Why the eff didn’t you watch these TED Talks? The 2014 edition

TED Blog

Eff-BlogHeaderAt the end of every December, we at the office get a little indignant that some of our favorite TED Talks from the year didn’t seem to do as well as we’d hoped. Some amazing talks, for whatever reason — whether they’re too absurd, niche or quirky, or simply were posted at a less than ideal time — don’t resonate at first blush with our audience. Below, my picks for the top 10 great talks you might have missed this year, with mild to medium spiciness.

1. A speaker drops the F bomb in one of TED’s best outfits of the year. Why the eff don’t you watch this talk? Kimberley Motley is a BAMF: A former beauty queen and the daughter of an African-American father and North Korean refugee mother, she’s Afghanistan’s first foreign litigator. For local girls like Nagma, who was sold by her father to their neighbor’s 21-year-old son at the age…

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Math 101: A reading list for lifelong learners


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Ready to level up your working knowledge of math? Here’s what to read now — and next.


Math 101, with Jennifer Ouellette

First, start with these 5 books…

Infinity's lemniscate. Infinity’s lemniscate. Photo by Transaction Fraud/Flickr.

1. Number: The Language of Science
Tobias Dantzig
Plume, 2007

“First published in 1930, this classic text traces the evolution of the concept of a number in clear, accessible prose. (None other than Albert Einstein sang its praises.) A Latvian mathematician who studied under Henri Poincare, Dantzig covers all the bases, from counting, negative numbers and fractions, to complex numbers, set theory, infinity and the link between math and time. Above all, he understood that the story of where mathematical ideas come from, how they relate to each other, and evolve over time, is key to a true appreciation of mathematics.”

2. Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and its Consequences
John Allen Paulos
Hill and Wang, 2001

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Sparking the Fire – Journey of Naur

It’s been wonderful to be part of the family.


I enjoy taking part in The Daily Posts – Weekly Photo Challenges, especially when I get to integrate our travel photographs and stories into the different themes each week. I have been pondering on this week’s challenge – Achievement and the first thing that sprang to mind was my first Marathon earlier this year, but in the end I decided to go further back, and write about my contribution to something bigger than own personal life!


This is me fire spinning when I lived in America almost 12 years ago now..it was a hobby I picked up in Boston, and while I had great fun and adventures with it, joined a fire troupe, met amazing fire spinners from New York, Boston, California – highlight was spinning with 500 other spinners at Burning Man  – I didn’t think I could reach higher grounds with fire spinning when I moved to Bangladesh in 2003. I…

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10 places where anyone can learn to code

TED Blog

blog_learn_to_code_art_revTeens, tweens and kids are often referred to as “digital natives.” Having grown up with the Internet, smartphones and tablets, they’re often extraordinarily adept at interacting with digital technology. But Mitch Resnick, who spoke at TEDxBeaconStreet in November, is skeptical of this descriptor. Sure, young people can text and chat and play games, he says, “but that doesn’t really make you fluent.”

[ted_talkteaser id=1657]Fluency, Resnick proposes in today’s talk, comes not through interacting with new technologies, but through creating them. The former is like reading, while the latter is like writing. He means this figuratively — that creating new technologies, like writing a book, requires creative expression — but also literally: to make new computer programs, you actually must write the code.

The point isn’t to create a generation of programmers, Resnick argues. Rather, it’s that coding is a gateway to broader learning.“When you learn to read, you…

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How Che’s Iconic Photograph Became Famous

Wonder Sonder


Alberto Korda holds up a Cuban bank note, which features the iconic image produced by the photographer in 1960. Alberto Korda holds up a Cuban bank note, which features his iconic image of Che Guevera

Very few photographs have shaped the world as has the timeless snapshot of Che Guevera taken by photographer Alberto Díaz Gutiérrez, known as Korda on March 4, 1960. Very few photographs even have such an alluring and dreadful narrative of death surrounding it.

The photograph in question is instantaneously familiar, the brooding stare of Che Guevara recognizable, a cultural icon like “the Nike swoosh or McDonald’s golden arches,” notes NY Times writer Michiko Kakutani, who elucidates on the ubiquitousness of this particular image by suggesting that Che’s stare is at turns “pensive, determined, defiant, meditative or implacable — as difficult. . . “to put a finger on” as the Mona Lisa’s smile.”

The image has, in the past 50 years, become the feature of silkscreens, watches, chains, cigarette lighters, coffee mugs, wallets, backpacks, mouse pads, beach towels and condoms. From a…

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Goat Brains, Endeavor, and Bach in Space

“I don’t know anything, but I do know that everything is interesting if you go into it deeply enough” – Dick Feynman

While heading back home from university today, I caught a fleeting glimpse of two sheep side-by-side, eyes shut. I thought about whether or not animals dream when they sleep; It also got me thinking about how I perceive my environment. So here I was, looking at another species of the animal kingdom that came with a brain, but it was spectacular to think that I could conceive their existence and they couldn’t do the same. I was self-aware, conscious of most of my own actions, had aims and goals and hobbies and so on and so forth. The sheep in contrast will live an instinctive life, subject to the whims of its grey matter, going wherever its brain wants it to go, eating and reproducing for reasons unknown, and in its last stages, simply fade away. We humans are remarkable because apart from attempting to survive and reproduce for reasons unknown, are also capable of asking the ‘why?’. You can ask your brain what its thinking right now and find that it is able to respond. What’s even more remarkable is that when viewed through a microscope, its simply a collection of unthinking, unaware mass of cells ‘doing’ something.

That’s what a science lover sees. A photographer/artist will probably look at a goat and see something else entirely. But it won’t be any less remarkable.

I think a lot of us (I’ll include myself in the set) are losing a very integral part of what makes us human. We’re excited less by the things around us; scream a little less when we’re excited about seeing something new. Ask how or why something works even less. Even more frightening is how most of us have little appreciation for the works of others.

There are so many wonderful people out there doing so many wonderful things, its hard to not get overwhelmed by the surge of interactivity and their unwavering determination. Its awe-inspiring. How can you not want to follow in their footsteps?

Parallel Parking Level: NASA. Space Shuttle Endeavor(to the left), seen ‘docked’ to the International Space Station, orbiting at a speed of ≈ 7.7 km/s, ≈ 400 km above the surface of the Earth. Yep, the ‘parking’ was done in exactly those conditions. The ISS is arguably the single most expensive item ever constructed.

The bookshelf depicts a volume of books of rather special importance. Appropriately named the Human Genome.

And this is what’s inside the volumes. Us. A particular sequence of four proteins. There are approximately 20,500 genes in human beings, the same range as in mice. What’s different about us?“To the makers of music – all worlds, all times”. Cover of the Voyager Golden Record, placed aboard both of the Voyager Spacecrafts, launched in 1977 by NASA. Their life expectancy was to be four years. Its been 40 years, and they’re still going strong. What’s included in the records are a 116 images and a variety of natural sounds from Earth, should any life forms come across them. A symbol of our existence. To quote Optimus Prime: “We are here. We are waiting”.