Thomas Piketty's Capital in the 21st Century, in 20 minutes

Piketty's bestselling economics book is seismic, a vital infusion of data into the ideological debate over economics -- but it's also 700 pages long. Read the rest

Glenn Greenwald explains privacy

Alan writes, "Why privacy matters' is Glenn Greenwald's talk to TED in which he makes the argument that we are not obligated to make ourselves harmless; rather, we need to be able to express ourselves unwatched." Read the rest

Cory's Tedxoxbridge talk: How to break the Internet

I gave a talk last month in Cambridge at the Tedxoxbridge event called How to break the Internet, about how urgent it is that the Internet is fundamentally broken, and why we should be hopeful that we can fix it. Read the rest

A TED talk about what's wrong with TED talks: "Middlebrow megachurch infotainment"

Benjamin Bratton, Associate Professor of Visual Arts at the University of California, San Diego, explains what's wrong with TED—at a TEDx event in San Diego. "My talk is about TED: what it is, and why it doesn't work." [via Gawker] Read the rest

Flashes of stoner "brilliance" as TED Talks

Some TED talks give me the feeling of a stoned college conversation. Seems that CollegeHumor agrees. Please enjoy "High TED Talks." Read the rest

Lessig's TED talk on fighting corruption in politics with campaign finance reform

Larry Lessig presented at TED his new project, an effort to curb the corrupting influence of money in American politics with a reform to campaign finance.


The Harvard Business Review has an interesting look at what has happened as TED Talks has expanded to ever-wider audiences and (in doing so) has lost control of its own brand. It's also an excellent object lesson in why slapping the TED logo on something doesn't make it true. Read the rest

Kids should learn programming as well as reading and writing

Here's Mitch Resnick of the MIT Media Lab's Lifelong Kindergarten Group (whence the kids' programming language Scratch comes) doing a TedX talk about the role of programming in education.

Augmented reality card routine

'Virtual Magician' Marco Tempest blows it out of the water with this augmented card routine recently posted at TED.

Building a computer from scratch: open source computer science course

Here's an absolutely inspiring TED Talk showing how "self-organized computer science courses" designed around students building their own PCs from scratch engaged students and taught them how computers work at a fundamental level.

TEDx Meta

The New Yorker's Nathan Heller looks at five of the most popular TED Talks of all time and uses them to explain why, exactly, this series of public lectures is so much more popular than all other public lecture series. Read the rest

Massimo Banzi: How Arduino is open-sourcing imagination at TEDGlobal 2012

Massimo Banzi is the co-creator of the popular electronics prototyping system called Arduino. He spoke at TEDGlobal 2012 about the cool things people are making with Arduino.

Massimo Banzi helped invent the Arduino, a tiny, easy-to-use open-source microcontroller that's inspired thousands of people around the world to make the coolest things they can imagine -- from toys to satellite gear. Because, as he says, "You don't need anyone's permission to make something great."

Massimo Banzi co-founded Arduino, which makes affordable open-source microcontrollers for interactive projects, from art installations to an automatic plant waterer.

Massimo Banzi: How Arduino is open-sourcing imagination at TEDGlobal 2012 Read the rest

Race and justice in America: inspiring TED talk

Bryan Stevenson, a lawyer who defends poor African-American people caught in the US justice system. In this incredible, moving, inspiring TED talk, he discusses the way that race and injustice are entwined in the US legal system:

In an engaging and personal talk -- with cameo appearances from his grandmother and Rosa Parks -- human rights lawyer Bryan Stevenson shares some hard truths about America's justice system, starting with a massive imbalance along racial lines: a third of the country's black male population has been incarcerated at some point in their lives. These issues, which are wrapped up in America's unexamined history, are rarely talked about with this level of candor, insight and persuasiveness.

Bryan Stevenson: We need to talk about an injustice (Thanks, @gnat!) Read the rest

Download the Universe: Reviews of science e-books and apps

I'm really happy to be a part of Download the Universe, a new group blog dedicated to reviewing science e-books and apps. No dead trees allowed. It fills a long-ignored niche, helping readers find high-quality science writing in the digital realm, and my partners in this little side project are all top-notch. Download the Universe will feature reviews written by best-selling authors like Sean Carroll and Deborah Blum, new media gods like i09's Annalee Newitz and Not Exactly Rocket Science's Ed Yong, and some of the best science journalists at work today.

The whole thing was organized by Carl Zimmer, who also wrote the most recent review on the site—all about Controlling Cancer: A Powerful Plan for Taking On the World's Most Daunting Disease, by Paul Ewald.

Ewald's basic thesis: What if cancer is really a virus? We know that viruses do cause some cancers. For instance, most cervical cancer is pretty definitively caused by the human papillomavirus. But Ewald theorizes that this virus-cancer connection could be a lot further reaching than we now think—and it could have profound impacts on how we treat and prevent cancer in the future. The document is published by TED Books, and Zimmer says it bears the pretty obvious imprint of the TED brand—really provocative ideas that may or may not be correct, but are definitely fascinating.

[Ewald] has long been an advocate for putting medicine on a solid foundation of evolutionary biology. In the 1990s, for example, he came to fame for his ideas about domesticating infectious diseases.

Read the rest

Bruce McCall explains the artist's drive for absurdist retrofuturism

Here's artist Bruce McCall explaining the aesthetic of his retrofuturistic "serious nonsense" illustrations, which nostalgically recall futures that never came to past. It's a very sweet TED talk, and really nails the appeal of old ads, especially old technology ads.

Bruce McCall: Nostalgia for a future that never happened (via Making Light) Read the rest