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What You're Missing at TED2012 Right Now

As you and I sit here like dopes in front of our computers, a swarm of alpha nerds are basking in the Long Beach sun and enjoying TED2012. Only two talks from the show have been released so far, and they have somewhat differing messages: Abundance is Our Future (by Peter Diamandis) and The Earth is Full (by Paul Gilding). I'll go ahead and embed the latter, as it's a bit more depressing:

But I Want More!

Well, it's a tough gig, but somebody's gotta liveblog the entire conference. No, really! The Guardian's intrepid Carole Cadwalladr is posting dispatches from the conference, including some snippets that are delightfully bonkers when taken out of context. Here, let me decontextualize some of yesterday's coverage for you:

8.48am: ...And what if we could use lightning as GPS?

9.16am: Also, I have to mention that at the opening night party last night, I stumbled on two roboticists have a conversation about teledildonics.

And, yes, I've checked. That is an actual word.

9.45am: Ah...there's some sort of crowd-sourcing dancey performance art on now. Men in bodystockings throwing beach balls.

10.04am: The drones have taken over an electric organ and a proto-xylophone. And they're playing the James Bond theme tune!

12.40pm: Right. They're singing about pigeons dying now. I'll spare you the details...

Okay, that's enough cribbing from Cadwalladr's brilliance. You really just have to read it -- this is coverage by a nerd, for nerds, of nerds -- wonderful stuff.

The Party Line

If the live blog doesn't cut it for you, check out the official TED blog, featuring still photography and summaries of the talks. This is also where you'll find video as it's posted -- and it's slowly trickling out, as we're just starting the third day of the conference now. There's also a TED2012 Conference Page that includes a feed of @TEDNews, a boon for the Twitter-addicted (though @TEDchris is slightly more exciting). You can also watch the conference via live streaming video if you have a TED Live membership (but don't go rushing to buy -- membership starts at $995, though a good chunk of that is tax-deductible).

You might also appreciate the Program Guide, which tells us that today we'll see talks from John Hodgman, Jon Ronson, Philippe Petit, and Liz Diller (among many others).

Nanocopters Perform Bond Theme

To tide you over until more session videos are posted, here's (non-TED) video of Vijay Kumar's swarm of nanocopters performing the Bond theme:

Back to the Live Blog

As it approaches 8:30am Pacific, Cadwalladr is presumably about to begin Thursday coverage. I'm getting my popcorn. Oh, breaking news! Kumar's talk on "agile aerial robots" has just been posted!

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History
The Queen of Code: Remembering Grace Hopper
By Lynn Gilbert, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

Grace Hopper was a computing pioneer. She coined the term "computer bug" after finding a moth stuck inside Harvard's Mark II computer in 1947 (which in turn led to the term "debug," meaning solving problems in computer code). She did the foundational work that led to the COBOL programming language, used in mission-critical computing systems for decades (including today). She worked in World War II using very early computers to help end the war. When she retired from the U.S. Navy at age 79, she was the oldest active-duty commissioned officer in the service. Hopper, who was born on this day in 1906, is a hero of computing and a brilliant role model, but not many people know her story.

In this short documentary from FiveThirtyEight, directed by Gillian Jacobs, we learned about Grace Hopper from several biographers, archival photographs, and footage of her speaking in her later years. If you've never heard of Grace Hopper, or you're even vaguely interested in the history of computing or women in computing, this is a must-watch:

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Google
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Animals
Watch Christmas Island’s Annual Crab Migration on Google Street View
Google
Google

Every year, the 45 million or so red crabs on the remote Australian territory of Christmas Island migrate en masse from their forest burrows down to the ocean to mate, and so the female crabs can release their eggs into the sea to hatch. The migration starts during the fall, and the number of crabs on the beach often peaks in December. This year, you don’t have to be on Christmas Island to witness the spectacular crustacean event, as New Atlas reports. You can see it on Google Street View.

Watching the sheer density of crabs scuttling across roads, boardwalks, and beaches is a rare visual treat. According to the Google blog, this year’s crabtacular finale is forecasted for December 16, and Parks Australia crab expert Alasdair Grigg will be there with the Street View Trekker to capture it. That is likely to be the day when crab populations on the beaches will be at their peak, giving you the best view of the action.

Crabs scuttle across the forest floor while a man with a Google Street View Trekker walks behind them.
Google

Google Street View is already a repository for a number of armchair travel experiences. You can digitally explore remote locations in Antarctica, recreations of ancient cities, and even the International Space Station. You can essentially see the whole world without ever logging off your computer.

Sadly, because Street View isn’t live, you won’t be able to see the migration as it happens. The image collection won’t be available until sometime in early 2018. But it’ll be worth the wait, we promise. For a sneak preview, watch Parks Australia’s video of the 2012 event here.

[h/t New Atlas]

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