Watching TED Talks is a popular pastime at CN&CO. We visit regularly to clear our heads, have a laugh or get inspired. TED Talks open our minds, spark new ways of thinking and can lead to some very interesting conversations. Each week we pick a favourite and publish it on a Tuesday, because we like how “TED Talk Tuesday” sounds. This week’s talk is posted by Carel. Here’s why he chose it:

This is not my usual kind of TED talk. At all! Science intrigues me, but despite the best efforts of Mrs Jackson and Mr Pitcairn nearly three decades ago, physics and chemistry still baffle me. However, I was intrigued by the title – monotony? I thought the world is crazy and busy and more, more, MORE the whole time?! But actually Earth has been sleeping. And now we have the opportunity to wake her. How awesome. As Deutsch says:

“Now, why is there a great monotony in the universe at large, and what makes our planet buck that trend? Well, the universe at large is relatively simple. Stars are so simple that we can predict their behavior billions of years into the future, and retrodict how they formed billions of years ago. So why is the universe simple? Basically, it’s because big, massive, powerful things strongly affect lesser things, and not vice versa. I call that the hierarchy rule. For example, when a comet hits the Sun, the Sun carries on just as before, but the comet is vaporized. For the same reason, big things are not much affected by small parts of themselves, i.e., by details. Which means that their overall behavior is simple. And since nothing very new can happen to things that remain simple, the hierarchy rule, by causing large-scale simplicity, has caused the great monotony. But, the saving grace is the hierarchy rule is not a law of nature. It just happens to have held so far in the universe, except here.”

Listen to the full talk to learn what happens next!