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.

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About htwilson

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