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TED News in Brief: Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly to speak at TED2014, 37signals commits to staying small, and much more

Speaking on the last day of TED2014: Gabrielle Giffords and Mark Kelly.

Speaking on the last day of TED2014: Gabrielle Giffords and Mark Kelly.

This week has brimmed over with TED-related news. Here, some highlights:

In 2011, Arizona legislator Gabby Giffords was shot in an assassination attempt. Now she and her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, have founded Americans for Responsible Solutions, a bipartisan organization that has raised $6 million in six months for the creation of sensible gun control laws in the United States. The pair has just announced that they will appear at TED2014, speaking in session 12 “Onward.” (Check out the rest of the TED2014 lineup.)

Most businesses want to grow. But this morning, 37signals announced its ambition to stay a small, focused company with just 40 or so employees. CEO and founder Jason Fried (watch his TED Talk) announced in a shocker today that, in fact, the company is committing to a single product: Basecamp. Fried writes, “Our entire company will rally around Basecamp. With our whole team – from design to development to customer service to ops – focused on one thing, Basecamp will continue to get better in every direction and on every dimension. Basecamp is our best idea and our biggest winner.” Want to acquire their other products? They’re looking for takers.

The New York Times has written a great profile of Esther Perel (watch her TED Talk), dubbing her “The Sexual Healer.” Susan Dominus writes, “Perhaps not since Dr. Ruth commandeered American airwaves in the 1980s has there been a public figure with so much of an audience for her work on human sexuality. “

Did you watch the Super Bowl halftime show last Sunday? Well, then you saw the latest project from TED Fellows James Patten (read more about him). The 80,000 fans at the game were each asked to wear a hat with an LED display during the show, which resulted in a beautiful twinkling effect as Bruno Mars performed. Patten wrote part of the software for the system.

Ultra Ever-Dry has released a gloriously muddy new demo video. Nope, still doesn’t beat Mark Shaw’s very dry demo at TED2013.

Snowboarder Amy Purdy (watch her TEDx talk) has been named to the US Paralympic team to compete in snowboard cross, where athletes race down a course with turns, drops and berms. Watch her compete in Sochi on March 14.

Wired offers a helpful slideshow in gifs of 7 gestures that make you look like an intellectual. We’ve certainly seen some of these on the TED stage.

Our hero Bill Nye (watch his TED-Ed lesson) staged a debate with a creationist on Tuesday night, so you didn’t have to. Meanwhile, our other hero, Weather Underground meterologist Jeff Masters (watch his TEDx talk), drops this mix tape of the most intense weather videos of 2013.

The New Yorker lays out its case that herbicide maker Syngenta ran a multi-million-dollar campaign to discredit UC Berkeley biology professor Tyrone Hayes (watch his TED Talk) in his work studying the effects of a herbicide called atrazine.

Kevin Kelly (watch any of his TED Talks), in conversation with Edge.org.

And finally, Reese Witherspoon tweets, “Love this inspiring TEDx talk by my friend Jimmy Bartz #courage.” Watch the talk below.