This week of Awesome April 16– TED Talks

It’s my one year anniversary, how much more awesome could it get? So, in light of the cake eating and wedding picture viewing that I need to get home to tonight, I’m going to keep it brief. This year has gone by so fast, I can’t believe it!! (Ain’t we cute? Photo courtesy of Jessica Ponce’s photoshop magic.)

So, before I get all gushy…

This week I’ve been re-impressed by TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) talks, available free on their website here.

Online Web Series: TED talks

Where I found them: Online at the TED website, YouTube, and also available on Netflix!

Cost: FREE!

Accolades: Although TED conferences have been around since 1984, they’ve gained a lot more traction in the past few years since the availability of online media. I like what the Toronto Globe and Mail said in 2009: “TED is a funny phenomenon, though. On the one hand, getting the YouTube generation to sit down and watch lectures seems a counter-intuitive proposition. But there’s something about these videos that seems to have captured the Web’s shiny, aspirational spirit.”

You’ll probably like TED talks if you geek out about: history, math, science, speech, nature, listening to expert speakers, exploding your brain

Why its awesome: I’ve always been a documentary junkie. When everyone else was getting hooked on Transformers and The Babysitter’s Club I was hooked on James Burke’s Connections series, rewinding again and again as James’ cheery British accent guided me through how spice trading the the Netherlands led to radio astronomy–And people wonder why I’m an encyclopedia of interesting (and mostly useless) factoids.

TED talks are crunchy little tic tacs of information for the curious mind. Ranging from five to fifteen minutes, these lectures can be funny or serious, tech heavy or speech only, but every single piece is directly from the mouth of an expert in a specific field, from medicine to meteors, from crime to condoms.  I seriously can’t get enough of this stuff. TED talks are like crack for the person (like me) who is insatiably curious about EVERYTHING but doesn’t have the time or money to attend every single college lecture in the catalog. In addition, these pieces are concise, well organized, and press strongly on current world issues, some of which I didn’t even know were problems from my American vantage point.

Because I prefer showing over telling I’ve included links to several of my favorites below. Among them is Mikko Hypponen on tracking down computer hackers, Rachel Sussman on her search for the world’s oldest living things, Brene Brown on the power of vulnerability, Julia Sweeney on ‘The Talk’, and lastly (and my favorite at the moment) the cheery Mechai Viravaidya on how Mr. Condom made Thailand a Better Place. These are not the best out there, I’m sure, only my current favorites of what I have seen on Netflix. Please, enjoy!


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