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TED News in Brief: A dance that explains chicken sperm competition, a new look at a drowning island

Here, your weekly recap of TED-related news:

Science writer John Bohannon (watch his TED talk) runs the annual Dance Your Ph.D. contest. This year’s winners must be seen to be believed. In the video above: a dance that explains sperm cell competition in chickens.

Bloomberg BusinessWeek has a brilliant, troubling cover story on the drowning island-nation of Kiribati, which Greg Stone told us about on Mission Blue in 2009 (watch the talk). As ocean levels rise, issues of social justice arise as well.

TED Fellow Bilge Demirköz (read about her work) has been appointed to the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey. She tells us, “I am the youngest person ever to be appointed to this board in its 50-year history, and the only female member out of 15.”

To make art that is rooted in loss: A shattering new read from Chris Abani in The Millions. (Watch his talks “Telling stories from Africa” and “On humanity.”)

Sugata Mitra (watch his TED Prize talk) has opened up the first site of his School in the Cloud, inside a classroom in George Stephenson High School in the United Kingdom. In this lab, kids will explore big questions as adults urge them on. Mitra tells The Journal that he will be opening up five similar learning labs in India over the next few years. “What we’re aiming to do is level out the playing field between schools in underdeveloped areas and those in more affluent areas,” he says. “If we can do this, then that will be revolutionary in terms of education.”

Love the smart and well-explained choices in this new playlist of TED Talks about filmmaking from the Movie Scrutineer.

Fortune-coverFortune magazine has named Elon Musk (watch his talk) Business Person of the Year for 2013. And our own Chris Anderson wrote the cover story.

Patrick May of Silicon Beat recently interviewed Henry Evans, the robotics pioneer who is also a mute quadriplegic. He writes of Evans’ recent TED Talk, “He ‘appeared’ on-stage with the help of a telepresence robot. It’s an amazing video.”

Alexandre Afonso uses Steven Leavitt’s research on crack economics (watch the talk) as a springboard to suggest a bold thesis: “How Academia Resembles a Drug Gang.”

Nancy Duarte (watch her talk) is one of TED’s beloved presentation gurus, and many of her secrets to great slides, presentations and talks are detailed in her recent book Resonate. This week she made a multimedia version of the book available for free. (Read our Q&A with Nancy.)

Ralph Langner writes in Foreign Policy on the “real” Stuxnet. (An account is required to read the article, though a PDF of a much more detailed report is available for free.) The story of the malicious software is well-known (watch Langner’s 2011 TED Talk for the details) … but, we’re learning now, there’s a second stage that contained the real payload.

The New York Times offers a profile on Alexis Ohanian (watch his talk) and his unflagging belief in the power of the internet as a platform for good. While the profile is short, Ohanian is apparently very tall—they put him at 6’5”.

Sebastian Thrun (watch his TED Talk) is in many ways the father of the MOOC, after opening up his artificial intelligence course online.  But he reveals to Fast Company why he is backing away from the idea of online courses: because, of the people who sign up, only 10% finish and not all of them show comprehension in the end. He says, “We were on the front pages of newspapers and magazines, and at the same time, I was realizing, we don’t educate people as others wished, or as I wished. We have a lousy product.”

Eli Pariser (watch his talk) talks to The Atlantic about the “click bait with a conscience” on his website Upworthy.