"Ideas worth spreading" is the motto of a growing annual convention that is held in Monterey, California.  The Technology Entertainment Design (TED) conference covers a wide range of topics, from science to the arts, and nearly everything in between.  My fraternity brother, Chris, recently made me aware of this conference, which has been conducted since 1984.

There is an annual membership fee of $6000, however, this fee not only covers attendance to the events, but also attendance for other special gatherings and DVDs of the presentations.  Since not everyone can afford to be this enlightened, the official website was created in response, providing the highlights and best speeches from the conference.

The speakers themselves range from past president Bill Clinton to my personal hero, the creator of Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales.  Thanks to the TED conference, I no longer wonder what the man who saves college students hours of research time would say to a mass audience.  A more recent service that the TED organization offers to the public is a blog, which covers not only activity related to the conference, but also announces special events and holidays, such as the upcoming Pi Day.  The blog is an excellent read to curb that intellectually curious and guiltily geeky side in us all.

Also of note is the TED Prize, which began in 2005.  This prize of $100,000 can be given to someone from any walk of life or profession, and there are no formal restrictions other than that they asked to "think big and be creative."  The winners for 2008 are Neil Turok, Dave Eggers, and Karen Armstrong.

In addition to the blog, fans of the series of talks can also find their favorites on the TED Youtube channel.  Thankfully, the channel has director status so you can watch entire speeches without stopping to click for the next part.  Chris recommends Jill Bolte Taylor's "My Stroke of Insight," but I am partial to Vaudeville 2.0 by the Raspyni Brothers.  Surely, there is at least one video that will appeal to everyone.  I have burned hours listening to this brilliant men and women, and unlike my marathons of reality television, these really make me think and conceive new ideas.  After all, that is the real point of the TED conference:  to make listeners delve deeper into both logic and emotion.