In Brief

A “living” amphitheater blooms, Edward Snowden gets graphic, and a new algorithm for Google …

Posted by: Kate Torgovnick May
What Antonio Torres' "living ampitheater" will look like. Photo: Courtesy of Bittertang

What Antonio Torres’ “living ampitheater” will look like. Photo: Courtesy of Bittertang

Below, just a few of the intriguing headlines involving members of the TED community this week:

TED Fellow Antonio Torres is creating a“living” amphitheater in Lake Forest, Illinois. Made from netted straw, wildflowers and vines, it will bloom throughout the summer and fall while it hosts performances. (Read more about Antonio’s work.)

Jack Andraka’s latest invention? A cheap, credit card-sized device that can detect water contaminants. (Watch his talk, “A promising test for pancreatic teacher … from a teenager.”)

Sheryl Sandberg has joined The Giving Pledge, signing on to give away half of her fortune to charity. This campaign, started by Warren Buffet and Bill and Melinda Gates, now has 127 members. (Watch Sandberg’s talk “So we leaned in … now what?” and the Gates’ “Why giving away our wealth has been the most satisfying thing we’ve done.”)

Edward Snowden becomes the stuff of comic book legend in a new graphic novel. (Watch Snowden’s talk from TED2014, “Here’s how we take back the internet.”)

Matt Cutts announced via Twitter that Google is rolling out Panda 4.0. Ever since, sites have been speculating on what this new algorithm will mean. (Watch Cutts’ talk, “Try something new for 30 days.”) For a taste of why people obsess over algorithm changes, see this sad item on layoffs at MetaFilter.

The National September 11 Memorial Museum opened to the public yesterday in New York City. It reveals the work of our longtime stage designer Tom Hennes, but also speaker Jake Barton, whose Local Projects created the multimedia experiences. (Watch Barton’s talk on curating the installations, “The museum of you.”) Also: see Steve Rosenbaum’s tour of the museum under construction.

An exciting development for Sebastian Thrun: California’s Department of Motor Vehicles has approved the testing of driverless cars. (Watch Thrun’s talk, “Google’s driverless car.”)

Meanwhile, Malcolm Gladwell and Steven Pinker get quoted on Chipotle’s bag and cups, thanks to Jonathan Safran Foer. (Watch Gladwell’s talk, “Choice, happiness and spaghetti sauce” and Pinker’s “The surprising decline in violence.”)

Lars Jan’s art puts people in aquariums for a performance project called Holoscenes—which not only looks really cool, but calls attention to our relationship to water in a century where climate change will come to a head. He’s raising money for the project on Kickstarter. (Read more about Jan’s work.)

Finally, Susan Cain gives Fast Company some compelling reasons why businesses should consider redesigning their offices for introverts. (Watch Cain’s talk, “The power of introverts.”)