A Few More TED Talks For Your Enjoyment

PodcastsI've been away on vacation for a few weeks in India (more on part of that vacation in a different blog post; we stayed in an eco lodge that was fantastic).  But the TED talks don't stop, and I've got a few more that I've enjoyed watching for various reasons.  I hope you do, too.

The first talk on my list for today is Dan Ariely again.  I've told you about a different TED talk; this time, the behavioral economist talks about how we are much more irrational in our thinking than we think.  He shows some really simple visual illusions that fool our brain (I mean, really simple), and how opting in vs. opting out makes a huge difference in organ donation volunteerism rates, among other things.  I like his conversational style of describing experiments; it's pretty easy listening considering the topic.

I'm not sure if you'll all enjoy Paul Romer's talk about "charter cities", so let me explain for a moment what I got out of it.  He talks about how a set of rules laid down by a government can significantly guide behavior, and made huge differences in the fate of a country.  For example, he compares Haiti and the Dominican Republic, which are right next to each other but have different rules for their people and vastly different outcomes (Haiti is in really sad shape; the D.R., much better).  He points out the example of Hong Kong and how it was much wealthier than Mainland China, but China created these special economic zones, defined by cities, with different sets of rules to govern them than most of the rest of the country.  As a result, these cities (e.g., Shenzhen) have enjoyed immense growth in wealth.  All this leads to him proposing that we try new governmental systems at the city level: smaller than that isn't enough to effect big change, larger than that is too unwieldy.  Anyway, check it out.

I like listening to Clay Shirky; he has this really interesting message about the power of communities to effect change.  In this TED talk, he talks about the current new set of media on the Internet and how they can make history, because they natively support group communications.  And when you support group communications, that makes the power of communities much easier to leverage.  He uses recent news events to support his story.  To me, this is really good stuff.

I've got a ton more of these talks to come, and I'll continue to leak them out a few at a time so they don't overwhelm you.  As usual, please share your own favorite TED talks, or any other podcasts or other programs you've enjoyed watching and/or listening to.  I'm always looking for more interesting stuff to pour into my brain.


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