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Sergey Brin's love of the phrase "and whatnot"

Last night’s BBC World Debate on the state of contemporary media was interesting and surreal in about equal measure. After technical problems forced presenter Matt Frei to halt proceedings before he’d even got through panel introductions, there was an awkward silence, as everyone in the packed auditorium, including speakers Sergey Brin, Queen Noor of Jordan and veteran journalist Carl Bernstein, looked around and wondered what to do next. Then. From nowhere. An insistent Scottish voice pronouncing: “For all that TED’s a “Technology” conference, you’d have to say it’s technology is really pretty shitty”. Huh? We all twisted in our chairs and gawped and gaped. And then, from the back of the auditorium, emerged actor Robin Williams, to fill in with an impromptu, freeform stand-up set that had everyone rolling in the aisles.

Then. Onto more serious matters.