Wonderful words by Gabe, who is "skeptical of big problems with small answers." I agree completely with him, especially when it comes to the modern era of quick-shot journalism based on cherry-picked chunks of "science" and crumbs of big data.
I'm not ready to condemn TED culture and pop science, though. I think emerging science-flavored forms of entertainment can serve a vital purpose in our society. If a kid in 2015 gets turned on to a story "without end," to borrow Gabe's words, by watching a TED video or the like, I'm good with that.
I think entertainment is a vital ingredient in sparking interest, but I agree it's not the final answer, and it's definitely not a substitute for requisite complexity.
If it's possible to describe the ideal purpose of any human action in a single sentence, I believe Einstein did it with:
Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.
I believe that when it comes to understanding the world, simplicity must precede complexity, and I think it's the fundamental duty of knowledgeable adults to provide simple foundations to those less knowledgeable. I think any means that accomplishes that goal is justified—provided that it's done to advance knowledge and not end it.