The first TED session just ended and it was fabulous. Carolyn Porco gave a fantastic talk about the exploration of Saturn by Cassini. She heads the imaging team and her photos are at http://ciclops.org. The most interesting thing she said is that the moon Enceladus has actually got organic compounds layer on fractures near the south pole. Even weirder, there is a plume of icy particles that jets out of this pole. They think that there may be liquid water under the surface, which would make it the first time we've found conditions suitable for life outside of earth.
Hans Rosling dominated the session with a fantastic set of his statistics. Check out his dollar street to get a really graphic look at different income levels. Hans Rosling pointed out that Africa today is at the same level of development that Europe was at in 1900. He says that he feels that Africa has come further, faster, then most other regions given that they were in the stone-ages 50 years ago. See some of his other amazing interactive charts here.
Hans also made some interesting points about seperating our goals from the means for achieving them. He says that economic development and education and good governance are not really goals that people aspire to. People want to be healthy, have culture, and have human rights. But economic development and good governance are the way we get culture and human rights.
Then he swallowed a sword on stage. I'm not kidding. What a funny, crazy guy.