I’m over at the Microsoft PDC in Los Angeles this week, and commuting over from Anand’s place in Camarillo using the Metrolink. The 3 hour commute gives me a great excuse to catch up on my TED talks on my iPhone.
The entire set of talks is available online via iTunes, and these really stood out:
Jared Diamond on Why Societies Collapse : he talks about lots of civilizations which have reached tipping points and have collapsed, often catastrophically. Not a funny or entertaining one, but lots of solid, well-researched facts. Also see his book which George Dunlap recommended to me but is still in my reading list.
Mih?ly Cs?kszentmih?lyi on Creativity, fulfillment and flow : again, a really well-researched talk which categorizes human motivation into a 2D space of challenge vs skill, and the different emotions which are evoked by being in different situations (e.g. apathy requires no challenge and no skill, and anxiety results if you have low skill and a high challenge ahead of you). The “flow” he argues for is the ideal pinnacle of where we should aim to get to in our lives.
Finally, what I consider to be the greatest TED talk I’ve ever seen is by the late Paul MacCready on Nature vs Humans, and what we can do about it : he starts off slowly by showing some graphs about the impact of humanity on the population of the planet (hint: we’ve taken over), and finishes off with some truly awesome demonstrations of natural planes, such as Ornithopters or solar-powered tiny fliers that do not require gas to fly. Highly recommended if you only watch one TED video at all!
There are about 80 videos left on my viewing list.. this is going to take a while!