World’s Strangest

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26 Beatnik Slang Words and Phrases We Should All Start Using

Plenty of phrases from the first self-described hipster generation have lasted into modern conversation: people still get bent out of shape, annoying people bug us and muscular guys are still built, just to scan the b-words. Here are 26 words and phrases that don’t get much use any more but are worth sneaking into conversation. 1. [...]

How Movie Effects Fool Your Brain

In this funny 15-minute TED Talk, special effects guru Rob Legato explains, shot by shot, how he made visual effects work in Apollo 13, Titanic, and Hugo. In addition to making great models, he did it by observing what people noticed versus what they saw. A sample quote regarding the Saturn V launch [...]

The Slowest Slo-Mo Ever Recorded

“How does light look in slow motion?” asks Ramesh Raskar in this brief TED Talk, demonstrating his “femto-photography,” a slow motion technique that achieves one trillion frames per second. He proceeds to show us: the camera captures so many frames that you can SEE LIGHT TRAVELING THROUGH WATER. You can see light moving across [...]

Jon Ronson’s “Psychopath Test”

In this decidedly spooky TED Talk, Jon Ronson explains his journey to understand mental illness, which brought him to a prison for the criminally insane to interview a very sanely-dressed possible psychopath, then brought him to “Chainsaw Al” Dunlap, whose house was “like Narnia.” The whole thing is engaging, challenging, and makes me really [...]

Building Babbage’s Computer from the 1830s

Charles Babbage designed a fully functional mechanical computer called the Analytical Engine in 1837. It used gigantic stacks of cogs for memory (capable of storing 1,000 numbers to 40 decimal places), a CPU-like computing engine developed using gears and wheels, a printer (numbers only), a plotter (for graphics…ish), and even a programming language (Ada [...]

Why Videos Go Viral

Kevin Allocca is the “trends manager” at YouTube, which means, as he says, he watches YouTube videos for a living — and then thinks about why they become popular. In this TED Talk, Allocca runs through a series of viral video hits and attempts to explain why they became popular. While it’s not [...]

The Insidious Cost of Ringtone Piracy

I’ve covered the brouhaha over laws like SOPA, PIPA, and ACTA. But in this five-minute TED Talk, Rob Reid brilliantly explains what I had been missing all along: Copyright Math™. By going through a series of claims by entertainment industry shills Copyright Mathematicians™, Reid reveals the shockingly absurd “truth” about media piracy: [...]

Andrew Stanton on Storytelling: “Make Me Care”

In a new TED Talk from last week, director Andrew Stanton (Toy Story, WALL•E) tells some stories…including a famously profane story, that includes a single, deliciously well-placed f-bomb (in the first few minutes). If you don’t mind that one four-letter-word, you’ll love this talk — Stanton is a terrific filmmaker, and watching him talk [...]

Peter Weyland at TED2023

(TED link) The latest marketing stunt for the Alien prequel Prometheus is a TED Talk from the year 2023. Peter Weyland is the founder of Weyland Industries, which will later become the Weyland-Yutani Corporation, referred to as simply “the company” by the crew of the Nostromo in the 1979 movie Alien. The movie Prometheus is scheduled [...]

Morgan Spurlock Sells His Soul in a TED Talk

“YOUR NAME HERE Presents: My TED Talk that you have no idea what the subject is and depending on the content could ultimately blow up in your face especially if I make you or your company look stupid for doing it — that being said, it’s a very good media opportunity.” This was [...]