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Things We Saw Today: New Spider-Man: Homecoming Photos Tease Tony Stark and Pink Jammies

The Spider-Man: Homecoming crew moved production to NYC recently, so there are a generous amount of images of Tom Holland sitting on fire escapes, possibly meeting Tony Stark, and wearing this tourist-friendly outfit.

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A Brief Guide to the Beginning of the Universe [Video]

The Big Bang is pretty complicated stuff, especially if you're trying to explain it in less than four minutes. It happened billions of years ago, so there's no direct record of it. It created everything as far as we know, so we don't have any frame of reference for what came before it. And it rewrote the laws of physics as it happened, so even our best understanding of the phenomenon is necessarily inadequate. It's pretty daunting stuff, all things considered. That's why we're so glad that CERN physicist Tom Whyntie is on hand to offer the following excellent explanation of what we know and how we know it in the latest video offering from TED's education arm, TED-Ed.

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Giant Squid Expedition Member Edith Widder Breaks Down the Kraken Hunt at TED

By now we've all seen the first footage captured of a giant squid, but for our part, we have yet to grow tired of it, because giant squids are amazing. With that in mind, we direct you to researcher Edith Widder's TED Talk about the expedition to film the squid for the first time, her role in it, and how she got involved in the project. Widder offers a wealth of valuable backstory and technical details on the project and the unmatched insight of one of the expedition's main scientists, along with candid camera video of researchers hollering like excited kids when they realize they've captured video of the squid at long last.

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Being An Astronaut Is Everything You Ever Wanted It To Be, And Also A Neat Cartoon [Video]

As I get older, every dream job I ever had as a kid seems to lose some of its shine in the cold light of day. Paleontologists, for example, spend much of their time filling out paperwork rather than digging up fossils, and few of them will ever clone and ride their own dinosaur. Being an astronaut, though? It's still an amazing gig that always makes me wish I was a better, smarter person who someone would shoot into space. In this cartoon from Ted Education, astronaut and former SkyLab commander Jerry Carr talks about rockets that were struck by lightning, the nail-biting anticipation of waiting to see colleagues return from the dark side of the moon, and why early astronauts had to know how to cook a snake -- just in case. Just check out the video below if for some reason you need a reminder of why you should be very jealous of astrnoauts.

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WikiLeaks Accepting Submissions Again; Director Julian Assange Talks at TED

While on the run from U.S. authorities, WikiLeaks Editor-in-Chief Julian Assange still has the time to have a chat with TED moderator Chris Anderson. This past Friday, the director of the whistleblower site made a surprise appearance in Oxford to discuss the past accomplishments of WikiLeaks, the details of its secretive operation, and his own motivations in creating the organization. The WikiLeaks talk comes not soon after a rumor that the website was to be abandoned; the TED video, the reopening of WikiLeaks' submission page on Saturday, and the organization's implied contribution to the Washington Post's "Top Secret America" report released earlier today, clearly indicate otherwise.

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Mitchell Joachim Will Save the World With Treehouses and Meathouses

Mitchell Joachim is an architect, but his tools are anything but bricks and mortar. Joachim's mission is to develop methods of building homes and other structures that are not just environmentally friendly, but literally part of the environment. In his TED talk, which you can watch at the bottom of this post, he outlines two different kinds of homes which his research organization Terreform are currently working on. First comes treehouses, but not the kind you had in your backyard.

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The Real Minority Report Interface

We all want Tom Cruise's interface from Minority Report, right? Right. Don't deny it. Well, John Underkoffler would like you, or at least TED, to know that he thinks that it'll be here within the decade. Why? Because he designed it for the movie, and has spent eight years making it real and marketable.

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Hillel Cooperman’s TED Talk: Legos Are Not Just For Kids

Lest we forget that TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, and Design, Hillel Cooperman made his six minute TED talk about, what else, Legos. The ever versatile kids' building toy has lead to robotics and programming competitions around the world, and, as Cooperman relates, the culture of adult Lego enthusiasts is growing day by day.

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Now Watchable: 4Chan Founder Christopher “moot” Poole’s TED Talk

Christopher Poole, a.k.a. moot, stumbled upon a Japanese forum and subsequently launched an Internet empire. So large and interesting an empire, in fact, that he was invited to speak at TED. The talk covers a surprisingly broad subject matter in such a short time. From the origins of the site to its social impact, he covers nearly everything about the what, where, why, and when, and distinct lack of a who behind his chaotic forum. In the brief Q&A after his talk, Poole is pressed to defend the supreme message of anonymity he advocates, and he does a great job. Other excerpts from the video include parental response, former music stars jumping out of floats, why his site's viewers are better than CSI, marble cake, and the game.

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Does a TSA Employee With a “Small Penis” Deserve to Have His Name All Over the Internet?


Here's the fact pattern, if you haven't already heard it: One way the TSA trains screeners to use full-body scanners is by having the employees screen each other using the machines. One employee who was screened in the course of the training was thereafter teased "on a daily basis" by his co-workers for having a "small penis." He eventually flipped out and non-lethally beat up one of his daily teasers. Not going to name the employee in question here, but The Smoking Gun has the police report.

The story touched a nerve because 1) people are uneasy about full body scanners and worried that they may endure similar teasing or even have pictures of them leak onto the Internet, and 2) it involves the phrase "small penis." Got it. It's a tech story, a security story, and an "oddly enough" story all at once. But does the employee in question really deserve to have his name and face plastered all over the Internet, including on at least one newspaper's website?

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Roger Ebert Says Games Will Never Be Art

Roger Ebert has mentioned his opinion on video games before, but, as he says "I have declined all opportunities to enlarge upon it or defend it." That has changed, now that the movie critic has published his response to Kellee Santiago's "Games Are Art" TED talk here, on the Chicago Sun-Times website. I found that Ebert spent most of his time refuting her arguments point by point, and did not build a compelling argument of his own. While I could go through his essay point by point refuting arguments, I was hoping to keep my blood pressure to a manageable level now that the Great Kick-Ass Hype Tsunami of 2010 has finally come to a close, and besides that, I've always found that refuting someone in great detail without presenting a better founded argument of your own to be a little bankrupt of purpose. My major objections after the jump.

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Bill Gates’ TED Talk: Zero Carbon Emissions by 2050

TED posted Bill Gates' long-awaited TED Talk online earlier today, in which he set an ambitious goal: zero carbon emissions by 2050 -- period. A key component of his goal as he presents it: new nuclear power plants that recycle waste uranium rather than adding more nuclear waste to the environment. Video after the jump:

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Mosquitoes Shot Down by Targeted Laser

The human race has finally reached an answer to the age old question in Verna Aarderna's book for children: mosquitoes buzz in the ears of people who do not have lasers.

Professional eccentric millionaire (billionaire?), Nathan Myhrvold's Intellectual Ventures Laboratory has delivered a live demo of a "laser gun" designed to track mosquitoes in flight and then burn them with the searing blue-white heat of a thousand thousand photons.

Although the prototype at TED was restricted to showing its skeeter-tracking abilities only, using a harmless green laser for safety reasons, IVL made a video of their gun in action, and we've got a segment after the jump:

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4chan “Explicitly Blocked” by Verizon Wireless; Moot’s TED Talk

Blocking 4chan is not a good idea, according to old Internet lore -- think "kicking a beehive" -- but Verizon Wireless appears to be doing just that. Just weeks after rolling out new boards, 4chan administrator moot reports on 4chan's status page that "After an hour and a half on the phone, we've received confirmation from Verizon's Network Repair Bureau (NRB) that we are "explicitly blocked."

Update, 11:10am: In a phone interview, a spokesman for Verizon Wireless says that it's "nonsense that we blocked [4chan] for any other reason than some unusual activity," and that the company is working through the situation right now. According to the spokesman, activity that "looked like spam" appeared to be originating from 4chan, and the block was a routine and temporary measure with no intent to specifically target 4chan; he said that Verizon Wireless had temporarily blocked other sites showing odd patterns of activity over the past several weeks. Update3: Since a lot of people are coming here through Google due to the "moot TED Talk" tag, here's the (admittedly lo-fi) video of his talk:

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