Thoroughly impressed by TED

2008-04-12

in Films and movies, Geek stuff, Internet matters, Politics, Science, The environment

Steel girders and sky

Initially drawn in by the Al Gore video, I have been watching lots of the films from the TED conference, and being impressed by many of them. I am more impressed than ever by cephalopods, and some of my idle curiosity about how ants decide what to do has been satisfied. I also learned about some new reasons for which we should be wary about the long-term use of antidepressant drugs.

Putting these short lectures online is an excellent way of demonstrating the power of the internet to distribute ideas. Even for those of us who would balk at flying to California to attend some very neat talks, fiber optic links provide a low-carbon alternative.

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Milan April 11, 2008 at 10:23 pm
Mark April 13, 2008 at 5:01 pm

Thanks Milan – That was a really interesting talk on feet (of all subjects)!

Meaghan April 14, 2008 at 1:41 pm

I really enjoyed the Helen Fisher video.Thanks for sharing.

. April 14, 2008 at 2:55 pm

Dark Matter Exists

The great accomplishment of late-twentieth-century cosmology was putting together a complete inventory of the universe. We can tell a story that fits all the known data, in which ordinary matter (every particle ever detected in any experiment) constitutes only about 5% of the energy of the universe, with 25% being dark matter and 70% being dark energy. The challenge for early-twenty-first-century cosmology will actually be to understand the nature of these mysterious dark components. A beautiful new result illuminating (if you will) the dark matter in galaxy cluster 1E 0657-56 is an important step in this direction. (Here’s the press release, and an article in the Chandra Chronicles.)

. July 7, 2008 at 7:15 pm

Another TED talk:

‘I don’t think we’re going to make it’
Venture capitalist John Doerr shares four lessons on climate change

Anon July 7, 2008 at 7:41 pm

Jill Bolte Taylor got a research opportunity few brain scientists would wish for: She had a massive stroke, and watched as her brain functions — motion, speech, self-awareness –- shut down one by one. An astonishing story.

. July 7, 2008 at 8:06 pm

Top 10 TED Talks
Posted by Mark Frauenfelder, June 26, 2008 5:32 PM

. August 13, 2008 at 9:12 pm

TED talk: Joshua Klein’s vending machine for crows

Hacker and writer Joshua Klein is fascinated by crows. (Notice the gleam of intelligence in their little black eyes?) After a long amateur study of corvid behavior, he’s come up with an elegant machine that may form a new bond between animal and human.

Joshua Klein will hack anything that moves — his list includes “social systems, computer networks, institutions, consumer hardware and animal behavior.” His latest project, though charmingly low-tech, has amazing implications for the human-animal interface.

Right now, Klein is working at Frog Design as a Principle Technologist, while developing mobile/social applications, health care-related systems and other tools that improve people’s lives. He’s the author of the novel Roo’d, which was the first modern book (after Tarzan) to be ported to the iPhone.

“Klein envisions a new symbiotic relationship between these intelligent birds and the humans that encroach on their habitat. … Why not turn a longstanding rivalry between man and crow into something that profits both species?”

. January 14, 2009 at 10:47 pm
. February 5, 2009 at 11:59 am

TED on porn, malaria and robots

Porn as education, robots at war, and retired Microsoft boss Bill Gates’ mosquito release were just some of the highlights at the TED conference.

Milan February 28, 2009 at 8:59 pm

One day, I very much hope to attend a TED conference.

It seems to be one of the few conferences that would justify the associated travel emissions.

Tristan March 1, 2009 at 3:20 am

I absolutely approve of Ted.

However, it’s one of the few conferences I would never consider attending unless it was without travel – I think that the presentations transfer so well to the video format that there is no need to attend in person. The reason why it is better to be at a conference rather than simply watch it on the internet is the ability to ask questions and to interact with others at the conference, but since there is no real coherence to the attendees, I don’t see the point. Conferences are about networking with other experts in your own field. In some ways, TED seems more like a weekend long all day elaborate cocktail party than a conference.

Milan March 1, 2009 at 11:00 am

It would be meeting the other attendees that justifies the travel. Attending means getting through a screening process (as well as paying $2,000). I imagine most of the people there would be extremely interesting.

. March 15, 2009 at 12:16 am

Athlete, actor and activist Aimee Mullins talks about her prosthetic legs — she’s got a dozen amazing pairs — and the superpowers they grant her: speed, beauty, an extra 6 inches of height … Quite simply, she redefines what the body can be.

. March 15, 2009 at 5:21 pm

Double-amputee New Zealander has mermaid dreams fulfilled

New Zealander Nadya Vessey — who lost both of her legs to the knee when she was a child — has just received a prosthesis that’s pretty much unlike anything we’ve ever seen (outside of Splash). About two years ago, she approached Weta Workshop, who specialize in design and manufacturing of costumes and special effects (and have worked on projects such as The Lord of the Rings trilogy) to see if the company might be interested in making her a working, prostethic mermaid tail. Turns out they were, and they’ve just completed the final product. The tail, which is composed of wetsuit fabric and plastic molds, with a custom paint job and digitally-imaged effects, enables Nadya to swim quite effectively, apparently, and is an all around sexy piece of machinery. No word on what one of these slick dudes would cost in real life, but we have a feeling we couldn’t justify the expense just to tool around in the kiddie pool.

. April 22, 2009 at 9:52 pm
. May 22, 2009 at 9:14 pm

Mary Roach’s TED Talk: 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Orgasm
By violet

Mary — my comrade in gin-soaked sex science nerdery — just emailed letting me know they finally got her TED talk online, 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Orgasm. Awesomeness! May Mary Roach and the rest of us continue to twist TED’s knickers.

. June 7, 2009 at 9:23 am

February 10, 2009, 12:02 pm
TED’s Greatest Hits

Yesterday, I promised to tell you about a few of the 150 moving, inspiring and depressing talks I saw at the TED conference last week. Today, a few notes.

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