Friday, August 29, 2008


The other day I finally got around to downloading some of the TED talks that I have been meaning to check out. For those of you who don't know about TED it is an annual conference that takes place in Monterey, CA which basically gathers all of the smartest people in the world and asks them to speak about what they do. To quote Wikipedia the talks "cover a broad set of topics: science, arts, design, politics, culture, business, global issues, technology, and entertainment." Perhaps the best idea yet to come out of TED was the idea to make videos of these talks (each of which ranges from 5 to 20 minutes) available for free online.
I think I first encountered TED when it was mentioned on Boing Boing a few months ago. Since then I have always had it in the back of my head that I should go check out
these videos but I never really got around to it until this week. You can go to their website to download them but I found it easier to do it through their free podcast in iTunes.
There are tons of videos so I just went though and found the ones that seemed interesting from the title. A few of my favorites have been as follows:

Debunking third-world myths with the best stats you've ever seen - Hans Rosling (2006)<--- Once you check this one out you should go play around with Gapminder. It is really something else.
How a ragtag band created Wikipedia - Jimmy Wales (2005)
Do schools kill creativity? - Ken Robinson (2006)
Why do crack dealers still live with their moms? - Steven Levitt (2004) <--- Adam, I think you will like this one. I can't remember what you said about Freakonomics.
The amazing intelligence of crows - Joshua Klein (2008)

I know Seth has a few to add to this list. Have you guys already seen these? If so, which talks do you recommend? I'm sure I'll be adding more in the near future.


1 comment:

AdamB said...

Yeah, Steven Levitt wrote Freakonomics and that story is in there.

I haven't read it yet, but everyone tells me it's great. Levitt certainly is at the top of the field these days.

Another one I liked was Emily Oster's on AIDs. Another example of why economists are so great. Too bad she's another great economist.

Also, I liked the one by the NYT food critic on why we should eat less meat. Not that I've started eating less meat, but it's interesting anyway.