Quick Hit: TED Talks

Of all the sites that I revisit, TED Talks is the one that I’ve written about more than any other. This is the third time I write about TED Talks (2/11/08 and 6/12/08) and even with everything that there is on the world wide web, this site is worth repeating. As I’ve said before, TED is a forum that invites interesting people from all walks of life to come in an give a twenty minute talk about their work. The contributors are educators, artists, engineers, diplomats, and others. Here are seven I watched and enjoyed. All descriptions are lifted directly from the TED talk sites, and I included the running times for your convenience.

The design of the universe (18:59)/ At Serious Play 2008, astrophysicist George Smoot shows stunning new images from deep-space surveys, and prods us to ponder how the cosmos — with its giant webs of dark matter and mysterious gaping voids — got built this way.

Reinventing the school lunch (19:42)/Speaking at the 2007 EG conference, “renegade lunch lady” Ann Cooper talks about the coming revolution in the way kids eat at school — local, sustainable, seasonal and even educational food.

Why we don’t understand as much as we think we do (12:28)/ Starting with four basic questions (that you may be surprised to find you can’t answer), Jonathan Drori looks at the gaps in our knowledge — and specifically, what we don’t about science that we might think we do.

Birth of Wikipedia (20:02)/ Jimmy Wales recalls how he assembled “a ragtag band of volunteers,” gave them tools for collaborating and created Wikipedia, the self-organizing, self-correcting, never-finished online encyclopedia.

When social media became the news (16:59)/ James Surowiecki pinpoints the moment when social media became an equal player in the world of news-gathering: the 2005 tsunami, when YouTube video, blogs, IMs and txts carried the news — and preserved moving personal stories from the tragedy.

Picturing excess (11:14)/ Artist Chris Jordan shows us an arresting view of what Western culture looks like. His supersized images picture some almost unimaginable statistics — like the astonishing number of paper cups we use every single day.

Stories of humanity (16:14): Chris Abani tells stories of people: People standing up to soldiers. People being compassionate. People being human and reclaiming their humanity. It’s “ubuntu,” he says: the only way for me to be human is for you to reflect my humanity back at me.

Hope you find something worthwhile and thank you for stopping by.


About htwilson

born in brooklyn, raised in queens, massachusetts, that's where I be.
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