In November 2011, The Boston Globe had a panel on "cyberetiquette." We met in a theater at Boston Globe headquarters. On the stage was a moderator, a Globe reporter, and two of the Globe's regular "advice and manners" columnists. And then there was me, there, I suppose to represent the cyberworld and where it might take us.
Authenticity has become one of those buzzwords that we love to hate. Like many other words that have met a similar fate after being co-opted, misused, and overused, authenticity entered the popular lexicon because it tapped into something powerful in our culture.
For 50 years the environmental movement has unsuccessfully argued that we should save the planet for moral reasons, that there were more important things than money. Ironically, it now seems it will be money -- through the economic impact of climate change and resource constraint -- that will motivate the sweeping changes necessary to avert catastrophe.
What's an atheist scientist like me doing writing good things about religion? I didn't start out this way. As a teenager, I had contempt for religion. I was raised Jewish, but when I read the Bible, I was shocked. It hardly seemed to me like a good guide for ethical behavior in modern times, what with all the smiting and stoning and genocide, some of it ordered by God. In college, I read other holy books, and they didn't make me any more positive toward religion.
Creativity has taken center stage in recent years, with a slew of books, articles and TED talks extolling the virtues of imagination and exhorting young and old to go out and exercise their creative muscle.
A couple of years ago I started a program to try to get rock-star tech and design people to take a year off and work in the one environment that represents pretty much everything they're supposed to hate -- government. It's called Code for America, and it's a little bit like a Peace Corps for geeks.
For decades, repressive governments in the Arab world controlled the media, shaping public opinion through propaganda, according to Wadah Khanfar, who headed Al Jazeera until his resignation this week.
It wasn't enough for Nathan Myhrvold to work with Stephen Hawking on research in physics, or to develop many of Microsoft's key products, or publish books of his nature photography. He had to take his career in yet another direction -- by getting his hands dirty in the kitchen.
I will never forget holding my newborn baby in my arms watching a television report on the 1987 famine in Ethiopia -- hearing the haunting cries of babies whose hunger could not be met by their anguished mothers.
In our modern society, driving is really a necessity. It is a means of getting you to your destination wherever, whenever. Driving is also fun. Some people even consider it an expression of power. Most importantly, driving is really about freedom, about independence.
When I was a young boy, I dreamed of two things: one, to become a paleontologist, and another, to have a pet dinosaur. I have become a paleontologist, and now I strive to figure out a way to bring back or create my living dinosaur.
I have always liked coming home and sharing what has happened that day with my loved ones. I like comparing notes. I know other people do, too. I think there is a human instinct to tell stories, no matter who you are or where you live.
Little did I know that studying how my son learned to speak would come to this: a TED Talk gone viral, partially thanks to Ashton Kutcher and his 6 million Twitter followers -- and a technology platform that may change the way we understand social, political and commercial communications.
I can't help but notice that while most of the other TED talks shown on the TED website draw comments of "inspiring" or "courageous" or "beautiful," mine is labeled ... "obnoxious." Am I insulted? Of course! But it's perfectly obvious from reading the comments why this is so.