Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates is a big proponent of vaccines, but he’s also a sucker for highly infectious ideas, like the ones that spread rapidly thanks to the viral envelope known as the TED Talk. Gates is not alone. Today comes word that the TED Talks posted online have topped one billion views–every 17 seconds, a new person around the world begins watching one of the 1,400 or so videos, according to TED HQ. Thanks to an army of volunteer translators, the talks are available in more than 90 languages.
“The spread of these talks across languages and borders suggests that intellectual curiosity is demonstrably alive and well,” said TED Curator Chris Anderson in a statement issued today. “Maybe the Internet isn’t dumbing us down after all.” To celebrate the billion-view milestone, notable TEDsters have created playlists of their favorite TED Talks. Among the first crop of “TopTED” lists is that of Gates, whose 13 favorite TEDtalks include one by his wife and another by Microsoft alum Nathan Myhrvold as well as Susan Cain‘s discussion of “the power of introverts” and magician David Blaine explaining how he held his breath underwater for 17 minutes.