Here's another interesting lecture on TED.com Matt Ridley's presentation "When ideas have sex" is more interesting than it sounds. It is about the miracle of trade, the exponential increase in value when good ideas meet ok ideas. If you jump to 5 minutes, the presentation shows how trade improves lives, how cooperation leads to better outcomes. Even if one culture or person is better at making both spearheads AND spears, that culture is still better off buying the spear shafts from a culture who makes them less efficiently (because they can concentrate on the spear heads they most excel at).
It's 16 minutes long, but it's a pretty good at making the case I have been trying to make about Fair Trade Recycling. Free and fair trade increases communication between people and leads to better outcomes than restriction of trade.
Another highlight at ten minutes or so is the discussion of Neanderthals and Homo Sapiens, and how there is evidence that Homo Sapiens traded (shells demonstrate movement of tools), and Neanderthals do not show evidence of exchange. At 15 minutes, the presentation shows how communication is creating a massive human intelligence through shared intelligence. A single person's quick-wittedness and education means less than the speed at which that person's wit is shared. Making good ideas accessible to more people is more important than the intelligence of the person. With internet, communication, and crowd-sourcing, "we are surely accelerating the rate of innovation."
In fact, he makes the case that IQ or the innovation is of less value today, as a single piece of intelligence can bring innovation to more people more quickly (feeding the crowd with fewer loaves and fishes). There is a direct relationship here to music. One hundred years ago, you needed lots of musicians for people to hear much music, and the musicians weren't very well paid. Today, a single performance can be replayed forever and distributed everywhere. Intelligence or innovation is more powerful because it can reach more people, but is also less rare. It took me longer to register a patent for gold recycling than it took someone else to take the idea for recycled gold and make it into olympic medals. A good idea is like a good song. A hundred years ago, if you had a great song, people kind of had to pay you to sing it.
This weekend, we get three more exchange trainees from Mexico to train US in Vermont how to stack the TVs the way they can get them across the border, and to show us how quickly Las Chicas women demanufacture TVs. We also have living with us the director of international studies (based in Europe) of Middlebury College's language programs, who speaks English, Russian, German, etc.
This is the Greek Singer Nana Mouskouri, singing the wickedly beautiful Joni Mitchell song "Both Sides Now", in French. It was between this and something by the Velvet Underground (probably Hey Mr. Rain).