A Couple Of Months' Worth Of Great TED Talks

RSS Feed: TED TalksI don't know what happened to the time, but I haven't made the time to update the blog lately.  However, I have been continuing to go through the backlog of TED talks, so here are my notes on a bunch of TED talks I've listened to over the past couple of months and have enjoyed.  I hope you do, too.

Happy summer!  Now without further ado:

Stewart Brand created the Whole Earth Catalog.  In this TED Talk, he presents four environmental "heresies", one of them being his endorsement of nuclear power, another being his support of genetically engineered crops.  There are great visuals in this talk, and he goes at a great pace through his talk.  Plus, he shows you a little bit of what the term "underground economy" is all about, i.e., the rapid growth of cities in the developing world and why they're innovating economy much faster than developed economies.

There are a lot of TED talks that cover the climate change crisis our planet is suffering.  I am seeing a lot more about it in the news, and I think it's important for us to hear the effects again and again, because from what I read and see, we have very little idea just how bad things are.  So, I'm including this 8-minute update from Al Gore in 2009 about the climate crisis.  It's a rapid-fire talk with tons of effective visuals; it's easy to watch and pretty powerful.

Dan Pink is a funny guy.  I don't think he's a comedian; he's a lawyer, but he starts out this talk in a self-deprecating way that caught me off guard a bit.  Then he gets serious about discussing how in business we usually motivate people wrongly.  He talks about when it's good to use means such as bonuses and other monetary rewards for incentive, and when that doesn't work at all (in fact, sometimes it impedes behavior, and he explains why).  He then talks about the concepts of autonomy, mastery, and purpose and how they are much more powerful and effective motivators for a large class of workers.  I found it an interesting talk; check it out.

Here's a quickie (less than five minutes): Daniel Kraft, a doctor at Stanford, talks about an invention that makes the process of harvesting bone marrow much less painful and easier overall.  I dunno, it makes perfect sense to me.

Here's another Hans Rosling talk, called "Let my dataset change your mindset".  He's talking about the rapidly-less-informative distinction between the terms "developing world" and "western world", showing his now-famous animated charts of data that show changes in life expectancy and family size per country over time.  Many of us haven't realized just how much improvement there has been in "developing world" nations.  He shows a bunch of different sets of data that show various aspects of "developing world" improvement.  He's funny, too: watch the last half of his talk to show his competition between Sweden and various developing world nations (he's Swedish, so he's got a stake in the competition).  As he's showing these races, he's narrating the reasons for change as if he's calling a horse race.  Cute.

Steve Truglia is a stuntman.  His talk is about a couple of things: primarily, he's talking about his preparation to do a parachute jump from 100,000 feet.  I had little idea how dangerous the conditions are at that height, and he describes both the dangers to our body, and the equipment he's building to do the jump.  The first half of the talk is a fun description of the history of stunts and the technology used to do it better now than in the old days.  It's pretty cool behind-the-scenes stuff.

Okay, another climate change TED talk, this time done by a photographer named James Balog.  He describes what he did to set up a series of time-lapse cameras in Alaskan glaciers to mark the retreating ice walls over not very much time.  It's really effective visually, and again gives us an idea of how serious the climate crisis is.  Also, I like how he explains what he's doing, and how he shows the significance of the glacial retreat.


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