Since not everyone is familiar with TED or TEDx, here’s a two-part  411.

TEDxCaltech takes place Friday.

First, all about TED.

TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. Started as a four-day conference in California 25 years ago, TED has grown to support world-changing ideas with multiple initiatives. The annual TED Conference invites the world’s leading thinkers and doers to each speak for 18 minutes. Their talks are then made available, free, at TED.com. TED speakers have included Bill Gates, Al Gore, Jane Goodall, Elizabeth Gilbert, Sir Richard Branson, Nandan Nilekani, Philippe Starck, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Isabel Allende, and UK prime minister Gordon Brown. The annual TED Conference takes place in Long Beach, California, with a simulcast in Palm Springs; TEDGlobal is held each year in Oxford, UK. TED’s media initiatives include TED.com, where new TEDTalks are posted daily, and the Open Translation Project, which provides subtitles and interactive transcripts as well as the ability for any TEDTalk to be translated by volunteers worldwide. TED has established the annual TED Prize, where exceptional individuals with a wish to change the world are given the opportunity to put their wishes into action; TEDx, which offers individuals or groups a way to host local, self-organized events around the world; and the TEDFellows program, which helps world-changing innovators from around the globe become part of the TED community and, with its help, amplify the impact of their remarkable projects and activities.

Follow TED on Twitter at twitter.com/TEDTalks, or on Facebook at facebook.com/TED.

TED2011, “The Rediscovery of Wonder,” will be held from February 28 to March 4, 2011, in Long Beach, California, with the TEDActive simulcast in Palm Springs, California.

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