Despite multiple readings of Pinker and Lakoff, I’ve yet to find hard linguistic evidence to back my favorite theory: That the urge to name things is hardwired into our cognition. We are, as a species, obsessed with names. We name everything: our pets, our cars, our conference sessions … and attach great significance to those chosen. Perhaps this accounts for the fascination with NameVoyager, a delightful web app that visualizes the rise and fall of names over time. (“June,” for example, was very popular in the 20s, but has since gone out of circulation.) It also lets you test your favorite theories: Was the 1984 movie Splash responsible for the rise of Madison, now the 3rd most popular girl’s name? Possibly. According to NameVoyager, Madison was virtually unused before the 80s. So go ahead, graph your own favorite names. But be warned: It’s addicting. Women who are pregnant and people who are on deadline should not follow this link.
Reflections on TEDGlobal 2014, from the community October 17, 2014
Photos to close out TEDGlobal 2014 October 10, 2014
In case you missed it: Day 4 of TEDGlobal 2014 October 10, 2014
Bold expeditions: A recap of session 12 of TEDGlobal 2014 October 10, 2014
The 20 most popular TED Talks, as of this moment December 16, 2013
What makes a killer timelapse, with Joe Capra October 7, 2014
100 Websites You Should Know and Use (updated!) August 3, 2007
5 examples of how the languages we speak can affect the way we think February 19, 2013
Sign up for TED email updates
New talks released daily. Be the first to know!
By Gwen Schroeder When you watch a TED Talk, you see a speaker on a stage sharing a big idea. But for us in TED’s post-production department, we see each talk as the final product of a complex recipe. The speaker and their words are the most important ingredient, of course. But there are other, […]
By Asia Lindsay
Last year, we in the TED office successfully raised an ant farm. So this year, we thought we were ready for a more ambitious project—taking care of three pet jellyfish. They may not look like it, but jellyfish can be real divas. Still, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and the jellies (and the […]