Saturday, February 7, 2009

Bill Gates' mosquito speech and other TED news

Here's Bill Gates' mosquito speech. It's stunningly boring, includes a comically complicated graph, and an impressive amount of forgettable words to say "malaria is bad." If you didn't know he was going to release mosquitoes five minutes in, there's no way you'd make it that long into his speech. In all, I gave up after seven minutes - - less than half of the speech. However, you can play a fun mosquito-swatting flash game here.

In more interesting TED news, here's a short interview with Jason Hackenwerth (I've mentioned his terrific balloon creatures before). As recently as last January, he "had to go out to Times Square and twist balloons in freezing weather for grocery money."

Finally, I don't think his talk has been posted online yet, but Evan Schwartz apparently gave "a massively fascinating deconstruction of the origins of the character of the Wizard of Oz." Here's the official description of his book Finding Oz:

Finding Oz tells the remarkable story behind one of the world’s most enduring and best-loved books. Offering profound new insights into the true origins and meaning of L. Frank Baum’s 1900 masterwork, it delves into the personal turmoil and spiritual transformation that fueled Baum’s fantastical parable of the American Dream.

Before becoming an impresario of children’s adventure tales, the J. K. Rowling of his age, Baum failed at a series of careers and nearly lost his soul before setting out on a journey of discovery that would lead to the Land of Oz. Drawing on original research, Evan Schwartz debunks popular misconceptions and shows how the people, places, and events in Baum’s life gave birth to his unforgettable images and characters, from the Yellow Brick Road to the Emerald City to the dual view of witches that reflected the life of Baum’s mother-in-law, the radical women’s rights leader Matilda Joslyn Gage.

A narrative that sweeps across late-nineteenth-century America, Finding Oz ultimately reveals how failure and heartbreak can sometimes lead to redemption and bliss, and how one individual can ignite the imagination of the entire world.
It's available for preorder for 32% off at Amazon.

*Previously: Reggae-style Wizard of Oz.

*Learn how to give a good speech with these books at Amazon.