TED News in Brief: Krista Donaldson’s D-Rev gets big attention, Lawrence Lessig starts a 185-mile walk, and a new look at the TED controversy

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Krista Donaldson showed her company's $80 prosthetic knee at TEDWomen in December. This week, their work was featured in The New York Times. Photo: Marla Aufmuth

Krista Donaldson showed her company’s $80 prosthetic knee at TEDWomen in December. This week, their work was featured in The New York Times. Photo: Marla Aufmuth

Please enjoy your weekly roundup of TED-related news:

This week, the New York Times took a look at Krista Donaldson’s nonprofit, D-Rev, which designs medical equipment for the developing world. (Watch her  talk about their $80 prosthetic knees.) The article reads, “D-Rev is one of dozens of small Silicon Valley start-ups aiming to use market dynamics to solve social problems. But seven years after its founding — and a decade into the rise of ‘social entrepreneurism’ — D-Rev and its peers have found that the marriage of nonprofit motives to for-profit markets can be rocky. D-Rev has had to become far more involved than it expected in financial models, licensing deals, consulting services and manufacturing arrangements. In essence, it is redesigning not only high-tech products but also supply chains and procurement systems.”

P.W. Singer was featured on NPR’s Fresh Air on Tuesday to talk about his new book, Cybersecurity and Cyberwar: What Everyone Needs to Know. Singer (watch his TED Talk) and host Terry Grand discussed the recent cybersecurity breaches at Target and Nieman-Marcus and the future of hacking U.S. patents.

In an essay for Medium, Christiana Peppard (watch her TED-Ed lesson) explores “the TED controversy” — the perception that TED is contributing to the — *gasp* — popularization of ideas best left to professional academics. Peppard’s even-handed analysis is worth a read, as it contains a new argument that, we hope, strikes a chord with potential speakers who have hesitated to nominate themselves for fear of standing out: “Scholars sometimes worry that public media engagement is narcissistic self-promotion. I get it. But The OpEd Project shook the worry out of me with their ‘Who Narrates the World?’ byline report (2012), which reveals that the majority of people who publish op-eds in major news outlets are white, Ivy League-educated males.”

Meanwhile, TED’s own Chris Anderson wrote an essay for The Guardian that explores the charge that TED oversimplifies, and explains why we’re so passionate about the mission of spreading ideas.

Charlie Todd (watch his talk) is at it again: tens of thousands of people took off their pants on subways in over 60 cities in over 25 countries around the world for this year’s No Pants Subway Ride, which took place on Sunday.

PBS’s most recent “American Experience” special features The Poisoner’s Handbook, as written by Deborah Blum (watch her TED-Ed lesson on forensics).

On January 11, Lawrence Lessig launched the “New Hampshire Rebellion,” a two-week, 185-mile walk across the state during the coldest month of the year in an effort to raise awareness about corruption. In the video above, Lessig gives a short interview in which he answers the question: “Are you crazy?”

Did you catch Bing’s new ad, which debuted at the Golden Globes? The ad celebrates the achievements of amazing women, and includes awe-inspiring TEDster Diana Nyad. In her latest TED talk, she shared the tale of her successful swim across the Florida Straits.

Jonathan Harris has published a new essay called “Navigating Stuck.” It explores some of the themes of creativity in the digital age which he discusses in his TED Talks and is accompanied by his beautiful drawings.

Tom Chatfield (watch his talk) uses his final column as BBC Futures editor to take a bold stab at this week’s strawman: techno-opto-futurism.

Every year, asks a great big question to its panel of academics, researchers and thinkers. This year’s: “What Scientific Idea Is Ready for Retirement?” Look for plenty of TED speakers in this long, chewy roundup. And, as the wonderful Kathryn Schulz (watch her TED Talk) tweeted in response to the question: “What scientific idea is ready for retirement? Maybe “scientists are guys?”140 of 176 contributors are men.”

On the front page of MetaFilter, user MonkeyToes compiles a trove of links and interviews with Robin Nagle (watch her TED Talk), New York City trash anthropologist and utterly fascinating person, whose talk from TEDCity2.0 Day shares what she learned during her time with NYC’s Department of Sanitation. Dive in and read more about her.