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April 2008
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A public conversation about our worlds.

  • Monday: Morgan J. Locke
  • Tuesday: Madeleine E. Robins
  • Wednesday: Maureen F. McHugh
  • Thursday: Bradley Denton
  • Friday: Steven Gould
  • Saturday: Caroline Spector
  • Sunday: Rory Harper

Brain Activity



Pessimism — Part One

April 13th, 2008 by Rory Harper

Instead of a music vid this week, I’d like to recommend to you this half-hour long presentation by a gentleman named Stephen Petranek. It’s called ‘Ten Ways the World Could End’:

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It’s from the TED Conference in 2002. This is the secret meeting that the Really Smart Cool People have every year. Up until recently, the proceedings weren’t available to folks who aren’t completely cool and smart. However, last year they started putting stuff on-line. I’m not sure why. Maybe they wanted everybody to know how cool and smart they are.

Massive props to The Dude for turning us on to TED months ago, in an email that that he sent to the secret Brainiac listserv that we maintain, where he told us all about it so we could become cooler and smarter. As if that were possible.

There are over 200 videos up on the TED site, and every one that I’ve viewed so far has been absolutely fascinating.

They’re not all as long as tonight’s featured flick, but you could waste at least a couple of days watching these things and probably enjoy them all. Except it wouldn’t be a waste, as you would become progressively cooler and smarter with each one.

More later tonight, on my personal plans regarding that whole End of the World thing.

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Posted in Daily Life, Dammit!, Environment, Geniuses, Rory, Science, Technology, The Dude | 4 Comments »

4 Responses

  1. Morgan J. Locke Says:

    TED rocks. Did you see Al Gore’s new presentation? *phew*

    http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/view/id/243

  2. will shetterly Says:

    TED produces cool stuff, but it’s less about the smart and cool and a whole lot more about the money. If capitalists can solve the problems capitalism creates, the TED folks will be part of the solution. If not, well, they’re helping provide information for the rest of us.

  3. Rory Harper Says:

    Yeah, Will, one point is that it apparently costs $6,000 to attend TED. Which excludes most of us, no matter how cool or smart we might be.

    I’m aware of at least one alternative to TED: http://bilconference.pbwiki.com

    I seem to remember reading of others, but it’s too late and I’m too tired to do the requisite googling.

    Morgan — Not yet. Haven’t had a chance to look at some of their more recent postings. But will definitely catch up.Like I said, I haven’t yet viewed one presentation that was less than fascinating to me. And Gore’s is probably actually important.

  4. will shetterly Says:

    I should find out more about how bilconference went, ’cause it would be cool if TED spawned spinoff idea-fests.

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