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Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview.
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Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview. Our mission is to create a sanctuary online for serious thinking.

No ads, no paywall, no clickbait – just thought-provoking ideas from the world’s leading thinkers, free to all. But we can’t do it without you.

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How to sharpen pencils

9 minutes

A deadpan treatise on the craft of pencil-sharpening from a master artisan

‘A lot of people think they know how to sharpen pencils, but… they don’t.’ Such is the view of David Rees, an artisan pencil-sharpener who’s sharpened some 1,500 No 2 pencils for paying customers. With deadpan humour and shrewd insight, Rees talks the audience through a step-by-step guide to achieving the perfect pencil point, while giving a brief history of the modern pencil and pencil-sharpening tools. Using the undeniably charismatic Rees as his subject, Kenneth Price’s film is a light reflection on the inherent value of care and precision. It’s also a biting send-up of the plethora of portraits proliferating in our artisan-obsessed times.

Director: Kenneth Price


Video/Music

What happens when rock stardom doesn’t quite work out?

10 minutes

ORIGINAL
Video/Automation & Robotics

If we are what we do, how can we stay human in an era of automation?

7 minutes

Video/Demography & Migration

On the US-Mexico border, loved ones on both sides can see each other but cannot touch

12 minutes

Video/Agriculture

One man’s quixotic quest to bring American bison to his Scottish homeland

16 minutes

Essay/Data & Information

The bit bomb

It took a polymath to pin down the true nature of ‘information’. His answer was both a revelation and a return

Rob Goodman & Jimmy Soni

Idea/Computing & Artificial Intelligence

Quantum cryptography is unbreakable. So is human ingenuity

Joshua Holden

Video/Making

How to build a no-frills protected bed in the wild, from top to bottom

7 minutes

Essay/Technology & the Self

Natural, shmatural

Mother Nature might be lovely, but moral she is not. She doesn’t love us or want what’s best for us

Molly Hodgdon

Idea/Computing & Artificial Intelligence

The body is the missing link for truly intelligent machines

Ben Medlock