TV NOT Worth Watching? Mine for gold in TED Talks

BlogHer Original Post

Been a long day? Want to veg out on the couch for a couple of hours before bedtime with the TV? You turn on the tube and what happens? You find nothing but moronic programming, repeats of cop/detective/mystery shows, and movies you've seen twice already.

You could shut the damn thing off and read the latest Diana Gabaldon novel. That would keep you busy for a while. Or you could go to your computer and be amazed and enlighted watching a video from TED Talks.

TED Talks cover many topics: technology, entertainment, design, business, science, and global issues. Let's take a look at some of the people and subjects in the technology area.

Surgeon and inventor Catherine Mohr talks about surgery and surgical robots in Catherine Mohr: Surgery's past, present and robotic future. When Why Homeschool listened to this TED Talk, the conclusion was

It is a wonderful time to be alive.

Rebecca Saxe: How we read each other's minds talks about the problem of other minds: how is it so easy to know other minds, or neuroscience made fascinating. This one talks about how kids' brains develop and might be especially interesting to parents as well as neuroscience geeks.

Stefana Broadbent: How the Internet enables intimacy is about the democratization of intimacy through communication channels like IM, text, and with mobile phones. This TED Talk was discussed heavily on Twitter by people like @brainpicker (Maria Popova) and @coots.

Carolyn Porco: Could a Saturn moon harbor life? shows images from the Cassini spacecraft's sweep by a moon of Saturn. Amazing discoveries that show compounds that could sustain life. In this very short talk, you fly to Saturn. Who could resist?

Speaking of space, how about a talk from astronaut Mae Jemison? Mae Jemison on teaching arts and sciences together is of interest to educators.

Bonnie Bassler on how bacteria "talk" is so interesting! She explains how bacteria communicate through a chemical language. Her talk reminds me of something BlogHer CE avflox might write about, except the organisms avflox talks about are bigger than bacteria.

For the sports fans, try Aimee Mullins and her 12 pairs of legs is a great talk about the human body and her 12 pairs of prosthetic legs. In a blog for a class at Bryn Mawr called Gender and Technology, Rebecca Church wrote about this Talk, saying,

She called herself “super-abled” because her body “had potential their bodies didn’t have yet”. She recounted the story of a woman at a party who, when hearing that she could change her height at will, said “that’s not fair”. “It’s not fair that you can change your height as you want it”, not “it’s not fair that you lost your legs and have to use prosthetics”. Super-abled indeed.

I was crying by the end of Aimee's Talk. (She's really inspiring.) The only thing on TV that can make me cry is a Hallmark commercial.

Aimee Mullins was at TED Talks way back in 1998 when the topic was about running. You might enjoy that one, too.

I don't find TED Talks to be a vast wasteland, obviously. If you've never stepped into the waters there, you may be surprise by how much you enjoy it.

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Virginia DeBolt
BlogHer Technology Contributing Editor|Web Teacher|First 50 Words

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