The Latest Talks from TED


picture-451TED, or Technology, Entertainment, Design, began as a conference in 1984 that brought together leaders in those three fields with the mission of spreading ideas. Now, the annual conference challenges presenters to give “the talk of their lives” in 18 minutes. And while attending the talks can be cost-prohibitive for most, the talks can be viewed online, or downloaded, gratis, and watched on your iPod or Zune. The offerings from TED’s latest conference, just released, include talks on military robots, wingsuit jumping, and orgasms.

American Astronomer Jill Tarter talks about the SETI Institute (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence), which she directs, the power of perspective and extremophiles that tell us life may exist in many other environments (A 2009 TED Prize Winner).


P.W. Singer on the future of military robotics, and our changing relationship to war, the disconnect of drone pilots who fight wars from cubicles in Nevada, and rethinking the handling of war crimes.

Author Mary Roach, discussing the ten things you didn’t know about orgasm, touches on in utero masturbation, knee orgasms, and orgasms after death.

During Bill Gates’s talk about solving the world’s biggest problems, he unleashes mosquitoes into the pavilion saying, “There’s no reason only poor people should have to experience [malaria].” There’s also a follow-up Q&A with Chris Anderson.

Jonathan Drori on the importance of saving biodiversity, the Millennium Seed Bank, and the 3-billionth seed.

Seth Godin argues the Internet has ended mass marketing and revived a human social unit from the distant past: tribes.


Ueli Gegenschatz, the first person to base jump from the Matterhorn, talks about hotair balloon sliding in Austria, wingsuit flying in Rio de Janeiro and jumping off the Eiffel Tower.

Past Talks Worth Taking In:

Dave Eggers talks about starting 826 Valencia, the transformative experience of honoring the words and thoughts of children, and the Pirate Supply Shop (A 2008 TED Prize Winner).

Bill Clinton on meeting the challenges of global interdependence (A 2007 TED Prize Winner).

Filmmaker Jehane Noujaim on catching the onset of the Iraq war from the offices of Al Jazeera and those of the U.S. Military’s Central Command, the result of which was her documentary Control Room.

Malcolm Gladwell on the brains behind the discovery that there is no sweet spot to Pepsi, pickles, and spaghetti sauce.

Tony Robbins, the “Why Guy,” discussing the “art of fulfillment,” with enough charm and wit that he even elicits laughter from the stoic  Al Gore who makes a brief cameo – (even though you’re not into motivational speakers).

Rozalia Jovanovic is a founding editor of Gigantic, a magazine of short prose and art. She is the Deputy Editor of Flavorpill and has received fellowships from The MacDowell Colony and Columbia University. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming from Unsaid, The Believer, Everyday Genius, Guernica, elimae, and She blogs at The Astonishing Egg and is The Rumpus New York Editor. More from this author →