Wait for it... wait for it...
March 10, 2012 7:13 PM   Subscribe

Best. TED Talk. Ever. As the 'spinning beach ball of death' (Apple's Wait Cursor) does much more than slow down a three-minute presentation (SLImprovAnywhere)
posted by oneswellfoop (108 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
 
Well that was momentous somehow.

This may in fact be that point where we all look back to and realize that this was the talk where TED truly died. Perhaps it was doomed from the start. After all there could only be so many people in the world with genuinely interesting and accessible things to say that could be condensed into a 5 minute PowerPoint right? Regardless it was cool while it lasted and I think we should celebrate its life rather than mourn its death.
posted by Blasdelb at 7:27 PM on March 10, 2012 [32 favorites]


that reminds me of the time i was on the beach lazily punting beach balls back and forth with my friends and a bunch of surfers on laptops invaded our space and played dungeon hack
posted by pyramid termite at 7:28 PM on March 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


Fun!
posted by OmieWise at 7:29 PM on March 10, 2012


It might have been entertaining if you were there. But on screen it just isn't that great.

Two things it had going for it: The presenter deadpanning through the whole thing, and "Crowdsourcing Solar" as a parody of a TED talk.
posted by delmoi at 7:33 PM on March 10, 2012 [7 favorites]


For an elementary school assembly, that would be cool; for a TED talk, that was totally stupid.
posted by karathrace at 7:33 PM on March 10, 2012 [19 favorites]


TED is now a gala event?
posted by Meatbomb at 7:36 PM on March 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Is there website link or something where one can see the information about crowdsourcing solar?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:39 PM on March 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's rare that two obnoxious phenomena completely jump the shark at the same time.
posted by empath at 7:40 PM on March 10, 2012 [56 favorites]


there must be a solyndra joke to be made here.
posted by holdkris99 at 7:40 PM on March 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


I must know! Was the speaker in on it?!

(fucking improv everywhere)
posted by mrnutty at 7:42 PM on March 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


An annotation at the end of the video indicates that the speaker was indeed in on the joke.
posted by HeroZero at 7:45 PM on March 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


An annotation at the end of the video indicates that the speaker was indeed in on the joke.

Yes, things need to be explained. I don't have time for mystery.
posted by mattoxic at 7:46 PM on March 10, 2012


The speaker "Colin Robertson" was actually Improv-er Eugene Cordero. This may have been a better link, but I thought it too spoilery.

But yes, the simultaneous shark-jumpings of TED talks and IE pranks represent a significant cultural landmark these days...
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:49 PM on March 10, 2012


there must be a solyndra joke to be made here.

Dennis Miller called: he wants his cocaine, dignity and sense of humor back.
posted by joe lisboa at 7:51 PM on March 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


It's kind of sad that this has so much more inherent laugh value to me than that video did.
posted by mendel at 7:54 PM on March 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


Dennis Miller called: he wants his cocaine, dignity and sense of humor back.

Call 1992, I'm sure he can find them there.
posted by eyeballkid at 7:54 PM on March 10, 2012 [10 favorites]


Eugene, is a cool name.
posted by oddman at 7:55 PM on March 10, 2012


Call 1992, I'm sure he can find them there.

One outta three ain't bad, I guess.
posted by joe lisboa at 7:56 PM on March 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


TED talks should have Timecube presented eloquently to shake things up a bit.
posted by mccarty.tim at 7:57 PM on March 10, 2012 [7 favorites]


Incidentally I just want to get it down in writing that Ricky Gervais is the new Dennis Miller in like 2030. He's funny now, but he has that same arrogance and idea that he's smarter than everyone that will turn him into an unfunny conservative ranter when he gets older. Writer it down.
posted by drjimmy11 at 7:58 PM on March 10, 2012 [14 favorites]


For an elementary school assembly, that would be cool; for a TED talk, that was totally stupid.

Hang on, yeah, that TED talk was stupid!
posted by mattoxic at 7:59 PM on March 10, 2012


Geez. Solyndra can't do ANYTHING right, can they?
posted by crunchland at 8:00 PM on March 10, 2012


For me, TED and IE both lost their appeal well before this but I actually liked this event. It was pointlessly amusing and colorful. The best part was that the performers (except the main presenter) were TED attendees and not IE folks.
posted by euphorb at 8:06 PM on March 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


I like the Improv Everywhere pranks when they're subtle.
posted by Jahaza at 8:07 PM on March 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Incidentally I just want to get it down in writing that Ricky Gervais is the new Dennis Miller in like 2030. He's funny now, but he has that same arrogance and idea that he's smarter than everyone tha
Miller is only 8 years older then Gervais.
posted by delmoi at 8:20 PM on March 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's pretty damn sad when an open venue for intellectuals of all stripes is derided as an "obnoxious phenomena."

We get it, Captain Portlandia, anything that's not a pure and perfect facet of your secret gem of life is corrupt and filthy and O-ver. Meanwhile, I will watch the everliving fuck out of my "old and busted" Roku TED channel.

Also, the pissed-off and helpless act of the presenter was pitch perfect right up until he let us in that he's in on the joke. Feeling bad for him made it even funnier... very cool.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:21 PM on March 10, 2012 [10 favorites]


I know from glancing over these comments that there are plenty of valid cynical ways to look at this, but I think the kind of fugue / overkill leading up to all the leotard people and the remix of the error sound plus the presenter selling it like a champ was FUUUUCKING FUNNY!!!!
posted by SharkParty at 8:27 PM on March 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


How TED Makes Ideas Smaller.
posted by timsteil at 8:31 PM on March 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


Ricky Gervais is the new Dennis Miller in like 2030. He's funny now, but he has that same arrogance and idea that he's smarter than everyone tha

He's funny? I don't see it, but i've never enjoyed the embarrassment comedy he thrives on and can't seem to do anything else of.

But i also find this cute and don't see why everyone is hating on it.
posted by usagizero at 8:32 PM on March 10, 2012 [1 favorite]



We get it, Captain Portlandia, anything that's not a pure and perfect facet of your secret gem of life is corrupt and filthy and O-ver. Meanwhile, I will watch the everliving fuck out of my "old and busted" Roku TED channel.


I've saw several TED talks I was blown away by. But you watch a bunch of them, it becomes clear there is a pattern to them, tricks and tropes and themes, and you become wary and begin to be struck by the complexities they gloss over.

It reminds me very much of when I got the New Yorker on CD a couple years back and sat down all giddy to read all the back articles of my favorite authors. Malcolm Gladwell was one of the first ones I picked, and if you read his stuff in a row suddenly the strings and popsicle sticks become very, very apparent. Compare to someone like say, Oliver Sacks, whose subjects and structures were also quite similar --- all his pieces were case histories, essentially --- but who engaged with his subjects so thoroughly that the experience of reading each piece was quite different, because the people he was talking about were different. There's some really fascinating and unique TED talks. But an awful lot of them seem to have these faux-shucks presenters with the self deprecating humorous slides all leading up to the Techno-Glow Coda for the end to make you feel all warm and fuzzy...one longs for astringence, after a while.
posted by Diablevert at 8:36 PM on March 10, 2012 [27 favorites]


But I wanna learn about 'Crowdsourcing Solar'??!!
posted by robotot at 8:40 PM on March 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


He's funny? I don't see it, but i've never enjoyed the embarrassment comedy he thrives on and can't seem to do anything else of.


He is definitely stuck at the moment it seems. But I have never laughed harder than the first time I heard the old XFM radio shows with Steve and Karl, as well as the podcasts they built off those radio shows.

Plus, Ricky gave us Office (UK) and subsequently Office (US) and Parks and Rec. I enjoy Extras though the new Life's Too Short is just dwarf David Brent vs smug Ricky Gervais, not that amusing though I still get a laugh.

What I am saying is, Dennis Miller is no Ricky Gervais, Gervais has made a lasting contribution to comedy in general and TV specifically. Can't say anywhere near the same for Miller.
posted by holdkris99 at 8:42 PM on March 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


What always strikes me about ImprovAnywhere is how little actual talent or grace they have. They basically bank on a 'disruptive' idea, but don't actually seem to have any dancing, acting, etc. chops.
posted by signal at 9:07 PM on March 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've saw several TED talks I was blown away by. But you watch a bunch of them, it becomes clear there is a pattern to them, tricks and tropes and themes, and you become wary and begin to be struck by the complexities they gloss over.

"Learn to judge intellectual arguments on their merits." ftfy.

Considering the only viable alternative is obscurity in academic journals, or worse, reportage in mainstream media by science-beat hacks and business-section glad-handers, I'll take TED.

Until TED is replaced by something better, being anti-TED is flat-out anti-intellectualism. You are telling artists, scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs to shut up, because we're bored of you and don't belive in you.
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:11 PM on March 10, 2012 [31 favorites]


But I wanna learn about 'Crowdsourcing Solar'??!!

Get your own solar panels. Bang. Done.

But as I have continued to overthink these refried beans, it strikes me how this stunt really didn't hurt the images of either organization involved. For TED, it's a way to show that it is NOT taking itself TOO seriously (at least not for this three minutes), and for ImprovEverywhere, it's far more 'pure fun' than their previous 'conference prank', "Gotta Share! The Musical" which took a bigger satirical bite (at the deserving target of Social Media) than most of their stunts.

On preview, signal, the "Gotta Share" stunt was also one of IE's most well-staged, but also, least good-natured.
posted by oneswellfoop at 9:13 PM on March 10, 2012


ImproveEverywhere can do a lot of stupid crap before I stop loving them for the Best Buy Prank and the Human Mirror. The Surprise Wedding Ceremony is pretty sweet too.
posted by straight at 9:44 PM on March 10, 2012 [4 favorites]



"Learn to judge intellectual arguments on their merits." ftfy.


No, I'd disagree with you there; a defect is also a legitimate criteria for judgement, and bowdlerizing the complexities of your subject is a defect.

Until TED is replaced by something better, being anti-TED is flat-out anti-intellectualism. You are telling artists, scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs to shut up, because we're bored of you and don't believe in you.

Yes, of course I am, because we do live in an impoverished world where the only alternative means of communication for artists, scientists, and entrepreneurs are publication in the dusty back pages of the 2nd Concordance of the Annual Symposium of Thinky Type People, Abridged, or by drawing stick figures in mud. There's no other way for them to get their ideas out there, and certainly no way for them to do so with any nuance or thoughtfulness; it's not as if a medium of near-infinite space for writing exists.

And, to be sure, considering that the only possibly audience for their info is a small auditorium of Silicon Valley plutocrats, if they are lucky enough to present to TED they should certainly be careful to reduce their life's work into 10 minutes of sunshine and blowjobs administered via powerpoint; anything else would risk momentarily discomforting their patrons.

Of course, I say this merely in an excess of caution; how likely is it after all that people who work and study human relations, economics, or climatology could uncover results which would discomfort and disturb their audience yet present no easy technologically inspired solution? Near impossible, after all, in this best of all possible worlds.

In fact, strike my earlier comment; clearly I need remedial study at the feet of Dr. Pangloss....
posted by Diablevert at 9:57 PM on March 10, 2012 [19 favorites]


I've saw several TED talks I was blown away by. But you watch a bunch of them, it becomes clear there is a pattern to them, tricks and tropes and themes, and you become wary and begin to be struck by the complexities they gloss over.

90% of everything is crap. Always has been, always will be.
posted by no regrets, coyote at 9:58 PM on March 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


It's like TED made something for Metafilter to hate. It's like a gift from TED to you.
posted by quadog at 10:10 PM on March 10, 2012 [11 favorites]


The point of a TED talk is to get you interested enough to go find out more. Nobody thinks that they're telling you everythingyiu need to know about their subject. Imagine how fucking boring a subject would be if you could exhaust it in fifteen minutes.

Most of the TED presenters have, in fact, also written at more length on their subjects in other fora.
posted by yoink at 10:14 PM on March 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


Until TED is replaced by something better, being anti-TED is flat-out anti-intellectualism.


You're not going to learn anything particularly valuable in 10 minutes, and for most of the people giving the talks, it's just marketing bullshit. I watch lectures and talks all the time online, TED offers nothing of real value, but the people who go there seem to think that intellectualism somehow rubs off on them because they were in the same room with a smart person.

There are a few talks I've watched that were decent or entertaining. Most of them seem to be kind of dumbed-down hand-wavey bullshit or thinly disguised ads for a product or some pet project.

It is nice that TED has learned how to get rich people to pay to listen to smart people, though. I like it when smart people make money.
posted by empath at 10:27 PM on March 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Plus, Ricky gave us Office (UK) and subsequently Office (US) and Parks and Rec. I enjoy Extras though the new Life's Too Short is just dwarf David Brent vs smug Ricky Gervais, not that amusing though I still get a laugh.

All that and you fail to mention 'An Idiot Abroad', the funniest thing that group has given the world.
posted by xmutex at 10:34 PM on March 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


While the original TED conference was basically "the latest Big Ideas presented for People Too Important to Have More than 10 Minutes to Spend on Any One Thing", the public distribution of TED Talks is more like "the latest Big Ideas presented for Anyone with a Short Attention Span". But still, the Big Ideas presented are generally those that won't upset the Very Important People too much. And that's TED's biggest shortcoming.

Now what I would really like to see is cartoonist Francesco Marciuliano doing a TED talk about his character Ted Forth (a comic strip character whose flakiness makes Dagwood Bumstead look like an over-achiever by comparison). TED on Ted would be a great 3 minutes or 10.
posted by oneswellfoop at 10:36 PM on March 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've always hated Mac OS X's almost unparalleled propensity to beach ball, especially Safari. It's simply ridiculous that a modern operating system should spend so much time waiting on itself.
posted by jeffburdges at 10:41 PM on March 10, 2012


I haven't seen this much misplaced fake jollity since Chevy Chase sang Happy Birthday to his son.
posted by anazgnos at 10:58 PM on March 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


My favorite TED talks are the TED talks that analyze TED talks.
posted by nooneyouknow at 11:05 PM on March 10, 2012


Life is what happens when you wait for Quicktime to update.
posted by lubujackson at 11:11 PM on March 10, 2012


Until TED is replaced by something better, being anti-TED is flat-out anti-intellectualism.

Yeah, until TED came along, we were all just a bunch of unenlightened drones with no access to complex ideas at all.

Oh, wait
posted by PeterMcDermott at 11:27 PM on March 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


I became involved with a local TEDx event. It seemed like a gathering of people who wanted to be recognized as being smart. There was a lot of self-promotion. But, then again, I'm a pragmatist, and I don't spend a lot of time thinking up crazy ideas.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:47 PM on March 10, 2012


I've always hated Mac OS X's almost unparalleled propensity to beach ball, especially Safari. It's simply ridiculous that a modern operating system should spend so much time waiting on itself.

Have you ever used visual studio?

I love visual studio, and it's a great product, but it hangs on some sort of mysterious thing it's doing FAR more often than safari. And for far longer.
posted by flaterik at 11:47 PM on March 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


(that is said with the understanding that almost all beach balling is actually application specific. If you switch focus from the app, the OS will be responsive, despite the cursor state)
posted by flaterik at 11:48 PM on March 10, 2012


shark:
JUMPED
posted by hypersloth at 11:57 PM on March 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's rare that two obnoxious phenomena completely jump the shark at the same time.

aw man I really gotta start reading this stuff before commenting.
posted by hypersloth at 12:00 AM on March 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


needs more Nardwuar
posted by philip-random at 12:08 AM on March 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


i got nothing against TED, because, hey, they've had some good ones. But, oh my holy crap, do I hate Improv Everywhere. I pretty much hate everything they have ever done. Sorry.
posted by jefbla at 12:14 AM on March 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


*stifles roflmao and plans to send video to client who might just be giving talk on same or similar topic*

*roflmao*
posted by infini at 12:29 AM on March 11, 2012


I didn't learn anything.
posted by plexi at 12:58 AM on March 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why is it that, in posts about X, the utterly predictable and information-free "X is so over" / "I liked X when it was cool and before they sold out/scum like you knew about it" / "X hasn't been 'relevant' for years now" comments aren't classed as threadshitting and relegated to metatalk yet?
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:33 AM on March 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Jesus hippofucking Christ, now it's TED backlash?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:40 AM on March 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


Incidentally I just want to get it down in writing that Ricky Gervais is the new Dennis Miller in like 2030. He's funny now, but he has that same arrogance and idea that he's smarter than everyone that will turn him into an unfunny conservative ranter when he gets older. Writer it down.

This already happened, quite soon after The Office in fact...
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 1:44 AM on March 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


You're not going to learn anything particularly valuable in 10 minutes,

Things like 'look out' when there is something dangerous is not only valuable but falls under a 10 minute mark.
posted by rough ashlar at 1:49 AM on March 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don't understand what the point of that was.
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 1:53 AM on March 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


It's pretty damn sad when an open venue for intellectuals of all stripes is derided as an "obnoxious phenomena."

We get it, Captain Portlandia, anything that's not a pure and perfect facet of your secret gem of life is corrupt and filthy and O-ver. Meanwhile, I will watch the everliving fuck out of my "old and busted" Roku TED channel.
The problem is that they don't filter for "real" intellectuals. There is interesting science, but there's a lot of Thomas Friedmanesque "Intelectualism" that consists of flattering listeners and telling people stuff that they can use to "feel" smart rather then actually learning stuff. At least that's what a lot of the TED stuff seems to be these days.
"Learn to judge intellectual arguments on their merits." ftfy.

Considering the only viable alternative is obscurity in academic journals, or worse, reportage in mainstream media by science-beat hacks and business-section glad-handers, I'll take TED.


Well, duh, of course its better to present at TED then it is to present at an academic conference. I'm sure it's much more fun for the presenters.

But at the same time, if you want to learn stuff, you're probably better off watching videos from academic conferences or lectures then TED. For one thing, the talks at a conference are going to be a lot longer and more detailed. this lecture by Lawrence Krauss, about this history of cosmology over the past hundred years (and the history of the universe over the past few billion) was way better then any TED talk I've ever seen. this video on the Holographic Principle was more fascinating then most of the TED talks I've seen. The talks I've seen people give at google, everyone from Lady Gaga to Linus Torvlads, to Neil Stephenson, Randal Munroe and so on. The result is way more knowledge.

And the "Related Videos" on both the academic talks and the google talks have tons of similar stuff, probably a lot of it better then most of the stuff at TED. You're much more likely to learn a lot about a topic watching an hour long academic lecture then you are watching a ten, or three minute tech talk. I'm sure an hour long talk by Gary Kasparov or George Soros, or Micheal Polan, or Leonard Susskind

Hell, even bloggingheads.tv dialogs can be more interesting then TED talks. All they do is get to prominent intellectuals to skype with each-other and record it. It certainly doesn't have the opulent grandeur of TED but the content can be much more interesting.

Here's the thing, when you watch and Academic lecture, you're watching someone do their job. They're promoting themselves to a certain extent, but they're promoting themselves to people who are knowledgeable on the topic (even if they're doing a generalist lecture, like Lawrence Krauss - the conference was about promoting general understanding of science, rather then about cosmology specifically)

With stuff like the google talks, google is actually going out to find thought leaders and pay them what their time is worth to come and give a talk. With TED it's mostly volunteers who's goal is self promotion. There are scientists who present as well, but they don't get much time.
Until TED is replaced by something better, being anti-TED is flat-out anti-intellectualism. You are telling artists, scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs to shut up, because we're bored of you and don't believe in you.
First of all, I am bored with entrepreneurs. It's the French word for "Promoter", essentially. The equivalent of the Italian "Impresario". An entrepreneur is out to make money, not impart knowledge. They are the least interesting people in the world.

Secondly, the content just isn't deep. It's "Pop" intellectualism. Saying that not liking TED is being anti-intellectual is like saying not liking Justing Bieber or Miley Cyrus is being "Anti-musical". That's absurd.

The basic problem is that when you do judge TED talks on their merits, they come up lacking.
posted by delmoi at 1:56 AM on March 11, 2012 [43 favorites]


Why is it that, in posts about X, the utterly predictable and information-free "X is so over" / "I liked X when it was cool and before they sold out/scum like you knew about it" / "X hasn't been 'relevant' for years now" comments aren't classed as threadshitting and relegated to metatalk yet?
Are you kidding? That's, like, half of what we do here.

I do kind of agree there's a bit much, but in this case I agree with the fat jealous loser brigade. TED sucks.

(I did this talk entertaining though. Although it does illustrate just how willing TED is to whore out their brand)
posted by delmoi at 3:03 AM on March 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


I've reached the point where I don't need to scroll down the comment to figure out who wrote it.
posted by infini at 3:04 AM on March 11, 2012


Diablevert: we do live in an impoverished world where the only alternative means of communication for artists, scientists, and entrepreneurs are publication in the dusty back pages of the 2nd Concordance of the Annual Symposium of Thinky Type People, Abridged, or by drawing stick figures in mud.

That is a terrible pity, because the existence of TED instantly destroys all the other, more nuanced ways of getting information. Once something's been featured on TED, that's it! 10 minute video or nothing.
posted by whir at 3:39 AM on March 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


It seems like TED isn't perfect, ideal or whatever standards you want to hold it to, but until I see a competitive series of presentations/lectures that at least try as hard to be intellectual, I won't agree that TED sucks.
posted by Drumhellz at 3:44 AM on March 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, I learned on thing. Overweight guys should NOT wear full body suits.

/taking certain items of clothing to the resale shop.
posted by HuronBob at 3:56 AM on March 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


That is a terrible pity, because the existence of TED instantly destroys all the other, more nuanced ways of getting information. Once something's been featured on TED, that's it! 10 minute video or nothing.
No one is saying that TED destroys interesting lectures on the internet, any more then Justin Bieber and the Jonas Brothers destroy music. Or that Thomas Friedman or Malcolm Gladwell destroy the written form of passing on knowledge.
until I see a competitive series of presentations/lectures that at least try as hard to be intellectual
What are some lecture series that you've sampled that you don't think live up to TED?

I gave some examples of stuff that I thought was better: Bloggingheads, and whatever@google, plus random academic talks you can find on youtube. What's wrong with them? In fact, if you don't consider blogging heads a 'lecture series' (which it's not) then whatever@google is the only "branded" series of talks I can think of. I feel it's better then TED. I can't think of any that are worse. Other then TEDx, of course.
posted by delmoi at 3:58 AM on March 11, 2012


It's rare that two obnoxious phenomena completely jump the shark at the same time.

Nah. Haters of TED talks and Gervais jumped the shark long ago.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:40 AM on March 11, 2012


I heard TED jumped the shark "when Ricky sold it to that Andersen fellow"...
posted by infini at 4:50 AM on March 11, 2012


I, uh, actually enjoyed this. Maybe that makes me uncool.
posted by NMcCoy at 5:58 AM on March 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


I sometimes enjoy TED but mostly because it is like TV commericals for science. They used to provide a curation service before they franchised out into TEDx and became a Neo-Age lecture link farm. I still watch occasional video when it is recommended by a third party but mostly ignore them. I do however love watching good long-form science videos on the Web. The other day I watched a brilliant presentation on knee injuries for the weekend warrior and would love to see more of this kind of caliber talk but they are so hard to find.
posted by srboisvert at 6:07 AM on March 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


until I see a competitive series of presentations/lectures that at least try as hard to be intellectual
Why does it have to be a "series?" Why can't I listen to lectures from different sources in different areas of interest? After all, Strange Loop is pretty interesting for a programmer, but I don't expect them to present lectures in foreign relations or philosophy.
posted by sonic meat machine at 6:43 AM on March 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Until TED is replaced by something better, being anti-TED is flat-out anti-intellectualism.

TED uses the trappings of intellectualism, but in a way guaranteed to be unchallenging and flattering to both presenter and listener. I can't think of any harm that comes out of it, but it's a long way from serious intellectualism.

I really want to like Improve Everywhere and similar groups, but they tend to skew way too cutesy for my tastes. Again, it's not causing anyone any harm, but I can't help but think about all that time and effort for something so lightweight.
posted by Forktine at 6:49 AM on March 11, 2012


90% of everything is crap. Always has been, always will be.

Remember when The Simpsons were 90% awesome and then they kept going for another 15 years and became 90% bad?

90% of everything, left in perpetuity, becomes crap. (It's entropy, baby.)

So that's why we have to recognize the 10% of things that won't, and tell the rest to hang on to their respectability and, like a TED talk, leave the stage before the clock hits 18 minutes.
posted by pokermonk at 7:10 AM on March 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


I can't read IE without thinking Internet Explorer. Also, why is this improv when it was rehearsed?
posted by Obscure Reference at 7:41 AM on March 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


Until TED is replaced by something better, being anti-TED is flat-out anti-intellectualism.

Better for what? Learning?

Here's several years worth of lectures from Leonard Susskind teaching you almost everything you need to know to really understand modern theoretical physics.

There's TONS of stuff like that on iTunesU and youtube -- real academics teaching real science and math.

That's real intellectualism, not the faux-intellectual aren't-i-smart grandstanding you get at TED. At best, TED is a master class in good communication and marketing. It has nothing to do with intellectualism. It's intellectual popcorn.
posted by empath at 7:59 AM on March 11, 2012 [8 favorites]


MetaTalk
posted by cloeburner at 8:17 AM on March 11, 2012


I don't really get what's the beef with TED, it's part of the spectrum of presentation and it isn't in the crap "3-minute elevator get my attention" part of it either.

The spokeperson is often an "expert" on the subject matter, who also doubles as a testimonial lending some credibility to some"what if scenario" or "description of reality as I see it" - and even if that's self-referential and probably self-interested, that's slightly better than a boxing-champion-endorsing-a-barbecue-grill type of infomercial, which adds nothing to my understanding of anything (except the mere notion that Mr.X likes Y).

Certainly some of the lectures linked above this post (some by Delmoi) are far more detailed and convey a lot more than a TED talk could, but keep in mind that the audience of that lecture, when clicking the link, is possibily already willing to spend at least 30min-1hour on a specific topic, and that the speaker usually isn't much pressed into using a "sales pitch" mode of presentation for he/she already knows that 1. the audience is willing to spend 1 hour on a topic 2. he/she already knows that much has to be discussed in detail.

Certainly I concour that some matters are better discussed in comparatively "long" talks and I also dislike presentations that, for the sake of brevity, end up distorting or misrepresenting important or essential aspects of a matter - but I dislike much more those presentations that deliberately distort or misrepresent (Mission Accomplished) or that are entirely make-believe (Ponzi Schemes, Guaranteed Return over Inflation but no real guarantee, You Really Can Afford this Home but, in small print caveat emptor, no guarantee the risk is enormous and it's really on you).

And that true, of course, also if there's a fat TED logo on it.
posted by elpapacito at 8:20 AM on March 11, 2012


MetaTalk

I think you mean "AskMe," unless you meant to link to something different.
posted by Forktine at 8:30 AM on March 11, 2012


If I'm ever in the audience of one of these IE performances, I'd like a special song that I could jump up and interrupt them with.

Oh my god, people are singing unexpectedly!
It's like a high school musical unfolding right in front of me!
Who are these uninvited agents of melody and rhyme?
Aging theater majors with too much free time!

posted by buriednexttoyou at 8:51 AM on March 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


Until TED is replaced by something better, being anti-TED is flat-out anti-intellectualism.

This is a completely boneheaded thing to say. Being critical of TED is exactly what is going to help us replace it with something better.
posted by speicus at 9:40 AM on March 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


The most enjoyable thing about the IE videos I've seen before is the reaction of the bystanders/onlookers, their genuine amazement or happiness. I kept waiting for them to pan over the audience, I don't know why they didn't really show us any of their faces in this one. Maybe they were just as unamused as the commenters here.
posted by jamesonandwater at 11:22 AM on March 11, 2012


I really want to like Improve Everywhere and similar groups, but they tend to skew way too cutesy for my tastes. Again, it's not causing anyone any harm, but I can't help but think about all that time and effort for something so lightweight.

This is the heart of it -- taking radical notions of theater, art etc and doing quite un-radical things with them. Which sadly, is exactly the kind of thing you're going to get paid well for. I remember finding myself at some big deal mining industry awards "do" a few years back (black tie for men etc). And in the middle of it was this rock band (with a British-isles folk edge), because I guess somebody thought it was important to skew younger. But they weren't allowed to play loud -- just kind of stayed in their corner where EVERYBODY was ignoring them. And they looked miserable. But I bet they got paid damned well.
posted by philip-random at 12:05 PM on March 11, 2012


I thought the overweight guy in the body suit was the *best* part of this. In fact, I kept hoping there would be an equally unselfconscious woman in the dance. It is this everyperson release of facade that makes IE so whimsically human. IE is to be experienced, not critiqued - in fact, it is that very pompous "critiquing" that is the impetus for the pranks. It only takes a little imagination to feel the silly delight of this 'TED talk' -- but then, I guess imagination is so ... over.
posted by Surfurrus at 12:22 PM on March 11, 2012


I haven't seen this much misplaced fake jollity since Chevy Chase sang Happy Birthday to his son. yt (oops, Goldie Hawn's son)

Happy birthday Ollie. My present to you is to make awkward dancy dance with your mom and kiss her on the lips.
posted by ian1977 at 12:31 PM on March 11, 2012


Until TED is replaced by something better, being anti-TED is flat-out anti-intellectualism. You are telling artists, scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs to shut up, because we're bored of you and don't belive in you.

Welcome to Metafilter!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:32 PM on March 11, 2012


MetaFilter: the latest Big Ideas presented for Anyone with a Short Attention Span
posted by tzikeh at 5:10 PM on March 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


I loved this, and am happy to be uncool for it!
posted by idlethink at 7:26 PM on March 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


But I bet they got paid damned well.

Speaking as a sometimes working musician, I really doubt it.
posted by speicus at 8:39 PM on March 11, 2012


Certainly some of the lectures linked above this post (some by Delmoi) are far more detailed and convey a lot more than a TED talk could, but keep in mind that the audience of that lecture, when clicking the link, is possibily already willing to spend at least 30min-1hour on a specific topic
I don't generally seek long form video lectures as a form of information absorption. Most of those I would have stopped watching if they hadn't completely sucked me in, I definitely didn't plan on watching The whole thing. In fact when the LadyGaga one was posted here I was actually thinking that watching an hour long video would be ridiculous, that I had stuff to do and that I'd just watch a few minutes of it to see what it was all about since people were talking about it in the thread.

The Neil Stephenson I definitely wanted to see since I'd just finished Anathem, and had been waiting to watch it since I didn't want the book spoiled. I think with the other ones I was kind of curious, but didn't really expect to spend an hour watching you tube.
I thought the overweight guy in the body suit was the *best* part of this. In fact, I kept hoping there would be an equally unselfconscious woman in the dance.
It's easy to be daring when your face is obscured. Not that there's anything wrong with that, it's actually a somewhat interesting phenomenon.
IE is to be experienced, not critiqued
It's not for the critics
posted by delmoi at 9:00 PM on March 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


I loved this, and am happy to be uncool for it!

Me, too. Me, too.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:22 PM on March 11, 2012


It's easy to be daring when your face is obscured.

delmoi, the dancers faces are revealed on the web page.

And, re: "for the critics" -- perhaps I should have been more specific. IE is not performance art that is seeking an audience - this TED IE production was not presented for 'applause'. If there is anything to critique, it would have to come from the *experience* of being in the audience (or from the production itself) -- not from viewing the *recording of the experience*.
posted by Surfurrus at 9:34 PM on March 11, 2012


I loved this, and am happy to be uncool for it!

Which makes you cool and thus uncool.
posted by joe lisboa at 10:13 PM on March 11, 2012


Some of y'all are no fun.
posted by SakuraK at 10:15 PM on March 11, 2012


I loved this, and am happy to be uncool for it!

Which makes you cool and thus uncool.


curses, recursive uncoolness! if I am cool with being uncool as a result of being cool with being uncool, do I win a rainbow beach ball?
posted by idlethink at 11:04 PM on March 11, 2012


Metafilter: We Hold It Down So You Can Get Your Punches In
posted by jscott at 12:03 AM on March 12, 2012


I used to see that beach ball a lot on my iMac starting a few months after I got it. Sometimes it meant that the faulty hard drive it came installed with had unexplainably mangled its partitions again, usually taking with it a couple days work, hundreds of preferences, and the hours of re-installs to get it all working again for a month or two.

About 14 months in, though - warranty expired - beachballs got harder to see because of all the colored vertical lines that had started marching across the screen from the right side. Hundreds of people reported the identical problem online; there was no response from the company for several years.

So excuse me if I don't find this a bit funny.
posted by Twang at 12:35 AM on March 12, 2012


Metafilter: "Somewhere, someone is having fun, and I'm against it."
posted by crunchland at 3:45 AM on March 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


... this video on the Holographic Principle was more fascinating then most of the TED talks I've seen...

Thats just a perfect video. So many crappy New Scientist articles and other hand-wavy stuff out there. But this video tells you exactly where the Holographic principle came from. Succinctly:

The Second law of Thermodynamics must hold. Even for Black holes. But the entropy of Black holes is based on the Area, not the volume. So, working backwards, the information content of matter is also 2-dimensional, not 3-dimensional as was thought.

The guy giving the talk is Raphael Busso himself. Someone clever in the audience tries to trip him up. But Busso calmly points out that the asker's objection is precisely something that Busso had also anticipated and led to what is known as Busso's Holographic Bound.
posted by vacapinta at 3:55 AM on March 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Haven't watched that video, but I hope it also talks about ADS/CFT correspondence, because that was a big part of the holographic principle, as well. If you like the subject -- Susskind's Black Hole War goes into it fairly in depth.
posted by empath at 4:59 AM on March 12, 2012


Nah, he doesn't really get into ADS/CFT at all. Although that would probably be a good follow-on lecture. He does only briefly hint that there are several convergent results all pointing to our physics being a boundary physics. What I like about the lecture is its accessibility. Its suitable for an intelligent layman, I think.
posted by vacapinta at 5:32 AM on March 12, 2012


I've always like the hour-long talks on FORA.tv more than TED Talks. Most of them go way more in-depth and a majority of them have post-talk Q&As.
 
posted by querty at 6:58 AM on March 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Surely this will shut the TED critics up.
posted by crunchland at 8:24 AM on March 12, 2012


It's been a while since I watched it, but the talk just deals with relativity and thermodynamics for the most part. It's really more about how information is stored in black holes (i.e. on the surface) then about how the universe as a whole could actually be information on the surface of a black hole. What's really fascinating is that all of this comes out of totally standard physics, not speculative stuff like string theory.
posted by delmoi at 9:13 AM on March 12, 2012


Surely this will shut the TED critics up.

Lets see, 12 videos on totally random, unconnected topics (such as "why we can't see evidence of aliens", "How containerization shaped the modern world", and "The cockroach beatbox"), compared to Khan Academy with 3000 videos, covering entire courses of topics including basically all the math you need from arithmetic to differential equations, as well as chemistry, physics, finance, and on and on -- initially done by one dude in his spare time. Now done by mostly the same dude + grant money. (I'd be interested to know how many, if any, of the videos were done by other people) These are videos that are actually use by k12 teachers around the country in their lesson plans.

And before Khan Acadamy, you had stuff like MIT opencoursewear - which is great for college type material for engineers, but requires you to buy the textbooks.

Who knows, maybe someday TED Education will be useful. But for now it's just a dream of emulating something someone else has already accomplished.
posted by delmoi at 9:25 AM on March 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


There's something to be said for the visibility and buzz that TED already has. And it's a good thing people keep doing things other people have already accomplished, otherwise Matt might have thrown in the towel after he realized that The Well existed.
posted by crunchland at 9:55 AM on March 12, 2012


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