TED addiction sets in

I’m really starting to like TED talks. They’re short, often you can just listen to them without the visuals, the presenters are usually skilled and entertaining, and there are lots of interesting topics.  Here are a few favorites out of what I’ve watched so far.  More to come!


VS Ramachandran on your mind – He talks about an assortment of neurological disorders and treatments, none of which is new to me, but at the end he talks about synesthesia and draws some very interesting speculation about creativity as a function of brain structure.

Christopher deCharms looks inside the brain – Using real-time FMRI to begin mapping between thought and reality in both directions.

Henry Markram builds a brain in a supercomputer – Computer models of how brains work, specifically the beginnings of simulating human brains in digital computers.  This is something I’m interested in getting into, and I’m glad someone is finally heading in this direction.

VS Ramachandran: The neurons that shaped civilization – On the importance of mirror neurons.


Ron Eglash on African fractals – Wow, I had no idea.


Janine Benyus: Biomimicry in action and Janine Benyus shares nature’s designs – Taking nanomaterial designs from nature.  I heartily approve.

Dean Ornish says your genes are not your fate – Very short, but a good exhortation to improve your health.

Dan Buettner: How to live to be 100+ – Lifestyle lessons from the regions that produce the most centenarians.

Global Threats:

Peter Ward on Earth’s mass extinctions – Interesting theory I hadn’t heard before, that many of the Earth’s mass extinctions were caused by hydrogen sulfide emissions from the oceans, triggered by rising temperatures.


Sam Harris: Science can answer moral questions – Oh, hell yes! He says what we’re all thinking!

Richard Dawkins on militant atheism – First time I’ve seen him speak.  Totally agree.

Randy Pausch: Really achieving your childhood dreams – Its long, but totally worth listening to.  He totally deserves the standing ovation he gets at the end.


Gregory Stock: To upgrade is human – Echoes a lot of my own sentiments.

Juan Enriquez shares mindboggling science – Starts talking about the US economic problems, but then gets into convergence of biological and robotic technology, mentioning a few things I hadn’t heard of, leading into discussion of upcoming evolution of our species.

Aubrey de Grey says we can avoid aging – This is the first de Grey output I’ve consumed, and I’m quite impressed.  Especially with how he characterizes the crazy attitudes of death advocates.


Theo Jansen creates new creatures – The sculptor explains how his wonderful “animals” work.  He sounds almost like a proper crackpot inventor too – he wouldn’t be out of place in Gizmo.


George Dyson on Project Orion – I’ve been a fan of Project Orion for a long time, but this talk adds some personal detail about the people involved that I hadn’t heard before.

George Smoot on the design of the universe – He has some 3D animations of that long-range galaxy survey.


Julian Assange: Why the world needs WikiLeaks – First time I’ve seen Assange speak.

James Nachtwey’s searing photos of war – Powerful photographs.

Bill Strickland makes change with a slide show – Heartening. I had no idea this sort of thing was going on.

Ken Robinson says schools kill creativity and Sir Ken Robinson: Bring on the learning revolution! – this guy is an excellent speaker, and I really like what he has to say about education.

Clifford Stoll on … everything – Holy cow, I love this guy!

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