IF YOU'VE EVER touched a computer or a radio dial, you're familiar with TED Talks. Recorded at an annual conference and broadcast online and on public radio, with the slightly smug tagline "Ideas Worth Spreading," TED Talks have famously covered such topics as the origins of the universe, orgasms, and flying robots.

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In April, a conference called TEDxPortland returns with a to-be-determined lineup of speakers. And a few days ago, TEDxConcordiaUPortland announced that local writer Cheryl Strayed will curate the March installment of their series.

That little "x" is a key variable in Portland's TEDx talks: It indicates an independently produced event, one that borrows the brand but not necessarily the quality of the better-known TED Talks. These shows are a bit of a dice-roll—the content is entirely up to the curator.

You might find similar topics at Portland's CHAD Chats, though the goal of the popular satirical series is to entertain—probably don't go if you're actually hoping to learn something. Created by local writer Mykle Hansen, the multimedia series invites local comedians and performers to the Jack London Bar stage to present a talk on a subject of their choosing. TED Talks are highly spoofable—they can seem a bit smarmy and self-important, and are often packed with buzzwords. CHAD Chats—it stands for "The Center for Humorism and Amusement Dynamics"—takes the format and works it for maximum entertainment value.

This week at the Jack London, the fourth installment of the show is loosely organized around the theme "SPACE." Here's a quick guide to the presenters and what they'll be talking about.

AC DICKSON—eBay PowerSeller, life coach, and emcee about town, Dickson will present his chilling analysis "The Wizard of Oz Is Not a Kids' Story."

WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY—Man of the people, friend to children everywhere, my boss. He'll be presenting "Apes and Robots: Why Murdering Them Now Protects Our Future of Tomorrow Then!"

B. FRAYN MASTERS—Back Fence PDX co-founder (and now radio host!) will share the sure-to-be-titillating "S Is for Space and Also for Scandal!"

DANNY NORTON—We don't really know who Danny Norton is. Sorry, Danny Norton. But we like the name of your presentation: "A Self-Referential Guide to Meta." Good one!

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SCOTT ROGERS—Local comedian Scott Rogers is gonna blow the lid off the corn industry with "High-Fructose Corn Syrup: The Sweet Surprising Truth!"

WHITNEY STREED—Whitney Streed is a comedian and a woman, and as such she will be presenting "Women: An Inquiry."

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