A dataset to change your mindset

"Talking at the US State Department this summer, Hans Rosling uses his fascinating data-bubble software to burst myths about the developing world. Look for new analysis on China and the post-bailout world, mixed with classic data shows." (from Ted.com)


Schools kill creativity


“Sir Ken Robinson makes an entertaining and profoundly moving case for creating an education system that nurtures (rather than undermines) creativity.” (Ted.com)

Hans Rosling shows the best stats you've ever seen

“You've never seen data presented like this. With the drama and urgency of a sportscaster, statistics guru Hans Rosling debunks myths about the so-called "developing world." (from Ted.com)

A good one on the mass media…

Alisa Miller, head of Public Radio International, talks about why -- though we want to know more about the world than ever -- the US media is actually showing less. Eye-opening stats and graphs.

On global priorities

“Given $50 billion to spend, which would you solve first, AIDS or global warming? Danish political scientist Bjorn Lomborg comes up with surprising answers.” (from Ted.com)

On perspectives...

"As globalization and technological advances bring us hurtling towards a new integrated future, Ian Goldin warns that not all people may benefit equally. But, he says, if we can recognize this danger, we might yet realize the possibility of improved life for everyone." (Ted.com)

Richard Dawkins on militant atheism

“Richard Dawkins urges all atheists to openly state their position -- and to fight the incursion of the church into politics and science. A fiery, funny, powerful talk.” (Ted.com)

TED on Richard Dawkins:

As an evolutionary biologist, Richard Dawkins has broadened our understanding of the genetic origin of our species; as a popular author, he has helped lay readers understand complex scientific concepts. He's best-known for the ideas laid out in his landmark book The Selfish Gene and fleshed out in The Extended Phenotype: the rather radical notion that Darwinian selection happens not at the level of the individual, but at the level of our DNA. The implication: We evolved for only one purpose — to serve our genes.

Of perhaps equal importance is Dawkins' concept of the meme, which he defines as a self-replicating unit of culture -- an idea, a chain letter, a catchy tune, an urban legend -- which is passed person-to-person, its longevity based on its ability to lodge in the brain and inspire transmission to others. Introduced in The Selfish Gene in 1976, the concept of memes has itself proven highly contagious, inspiring countless accounts and explanations of idea propagation in the information age.

In recent years, Dawkins has become outspoken in his atheism, coining the word "bright" (as an alternate to atheist), and encouraging fellow non-believers to stand up and be identified. His controversial, confrontational 2002 TED talk was a seminal moment for the New Atheism, as was the publication of his 2006 book, The God Delusion, a bestselling critique of religion that championed atheism and promoted scientific principles over creationism and intelligent design.

Technologies of Cooperation and Sharing Economics

“Howard Rheingold talks about the coming world of collaboration, participatory media and collective action -- and how Wikipedia is really an outgrowth of our natural human instinct to work as a group.” (From TED.com)

Institutions vs. collaboration

Clay Shirky shows how closed groups and companies will give way to looser networks where small contributors have big roles and fluid cooperation replaces rigid planning.


1. Is this (r)evolution compatible with the classic idea of economic planning?

2. and what about "democratic centralism" ?

In my opinion, the classic ideas of democratic centralism and any attempt of the leadership of so-called Marxist groups to ‘control’ discussions from the top are more doomed then ever.

How social media can make history

In this video, Shirky, a prescient voice on the Internet’s effects, argues that emerging technologies enabling loose collaboration will change the way our society works.

“While news from Iran streams to the world, Clay Shirky shows how Facebook, Twitter and TXTs help citizens in repressive regimes to report on real news, bypassing censors (however briefly). The end of top-down control of news is changing the nature of politics.” (from Ted.com)

Erik Hersman presents the remarkable story of Ushahidi, a GoogleMap mashup that allowed Kenyans to report and track violence via cell phone texts following the 2008 elections, and has evolved to continue saving lives in other countries.

On motivation: sticks and carrots do not work

Here is a very interesting contribution on the question of motivation. Social scientists know what most managers do not: traditional rewards are not always as effective as we think. This is also true for trade union leaders and the labour movement in general. Demands are often limited to pure materialistic demands: higher wages, shorter working hours. There is a need to shift labour demands to a higher level and put up a fight for more democracy at the workplace, more independence, less control etc.

Some interesting statistics (1)

I would like to share some interesting contributions from speakers at TED conferences (TED is a non-profit organisation and stands for Technology, Entertainment, and Design).

These ideas are in many cases totally ignored by the labour movement, which is suffering from an enormous lack of creativity. Unfortunately, this is also and even especially true for the Marxist movement…

Let us start with some statistics and compare those with the idea of the death agony of the capitalist system and the incapacity of capitalism to develop the productive forces any further, especially in the ex-colonial world.

Here is the link: http://www.ted.com/talks/hans_rosling_asia_s_rise_how_and_when.html