Here, some staff picks of smart, funny, bizarre and cool stuff on the interwebs this week. First, happy (late) World Poetry Day! Celebrate the occasion with 8 talks from spoken-word poets.
Vijay Kumar: Robots that fly ... and cooperate
Just when you thought Vijay Kumar’s robots that fly and cooperate were creepy enough, he and his team have developed a drone that can pick up objects at high speed using a bird-like claw. [The Verge]
A piece by Ed Yong takes an in-depth look at new findings on the mechanics of swarming, a phenomenon that has baffled scientists. Awesome quote: “Cannibalism, not cooperation, was aligning the swarm.” [Wired]
Beautiful photos from Christo’s “Big Air Package” — which is being called the “largest indoor sculpture in history” — being installed at the Gasometer Oberhausen, due to premiere in December 2013. [This is colossal]
Ed Boyden: A light switch for neurons
Congrats to Ed Boyden, who was named one of the winners of the 2013 Grete Lundbeck European Brain Research Prize earlier this week for his work on optogenetics. Watch Boyden’s 2011 talk, about using fiber-optic implants to control specific neurons in the brain. [MIT news]
What is it like growing up in a futurist household? Veronique Greenwood’s mother, a technology consultant, was touting the rise of mobile social networking years before the iPhone had come out and before Facebook had a “Like” button; she had pens printed with the slogan “Remember when we could only hear each other?” a decade before Skype. [Aeon magazine]Stewart Brand: The dawn of de-extinction. Are you ready?
More Ed Yong? Yes. Yong takes a look at the pros and cons of de-extinction (a big topic in these parts after Stewart Brand’s TED2013 talk). [National Geographic]
Congratulations to TED Fellow Durreen Shahnaz, whose company, Impact Investment Exchange, has been nominated for the Rockefeller Foundation Centennial Innovation Award.
Timo Arnall’s thoughtful critique of the growing trend to encourage “invisible” interaction design. [Elastic space]Jehane Noujaim: My wish: A global day of film
More congrats are in order, to 2006 TED Prize winner Jehane Noujaim, who just completed a Kickstarter to raise money for postproduction on her Sundance Award-winning documentary The Square. [Kickstarter] Read more about The Square.
A father overhears his son talking about coming out of the closet to his mother and him, then leaves him this note. [Twitter] More details from Gawker.
A cute hello from the Axosoft TED Live event from TED2013. Watch for some tasty-looking carrots. [YouTube]