10 research tips for finding answers online

TED Blog

Online-Research

Before Danielle Thomson was our TED Prize researcher, she wrote trivia for Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? and spent years finding difficult-to-source info for The Late Show with David Letterman. And she has quickly established herself as our staff secret weapon. When one of us can’t get our hands on a piece of information that we need, we turn to Danielle and — voila! — there it is.

We asked Danielle to share some of her best research tips to help you in those “why can’t I find this?” moments. Here’s what she had to say:

  1. There are no new questions. Have a research question? Trust me, it’s been asked before. Put your exact question into quotations as a search term, and you will find, at the very least, a lead to your answer. Want to find out how much of the ocean has been explored? Type…

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9 Things Han Solo Taught Me About Being a Dad

Its amazing how these scenes are lodged in my memory…..

Carter Gaddis

As a child of the ’70s, I considered Han Solo the epitome of manhood.

Fiercely independent, yet secretly sentimental. Skeptical, but willing to believe in magic if he sees it with his own eyes.

Secure enough in his own skin to pursue a princess, but not above taking a wide-eyed farm boy under his wing. Best friends with a Wookiee.

A lovable scoundrel who poses as a mercenary, but who deep down recognizes the best things in life are free.

In short — the ideal dad.

I readily acknowledge that my exposure to Star Wars at a young age shaped the adult I have become. And while Obi Wan was a superb mentor and Vader achieved redemption in the end, it was Han Solo who taught me the most about how to be a good dad.

Here are just a few examples of why I believe General Solo, who had not fathered children…

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Merge multiple mp4/m4v files

Here is a simple way to merge two mp4/m4v files into one:

MP4Box -cat file1 -cat file2 -new outputfile

It will go off and read the video and audio for the first file and then the second and then produce a single file.
Here is an example where I wanted to join Part 1 and Part 2 of Ben Hur into 1 file.

$ MP4Box -cat "Ben.Hur.1959.Part.I.mp4" -cat "Ben.Hur.1959.Part.II.mp4" -new Ben.Hur.1959.mp4
 IsoMedia import - track ID 1 - Video (size 718 x 374)
 IsoMedia import - track ID 2 - Audio (SR 48000 - 2 channels)
 IsoMedia import - track ID 3 - VobSub (size 720 x 576)
 IsoMedia import - track ID 4 - media type "text:text"
 IsoMedia import - track ID 1 - Video (size 718 x 374)
 IsoMedia import - track ID 2 - Audio (SR 48000 - 2 channels)
 IsoMedia import - track ID 3 - VobSub (size 720 x 576)
 IsoMedia import - track ID 4 - media type "text:text"
 Saving to Ben.Hur.1959.mp4: 0.500 secs Interleaving

If you don’t have the MP4Box command available on your system you will need to do the following to install it.

$ sudo apt-get install gpac