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TED News in Brief: Olafur Eliasson puts sunshine in your pocket, Thomas Dolby launching a center for technology + arts

Posted by: Tedstaff

This week, so much TED-related news hit the transom. Below, some of the highlights.

Artist Olafur Eliasson (watch his TED Talk) muses on his latest work — “Little Sun,” a miniature solar-powered lamp that puts five hours of sunlight in your pocket — in this awesome video from our friends at The Creators Project. The best part: the video brings you inside Eliasson’s studio, where  off-kilter geometric forms rule.

Thomas Dolby (watch his TED performance) is moving to Baltimore to fill a new role at Johns Hopkins. According to The Baltimore Sun, he’ll be the university’s first Homewood Professor of the Arts, heading up a center that will serve as an incubator for technology in the arts.

Intriguing news: research from the Human Security Report Project indicates that global violence is indeed declining — just like Steven Pinker suggested in his TED Talk.

In this New York Times Magazine cover story, find a long and personality-filled take on Stewart Brand’s Revive and Restore project — otherwise known as de-extinction. Watch his TED Talk introducing the idea.

Andrew O’Hagan reflects on ghostwriting for Julian Assange’s autobiography (watch Assange’s TED Talk) in the essay “Ghosting” for the London Review of Books.  “Isn’t the World Wide Web a new ether, in which we are all haunted by ghostwriters?” he asks in this long, thoughtful piece.

Tesla is cooking up something called the Gigafactory. As Wired reports, the brainchild of Elon Musk (watch his TED Talk) is creating a massive-scale production plant for lithium-ion batteries to power electric cars and, eventually, maybe everything.

The San Francisco Chronicle featured architect Emily Pilloton (watch her talk), looking at her design education work in the Bay Area and beyond. Pilloton’s news? A documentary film about her time teaching in rural North Carolina, called If You Build It, opened in San Francisco and Boston last week — with screenings around the US to come.

Cameron Russell graced the cover of Elle U.K. this month — and her unmistakable brand of straight talk graced the inside pages of the magazine. In her interview, she calls out the following accomplishment: while Google once auto-completed her name to “Cameron Russell boyfriend,” you now get “Cameron Russell TED.” (Watch her talk.)

A dry-witted—and gorgeous—illustration in Nautilus breathes life and narrative form into TED Fellow Jessica Green’s research (watch her talk) on microbes in the built environment.

TED has a one-second cameo in the trailer for HBO’s new show Silicon Valley. (Note: Strong language in this clip.) When it premiers on April 6th, we’ll see if they give us a full 18 of their 30 minutes.

From our friends at TEDMED, news from Max Little (watch his talk)! He’s launched Patients Voice Analysis (PVA), along with fellow TED speaker Jamie Heywood (watch his talk) and Sage Bionetworks (whose founder, Stephen Friend, will speak at TED2014). The project will dig into data gathered from Little’s Parkinson’s Voice Initiative, which sourced vocal characteristics from thousands of phone-in volunteers. Get more details.

Peter Singer (watch his talk) chats with Gawker about philosophy on the Internet, zoos, and what he recommends for a New Year’s resolution. Look also for his answers to readers in the comments section.

Filmmaker Kirby Ferguson (watch his TED Talk on remixes) has released a serialized documentary, This is Not a Conspiracy Theory, which looks at the big, dark secrets that may, or may not, be driving forces in our lives.

Every year, MIT produces an annual issue of Spectrum, a magazine about a cross-section of professors from different disciplines working on similar problems. This year’s issue, “Cities,” features Skylar Tibbits (watch his TED Talk) and Neil Gershenfeld (watch his talk) as well as a deep dive into the new thinking on urban design and living.

Using algorithms to predict the complexities of violent conflict (watch Sean Gourley’s or Bruce Bueno de Mesquita’s talks) is becoming more and more of an open business, according to a recent Verge article. Once kept top-secret — “for the simple reason that any reliable prediction would be too valuable to share” — this kind of conflict prediction data is now being released as a forecast, to better test its accuracy.

Arunachalam Muruganantham talks to the BBC about how he was an unlikely candidate to invent a sanitary napkin machine that’s easy—and cheap—for women in southern India. The article provides some nice tidbits he didn’t have time to share in his incredible TEDx talk on the topic.

At the Artists’ Pay for Radio Play benefit in February, David Byrne (watch his TED Talk) covered Biz Markie’s “Just a Friend.” In overalls.

And finally the Super Ball Bot, NASA’s bouncy new piece of extraterrestrial landing tech, relies on tensegrity (see Liz Diller’s and Theo Jansen’s TED Talks), a concept borrowed from the art world and which allows space exploration instruments to land gently, distributing the force of the shock throughout the structure. Watch IEEE Spectrum’s incredible video showing off the gear.