A compilation of random and interesting things, musings, musics, videos, and more. Brought to you by a UChicago student with a penchant for procrastination.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

TED Conference Videos

If there's one thing that Google Video can claim in it's ongoing struggle against YouTube's size and interface - it's the amount of professional resources, documentaries, and otherwise inaccessible video footage (see C-SPAN's White House Correspondent's Dinner) that it provides for the everyday, Google-browsing, John Q Public.

This effort, while seemingly dwarfed by the amount of content available on YouTube, has a striking advantage in the quality of video made available. And that is probably why, on my last traipsing through the Google Video hallowed grounds, I happened upon a treasure trove of sorts - a collection of presentations that were not only informative, but actually interesting ... a shocking discovery to say the least.

The TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) Conference videos, sponsored by BMW and Google Video, host an amazing roster of individuals who are not only passionate about their fields of study - but can express themselves in a way that leaves you inspired by the potential for the future. These "trusted voices and convention-breaking mavericks, icons and geniuses" really are a pretty neat bunch, and Google Video presents their various talks on one easy to access page with the suggestion "plan to listen to at least three, start to finish. They have a cumulative effect..."

After watching the presentation of one man specifically, Hans Rosling,
a public health expert and director of Sweden's world-renowned Karolinska Institute, I was truly enlightened. Rosling's presentation revolves around opening individuals to the current state of the world and debunking the myths floating around concerning the relative status of life in different countries. Fundamentally, the point that really resonates throughout the presentation is the fact that such stereotypical mindsets continue to prevail in the face of data that is screaming the opposite. Watching the presentation I was forced to confront beliefs about world health that are not only outdated but generalized. If you get the chance, watch it below and see if it affects you as much as it has me.

Ultimately, the goal of Rosling's presentation simply underlines the greater goal of his non-profit organization, Gapminder.
With an initiative to 'gap' the bridge between global statistics and an accessible view of the health situation in the modern world - the impact of this work could lead to not only a more educated public, but viable changes in public policy and the means through which global problems are assessed and solved. Having e-mailed Mr. Rosling after watching the performance, he responded by noting "do use, download and spread what we have on www.gapminder.org" -- Will do.

Update -- You'd better believe that I've snagged these conference videos for my Video iPod. iTunes offers free video podcasts subscriptions to the presentations, which you can access at itunes.com/podcast?id=160892972
(note, this will request to run iTunes)

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