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(The Awl)   Speaking the unspeakable: "Say, some of these TED talks are kinda . . . sorta . . . full of shiat"   (theawl.com) divider line 96
    More: Obvious, TED conference, desertification, Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, oversimplifications, Freakonomics, doomsday device, Ben Goldacre, Levitt  
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6518 clicks; posted to Geek » on 06 Feb 2014 at 9:45 PM (37 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-02-06 06:35:45 PM  
Anyone who watches TED talks on his lunch hour needs to be horsewhipped.
 
2014-02-06 07:10:35 PM  
For a medium that is supposed to liberate us from silly, unfounded "absolutes", the internet culture seems to shake a new one out of its sleeves every three days, based upon hit count and viral ubiquity.
 
2014-02-06 08:50:43 PM  
I saw one with some asshole who runs some crappy "news" website and he was going on and on and on and on about patent trolls. Blah blah blah blah, so boring. We get it. Patent trolls are bad.
 
2014-02-06 09:10:41 PM  
I never could really get into TED talks. Every time I saw one being hyped in the media or making the rounds of being shared on friends' FaceBook walls, it almost always turned out to be overhyping something to the point of making it pseudoscience.
 
2014-02-06 09:34:02 PM  
I've only watched a couple TED talks, and maybe I just had some bad luck, but I felt they were pretty lame.
 
2014-02-06 09:35:56 PM  
I find them to be excellent source of information that mainstream science fails at.
 
2014-02-06 09:55:55 PM  
I find them to be pretty hit or miss with a lot more of the latter.  The one on Captcha and ReCaptcha is pretty informative and Ken Jenning's is entertaining but most of them seem to make their "point" in the first minute and then just fill the remaining time with nonsense and repetition.
 
2014-02-06 09:55:55 PM  
The TED talks lost all credibility when they had this jackwagon speak:

upload.wikimedia.org
 
2014-02-06 09:56:03 PM  
TED Talks haven't been good since like 2009.  How do people not know this?
 
2014-02-06 09:57:17 PM  
I've seen good ones, bad one and terrible ones, just like every other talk I've been to in a conference or during grad school.
 
2014-02-06 09:57:18 PM  
That article is trying to trick people who hate Ted Talks into watching some Ted Talks.

/Hey - that would be a good Ted Talk topic
 
2014-02-06 09:57:48 PM  

ArcadianRefugee: The TED talks lost all credibility when they had this jackwagon speak:


I didn't know Obama spoke at TED
 
2014-02-06 09:58:50 PM  
Baby. Bath water. Know the difference
 
2014-02-06 09:59:39 PM  
Actually, there are an awful lot of them. I've seen a few, and lucked out - they were pretty good - but it's inevitable that there has got to be some crap in all that material - probably a lot.
 
2014-02-06 10:07:31 PM  
Maybe in 2004 they were cutting-edge shiat, but these days they're just a way for the 1%ers to pretend they're being deep and thoughtful and paradigm-breaking. I do some design and printing work for a local VC firm that lurves them some TED Talks. They even put on their own TED Talk rip-off conference in the summer. It's about as intellectual as cellulose spray insulation.

As a rule, you should steer clear of any franchise that regularly involves Deepak Chopra being insightful.
 
2014-02-06 10:12:06 PM  
TED taught me that I had been tying my shoes incorrectly my whole life. I've seen others, but I really only remember the shoe-tying one.
 
2014-02-06 10:12:56 PM  

bunner: For a medium that is supposed to liberate us from silly, unfounded "absolutes", the internet culture seems to shake a new one out of its sleeves every three days, based upon hit count and viral ubiquity.


hear hear!
 
2014-02-06 10:17:09 PM  

theorellior: Maybe in 2004 they were cutting-edge shiat, but these days they're just a way for the 1%ers to pretend they're being deep and thoughtful and paradigm-breaking.


Eeeyup. They started good - and there are still some really good talks in there. But there's a whole lot of "woooo" and a lot of "independent events" which are very expensive and cashflowy.
 
2014-02-06 10:17:57 PM  
You know what I hate the most about TED?

That farking Gary Wilson and his anti-masturbation pseudoscience.

It's just a repackaging of puritanism, and there's thousands of his acolytes out there who are taking part in "no fap" in the hopes it will make them alpha. I hope he dies.
 
2014-02-06 10:25:03 PM  
Someone should do a TED talk on how to be selective about what you watch, listen to or read.

A whole lot of people could then stop whining about things they don't like.
 
2014-02-06 10:28:07 PM  
Evil? Really.  That's the word you went with.
 
2014-02-06 10:35:36 PM  

PanicMan: Evil? Really.  That's the word you went with.


Well, they'd be evil if people actually paid attention to them and followed their advice. Luckily no one does that.
 
2014-02-06 10:41:27 PM  
http://www.ted.com/talks/mary_roach_10_things_you_didn_t_know_about_o r gasm.html
awesome

http://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability.html
amazing

http://www.ted.com/talks/jill_bolte_taylor_s_powerful_stroke_of_insi gh t.html
stroke


I REALLY dont care how good or bad all the rest are.
These 3 blew me away and made me think that there are a couple more that are probably worth watching.
 
2014-02-06 10:42:14 PM  
I only know TED talks from Netflix and never watched one. That article kinda makes me glad I didnt. Am I missing something about it aside from the link?
 
2014-02-06 10:42:17 PM  
If it wasn't for TED TALKS and Nicole Daedone I never would heard about the importance of the 1 o'clock position on the human clitoris.
 
2014-02-06 10:43:12 PM  
TED is fine as infotainment. If you want talks that are more in depth but still not a college course, try 'Talks @ Google' or /r/lectures on Reddit. Also keep in mind that the quality control for TEDx events is much lower than for TED itself.
 
2014-02-06 10:44:35 PM  

theorellior: As a rule, you should steer clear of any franchise that regularly involves Deepak Chopra being insightful.


God that man pisses me off.

Especially becuase I *KNOW* At some point someone has sat him down and explained "No, look. When a physicist uses the phrase 'observed' with regard to quantum mechanics, he doesn't mean it in the normal sense. He doesn't mean "A being looked or measured this in some way!" The physicist is using it as shorthand for "The universe interacted with this in, literally, ANY possible way.""

And he STUILL goes on with his bullshiat quantum woo and ARRRGGGHHH.

/PHYSICIST SMASH PUNY CON MAN.
//PHYSICIST NO LIKE CORRUPTION OF SCIENCE
 
2014-02-06 10:58:27 PM  
Palotta's consultant work, running events as for-profit fundraising campaigns for causes like AIDS research and cancer awareness, had problems when only a small percentage of the proceeds being raised were actually going to direct services. In one incidence, rather than a promised 60% of proceeds going to charity, the fundraising, advertising, and event costs cut into expectations so far that only 19% made it in the end. When too much money was being spent on marketing materials and large salaries for employees like Palotta, many of the larger fundraisers took offense and left to form a more formal tax exempt non-profit that ran similar events and paid their staff less overall.

Oh wow, what a scumbag. For contrast, organizations like the Red Cross or Doctors Without Borders usually get around 90% of the proceeds going directly to the work they do.
 
2014-02-06 11:25:23 PM  
I only watch about 1/10th of all the ted talks.

About 50% aren't in a subject I'm interested in (so I play a few minutes and see if it's interesting despite the subject).
Another 40% are in a subject I'm interested in ... but the speaker is just boring.

That last 10% though ... is awesome sauce.
 
2014-02-06 11:35:34 PM  
Sure, 90% of TED talks are crud. That's becuse 90% of everything is crud.

/Not obscure
 
2014-02-06 11:36:39 PM  

ArcadianRefugee: The TED talks lost all credibility when they had this jackwagon speak:

[upload.wikimedia.org image 220x275]


That's not Jonathan Haidt.

images.ted.com
 
2014-02-06 11:55:00 PM  
Its all the code words they use.
 
2014-02-06 11:57:35 PM  
Here's the thing if you never get to hear a differing view, you never get to figure out just what makes your own position stand up or not.
 
2014-02-07 12:01:18 AM  
Sturgeon's Law applies here.
 
2014-02-07 12:07:35 AM  

QU!RK1019: I've only watched a couple TED talks, and maybe I just had some bad luck, but I felt they were pretty lame.


Eh, they're just high-concept dicking around, and always have been.  If you take them for what they are... basically an opportunity for people that are really excited about social sciences and technology talking about why they're excited... they're entertaining enough.

I'm... not really sure why this guy is so upset that talks entirely based around throwing ideas at the wall to see if anything sticks have a bunch of ideas that don't.  That's sort of the point, it's basically a large-scale brainstorming session, not an actual practical meeting about real plans.
 
2014-02-07 12:13:40 AM  
...i really enjoyed john hodgman's ted talk...
 
2014-02-07 12:26:54 AM  
Every good Ted talk I ever saw was something that would have been interesting if it was about 4 times longer. There are some that are shiat. The rest are only long enough to get you interested.

I love to listen to a good speaker talk for a good solid hour. I don't care if it's a stand up comic or Neil deGrasse Tyson. Ted talks are too short to be useful in the event they happen to be good.
 
2014-02-07 12:38:30 AM  

gfid: Someone should do a TED talk on how to be selective about what you watch, listen to or read.

A whole lot of people could then stop whining about things they don't like.


Yeah nobody should ever say anything critical in case someone likes it.
 
2014-02-07 01:05:34 AM  
Ted Talks are an acquired taste.
They will put you to sleep if you have no interest in the subject being to discussed.
 
2014-02-07 01:09:40 AM  
 
2014-02-07 01:11:22 AM  

jonny_q: Every good Ted talk I ever saw was something that would have been interesting if it was about 4 times longer. There are some that are shiat. The rest are only long enough to get you interested.

I love to listen to a good speaker talk for a good solid hour. I don't care if it's a stand up comic or Neil deGrasse Tyson. Ted talks are too short to be useful in the event they happen to be good.


This.

But I think that was one of the original concepts. There was that "fact" going around a few years ago about how long the usual attention span was and that you could get all you needed or could remember in about 15 minutes. So these guys took this little Zig Zeigler thing, believed it, and decided to build an entire conference on the new amazeballs psedopsychology and monetize it.

It's great though for getting a good synopsis. But most listeners are happy enough to spout the cliff notes rather than doing real studying. Because the third party who is being preached to as they hear the talk second hand wouldn't be questioning anything about it anyway.
 
2014-02-07 01:26:43 AM  
You know what i hate about TED talks?

The fact that they are just a dramatic reading of a blog post.
 
2014-02-07 01:56:49 AM  
I'm guilty.  I enjoy TED talks.  If I'm in the kitchen cooking, or doing something and need something to listen to, I'll set up a TED talks playlist and get busy.  I think I'm smart enough to filter the good stuff from the bullshiat, but ... what if I'm not?  I one's an idiot, wouldn't they'd be the last to know?

Farkers, I need your help.

Music bores me ... the onion on my belt interferes with the reception.  NPR ... only so much of that a person can take if it's not This American Life and Radio Lab is just farking annoying.  If I'm doing something, and want to learn shiat, what's a good alternative to TED talks that isn't mind-rotting bullshiat garbage?

I'll hang up and listen.
 
2014-02-07 02:04:01 AM  
"I one's an idiot..." should be "If one's an idiot..."

Didn't want anyone to doubt my idiocy.
 
2014-02-07 02:13:43 AM  

IntertubeUser: If I'm doing something, and want to learn shiat, what's a good alternative to TED talks that isn't mind-rotting bullshiat garbage?


Take some classes on subjects that interest you, or that you feel you want to brush up on, on Coursera or other MOOC sites? The enthusiasm of the lecturers will vary, but there's not real penalty for dropping classes that just aren't doing it for you.

If you want to go for some biology stuff, I'll gladly recommend any of the following:
- Introduction to Genetics and Evolution (Dr. Moore is great!)
- Useful Genetics I & II (Rosie Redfield runs this; it's challenging but really well done)
- Epigenetic Control of Gene Expression (Really interesting, but probably super tough if you don't have some genetics background)
- Dinosaur Paleobiology (nice, and you can set your own schedule as all video lectures are available from the start)
- Human Evolution: Past and Future (Run by John Hawks; I actually dropped this because I have too much on my plate at the moment, but I full intend to take the next session)
- Marine Megafauna (worth looking into if you are interested in Marine Biology)

If you are interested in other topics, there are plenty of other things to learn about, as well. :)
 
2014-02-07 02:21:05 AM  
TED talks, MOOCs, and Malcolm Gladwell.

What do these things have in common?
 
2014-02-07 02:33:44 AM  
Fark Ted.

How is it that a group promulgating the spread of ideas and knowledge incapable of providing captions for the deaf and the hearing impaired? How about a transcript? This is not rocket science, supergeniuses.

/deaf guy
 
2014-02-07 03:03:17 AM  

WhyteRaven74: Here's the thing if you never get to hear a differing view, you never get to figure out just what makes your own position stand up or not.


+1
 
2014-02-07 03:08:11 AM  

theorellior: As a rule, you should steer clear of any franchise that regularly involves Deepak Chopra being insightful.


http://www.youtube.com/w atch?v=F5-mLoeNxn0

Yep.
 
2014-02-07 03:16:11 AM  

spamdog: You know what I hate the most about TED?

That farking Gary Wilson and his anti-masturbation pseudoscience.

It's just a repackaging of puritanism, and there's thousands of his acolytes out there who are taking part in "no fap" in the hopes it will make them alpha. I hope he dies.


You mean there's a guy against masturbation? WTF?

I should give the counter TED talk on that one.
 
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