February’s TED Roundup: Malcolm Gladwell, Scott Rickard, and David Blaine

Malcolm Gladwell on spaghetti sauce

I love Malcolm Gladwell’s subdued, matter of fact, brilliantly witty storytelling. In this TED talk, Gladwell explores the tale of Howard Moskowitz, who revolutionized the spaghetti sauce industry by honing in on one important idea–there is no perfect spaghetti sauce, there are only perfect spaghetti sauces–in other words, people want choice, but they may not even be aware that they want a choice that is lacking. People crave variety; our ability to choose makes us happy. Diversity is the human experience, and nowhere is this clearer than in our food and taste choices.

Scott Rickard: The beautiful math behind the ugliest music

One of the first TED talks we watch in class is Benjamin Zander’s talk on classical music. Through this talk, I’ve gained an appreciation of the complexities of classical music–the flawless combination of tone/mood and mathematics. What would music without pattern sound and look like? Would it still be pleasing? Beautiful? Is random ugly? Scott Rickard explores this idea in his TEDxMIA talk.

David Blaine: How I held my breath for 17 minutes

Okay, I admit it, I am a magic skeptic; I assume there’s some false angle, mirrors, a trap door, a mystery cubicle. However, for David Blaine, anything is possible, even surviving without air for 17 minutes. I am fascinated by Blaine’s passion for the impossible, for pushing his body to the absolute limit of human experience and beyond. Thankfully, his TED talk allows me to live this experience without the whole thread of bodily harm or death thing.

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