The Most Popular Ted Talks of 2011

January 1, 2012 in Videos

2011 was a busy year, so I wasn’t able to keep up to speed with all of the Ted Talks as they were released. Today I decided to look back at the most watched TED Talks uploaded in 2011, as a quick way to catch up on the best. Although I know the most popular doesn’t always mean the best quality, it felt like a good enough proxy for me!

Here’s the list I found, if you’d like to catch up on some great talks too:

10. Kevin Slavin: How algorithms shape our world (230k)

9. Ron Gutman: The hidden power of smiling (243k)

8. Terry Moore: How to tie your shoes (284k)

7. Salman Khan: Let’s use video to reinvent education (293k)

6. Sebastian Thrun: Google’s driverless car (297k)

5. Alexander Tsiaras: Conception to birth — visualized (334k)

4.Marco Tempest: The magic of truth and lies (and iPods)

3. Eli Pariser: Beware online “filter bubbles” (508k)

2. Sarah Kay: If I should have a daughter … (557k)

She recently released this poem as a hardback book too.

1. A robot that flies like a bird (1.5m)

IBM’s ‘Mad Science’ Series

February 1, 2010 in Videos

The IBM Social Media channel on YouTube has been posted several videos to promote, all with the common theme of using data, computing and analytics to make our world run smarter. It’s nerd-tastic!

Once you look past the unnecessary (and unfunny) humour that they include in these videos, this really is a nice little series. They’re well made and very educational videos.

Here are the videos they’ve uploaded so far, I’d definitely recommend checking them out:

Economics and Ecology

January 12, 2010 in Economics, Essays, Videos

I’m a big fan of the VlogBrothers, two brothers who make daily youtube videos addressed to each other (but also to a wider audience). In today’s video one of the brothers, Hank, attempts to give the other brother – and the rest of the viewers – a quick overview of “Ecosystem Services“. To quote Hank directly:

“Ecology is a fascinating and complicated science. But if you mix it with the fascinating and complicated science of economics, you end up giving value to the things our world does for us.

Those things, in ecological lingo, are “ecosystem services” and you can actually put price tags on them.”

It’s an interesting video and a great introduction to an area of economics that I had never really considered before:

5 Great Uses of YouTube Annotations

October 21, 2009 in Videos

Youtube annotations allow video creators to add clickable links to certain parts of their videos. This was originally designed to create simple transitions from one video to another, but as with all technologies the best results have come from putting it to previously unimagined uses.

Here are four of the best examples of how it’s done, and one cautionary tale.

Where’s dexter?

To promote the new season of the TV Show Dexter, the US network Showtime created a mini-game called ‘Where’s Dexter’ – a video version of ‘Where’s Wally’. The game has several levels, with the prize being a viewing of the trailer for the season.

Truth or Fail

Hank Greene (of vlogbrothers) used Youtube annotations to create an interactive video quiz show called Truth or Fail.

Youtube Fighter

Interactive Parkour


And just to balance things out, here’s a video I consider to be a bad use of video annotations. Links that let you control the camera angles of the video. There’s nothing wrong with it in principle, it just seems as if they made use of the technology simply because they could, not because it would lead to great content.

That’s My Kind of Thinking – March 2009

March 31, 2009 in Picks

My favourite examples of great thinking from the past month

1. While other teachers have taken to banning laptops in class because they are a distraction, one teacher has taken a more novel approach.

working hard or hardly working
Creative Commons License photo credit: bradleygee

2. An insightful article by Gerard O’Neil: Debt is a Fact, Wealth is an Opinion.

3. And Two great questions:

4. This month’s video is Malcolm Gladwell’s TED talk on Spaghetti Sauce!


March 16, 2009 in Marketing, Videos

I found this video today (via MJ). It’s one of the nicest short films I’ve seen in a long time, and is well worth the 12mins of your time. (click if you can’t view the video below).

One of my first thoughts for the video was “this should be an ad for Twitter”. Is it wrong that my first thought about such a lovely short film was business related? Probably. But I still think it was an important one.

In the marketing world, as the transition is being made from TV ads to online videos, the trend has been to make snappier, shorter, “more viral” videos. While this has worked well in many instances, I don’t think it’s the only way that online video can be best used.

If you have a product as good as Twitter, something that is unique and enriches peoples lives, then I see no reason why you couldn’t use an artistic short film similar to the one above to convey the value your service can bring to people.

There’s a lot of talented filmmakers and film school students out there thirsty for projects to work on (and for budgets!) and it would probably work out much cheaper than a TV campaign. It’s just a thought.

That’s My Kind of Thinking – Feb 09

March 4, 2009 in links

(A few days late)

Comforting odds (for my flight tomorrow): Over 95% of passengers involved in a plane crash survive. Here’s some tips on how to survive a plane crash.

A simple explanation of the current financial turmoil. “The crisis of credit

One of the best Seth Godin posts in a long time.

Randolph Nesse on Evolutionary Medicine (link to videos)

That’s My Kind of Thinking – January 09

January 30, 2009 in links, Uncategorized
Stephen Pinkers Genome

Stephen Pinker's Genome

I’ve given up on the weekly “Pete’s Picks” post of links. There’s many other people that do it faster and better than me (Alexia, Damien, Joe, Stephen and others), so I’m only be creating a latent echo! What I’ve decided to share instead are examples of thoughts I really like. Innovative and novel ways of looking at something, or new ways of addressing old problems. “Thinking outside the box” for want of a better term. Because these will be long posts in general, I will try not be too frequent.

Where Sweatshops are a dream – What if our outrage over sweatshops is misguided?

Love doesn’t scale – On how communism fails to recreate the community effect on a large scale

What Robert Ingersoll wanted for Christmas – I’m a month late, and it’s 111 years old, but it’s timeless.

My Genome, My Self – Stephen Pinker disscusses the mapping of his genome, and the practical, psychological and philisophical implications of knowing your own blueprint.

Video: Queerer Than We Can Suppose: The Strangeness of Science. A TED Talk by Richard Dawkins