Science

Inspired solution: Fast-drying Laundry

on

File this under: Solutions we didn’t know we needed. Researchers in Florida — funded by P&G — have developed a detergent that leaves clothes 20% drier, reducing tumble time and thus saving electricity. (Dryers account for 5.8% of US residential electrical use.) The science? During the wash, cloth fibers act like tiny capillaries, holding on []

Music

Getting Your Jill Sobule Fix

on

Long-time TEDsters may find themselves pining for our resident pixie chick, Jill Sobule. New Yorkers can get their Jill Fix this Thursday and Friday at Joes Pub (TEDsters will be in the house). Can’t make it? Satisfy the craving with the “Vid-Lit” (Think smart, low-tech music video) for her bittersweet single, Underdog Victorious.

Art

Web comics? NYT says "Ick." TED says "Slick!"

on

The New York Times may be cranky about the new trend in web comics. (They question the distinction between web comics and animation, and bemoan the “added headaches.”) But those of us who recognize that emerging media are, by definition, works in progress, find the new form fascinating. Our favorite: The Right Number by Scott []

Technology

Robot Gets Knocked Down (but it gets up again)

on

Researchers in Japan have invented a nimble humanoid robot that can regain its own footing after taking a tumble. Its secret lies in letting go of control: Rather than follow a strict set of predetermined rules, it makes on-the-fly adjustments based on body trajectory and momentum. This approach may sound familiar … it applies the []

Architecture

Design Mystery #347: Clock-free airports

on

Every so often, in the course of spotlighting great ideas, we ponderously turn our attention to great mysteries in design. Like: Why aren’t there clocks in airports? Seriously. Every other time-dependent location — train stations, schools, gyms — features prominent clockage. Yet airports, like casinos and spas, are conspicuously clock-free. Think about that, next time []

Culture

TED Book Club: Everything Bad is Good For You

on

Steven Johnson (TED2003) has wowed us at TED in the past, and his books never fail to intrigue and delight. His latest, Everything Bad is Good for You offers a provocative new lens through which to ponder the impact of modern culture. General assumptions among the cognoscenti: (1) Mass culture is dumbing us down (2) []

BuzzWordWatch: “Epigenome”

on

Perhaps I didn’t spend enough time chatting with Craig Venter in Oxford, because this morning was my first encounter with the word “Epigenome,” defined by Wired News as the layer of biochemical reactions that turns genes on or off. Obviously.

Burt Rutan, space cowboy, to speak at TED2006

on

TEDsters: Prepare to be transported. Burt Rutan, the legendary aircraft designer, will thrill us this February in Monterey, with his plans to make space travel a reality. Rutan, who won the $10M X-Prize for SpaceShipOne — the first private craft to reach space — has now partnered with Virgin Galactic (an offshoot of Virgin Atlantic) []

Biology

Eva Vertes told us first: Stem cells may cause brain cancer

on

Princeton sophomore Eva Vertes told us her theory at TED2005: That stem cells — seeking to initiate repairs in the body — may actually be the root of cancer. So cancer may, in fact, be the body’s own repair system gone awry. Well, research increasingly is backing her up. Cancer Cell journal reported recently that []

Environment

Someone who WON'T be coming to TED

on

Apparently Katrina was God’s punishment on a sinful New Orleans. I guess that would explain all those tsunami deaths among those sinful people in Sri Lanka, Indonesia and India too…

Film

A Sundance for TV Pilots

on

Entertainment

A.J. Jacobs ROCKS

on

His book The Know-it-all is a current TED Book Club choice. If that isn’t enough for you, try this great article on outsourced assistants. I had tears rolling down my face by the end …

Business

Intriguing launch from Seth Godin

on

Marketing guru Seth Godin, whose “Purple Cow” talk was a hit at TED2003, has launched an ingenious new site called Squidoo. It plans to accumulate content from anyone willing to play where each page (he calls it a lens) is a self-contained piece of expertise on a single topic. Seth believes this will help make []

Welcome, TEDsters

on

Bowing to extraordinary public pressure, we are pleased to unveil the new TEDBLOG … a little taste of ongoing TEDness for those who feel that once a year just isn’t enough. The plan is to add a few items every week…  to titillate, intrigue and delight.  Matters scientific, techie, creative, entertaining and… well, anything that []

Technology

An M&M-sized traffic jam

on

At TEDGlobal this summer, Richard Dawkins outlined the limitations of the human mind. We live, he explained, in a middle-sized world, and have difficulty understanding anything very large — like solar systems — or very small, like atoms. So when Dartmouth researchers created the world’s smallest mobile robot, which measures a hundredth of an inch []

Environment

Ed Burtynsky brings the big picture to Brooklyn

on

TED Prize winner Ed Burtynsky is known for his extraordinary large-format photographs, documenting the impact of humans on Earth. His epic slideshow at TED2005 took us through unorthodox landscapes — mountains of tires, rivers of industrial waste — as eerily beautiful as they are disturbing. You can revisit them (at your own pace) at the []