TED Talks: Lawrence Lessig on We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim

An occasional post featuring talks by innovative thinkers, sponsored by TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design). This is what the internet is made for – to allow challenging ideas to escape from their academic ghettos and hang out in a place where they can talk to each other.

American academic and political activist, Lawrence Lessig, succinctly skewers the root cause of political corruption in this talk – the insidious influence of campaign funding. It’s been said before, but Lessig does it with minimal elegance and real passion – a gourmet hatchet job.

TED Talks: Michael Shermer on why people believe weird things & the pattern behind self-deception

An occasional post featuring talks by innovative thinkers, sponsored by TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design). This is what the internet is made for – to allow challenging ideas to escape from their academic ghettos and hang out in a place where they can talk to each other.

A double dose of Michael Shermer, founder of The Skeptics Society. In these talks from 2006 and 2010, he gives woo-woo, snake oil, and bad science the good kicking they so richly deserve.

TED Talks: Douglas Adams on parrots, the universe and everything

An occasional post featuring talks by innovative thinkers, sponsored by TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design). This is what the internet is made for – to allow challenging ideas to escape from their academic ghettos and hang out in a place where they can talk to each other. This is not strictly a TED Talk, but is included on their website.

Here is the late, great Douglas Adams, talking about his expeditions to observe endangered species – the Aye-aye in Madagascar is the first – that became a BBC radio documentary, called Last Chance to See, and then a book of the same name. He speaks exactly as you would expect of the author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. A delight to listen to, and a reminder of the unique mind the world lost when he died in 2001.

TED Talks: Jonathan Haidt on the moral roots of liberals and conservatives

An occasional post featuring talks by innovative thinkers, sponsored by TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design). This is what the internet is made for – to allow challenging ideas to escape from their academic ghettoes and hang out in a place where they can talk to each other.

Jonathan Haidt raises the vexed question of why our political opponents (conservatives if you’re liberal, and vice versa) are so irredeemably stupid and bereft of moral values. The problem with challenging black and white differences of opinion is that the abyss of moral relativism yawns beneath our feet. I like my enemies clear-cut and well-defined, an invaluable aid to satisfying self-definition. But I suppose it wouldn’t hurt to know where the idiots are coming from…

TED Talks: Simon Stone on what theatre is capable of

A weekly post featuring talks by innovative thinkers, sponsored by TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design). This is what the internet was made for – to allow challenging ideas to escape from their academic ghettoes and hang out in a place where they can talk to each other.

Simon Stone, Australian theatre director, does something quite ambitious here. He attempts to show what theatre is all about by demonstrating what it’s capable of, using one basic scenario played out in different lights, social contexts, background music, and with a varying number of actors on a bare stage. And all in less than ten minutes. A fascinating exercise in the craft of theatre.

TED Talks: Richard Gill on the value of music education

A weekly post featuring talks by innovative thinkers, sponsored by TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design). This is what the internet was made for – to allow challenging ideas to escape from their academic ghettoes and hang out in a place where they can talk to each other.

This talk by Richard Gill, an Australian conductor, is one of series of TEDX talks on the arts at a day-long conference in Sydney. He argues passionately for the proposition that music opens up a child’s mind to creativity, and is worth teaching for its own sake. Gill is an engaging and funny speaker, using the audience as guinea pigs, and getting them to make music in the same way as he teaches children.

TED Talks: Social Media

A weekly post featuring talks by innovative thinkers, sponsored by TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design). This is what the internet was made for – to allow challenging ideas to escape from their academic ghettoes and hang out in a place where they can talk to each other.

If you’ve ever wondered how companies use social media to promote their products, then this talk will answer all your questions. Given by a successful social media consultant, this analysis reveals the secrets behind an exciting new opportunity for social media consultancies.