Steven Arthur Pinker is a Canadian-American experimental psychologist, cognitive scientist, linguist and popular science author. He is a Harvard College Professor and the Johnstone Family Professor in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University and is known for his advocacy of evolutionary psychology and the computational theory of mind. Pinker’s academic specializations are visual cognition and psycholinguistics. His academic pursuits include experiments on mental imagery, shape recognition, visual attention, children’s language development, regular and irregular phenomena in language, the neural bases of words and grammar, and the psychology of innuendo and euphemism. He published two technical books which proposed a general theory of language acquisition and applied it to children’s learning of verbs. In his less academic books, he argued that language is an “instinct” or biological adaptation shaped by natural selection. On this point, he opposes Noam Chomsky and others who regard the human capacity for language to be the by-product of other adaptations. He is the author of five books for a general audience, which include The Language Instinct (1994), How the Mind Works (1997), Words and Rules (2000), The Blank Slate (2002), and The Stuff of Thought (2007).
Linux is a Unix-like computer operating system assembled under the model of free and open source software development and distribution. The defining component of Linux is the Linux kernel, an operating system kernel first released 5 October 1991 by Linus Torvalds. Linux was originally developed as a free operating system for Intel x86-based personal computers. It has since been ported to more computer hardware platforms than any other operating system. It is a leading operating system on servers and other big iron systems such as mainframe computers and supercomputers: more than 90% of today’s 500 fastest supercomputers run some variant of Linux, including the 10 fastest. Linux also runs on embedded systems (devices where the operating system is typically built into the firmware and highly tailored to the system) such as mobile phones, tablet computers, network routers, televisions and video game consoles; the Android system in wide use on mobile devices is built on the Linux kernel. The development of Linux is one of the most prominent examples of free and open source software collaboration: the underlying source code may be used, modified, and distributed—commercially or non-commercially—by anyone under licenses such as the GNU General Public License. Typically Linux is packaged in a format known as a Linux distribution for desktop and server use.
Henry Louis “Skip” Gates, Jr., is an American literary critic, educator, scholar, writer, editor, and public intellectual. He was the first African American to receive the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fellowship. He has received numerous honorary degrees and awards for his teaching, research, and development of academic institutions to study black culture. In 2002, Gates was selected to give the Jefferson Lecture, in recognition of his “distinguished intellectual achievement in the humanities.” Gates has hosted several PBS television miniseries, including the history and travel program Wonders of the African World and the biographical African American Lives and Faces of America. Gates sits on the boards of many notable arts, cultural, and research institutions. He serves as the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor at Harvard University, where he is director of the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research.
Phillip Bradley “Brad” Bird is an Academy Award-winning American director, voice actor, animator and screenwriter. He is best known for writing and directing Disney/Pixar’s The Incredibles (2004) and Ratatouille (2007). He also adapted and directed the critically acclaimed 2D animated 1999 Warner Brothers film The Iron Giant. Reviewing the Ratatouille DVD, Eye Weekly offered this characterization of Bird’s work: “It’s very hard to think of another mainstream American director with a comparably fluid visual style or such a vise-grip on storytelling mechanics.” He also directed The Simpsons ‘ episodes “Krusty Gets Busted” and “Like Father, Like Clown”. Bird was born in Kalispell, Montana, the youngest of four siblings. His father, Phillip, worked in the propane business, and his grandfather, Frank W. Bird, was a president and chief executive of the Montana Power Company. On a tour of the Walt Disney Studios at age 11, he announced that someday he would become part of its animation team, and soon afterward began work on his own 15-minute animated short. Within two years, Bird had completed his animation, which impressed the cartoon company. By age 14, barely in high school, Bird was mentored by the animator Milt Kahl, one of Disney’s legendary Nine Old Men. Bird recalls Kahl’s criticisms as ideal: Kahl would point out shortcomings by gently delivering thoughts on where Bird could improve. After graduating from Corvallis High School in Corvallis, Oregon in 1975, Bird took a three-year break. He was then awarded a scholarship by Disney to attend California Institute of the Arts, where he met and befriended another future animator, Pixar co-founder and director John Lasseter.
Christopher McCulloch, also known by the pseudonym Jackson Publick, is an American comic book and television writer, storyboard artist, and voice actor known for his work on several Tick properties and for the animated television series The Venture Bros. He authored the comic book miniseries The Tick: Karma Tornado, a spin-off of The Tick, and was a staff writer and storyboard artist on the 1994 Tick animated series. He also worked on storyboards for PB&J Otter and Sheep in the Big City and as a writer on the 2001 Tick live-action series. He created The Venture Bros. in the early 2000s and produced its 2003 pilot episode. He and Doc Hammer are the series’ co-creators, writers, editors, and directors, producing the show through their animation company Astro-Base Go. McCulloch voices over 20 characters in the series, including Hank Venture, The Monarch, and Sergeant Hatred.
James Garland “J. G.” Quintel is an American animator, television writer, and voice actor. Best known as the creator of the animated television series, Regular Show which airs on Cartoon Network, Quintel also was the creative director for The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack, an animated series that appeared on television from June 2008 to August 2010. In December 2009, ASIFA-Hollywood nominated Quintel for an Annie Award in the category of “Directing in a Television Production” for his directing work on an episode of The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack. In September 2011, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences nominated Quintel for a Primetime Emmy Award in the Outstanding Short-format Animated Program category for Regular Show. Quintel currently works for Cartoon Network Studios in Burbank, California developing episodes for Regular Show. As a preteen and into his teenage years, Quintel loved drawing and watching cartoons such as The Simpsons, Beavis and Butt-head, and The Moxy Show, as well as British shows, such The League of Gentlemen and The Mighty Boosh. He often played the video game ToeJam and Earl, the influence of which Quintel later described as “the perfect platform for Mordecai and Rigby” characters of Regular Show. Quintel also became influenced by music from the 1980s and later added 1980s music into Regular Show.
Stanisław Lem was a Polish writer of science fiction, philosophy, and satire. His books have been translated into 41 languages and have sold over 27 million copies. He is perhaps best known as the author of the 1961 novel Solaris, which has been made into a feature film three times. In 1976 Theodore Sturgeon said that Lem was the most widely read science fiction writer in the world. In 1996, Lem was the recipient of the prestigious Polish national award, the Order of the White Eagle. His works explore philosophical themes; speculation on technology, the nature of intelligence, the impossibility of mutual communication and understanding, despair about human limitations and mankind’s place in the universe. They are sometimes presented as fiction, but others are in the form of essays or philosophical books. Translations of his works are difficult due to passages with elaborate word formation, alien or robotic poetry, and puns. Multiple translated versions of his works exist.