TED Talks for the week of April 8, 2013

RSS - TED TalksI'm on my way home from Savannah, Georgia, where I was at Red Hat's North American Sales Kickoff event.  It's a great way for me to re-connect with people across the company, and to get a couple of days of the latest force-feeding of product info.  No matter how well I try to stay connected with our product groups, I always learn something new.  It's great...and tiring!

Anyway, here are a few more TED talks I think are worth a watch.

Michael Specter is a journalist, and man does he give a passionnate TED Talk about the dangers of denying science.  One part of the talk that stands out to me is his description of Jenny McCarthy's railing against vaccinations with no serious reasoning behind her claims, and the resulting danger to all of us if we actually listen to her.  The talk is about more than just Jenny McCarthy (thank goodness), and it's all interesting stuff, in my opinion.

David Byrne talks about architecture and music.

Okay, this is one of my favorite TED talks because it sounds so
informal, almost a conversation.  In this talk, David Byrne talks
about how has been written differently over time to fit the venue used
to play the music.  He starts with venues hundreds of years ago, all
the way to today.  For example, he demonstrates how West African music
is well suited to its original venue: played outside with no
reverberation, to a group of people within earshot.  The instruments
are pretty loud so they can be heard by the group, and the rhythms are
intricate and fast-paced because there's no reverb to muddy up the
sound.  He talks about how Bach composed given the rooms his music was
being played in (lots of reverberant churches), then Mozart (more
notes, smaller rooms, less reverb), to opera halls, concert halls,
stadiums, car stereos, and personal MP3 players.  I had a blast
listening to him, and you don't need to understand music theory to
understand what he's talking about.

I think I'll always watch any Hans Rosling talk.  I like how he talks
about population trends, and how he uses visual aids to help us
visualize the data he presents.  In this TED talk, he uses storage
boxes from Ikea to show the difference in wealth between developed and
developing countries, and how that has changed from 1960 (when the world
had 3 billion people) to 2010 (when the population is now something
like 7 billion).  The aspirations of these countries have changed over
the last 50 years as well, and that has put an incredible strain on
the planet.


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