Sunday, November 18, 2007


The Edge is one e-magazine I look forward to receiving in my e-mail box every 2-4 weeks (regular it is in its irregularity). Featuring interviews, videotalks and brief essays by leading intellectuals, most of them scientists, this one sometimes reconnects me with the thrill of being an undergraduate and going to a lecture to have my worldview reshaped by that famous or eminent (who I likely never heard of) so-and-so. Especially this issue, which features three video talks from the TED Conference by Steven Pinker, who gives quite a thought-provoking account of the history of violence; Carolyn Porco, an astronomer who shows us the latest pictures from a probe that landed on two of the moons of Saturn; and Vilayanur Ramachandran, a brain researcher who shares some revelations about our cerebral functions resulting from studies of Capgras delusion, a strange condition where people believe their family and friends have been replaced by impostors.

It seems that every year over a thousand people attend the TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) Conference in Monterrey, California to hobnob and hear some fifty 20-minute talks by leading lights in academia, business and culture. More than 150 of these talks are available on high-res streaming videos on the TED website. So far, there's just one poet: a slam-poet named Rives. But if you need to stimulate that cortex with other sorts of contemporary mythology...

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