playlist

Pop culture obsessions

Explore some cultural phenomenons from across the globe. Some touching, some silly — and all very intriguing.

  1. 18:06
    Thomas Hellum The world's most boring television ... and why it's hilariously addictive

    You've heard about slow food. Now here's slow ... TV? In this very funny talk, Norwegian television producer Thomas Hellum shares how he and his team began to broadcast long, boring events, often live — and found a rapt audience. Shows include a 7-hour train journey, an 18-hour fishing expedition and a 5.5-day ferry voyage along the coast of Norway. The results are both beautiful and fascinating. Really.

  2. 5:37
    Cynthia Schneider The surprising spread of Idol TV

    Cynthia Schneider looks at two international "American Idol"-style shows — one in Afghanistan, and one in the United Arab Emirates — and shows the surprising effect that these reality-TV competitions are creating in their societies.

  3. 13:07
    Adam Savage My love letter to cosplay

    Adam Savage makes things and builds experiments, and he uses costumes to add humor, color and clarity to the stories he tells. Tracing his lifelong love of costumes — from a childhood space helmet made of an ice cream tub to a No-Face costume he wore to Comic-Con — Savage explores the world of cosplay and the meaning it creates for its community. "We're connecting with something important inside of us," he says. "The costumes are how we reveal ourselves to each other."

  4. 7:20
    Kevin Allocca Why videos go viral

    Kevin Allocca is YouTube's Head of Culture & Trends, and he has deep thoughts about silly web video. In this talk from TEDYouth, he shares the 4 reasons a video goes viral.

  5. 14:28
    Adam Sadowsky How to engineer a viral music video

    The band OK Go dreamed up the idea of a massive Rube Goldberg machine for their next music video — and Adam Sadowsky's team was charged with building it. He tells the story of the effort and engineering behind their labyrinthine creation that quickly became the YouTube sensation "This Too Shall Pass."

  6. 4:26
    Alexis Ohanian How to make a splash in social media

    In a funny, rapid-fire 4 minutes, Alexis Ohanian of Reddit tells the real-life fable of one humpback whale's rise to web stardom. The lesson of Mister Splashy Pants is a shoo-in classic for meme-makers and marketers in the Facebook age.

  7. 17:36
    Alison Jackson An unusual glimpse at celebrity

    By making photographs that seem to show our favorite celebs (Diana, Elton John) doing what we really, secretly, want to see them doing, Alison Jackson explores our desire to get personal with celebs. Contains graphic images.

  8. 11:24
    Frank Warren Half a million secrets

    "Secrets can take many forms — they can be shocking, or silly, or soulful." Frank Warren, the founder of PostSecret.com, shares some of the half-million secrets that strangers have mailed him on postcards.