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Craig Venter at TED

The annual TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) conference brings together an impressively diverse group of hotshots and challenges them to explain and get others excited about whatever their “thing” is — in 18 minutes. The TED site has been steadily adding to its video archive of these talks — there are now close to 400 talks online — releasing them under a Creative Commons license, so they can be shared and reposted with no hassles. I put up this February 2008 talk by Venter, on the effort to digitize and start “writing” biological code, because of my interest in synthetic biology. But the scope of TED presentations goes way beyond science and technology — presentations by locavore chef Dan Barber, cutting-edge typographer David Carson, pop historian Jared Diamond, entrepreneur and one-man brand Richard Branson, and many others mean that there’s something here for just about everyone. Drop in just about anywhere — it’s kind of like going back to school and only having to attend the single best lecture of the year by the professors whose classes you could never get into.

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