Top 40 Disability TED talks by views… or is it?

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The list of the top 20 most viewed TED talks on disability is one of the more popular pages on the this site and periodically I go through my high-traffic pages and give them a polish to make sure that there are no silly leaps of logic or typos.

This week I was horrified to find that the list was wrong.  Not even a little bit wrong: the code I’d written to work out the results had a serious bug in it and I, equally motifyingly, hadn’t made enough of an effort to check it by hand.

Today I’m updating the list, and this time I’m doing it correctly.

This is the process:

  • is searched for all talks involving the words ‘disabled’ or ‘disability’. This gives 67 talks (you can view the list here).
  • I  add all the other talks that people have sent me since the previous page went up, which gives me 76 talks (See them here). A
  • combination of wget and grep is used to pull out the viewing figures.
  • I then work down this list getting rid of anything that isn’t actually disability related.
  • As before, there are a lot of talks that mention disability only in passing, or in the sense of “disabling the security”. So I ended up removing quite a few (I removed Dave Eggers with a heavy heart – I liked his so much that I went to visit the project in San Francisco).  The problem, of course is that, this being TED, *everything* is inspirational and wonderful.  Stephen Hawking even had his removed because it’s about the universe (it’s excellent, it’s just not disability-facing).  Alice Dreger, as it happens is where I’m putting the boundary for now.

After doing all that, you are left with 43 mainstream disability TED talks. Please let me know in the comments all the ones that I’ve missed and then I can iterate the list in the same way as my list of disability blogs.

I’d like to pick a favourite, and it’s this one:


Rank Title Views
1 Jill Bolte Taylor: My stroke of insight 15,157,027
2 Maysoon Zayid: I got 99 problems… palsy is just one 3,861,064
3 Aimee Mullins: My 12 pairs of legs 2,305,636
4 Andrew Solomon: Depression, the secret we share 2,104,641
5 Elyn Saks: A tale of mental illness — fr om the inside 1,844,353
6 Caroline Casey: Looking past limits 1,548,258
7 Aimee Mullins: The opportunity of adversity 1,482,959
8 Phil Hansen: Embrace the shake 1,404,149
9 Elliot Krane: The mystery of chronic pain 1,289,164
10 Sue Austin: Deep sea diving … in a wheelchair 1,086,688
11 Atul Gawande: How do we heal medicine? 1,057,109
12 Derek Paravicini and Adam Ockelford: In the key of genius 1,021,155
13 Nancy Etcoff: Happiness and its surprises 972,415
14 Henry Evans and Chad Jenkins: Meet the robots for humanity 955,630
15 Janine Shepherd: A broken body isn’t a broken person 947,546
16 Joshua Prager: In search of the man who broke my neck 917,832
17 David Anderson: Your brain is more than a bag of chemicals 890,264
18 Roger Ebert: Remaking my voice 882,313
19 Alice Dreger: Is anatomy destiny? 862,290
20 A second opinion on developmental disorders 794,288
21 Chris Downey: Design with the blind in mind 777,644
22 Andres Lozano: Parkinson’s, depression and the switch that might turn them off 761,336
23 In our baby’s illness, a life lesson 744,589
24 Ed Boyden: A light switch for neurons 742,585
25 Thomas Insel: Toward a new understanding of mental illness 740,721
26 Aimee Mullins: Changing my legs – and my mindset 705,046
27 Daniel Kraft: Medicine’s future? There’s an app for that 703,697
28 Todd Kuiken: A prosthetic arm that ‘feels’; 677,786
29 Georgette Mulheir: The tragedy of orphanages 643,070
30 Vikram Patel: Mental health for all by involving all 629,821
31 Amos Winter: The cheap all-terrain wheelchair 609,501
32 Krista Donaldson: The $80 prosthetic knee that’s changing lives 607,430
33 Simon Lewis: Don’t take consciousness for granted 595,097
34 Dennis Hong: Making a car for blind drivers 560,404
35 Rupal Patel: Synthetic voices, as unique as fingerprints 552,383
36 Ron McCallum: How technology allowed me to read 515,692
37 Alberto Cairo: There are no scraps of men 509,103
38 Peter Saul: Let’s talk about dying 451,980
39 Ami Klin: A new way to diagnose autism 349,224
40 Seyi Oyesola: A hospital tour in Nigeria 177,908
41 Giles Duley: When a reporter becomes the story 101,730
42 Keith Nolan: Deaf in the military 80,056
43 Charles Hazlewood + British Paraorchestra: The debut of the British Paraorchestra 52,115

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