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I loaned my sexy vocal folds to Adam and Tracy and Dan for the duration of this cool animation. Here’s Tracy to tell you more about it:

Tim and Adam Rutherford at the vocal recording

DC Turner checking the storyboard at the vocal recording

Tracy King: Last year saw the release of Storm, the ten-minute animated beat poem that became somewhat of an anthem for critical thinking and enabled my partner, Dan ‘DC’ Turner, and myself to start an animation and game dev company to make more of the same.

On Monday we released the second of our ‘public engagement with science’ films, this time a four-minute short commissioned by Nature to celebrate and communicate ENCODE, a huge genome data project.

The short is called ‘The Story of You‘, and is narrated by Tim. When Nature told us Tim would do the voiceover, my first reaction was “yay!” followed by “oh wait that means listening to that voice 12 hours a day for months…again”.

The end result is something we’re very proud of. I’m not a scientist, I’m a science enthusiast, and think one of the best ways educating is to inspire people to educate themselves. This is easily done through entertainment. The science of genomics is not straightforward, but the ideas are – and if you can communicate those whilst making viewers smile or laugh, they’ll feel good about the science. Some of them will go and find out more, and that can only lead to good things. Someone on Twitter said their toddler was saying “hello Gregor!” along with Tim. Though the video isn’t aimed at kids (it’s aimed at kids, adults, or just anyone who enjoys it), I can’t think of anything better than a small voice chatting to Gregor Mendel.

Storm was an easy sell because it’s angry and ranty and sweary and has a fun villain. Encode is pure good news, and that’s always extremely difficult to get right without sounding cheesy or like propaganda. As I understand it, the Encode data really may mean unlocking knowledge and eventually cures for certain diseases, but that’s not what the results released last week are. The results are about saying “hey, here’s this huge body of data that anyone can access and help advance humanity”. If that idea isn’t best represented as a giant robot with a lab in its belly and a sexy voiceover by Tim Minchin, I don’t know what is. Hope you enjoy it!

Ooh! Almost forgot: “Both naughty and excellent” was Tim’s line. He also threw in “hi big boy” to the robot but we decided, funny though it is, it might not quite be appropriate. :D

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12 Comments

lisa on 6th of October 2012

Love listening to Tim do narration. “Lost Things” was great, too. He has a soothing voice, I’d love for him to do an audiobook.

Calton Bolick on 24th of September 2012

Here’s the problem: this appears to be pure bunkum. Ask P.Z. Myers.

http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2012/09/23/the-encode-delusion/

“Oh, jebus…that was terrible and cringeworthy. Not just the ridiculous exaggerations … the Human Genome Project also claimed that it would provide the answers to all of human disease, as has, to a lesser degree, most every biomedical grant proposal, it seems — but that they invested in some top-notch voice talent and professional animation to promote some fundamentally esoteric science to the general public as a magic bullet…I mean, robot.”

You may wish to look into this among scientists NOT associated with promoting this project.

Ellie on 14th of September 2012

Love it!

Mary on 13th of September 2012

I liked it very much. I’ve been around for a whole lotta genome projects now, and I’ve never seen a piece like that as part of the outreach campaign. The plague genome movie was pretty good, and was my favorite public outreach piece until now.

Tim + team > plague.

PS: Consider starting work on the 10k vertebrates project. Or 5k insects–I bet that could be a super fun one….

Clauclauclaudia on 13th of September 2012

Ha! I saw that Arecibo code in there. *loves*

Eva on 13th of September 2012

I feel like translating this, just because every school should show their young students this. It’s short and fun, and Tim’s voice goes really well with it!!
Also the little tricks to remember the ATCG are very nice… :D

Joe Barrington on 13th of September 2012

If we could produce more fun, witty and humorous videos like this we might be in with a chance of fighting off the waves of mental masturbation that is superstition.

More, many many more please!

Ryan Willis on 13th of September 2012

Love it!
On the second time of watching I noticed what I think is a small easter egg at the end. It’s a gloriously colourful thing.
Great stuff.

Debbie on 13th of September 2012

Wonderful. Telling EVERYONE about this :)

Stephanie Spiller on 13th of September 2012

Tim’s voice definitely is sexy.. Well done on this, i for one, love it.

weavehole on 13th of September 2012

Marvellous that Franklin gets a mention by Minchin.

Kaje on 13th of September 2012

Love it!

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