In Bed With TED!

I’m so late on the train, but is anyone else obsessed with the TED Talks?  My first day logging on, I spent about 4 hours in bed watching these videos!!!

From left: Al Gore at TED2006; Jane Goodall at TED2003; Brian Greene at TED2005

With the motto “Ideas worth spreading”, TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) has been putting on conferences for over twenty years to bring together brilliant people from these three industries.

Launched in 2007, their website features over 200 TEDTalk videos, which are 18 minute “Inspired talks by the world’s leading thinkers and doers”.  Wow!!!  These aren’t your ordinary “how-to” videos presented by teenage girls in their bedrooms – nonono, TED is like the Lincoln Center of YouTube.  Part personal storytelling/part motivational speech TED is The Moth with a point.

And now thanks to video, we can all sit at the table with the cool kids!  TED rolls with people like:  former VP Al Gore, THE Jane Goodall, and neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Tayler.  We’ve also got the class nerds and band geeks such as:  Johnny Lee (who actually was a YouTube star) hacking into Wii remote controls before our very eyes,  Sir Ken Robert talking about how the school system is killing creativity (whaaaa???), David Gallo showing us phosphorescent creatures of the deep and Nellie McKay performing some songs on piano and uke (though she doesn’t actually give a speech, as I don’t think anyone could sit through 18 minutes of someone talking in a 1930s voice).

My absolute favorite, though, is Benjamin Zander.  Zander is conductor of the Boston Philharmonic, and he has an INCREDIBLY infectious love for classical music and is a tireless cheerleader in sharing his passion with others.  Given by anybody else, this talk would have been a corny trainwreck, but Zander’s bursting-at-the-seams enthusiasm is really disarming.  Plus, he’s funny (middle-aged white dude funny)!  If he wanted to, he could be the next Victor Borge.

This entire series reminds me of a more mini-mic-wearing version of the Ira Glass storytelling video on YouTube that I looooove:

He should do a TEDTalk!

Anyway, I think these talks are a great hybrid of educational and cultural content – weeee!  I am truly relieved that amongst all the crap that is being broadcast on YouTube (although I will always love Hamster on a Piano), we have some quality original videos online.   I’m preaching to the choir, but I think TED proves that although absolutely nothing can replace the magic of a live event, it’s fucking great when the good ones documented so that they can live on in embeddable, 3″x5″ glory!