Blog, by category: tedtalks
from the desk of travis johnson.
Why We Know Less About the World than Ever (from 2010/01/11)
In a short break from studying for tomorrow's preliminary exam, I came across a TED talk about Why We Know Less About the World Than Ever. I've spent quite a lot of energy thinking about the main question Alisa Miller brings up, which is: how did we get news get so focused on things like Anna Nichole Smith's death while ignoring North Korean nuclear disarmament, the IPCC's global warming report, and other arguably more important news stories?
Miller is quick to blame the networks: It's just cheaper to cover Smith's death than it is to have foreign news offices sprinkled throughout the world. I'd like to believe her, but I'm not sure there'd be a market for the cheaper celebrity coverage if Americans still insisted on our news being about something else.
I was also a little discouraged to hear her quote the studies that Google News covered the same news stories as everyone else. Naturally, they have to; but the beauty of Google News is that people can hone in what they'd like covered. Put another way, I'd be more interested in hearing what the statistics on material reported indicated among GN users who had customized their coverage(remove celebrity news, increase world news, increase technology & science news, and soforth).
Anyways, I certainly agree with her that we should be served more diverse material for news, but her anti-everyone-else words seem more like an advertisement for her news service than anything, even if it's not mentioned in the TED talk. But I suppose exposing the ills of everything else is a better business move than telling people that they care about the wrong things.
TED Talks (from 2009/11/26)
I've been downloading a lot from iTunes recently, both in the form of TED talks and iTunes U videos. I'll post about iTunes U later.
TED talks, for the uninitiated, are 5-20 minute lectures on something that someone(usually a researcher or philanthropist) has been working on to make the world a better or cooler place. I've been watching them the last few days, and they're really great for hearing an opinion you might not, otherwise. A few of my favorites, in no particular order: