A story, a work of art, a face, a designed object — how do we tell that something is beautiful? And why does it matter so much to us? Designer Richard Seymour explores our response to beauty and the surprising power of objects that exhibit it.
Cameron Russell admits she won "a genetic lottery": She's tall, pretty and an underwear model. But don't judge her by her looks. In this fearless talk, she takes a wry look at the industry that had her looking highly seductive at barely 16 years old.
Denis Dutton has a provocative theory on beauty — that art, music and other beautiful things, far from being simply "in the eye of the beholder," are a core part of human nature with deep evolutionary origins.
"Beauty draws us in. We can't stop looking or listening or touching. It takes us outside ourselves and it motivates us. It's essential to life and to happiness." — Nancy Etcoff
Beauty surrounds us, draws us in, gives joy and creates conflict. In this hour, TED speakers conjure up beauty both ancient and modern, and suggest reasons why humans are hardwired to crave and respond to beauty.
And let's turn now, briefly, to West, Texas, the scene of this week's fertilizer plant explosion. Many questions remain unanswered there. In fact, it's still hard to estimate how many people were killed. We do know that regulators had a few concerns with this plant in the past, though it's not clear if anybody questioned the plant's location near homes and a school.
And amid all these questions, the people of West are picking up and taking stock. Here's NPR's Wade Goodwyn.
On a Friday morning it's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
And I'm Steve Inskeep. And, David, I guess we cannot say enough this morning that everything we're telling you about unfolding events in Boston is provisional. Anything could change. The information we're getting is changing all the time.
We're keeping track of all the different stories in an amazing week of news, including the manhunt in Boston overnight. We'll have an update on that shortly again. And also this. The man charged with mailing letters containing poison to the president and a U.S. senator, along with a judge, appeared yesterday in court in Mississippi in shackles and wearing a Johnny Cash t-shirt. His lawyer said Kevin Curtis denies he put ricin in those letters. NPR's Joseph Shapiro reports on new details in the case.