TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) calls itself "a small nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading". It carries out its mission through two annual conventions (TED, held in Long Beach, CA, and TEDGlobal, held in Oxford, England, UK). As well as occurring on only two weeks throughout the year, the cost of admission ($6,000 USD) makes it tough for many people who are interested to attend. Even with the cost of admission and a less expensive satellite event at the same time as the California TED (TEDActive, $3,750 USD), the conference is booked well in advance. What if you have the means to attend, but your funding won't be available until after the conference and hotel are both booked to capacity?
Fortunately for those people-- and for the rest of us-- the TED website has launched a service called TEDTalks. Instead of hiding videorecordings of previous conferences away in a dusty vault somewhere, eighteen-minute talks from previous conferences are offered On-Demand and free of charge on the TED website. The talks are Creative Commons copyright, so it's not only free to watch them, but to spread and embed them; you can even take them with you on some personal media players*.
So far, my favorite talks are by Temple Grandin, Eve Ensler, and Jamie Oliver. What are yours?
*I have an iPod, and was able to download the talks through the podcasts service of ITunes. A search of the Zune homepage revealed they also have TEDTalks available for download.