Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Beautiful Curiosity of Joshua Klein

A LOT OF PEOPLE DO NOT LIKE CROWS. I DO. I THINK WHAT I LIKE MOST IS THEIR SILHOUETTE, THEIR SHAPE AND DEEP BLUE-BLACK COLOR. I don’t especially like their call, or their aggressive nature with other birds. For me though, it’s the aesthetics of the species, their flight patterns, and more obscure things like the fact that the crow (or raven) is represented so much in art and literature.

Joshua Klein likes crows too. So much so, that he has actually discovered some exciting new things about the birds that has the world of science sitting up and taking notice. A speaker at a recent TED conference, Klein has discovered that crows are extremely teachable. Not to give away what he has done—you will be amazed his results, and what he hopes they will be able to do.

From TED: “TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from those three worlds. Since then its scope has become ever broader.

The TED Conference, held annually in the spring, is the heart of TED. More than a thousand people now attend, the event sells out a year in advance, and the content has expanded to include science, business, the arts and the global issues facing our world. Over four days, 50 speakers each take an 18-minute slot, and there are many shorter pieces of content, including music, performance and comedy. There are no breakout groups. Everyone shares the same experience. It shouldn’t work, but it does. It works because all of knowledge is connected. Every so often it makes sense to emerge from the trenches we dig for a living, and ascend to a 30,000-foot view, where we see, to our astonishment, an intricately interconnected whole.”

“The TED Prize is designed to leverage the TED community’s exceptional array of talent and resources. It is awarded annually to three exceptional individuals who each receive $100,000 and, much more important, the granting of “One Wish to Change the World.” After several months of preparation, they unveil their wish at an award ceremony held during the TED Conference. These wishes have led to collaborative initiatives with far-reaching impact.

TED works closely with TED sponsors, attendees and the online community to obtain pledges of support for the TED Prize winners. These pledges can take the form of business services, hardware and software, publicity, infrastructure, advice, connections … Any and all pledges of support are welcomed. Major support for the TED Prize has come from AMD, Sun Microsystems, AvenueA/Razorfish, Hot Studio, Nokia, IDEO, Kleiner Perkins, @radicalmedia, Adobe and Photosynth. This is in addition to the funding and support from the Sapling Foundation and TED staff.”


Candler Arts said...

Wow, I had no idea crows were that smart. What a great video.

carmackart said...

The intelligence of crows, and especially ravens, is not new to the scientific community. See the works of Bernd Heinrich and John Marzluff and a brilliant essay called "Something to Crow About" by David Quammen in his first collection called "Natural Acts" 1985 said...

I still want to hear about the crow infidelity.

what's so cool about this, more than the fact that crows are smart, is the idea of working with the crows ! That is amazing.

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