While we took a longer than expected break, we’re now back with another season of The Best of TED. As before, we ask that when you find a Talk that’s especially interesting, let us all know about it so we can appreciate it, too. Just click on “I RECOMMEND…” on the menu bar and post your recommendation. Be sure to include a link to the Talk. And occasionally check “I RECOMMEND…” to see what others have found and enjoyed.
For newcomers to The Best of TED, check out the posts and Talks from previous terms (select Fall 2013 or Spring 2014 under Categories on the sidebar).
Have a great summer.
– Ginny & Tom, OLLI’s The Best of Ted curators
Our medical systems are broken. Doctors are capable of extraordinary (and expensive) treatments, but they are losing their core focus: actually treating people. Doctor and writer Atul Gawande suggests we take a step back and look at new ways to do medicine — with fewer cowboys and more pit crews.
New → Books by Gawande, Atul
Drug-resistant bacteria kills, even in top hospitals. But now tough infections like staph and anthrax may be in for a surprise. Nobel-winning chemist Kary Mullis, who watched a friend die when powerful antibiotics failed, unveils a radical new cure that shows extraordinary promise.
August 29, 2014. Superbug NDM could ‘change face of healthcare’ experts warn A study by Public Health England found that most bacteria carrying the NDM enzyme were resistent to the ‘last resort’ antibiotics. Only one drug, from the 1950s, remains effective against infections carrying New Delhi metallo, and it will soon become resistant to that as well, researchers said. ….
NDM-1 stands for New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase, which is an enzyme produced by certain strains of bacteria that have recently acquired the genetic ability to make this compound. The enzyme is active against other compounds that contain a chemical structure known as a beta-lactam ring. Unfortunately, many antibiotics contain this ring, including the penicillins, cephalosporins, and the carbapenems.
PBS: Frontline. Hunting the Nightmare Bacteria
This PBS program, first aired in October, 2013, is available for viewing online, It will be re-broadcast on Tuesday, March 6, 2014 on APT. The Frontline website also has the latest on the nightmare bacteria, superbugs, and related issues.
More → Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) Infections
Gram-negative bacteria infections in healthcare settings
Emergence of KPC-producing bacteria
Eight ways to protect yourself from superbugs
Data and statistics, effectively displayed, can inform us about the world and our condition. They can also be used to control us, i.e., determine what we see on the internet, what shape our worldviews. Today’s discussion leader with be Auburn faculty member (and Linda’s husband), Chris Shook.
You’ve never seen data presented like this. With the drama and urgency of a sportscaster, statistics guru Hans Rosling debunks myths about the so-called “developing world.”
As web companies strive to tailor their services (including news and search results) to our personal tastes, there’s a dangerous unintended consequence: We get trapped in a “filter bubble” and don’t get exposed to information that could challenge or broaden our worldview. Eli Pariser argues powerfully that this will ultimately prove to be bad for us and bad for democracy.
[click images for larger views]
How can we measure what makes a school system work? Andreas Schleicher walks us through the PISA test, a global measurement that ranks countries against one another — then uses that same data to help schools improve. Watch to find out where your country stacks up, and learn the single factor that makes some systems outperform others.
Some people fancy all health care debates to be a case of Canadian Health Care vs. American. Not so. According to the World Health Organization’s ranking of the world’s health systems, neither Canada nor the USA ranks in the top 25.
3 San Marino
18 United Kingdom
26 Saudi Arabia
27 United Arab Emirates
36 Costa Rica
41 New Zealand
48 Czech Republic
51 Dominican Republic
58 South Korea
67 Trinidad and Tobago
68 Saint Lucia
74 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
76 Sri Lanka
80 Solomon Islands
86 Antigua and Barbuda
100 Saint Kitts and Nevis
107 Cook Islands
113 Cape Verde
115 El Salvador
132 Burkina Faso
133 Sao Tome and Principe
137 Ivory Coast
141 Marshall Islands
148 Papua New Guinea
167 North Korea
171 Equatorial Guinea
175 South Africa
188 Democratic Republic of the Congo
189 Central African Republic
Source: World Health Organization
Contrary to appearances, online reviews reflect the opinions of the few.
University of Illinois computer science professor Bing Liu estimates that roughly 30 percent of all reviews online may be fraudulent.
Yesterday, I mentioned the robot Logo turtle in class. For those of you who are curious or might want to introduce yourselves or grandkids(±) to programming and robots, below are a few links.
In the mid 1960s Seymour Papert, a mathematician who had been working with Piaget in Geneva, came to the United States where he co-founded the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory with Marvin Minsky. Papert worked with the team from Bolt, Beranek and Newman, led by Wallace Feurzeig, that created the first version of Logo in 1967. Ref: Seymour Papert, Mindstorms: Children, Computers, and Powerful Ideas
Children learned to program the Logo turtle to draw TurtleArt by first playing the part of the turtle to draw a design, then using the commands of the Logo language to program the robot turtle to create amazing graphic designs. In the process they learned mathematical, geometric, and logical thinking. Some of TurtleArt in the gallery, here, is quite intricate and colorful, the result of current implementations of Logo utilizing the color graphics capabilities on modern computing devices (e.g., desktop and laptop computers and, now, the iPad.)
iLogo is one implementation of Logo available for the iPad. For $2.99 you, your grandkids, and others can begin to explore the world of programming and the Logo turtle.
If you don’t have an iPad, you can conduct similar explorations with the the free MicroWorlds Web Players for Windows and Macintosh computers/laptops.
BTW, here’s a very brief b&w video of early Logo turtles. The one I ‘inherited’ at Syracuse University and used in classes on computers in education was one of two in existence at the time; the other was at MIT where both were hatched. It looked similar to the second turtle in the video, with a clear acrylic dome encasing its mechanical and electrical parts. The computer controlling it was a PDP10 minicomputer (see image, below), located in the machine room of the engineering building and connected via phone dial-up with a control box the size of a cluster of four shoe boxes.
PDP10 minicomputer – We’ve come a long way, baby!
[Please comment, below, if you explore any of these.]
Published on Apr 1, 2013. One afternoon, Kees Moeliker got a research opportunity few ornithologists would wish for: A flying duck slammed into his glass office building, died, and then … what happened next would change his life.
In his lab at Penn, Vijay Kumar and his team build flying quadrotors, small, agile robots that swarm, sense each other, and form ad hoc teams — for construction, surveying disasters and far more.
March 16, 2014, 7:23 PM. Will the skies of the future be filled with buzzing drones? On 60 Minutes, Morley Safer explores the new, hardly regulated world of commercial drones.
March 14, 2014. A federal judge slapped down the FAA’s fine for a drone operator, saying there was no law banning the commercial use of small drones.
The judge’s decision could open up the skies below 400 feet to farmers, photographers and entrepreneurs who have been battling the FAA over the use of the unmanned aerial vehicles.
And, of course, for your entertainment … Flying Fools.
NOTE: This class was originally planned for Week 1, April Fool’s eve, ergo the ‘fools’ theme. We hope you enjoy it even if it’s a few weeks later.
This week we introduce you to TED-Ed Lessons Worth Sharing.
We can use engaging videos to create customized lessons, adapting
and editing any lesson featured on TED-Ed, or or creating lessons
from scratch around any TED or YouTube video. You can take the
TED-Ed tour to watch the video and learn how.
AU’s 2014-15 Common Book. We will also introduce you
to William Kwamba’s How We Built A Wind Mill.
Questions of good and evil, right and wrong are commonly thought unanswerable by science. But Sam Harris argues that science can — and should — be an authority on moral issues, shaping human values and setting out what constitutes a good life.
At age 14, in poverty and famine, a Malawian boy built a windmill to power his family’s home. Now at 22, William Kamkwamba, who speaks at TED, here, for the second time, shares in his own words the moving tale of invention that changed his life.
Sam Harris is offering $20,000 to anyone who can refute, disprove the central thesis of his book The Moral Landscape.
Harris’ words [in his 2004 book The End of Faith] are indicative of a profoundly anti-intellectual conceit that holds an alarming amount of influence within contemporary scientifically motivated atheism.
Moving Windmills: The William Kamkwamba Story (video 6:07)
William Kamkwamba is the subject of a new documentary, William and the Windmill, which made its world premiere at the SXSW film festival on Sunday, March 10. It is up for the festival’s Documentary Competition.