Playlist (9 talks)
Tim O'Reilly: 9 talks that stretched my mind

Tim O’Reilly of O’Reilly Media ("Make:" magazine, anyone?) shares his favorite TED Talks with notes about why each one had an impact. Surprise: It's not all tech.
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Playlist (9 talks): Tim O'Reilly: 9 talks that stretched my mind

  • 20:42
    Now playing
    By piecing together a complex ecological puzzle, biologist Willie Smits believes he has found a way to re-grow clearcut rainforest in Borneo, saving local orangutans — and creating a thrilling blueprint for restoring fragile ecosystems. NOTE: The core content of this talk has been challenged on a number of grounds. For details, and Willie Smits' response, please see "A challenge to Willie Smits' talk" below.
    “I loved the deep systems thinking in Willie Smits' talk. If we want to get 'there,' we need to start here ...”
  • 12:11
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    Can government be run like the Internet, permissionless and open? Coder and activist Jennifer Pahlka believes it can — and that apps, built quickly and cheaply, are a powerful new way to connect citizens to their governments — and their neighbors.
    “‘Are we just a crowd of voices, or are we a crowd of hands?’ Jen Pahlka puts the notion of government participation in a new and powerful context.”
  • 18:14
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    Bonnie Bassler discovered that bacteria "talk" to each other, using a chemical language that lets them coordinate defense and mount attacks. The find has stunning implications for medicine, industry — and our understanding of ourselves.
    “I found the insights in this talk fascinating; it completely changed my mental model of how illness comes about.”
  • 20:43
    Now playing
    Benjamin Zander has two infectious passions: classical music, and helping us all realize our untapped love for it — and by extension, our untapped love for all new possibilities, new experiences, new connections.
    “Ben Zander gives a bravura performance and a mind-deepening talk about how passion drives interest and creativity. My favorite TEDTalk ever.”
  • 4:35
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    Drug-resistant bacteria kills, even in top hospitals. But now tough infections like staph and anthrax may be in for a surprise. Nobel-winning chemist Kary Mullis, who watched a friend die when powerful antibiotics failed, unveils a radical new cure that shows extraordinary promise. NOTE: This talk was given in 2009, and this field of science has developed quickly since then. Read "Criticisms & updates" below for more details.
    “I loved the way Kary combines his personal experience, folksy delivery, and clear teaching about a really important problem. And he gets across that Nobel Prize winners don't always come from the background you expect.”
  • 19:24
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    Sir Ken Robinson makes an entertaining and profoundly moving case for creating an education system that nurtures (rather than undermines) creativity.
    “Anyone who has kids will resonate with this talk. Our schools so often let down our children, and we let them do it. Sir Ken Robinson inspires us to do better.”
  • 15:15
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    What's the key to using alternative energy, like solar and wind? Storage — so we can have power on tap even when the sun's not out and the wind's not blowing. In this accessible, inspiring talk, Donald Sadoway takes to the blackboard to show us the future of large-scale batteries that store renewable energy. As he says: "We need to think about the problem differently. We need to think big. We need to think cheap."
    “This should be a model for all TEDTalks. Donald Sadoway is tackling an important problem, but he's also a master teacher, so we aren't just ‘wowed’ (as is so often the case), we come away having learned something new.”
  • 19:50
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    You've never seen data presented like this. With the drama and urgency of a sportscaster, statistics guru Hans Rosling debunks myths about the so-called "developing world."
    “Now that everyone is into data visualization, it's difficult to imagine just how amazing this talk was when it first was given. Hans has a unique ability to make numbers talk.”
  • 8:47
    Now playing
    Jeff Han shows off a cheap, scalable multi-touch and pressure-sensitive computer screen interface that may spell the end of point-and-click.
    “It's easy to forget that there was a time before multi-touch displays. Here Jeff Han demonstrates the power of multi-touch when the iPhone was still nearly a year and a half away. It's a great illustration of William Gibson's dictum that ‘The future is here. It's just not evenly distributed yet.’”