9 documentaries that you need to see this year

TED Blog


By Marianna Torgovnick

Some documentaries show us the strange, the exotic and the unfamiliar; others make us feel anew about something so everyday, we barely thought about it before. Some of my favorite TED Talks are built around great documentary films, like Deborah Scranton’s chilling “War Tapes” and Nathaniel Kahn’s moving search for “My Father, the Architect.”

Last week, I attended the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in Durham, North Carolina, a four-day bash featuring more than a hundred documentaries — new, classic, and invited — many of which will show theaters over the next year.

Below, find my nine favorite films from the festival, which no documentary fan should miss.

1. Stories We Tell (director Sarah Polley, 2012)
An invited film that has shown at festivals in Toronto and New York, Sarah Polley’s gorgeous documentary is structured liked a mystery in which trap doors keep opening. Once an actress, the still-young Polley…

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100 Websites You Should Know and Use (updated!)

TED Blog

In the spring of 2007, Julius Wiedemann, editor in charge at Taschen GmbH, gave a legendary TED University talk: an ultra-fast-moving ride through the “100 websites you should know and use.” Six years later, it remains one of the most viewed TED blog posts ever. Time for an update? We think so. Below, the 2013 edition of the 100 websites to put on your radar and in your browser.

To see the original list, click here. While most of these sites are still going strong and remain wonderful resources, we’ve crossed out any that are no longer functioning. And because there are so many amazing resources out there, please add your own ideas in the comments. Happy surfing!



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Soul to sole: Eye surgeon Anthony Vipin Das has developed shoes that see for the blind

Blind will live better as mobility is no long a limiting factor

TED Blog

A haunting black-and-white video screened during the TED Fellows talks depicted people speaking into a device and then walking — at first taking halting steps, then more confident strides. As the video unfolds, the camera zooms in on the faces of the walkers — revealing that they are blind.

With his team, TED Senior Fellow Anthony Vipin Das, an eye surgeon, has been developing haptic shoes that use vibration and GPS technology to guide the blind. This innovation — which could radically change the lives of the vision-impaired — has drawn the interest of the United States Department of Defense, which has recently shortlisted the project for a $2 million research grant. Anthony tells us the story behind the shoe.

Tell us about the haptic shoe.

The shoe is called Le Chal, which means “take me there” in Hindi. My team, Anirudh Sharma and Krispian Lawrence and I, are working…

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