Just Wow!—over and over and over

TED (Technology Entertainment Design) is an annual conference held in Monterey, California. TED describes itself as a "group of remarkable people that gather to exchange ideas of incalculable value".

Its 'performance' covers a broad set of topics including science, arts, politics, global issues, architecture, music and more. The speakers themselves are from a wide variety of communities and disciplines

Take a look at the speakers/performer list. Lectures, music, dance, comedy...in a sense many of the best of humanity's thinkers, performers, and builders of tomorrow. Jan Goodall-chimpanzees, Jeff Bezos-Amazon, Martin Rees-cosmology, Rev. Tom Honey-religion, Bono - music (U2), Steve Jobs - Apple, and the list just goes on and on.

Click on a speaker that interests you and on their page you'll find a small video box that allows you for free (instead of $6000 attendance fee) to see and hear their presentation. There's an enlarge button on each video, and controls to go back or speed ahead

My goal is to watch every single one, one a day. Most are only 20 minutes or less. Based on those I've watched so far you won't be disappointed in a single one.

For example Jennifer Lin

If you follow only one link from this blog in your life, let it be this one to this performance by pianist and composer Jennifer Lin. Lin, then 14, starts by playing Joseph Hoffman's "Kaleidoscope," then Robert Schumann's "Abegg Variations." She talks about the process of composition and discusses the state of flow, when she can improvise beautiful music instantly -- a state of mind that cannot be forced. Lin invites audience member Goldie Hawn to choose a random sequence of notes, from which she improvises a beautiful and surprisingly moving piece, known to draw tears even via podcast. She finishes with a lightning performance of Jack Fina's "Bumble Boogie.

For example Jeff Hawkins on the human brain.

Jeff Hawkins' Palm PDA became such a widely used productivity tool during the 1990s that some fanatical users claimed it replaced their brains. But Hawkins' deepest interest was in the brain itself. So after the success of the Palm and Treo, which he brought to market at Handspring, Hawkins delved into brain research at the Redwood Center for Theoretical Neuroscience in Berkeley, Calif., and a new company called Numenta.

Hawkins' dual goal is to achieve an understanding of how the human brain actually works -- and then develop software to mimic its functionality, delivering true artificial intelligence. In his book On Intelligence (2004) he lays out his compelling, controversial theory: Contrary to popular AI wisdom, the human neocortex doesn't work like a processor; rather, it relies on a memory system that stores and plays back experiences to help us predict, intelligently, what will happen next. He thinks that "hierarchical temporal memory" computer platforms, which mimic this functionality (and which Numenta might pioneer), could enable groundbreaking new applications that could powerfully extend human intelligence.

Or try this dance group

Pilobolus dance company members Otis Cook and Jennifer Macavinta perform the sensuous duet "Symbiosis." Does it trace the birth of a human relationship, or the co-evolution of a pair of symbiotic species? That's left for you to decide. Gorgeous, organic choreography blurs the boundaries between the two performers, who use the body's own geometry to lift, move and combine. The music, recorded by the Kronos Quartet on Nonesuch Records, is a compilation of works: "God Music" from Black Angels by George Crumb, "Fratres" by Arvo Pärt, and "Morango ... Almost a Tango" by Thomas Oboe Lee.

Or this provocative Brazilian artist talking about and illustrating creativity (takes a couple of minutes to get to it, but it's unique and somewhat humorous)

Artist Vik Muniz delights in subverting the expected. He creates images from wire, thread, sugar, chocolate, even dust and clouds that simultaneously comment on art and are art. In a charming talk, he describes how growing up in Brazil turned him into a trickster, and shows lots of his work -- gorgeous photographs and constructions filled with mischievous spirit.

Or Sir Martin Rees on "Earth in its final century?"

In a taut soliloquy that takes us from the origins of the universe to the last days of a dying sun 6 billion years later, renowned cosmologist Sir Martin Rees explains why the 21st century is a pivotal moment in the history of humanity: the first time in history when we can materially change ourselves and our planet. Stunning imagery of cosmological wonders show us the universe as we know it now. Speaking as "a concerned member of the human race," Rees harkens to the wisdom of Einstein, calling for scientists to act as moral compasses, confronting the coming developments and ensuring our role in "the immense future."

Remember, all of these can be stopped, restarted or even allow you to replay a piece you might have missed or misunderstood.


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