[Warning: If you are interested in a calm, comfortable life, this blog will be counterproductive for you.]

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

9 TED Talks That Will Blow Your Mind (They Did Mine!)

Fortune magazine called Harvard the preeminent educational institution of the 20th century. And then they said that the TED Conference and website was that for the 21st century.

Below are links to mind blowing TED Talks--some lasting only 5:51 min long and the longest only 20:28 min. TED brings in guest speakers who are living on the cutting edge for a conference with an overwhelming amount of incredible ideas. And then they put videos of those talks on their website (www.ted.com) for free. It's an amazing resource and I agree with Fortune magazine.

I don't endorse all the ideas presented at TED--not by a long shot. In fact, TED often has speakers who promote worldviews I disagree with. But I do believe that the path to greatness includes lots of new ideas, the willingness to stretch your thinking, and a frequent need for inspiration. TED Talks have all that in spades!

I try to watch one TED Talk a week, to add some fuel to my brain and heart. If you want to see some of my favorites so far, try one of these links. Stimulate your brain. Fire up your heart. And prepare to be blown away in less than 6 min!

Tan Le's astonishing new computer interface reads its user's brainwaves, making it possible to control virtual objects, and even physical electronics, with mere thoughts (and a little concentration). She demos the headset, and talks about its far-reaching applications.

Salman Khan talks about how and why he created the remarkable Khan Academy, a carefully structured series of educational videos offering complete curricula in math and, now, other subjects. He shows the power of interactive exercises, and calls for teachers to consider flipping the traditional classroom script -- give students video lectures to watch at home, and do "homework" in the classroom with the teacher available to help.

Studies show that sketching and doodling improve our comprehension -- and our creative thinking. So why do we still feel embarrassed when we're caught doodling in a meeting? Sunni Brown says: Doodlers, unite! She makes the case for unlocking your brain via pad and pen.

Jill Bolte Taylor got a research opportunity few brain scientists would wish for: She had a massive stroke, and watched as her brain functions -- motion, speech, self-awareness -- shut down one by one. An astonishing story.

At TEDMED, Sheila Nirenberg shows a bold way to create sight in people with certain kinds of blindness: by hooking into the optic nerve and sending signals from a camera direct to the brain.

You've never seen data presented like this. With the drama and urgency of a sportscaster, statistics guru Hans Rosling debunks myths about the so-called "developing world."

Homaro Cantu and Ben Roche come from Moto, a Chicago restaurant that plays with new ways to cook and eat food. But beyond the fun and flavor-tripping, there's a serious intent: Can we use new food technology for good?

John Hunter puts all the problems of the world on a 4'x5' plywood board -- and lets his 4th-graders solve them. At TED2011, he explains how his World Peace Game engages schoolkids, and why the complex lessons it teaches -- spontaneous, and always surprising -- go further than classroom lectures can.

Surgeon Anthony Atala demonstrates an early-stage experiment that could someday solve the organ-donor problem: a 3D printer that uses living cells to output a transplantable kidney. Using similar technology, Dr. Atala's young patient Luke Massella received an engineered bladder 10 years ago; we meet him onstage.

Description from TED's website:

TED is a nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design. Since then its scope has become ever broader. Along with two annual conferences -- the TED Conference in Long Beach and Palm Springs each spring, and the TEDGlobal conference in Edinburgh UK each summer -- TED includes the award-winning TEDTalks video site, the Open Translation Project and TED Conversations, the inspiring TED Fellows and TEDx programs, and the annual TED Prize.

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