out that Symphony of Science has put out a new video: Children of Africa:

Lovely, as always. Nice to see such wonderful speakers for science in this work, doing what they do best: inspiring us to explore more, think more, and be better humans.

Related posts:

New Symphony of Science: Wave of Reason (the one I’m in)
Symphony of Science Movement 4
The Unbroken Thread
The Case for Mars

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Piece of mind, Science

Comments (15)

  1. There are some really excellent visuals they’ve put in this. The eye at the beginning is super cool.

  2. Diederick

    Whenever someone tells me that age-old cliché that we’re not that different from apes because of the small percentage that our genome differs from them, I think of how Neil DeGrasse Tyson puts it and turn it around: imagine how enormous this genome must be, as only that small percentage can account for all the differences between apes and us.

  3. VinceRN

    Good words, great ideas, but the whole autotune thing just annoys the crap out of me. It would be better just using the spoken words as they were spoken.

  4. Robin Byron

    I thoroughly enjoyed this, especially Sir David Attenborough’s statement at the end regarding the need for global human population control. Hopefully, some day when humans come to their senses, we can do this without war, famine or disease.

  5. Deepsix

    I really enjoy melodysheep’s stuff, but I especially liked this

  6. The second time the black-haired woman says “flung themselves and their machines into interplanetary space”, we’re treated to a shot of a Space Shuttle launch.

    I would have preferred one of the later Apollo launches. The Space Shuttle’s hardly what I’d call “interplanetary.”

  7. PsiVid has a great interview with Symphony of Science here:

  8. I’m sorry, I just can’t play it all the way through. Autotune is pure, concentrated evil.

    It’s a shame, as I probably would have liked the content.

  9. Jeremy H

    That weird distortive manipulation of voices (which I presume is “autotune” as mentioned here in the comments) makes it unlistenable, unfortunately. FOrtunately, Symphony of Science provides information about where all of this material was pulled from so one can just look at the originals:

    BBC Incredible Human Journey
    BBC Ascent of Man
    BBC Life of Mammals
    BBC Human Planet
    BBC Walking With Cavemen
    Carolyn Porco: Hollywood
    Quest for Fire
    Hubblecast 29A
    What Makes Us Human (Leakey Foundation)
    What Separates Us from Chimps (Sapolsky)
    Neil Tyson – Human Intelligence
    Gemini Observatory Time-lapse

    Unfortunately most of that doesn’t seem to be readily available.

    I rather wish they’d do a version without the distortion.

  10. Austin

    I recently watched “The Incredibly Human Journey.” It was a bit melodramatic (mostly due to some over-the-top music), but all in all it was very enjoyable and informative.

    It also doesn’t hurt that Alice Roberts is pretty and has a pleasant personality.

  11. TyChi

    I’m sorry but I dont beleive in the fairytale that the human race originated in Africa. Then we crossed the Bering Strait during the ice age.

    Archeologist have been discovering human artifacts in the U.S.A. that predate these ideas.

    Let’s do some more research and come up with some new ideas.

  12. T. Laurel Sulfate

    @TyChi, While I don’t believe “Clovis first” is correct, I also don’t believe there is the least bit of evidence that humans evolved in North America instead of Africa, which is what you seem to be claiming.

    If archaeologists had been discovering human artifacts in the USA that predate the time when we are said to have left Africa (around 60K years ago at the latest?), the scientific community would be screaming about them from the rooftops. I’ve seen people use (sometimes-controversial) data from sites like Pedra Furada to suggest that people reached the Americas much earlier than we thought they did, but *never* to propose we didn’t originate in Africa.

    Surely someone who knows more about this than I do will chime in (I Am Not An Anthropologist)? In the meantime, let’s not pretend we know so much more than everyone else that we can order All Of Science around, and let us resist the temptation to label hypotheses that would seem to be supported by fossil and DNA evidence “fairy tales” without providing specific evidence. That makes us look like we simply don’t like the idea of having evolved in Africa for whatever reason.

    What might that reason be? I think it’s very well-established that we originated in Africa. What’s it to ya? I’d seriously like to know.

  13. Jason

    Alice Roberts is freaking cute. :-p

    But I love these, all of them. Anyone using their disdain for autotuning as an excuse to not watch/listen to these is an imbecile, letting something petty keep them from being able to realize what the musician is saying.

  14. JupiterIsBig

    Alice Roberts is so cute …

    but ……. Stop being so ethno-centric – the long march and soyuz and Chandrayaan-1 launcher are also examples to show that mankind can get to interplanetary space – especially in a song about African creatures !

  15. Lenny

    @ 13. Jason, calling somebody an imbecile because of their own personal tastes is a tad childish. I hate that autotune thing, not for some trendy muso reason, but simply because it bugs the absolute bejesus out of me.
    This would be so much more tolerable to me with just the spoken word set over the music, but thats just my imbecilic opinion.

    Try this one its much better:
    Attenboroughs early stuff, before he teamed up with Will-I-Am and sold out to autotune.


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