This weekend, one of our listeners spent their "cognitive surplus" producing a video (the one you're probably already watching). It remixes audio of Carl Kasell reading LOLcats captions on TED Radio Hour with the corresponding feline images.
Here's the back story: In a new episode, TED Radio Hour explored the idea of collaboration. The kind of collaboration that has led to game-changing advancements like Wikipedia and CAPTCHAs, which capitalize on internet-security puzzles to digitize books and teach foreign languages for free.
In his TED Talk, Clay Shirky, a leader in studying the effects of new technologies, explains how small moments of free time for individuals around the world - "cognitive surplus" he calls it - have made way for these mass collaborations that are changing the world. He told TED Radio Hour Host Guy Raz that people in the United States have an average 30-35 hours of free time a week, and people, especially the younger generation, are not just watching television.
Prime example: LOLcats. Raz called in Kasell, Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me's official judge and scorekeeper, to explain the viral memes on the show. And, well, you are watching the results. Meow.