Cool WWII photos

This is absolutely true! Translation is a messy business.

TED Blog

TalesofTranslations (2)

What’s funny in one language isn’t necessarily funny in another. Maysoon Zayid’s “I got 99 problems … palsy is just one” presented many challenges for TED translators bringing the hilarious talk into their language. As she tells stories from her life as a Palestinian-American comedian with cerebral palsy, Zayid cracks with wordplay. For translators, it’s one thing to convey meaning, but how do you let non-English speaking audiences in on the joke? “If you have to explain the joke, it’s no longer funny,” says Greek translator Dimitra Papageorgiou. But if you do a good job, says Meric Aydonat, who translated the talk into Turkish, “it looks so natural that your translation becomes funny in itself.”

Valérie Boor subtitled the talk in Dutch. “It’s always difficult to make a translation funny, since the spoken word has factors like timing and intonation that contribute to the joke,” she…

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Customers and Content

Two big things happened to me last week. I attended a technical communications conference and it was a worthwhile experience. I picked up a lot of good information, and I tried to apply the tips that people gave me in comments to my I don’t get conferences post.

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Very well animated, and informative.

TED Blog

If you haven’t seen the TED-Ed Lesson “A rare, spectacular total eclipse of the sun,” you should really check it out. Not only will you learn a good deal about the science behind these extraordinary events, you’ll also get to soak in some beautiful and detailed artistry from animator Bevan Lynch. We caught up with Lynch for a quick, behind-the-scenes look at what it was like to create an entire universe from scratch, with a few Earth-shattering pitfalls along the way.

How do you come up with the ideas for your animations?

Pre-production for me is often the most fun and also the most challenging part of the animation process. There are so many fun choices to make, but knowing which are the right ones can be tough.

Visual ideas come to me in many different ways. Sometimes I’ll read a script and know exactly how I want to…

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Choose your own adventure books taken to the next level! Wait, does anyone even remember those?!


Startup Adventr (pronounced “adventure”) is betting that it can make online video even more addictive with interactivity.

For example, here’s a promotional video for Adventr itself — at the beginning, a girl finds a camera in her closet, and you can choose whether she takes it or leaves it. (Trust me on this one — it’s a lot more interesting if you take the camera.) Founder Devo Harris also showed me a sample movie trailer, where you can make choices through, like “save the girl” or “save the city”, which determine the footage that you see.

At its heart, Adventr is overlaying graphics on a video and presenting viewers with multiple choices, but that doesn’t mean you have to stick to a Choose Your Own Adventure-style interface. For example, musician (and Adventr investor) John Legend created a video where he teaches viewers to play his song “All Of Me”

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The social media networks are evolving astounds me.


Figure 1 , the photo and information sharing service for the medical profession, is taking the next step in its evolution to become an image-based social network for physicians.

Yesterday the company quietly launched a new version of its photo and information sharing service, which gives users the ability to create more robust profiles of themselves and create groups around institutions or interests.

The updates to the app reflect a huge increase in user adoption since the company launched a bit more than a year ago. Currently there are roughly 3.5 medical images viewed per second on the site, Levey says. And earlier this week the company hit roughly 50 million images viewed.

Toronto-based Figure 1 is akin to Instagram but for doctors. The company’s founders take great pains to ensure that there is no identifying information about patients that appears on the photo sharing app. Rather the idea is…

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Crowdsourcing astronomy what will they think next!

TED Blog


Scientific research is generating far more data than the average researcher can get through. Meanwhile, modern computing has yet to catch up with the superior discernment of the human eye. The solution? Enlist the help of citizen scientists. British astronomer and web developer Robert Simpson is part of the online platform Zooniverse, which lets more than one million volunteers from around the world lend a hand to a variety of projects — everything from mapping the Milky Way to hunting for exoplanets to counting elephants to identifying cancer cells — accelerating important research and making their own incredible discoveries along the way.

At TED2014, Simpson took us through a few of Zooniverse’s 20-plus projects (with more on the way), some of which have led to startling discoveries — including a planet with four suns. Below, an edited transcript of our conversation.

Are you a scientist?

Well, I’m a distracted astronomer. Yes, I’m an astronomer at University of Oxford. But I’m there…

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Okay? What good would that do?!


A new policy put in place this March effectively bans members of the U.S. intelligence community from speaking to the media, even when discussing unclassified matters.

The new rules have sparked outcry from many outside the government, given that the policies as detailed in the directive further clamp down on interaction between the public and intelligence denizens.

The rules are similar to a proposal that died in the Senate in 2012 over concerns regarding their overzealousness. The ACLU’s Gabe Rottman stated in response to the directive that James Clapper, director of National Intelligence, “is trying to do by decree what he couldn’t secure through our elected representatives.”

Here’s the key line from the directive, forcing members of the intelligence community to receive permission to speak to anyone in the media:

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Failure to follow the new rules can lead to the loss of classified access, or even termination:

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So what about whistleblowing…

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He’s got a point. And its interesting he decides to use Star Trek to make it.


Let’s get outside of the San Francisco bubble for a little while (trust me, there is oxygen here). I realize in a world saturated with protesters who have all the sophistication and menace of a shipful of Pakleds, it may seem like a protest in front of Kevin Rose’s home is the Biggest News in the Universe. It may seem doubly so when said protesters are demanding $3 billion in latinum, and your only news comes from Section 31 (rebranded as Secrets with a capital S to appeal to a wider audience). It’s visceral, raw, enervating and local, and it would be the featured story on Downworthy, if such a portal existed.

But outside the 7×7 Alpha Quadrant, things aren’t going so well for technology’s forces. Our local immigration lobby Bwd.Us (formerly known as has had all of the luck of a redshirt beaming down with…

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More gems?