Steal from your heroes: John Cleese on Big Think Edge

Put a comedic stamp on your work – like this.

  • John Cleese teaches a video lesson for Big Think Edge called "Make Your Mark with Humor".
  • The Monty Python alumni and comedy legend has some unexpected advice to get your creativity out of your mind and onto the page.
  • Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.

Who better to show you the ropes of comedy than Monty Python alumni John Cleese?

Humor is valuable in its own right. It's also a perfect tool for connecting with others and communicating almost any point, whether it's at work, in social circles, or at home. When we're laughing, our senses are fully engaged—we tend to listen better and to remember what we're hearing. Not everybody can be a comedian, but as the British comedy troupe Monty Python's massive success illustrates, you can take a clinical approach to figure out what's funny.

Subscribe to Big Think Edge and you'll learn first-hand from comedy legend John Cleese how to start writing, stop the crickets chirping, and approach creativity – oddly enough – with clinical precision.

Put a comedic stamp on your work

John Cleese teaches "Make Your Mark with Humor" as part of Big Think Edge's 9-part Boost Your Creative Intelligence learning path. In less than five minutes, you'll come away with actionable ways (all field tested by the Monty Python gang!) to bring your work to life with humor, and to see your all-time favorite comedians and actors in a way you've never considered them before.

It is so difficult at the beginning, particularly as a writer, to do good written comedy that I suggest, at the start, that you steal or borrow – or as the artist would say "are influenced by" – anything that you think that is really good and really funny.
— John Cleese

Retire the rubber chicken and subscribe to Big Think Edge to reach your true creative height.

Do it before we launch on March 30, and you'll get 20% off monthly and annual subscriptions.

Boost your creative intelligence

In spite of all the scary movies, artificial intelligence is not yet poised to take over everybody's job. But what radically differentiates us humans from even the most cutting edge machine intelligence is creativity. We have an ability, apparently unique in nature, to imaginatively break apart and reassemble the world in novel ways. While some are born with more natural talent in one creative area or another, creative thinking is a teachable skill. A set of skills, in fact, from intuition-testing to improvisation to collaborative brainstorming. In Big Think Edge's Boost Your Creative Intelligence learning path, you'll learn them from the best.

​There are two kinds of failure – but only one is honorable

Malcolm Gladwell teaches "Get over yourself and get to work" for Big Think Edge.

Big Think Edge
  • Learn to recognize failure and know the big difference between panicking and choking.
  • At Big Think Edge, Malcolm Gladwell teaches how to check your inner critic and get clear on what failure is.
  • Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.
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Why are so many objects in space shaped like discs?

It's one of the most consistent patterns in the unviverse. What causes it?

Videos
  • Spinning discs are everywhere – just look at our solar system, the rings of Saturn, and all the spiral galaxies in the universe.
  • Spinning discs are the result of two things: The force of gravity and a phenomenon in physics called the conservation of angular momentum.
  • Gravity brings matter together; the closer the matter gets, the more it accelerates – much like an ice skater who spins faster and faster the closer their arms get to their body. Then, this spinning cloud collapses due to up and down and diagonal collisions that cancel each other out until the only motion they have in common is the spin – and voila: A flat disc.

Scientists study tattooed corpses, find pigment in lymph nodes

It turns out, that tattoo ink can travel throughout your body and settle in lymph nodes.

17th August 1973: An American tattoo artist working on a client's shoulder. (Photo by F. Roy Kemp/BIPs/Getty Images)
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In the slightly macabre experiment to find out where tattoo ink travels to in the body, French and German researchers recently used synchrotron X-ray fluorescence in four "inked" human cadavers — as well as one without. The results of their 2017 study? Some of the tattoo ink apparently settled in lymph nodes.


Image from the study.

As the authors explain in the study — they hail from Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, and the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment — it would have been unethical to test this on live animals since those creatures would not be able to give permission to be tattooed.

Because of the prevalence of tattoos these days, the researchers wanted to find out if the ink could be harmful in some way.

"The increasing prevalence of tattoos provoked safety concerns with respect to particle distribution and effects inside the human body," they write.

It works like this: Since lymph nodes filter lymph, which is the fluid that carries white blood cells throughout the body in an effort to fight infections that are encountered, that is where some of the ink particles collect.

Image by authors of the study.

Titanium dioxide appears to be the thing that travels. It's a white tattoo ink pigment that's mixed with other colors all the time to control shades.

The study's authors will keep working on this in the meantime.

“In future experiments we will also look into the pigment and heavy metal burden of other, more distant internal organs and tissues in order to track any possible bio-distribution of tattoo ink ingredients throughout the body. The outcome of these investigations not only will be helpful in the assessment of the health risks associated with tattooing but also in the judgment of other exposures such as, e.g., the entrance of TiO2 nanoparticles present in cosmetics at the site of damaged skin."

Photo by Alina Grubnyak on Unsplash
Mind & Brain

Do human beings have a magnetic sense? Biologists know other animals do. They think it helps creatures including bees, turtles and birds navigate through the world.

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