In Brief

TED gets the SNL treatment, a 3-D printed exoskeleton, and a look at the meaning of ‘yep’ versus ‘yup’

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The members of the TED community have been very busy over the past two weeks. Below, news briefs on what a few have been up to. We’ll start with a few funny bits, and work our way down from there.

Talks, courtesy of SNL. We were highly amused to see that Saturday Night Live considered a sketch called “DEF TED Talks Jam” last weekend. Check it out — but beware, it’s not quite safe for work. (Also, take a look at 11 of the funniest TED spoofs and what speakers can learn from them.)

Net neutrality: a guide for dummies. John Hodgman — a smart, funny man — deposits a plain-spoken defense of net neutrality on his Tumblr. (Watch John’s TED Talk, “Design, explained.”)

‘Yep’ versus ‘yup.’ Anne Curzan weighs in on when different variations of the word “yes” appeared in the English language in a “That’s What You Say” segment. She addressed the age-old question: do “yep” and “yup” mean the same thing, or do they have different meanings? (Watch Anne’s talk, “What makes a word ‘real.’”)

A non-funding platform. Reggie Watts is part of a new alternative to Kickstarter, called WorkHarder. Yes, it’s tongue in cheek — but it’s also very seriously a benefit for Doctors without Borders’ work in West Africa.  (Watch Reggie’s talk, “Beats that defy boxes.” And thumbs up to Kickstarter co-founder Perry Chen, who is a TED Fellow.)

Raspberry Pi gets smaller, cheaper. At TEDGlobal 2013, Eben Upton shared his latest invention: a credit card-sized computer, Raspberry Pi, that helps people of all backgrounds learn about computing. According to TechCrunch, a smaller, cheaper and more energy efficient version is now available. (Watch Eben’s TED Q&A, “Wherefore Raspberry Pi?”)

An antibiotic chat. Earlier this year, Ramanan Laxminarayan warned that a crisis in antibiotics is coming. Last Wednesday, he participated in a Twitter chat, tackling questions about antibiotic resistance like, “Are there substitutes that can be used to deal with superbugs?” Check out his Twitter feed to see the conversation in action. (Watch Ramanan’s talk, “The coming crisis in antibiotics.”)

The friends who power pose together. When Amanda Palmer launched her book tour this month, she kicked it off in Boston by interviewing pal Amy Cuddy. In the clip above, these friends talk power posing … and share the impact of their respective TED Talks. (Watch Amy’s talk, “Your body language shapes who you are,” and Amanda’s, “The art of asking.”)

A printed exoskeleton. Amanda Boxtel appears in a fascinating article in The New Yorker, all about how 3-D printing is revolutionizing medicine. In the piece, she talks about the bionic exoskeleton suit that allows her to walk. “It was made from me and for me,” she says. (See Amanda in the TED Talk, “Human exoskeletons — for war and healing.”

Get ready for Flipsicle. Raghava KK’s imaginative cartoons and paintings are known for shaking up traditional perspectives. He’s launched a new web-based platform called Flipsicle, which aims to increase empathy by allowing users to see through multiple viewpoints. (Watch Raghava’s talk, “My 5 lives as an artist.“)

A serious music video. Somi, an East African Jazz artist and TED Fellow, continues to captivate audiences with her gusty, soulful vocals. She has a new music video for the song Brown Round Things, meant to reinforce the humanity of Africa’s sex workers.

Reflections on the fall of the Berlin Wall. Longtime TED photographer James Duncan Davidson posted Mauerfall 25, a reflective photo essay on the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. It include stills of the 8,000 lighted balloons that mark the path of the wall itself.

An instrument you don’t touch. Theremin enthusiasts can dive into Us Conductors, a novel about the inventor of the no-contact, electronic musical instrument. The book is already generating buzz and won the 2014 Giller Prize. (Watch Pamelia Kurstin’s talk, “The untouchable music of the theremin.”)