TED Talks

What we've learned from Justine Sacco's tweet

Maybe there’s two types of people in the world: those people who favor humans over ideology, and those people who favor ideology over humans. I favor humans over ideology, but right now, the ideologues are winning, and they’re creating a stage for constant artificial high dramas where everybody’s either a magnificent hero or a sickening villain, even though we know that’s not true about our fellow humans. What’s true is that we are clever and stupid; what’s true is that we’re grey areas. The great thing about social media was how it gave a voice to voiceless people, but we’re now creating a surveillance society, where the smartest way to survive is to go back to being voiceless.

Let’s not do that (via).

What a challenging TED Talk. I especially loved the contrast between what social media’s intention, to connect us all through our faults and mistakes, and the reality of what it has become. Namely, a stage to celebrate our false perfection and a spear to hunt people. So we can hang them with their shameful secrets.

As Ronson says, let’s not do that.

For more on . . .

-N- Stuff  : On Living : TED Talks : Jon Ronson

Favorite Podcasts : September

Hello all! And a special welcome to those recently joined! 

For those new, once a month I try and send out some of my favorite podcasts because, as was mentioned in a reply to last month's email, "I've grown weary of 'Here! listen to this podcast' suggestions because episodically they are SOOO hit and miss." And I would agree.

With that in mind, I hope this helps sift through some of the more, "Meh" episodes and provides you with at least a few quality, gonna-pass-this-along podcasts. 

Post No Evil : by Radiolab

Back in 2008 Facebook began writing a document. It was a constitution of sorts, laying out what could and what couldn’t be posted on the site. Back then, the rules were simple, outlawing nudity and gore. Today, they’re anything but. 

I was a bit hesitant of this one. Not anymore. Because Facebook “is now sort of a playground, it’s also sort of an R-rated movie theatre,” and also the front page of a newspaper. And we, the users, are demanding that they make a set of policies that are Just. “And the reality is Justice means a very different thing in each one of these settings.”

Which is what makes this podcast, this discussion, so intriguing.

'President' Once Meant Little More Than 'Foreman' : by Weekend Edition Saturday

In exactly three minutes, my mind was completely unhinged by the our forefather’s lengthy discussion and specific purpose for naming the leader of the free world, “president.”

Gregor : Heavy Weight and Gimlet Media

This might be my favorite of the month.

20 years ago, Gregor lent some CDs to a musician friend. The CDs helped make him a famous rockstar. Now, Gregor would like some recognition. But mostly, he wants his CDs back. 

Two season are available, and once you start, don’t be shocked if you get sucked into them all. I did. Quickly and joyously.

Stroke of Genius: How Derek Amato Became a Musical Savant : by Hidden Brain

At just over 25 minutes, this short podcast will have you sincerely considering if banging the left side of your head against the nearest wall is worth it. Seriously. 

In 2006, Derek Amato suffered a major concussion from diving into a shallow swimming pool. When he woke up in the hospital, he was different. He discovered he was really good a playing piano. Yes, we're serious. Derek is one of just a few dozen known "sudden savants" or "accidental geniuses"—people who survive severe head injuries and come out the other side with special gifts for music or math or art (via).

Embrace the Shake : TED Talk

In art school, Phil Hansen developed an unruly tremor in his hand that kept him from creating the pointillist drawings he loved. Hansen was devastated, floating without a sense of purpose. Until a neurologist made a simple suggestion: embrace this limitation ... and transcend it.

Sorry, you can’t listen to this one while running or driving, but no worries! Sitting and watching this man will not only entertain, it will inspire.

If five isn't enough and you're looking for more, peruse over here to your heart's content!


Thanks for reading and tagging along!

Happy listening!


Grit : What our kids need to succeed

I've always struggled with the concept of success because it seems to carry the idea of money and fame. I've argued, on more than one occasion, that being successful doesn't necessarily mean money, but rather, the accomplishment of something. Yet, in a recent conversation with my little sister I found myself saying, and believing, that I haven't found success in a few of my endeavors because no one is willing to pay for them, because I'm doing them on my own time, for free. Success, apparently, is marked by the dollar sign, because, whether I like it or not, we put our money where our mouth is.

Like many of my friends I've talked with over the years, the idea of obtaining this kind of success, the kind that reaches beyond personal gratification and lives in the land of compensation, seems to dependent upon skills and talents, time and resources, and the many other factors that we don't seem to have. Which is why we haven't found success, and perhaps never will. 

Recently, though, I've been encouraged by a different notion, that talents and time and resources can aid in the acquisition of success, but they are not the greatest determiner. More than any of these, passion and perseverance (earnestness even) and the relentless pursuit of one's commitments is what determines success. 

Angela Duckworth calls this "grit."

Angela Duckworth is smarter than me, and for sure much more successful, but I'm not quit sure I believe her conclusion of "we don't know," because I think we do know, and I think it has to deal with the very idea she is presenting - grit. We teach our kids grit. 


As a child, I remember - often - working with my dad on tasks and projects I didn't really care to be a part of. Things like, chopping wood all Saturday, shoveling the the long driveway, raking leaves, and various other tasks. When I complained or argued, my father made me do them anyway. Before playing with friends or watching t.v.. I remember being so frustrated and angry because all I wanted to do was be with my friends, not working. I also remember, even though I would never admit it to him and only barely admitted to myself, that when the job was completed, I would look at what I had done and feel a sense of accomplishment and be proud of what I had done. 

Looking back, it was during these times that the seeds to success were being planted.

As parents, as educators, we can teach our kids grit by providing opportunities for them to struggle, sweat, and endure through difficult tasks. Tasks like overcoming difficult hikes, persevering through piano or guitar lessons, and even pulling nails from old pallets. They might complain, but if the task has purpose, if they can see that there is a reason for all their hard work, when it is over, when the bench and drawer are built, whether they admit it or not, there will be a sense of accomplishment, because they gritted through.

Duckworth ends her talk without much conclusion, but rather, a charge - to be "gritty about getting our kids grittier." I think we can do this by being purposeful about getting our kids engaged in tasks that demand hardship and difficulty and, most importantly, longevity, but that are also full of purpose. 


For more talks and ideas of Success, you can listen to this TED Radio Hour appropriately entitled, Success. It's a great listen and worth the 50 minutes.


For more on . . .

-N- Stuff  :  TED Talks  :  Growth Mindset  :  Creativity in Education



Books Recommended by TED 2017 Speakers

ParrotRead has compiled a list of books recommended on Twitter by the speakers at the recently concluded TED 2017 conference in Vancouver. Some highlights:
Success Through Stillness: Meditation Made Simple by Def Jam cofounder Russell Simmons. “Simmons shares the most fundamental key to success — meditation — and guides readers to use stillness as a powerful tool to access their potential.” Recommended by Serena Williams, who also recommended Eat Yourself Sexy.
A Place of Greater Safety by Hilary Mantel. Recommended by Atul Gawande.
The Machine Stops by E.M. Forster. Classic sci-fi about humans living underground with all their needs being met by machines. Recommended by Elon Musk, who kinda wants to do that for realsies?
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. Lacks’ cells were taken without her knowledge and used to develop medical breakthroughs worth billions of dollars. Now an HBO movie starring Oprah Winfrey. Recommended by Lisa Genova.
SuperBetter: The Power of Living Gamefully by Jane McGonigal. “She explains how we can cultivate new powers of recovery and resilience in everyday life simply by adopting a more ‘gameful’ mind-set.” Recommended by Tim Ferriss (via).


For more on . . .

-N- Stuff  :  TED Talks  :  Book Recommendations



Tom Thum might be the best thing you'll see and hear all day.

"Coming out of the small Brisbane, Australia, hip-hop scene, Tom Thum has become a world presence with his unhuman beatboxing sound. In 2005, he and Joel Turner won the team battle in the World Beatbox Championships, and Thum came second at the Scribble Jam Beatbox Battles, America’s most prestigious hip-hop competition, in 2006. He's a cast member in the hip-hop/circus performance troupe Tom Tom Crew, appearing on Broadway and London's West End.

Thum is also committed to teaching hip-hop, and travels throughout Australia sharing the positive message that music preaches" (via).


For more on . . .

-N- Stuff  : TED Talks  :  Music


Ken Robinson : Do Schools Kill Creativity?

Great watch, whether you're an educator or not, because his thoughts on creativity and intelligence apply to us all. Plus, he's just truly entertaining.

I love his thoughts on intelligence, that it is "is dynamic and wonderfully interactive." And that it's diverse, dynamic, and distinct. 

Creativity, he says, "is having original ideas that have value."

Sir Ken has also published, "The Element: How Finding your Passion Changes Everything."




PLEASE (scroll to bottom) AND DO SO AGAIN!

There was an (ahem) operations error and it didn't go through (sorry about that).


For more on . . .

-N- Stuff  :  TED talks  :  Inspiration


Beware! The Muslims are coming!

From TED Radio Hour

From TED Radio Hour

I enjoyed this Ted Radio Hour show for various reasons. One, it reminded me to not be too serious and to laugh more about hardships and turmoils. But more importantly, I appreciated these two speakers, Maysoon Sayid and Negin Farsad because their stories, told with humor, are trying to break down stereotypes and prejudices and are bringing people together. 

Negin Farsad has even taken her mission off the stage and into the street, setting up booths, making pastries, and asking if anyone has any questions about Islam. And when people ask, when they truly sit down and ask honest questions, questions like, "Why do some Muslim women look like you, and some Muslim women you can't tell who they are? Like if they robbed a bank, you wouldn't be able to tell who they are?" or "I don't understand, I mean, you're dressed like an American" - "I am American" she interrupts - "Okay . . ." and "Tell me why I haven't seen Muslims who are not extremist criticizing the Muslims who are?" walls begin to crumble.

In order for community and unity to be found, for ignorance to be beaten, somebody has to be strong. Kind. And bigger than the situation, than themselves.  They must, "remain delightful" because, "you'll attract more bees with honey." Which also means, sometimes, those holding the honey will have to endure the stings of the ignorant and cruel.

Negin and her fellow traveling comedians made a movie about this project called, "The Muslims are Coming." 

Soon thereafter, a known hate group spent 300,000 dollars on an ANTI MUSLIM poster campaign. 

Negin and her crew responded with a "Fighting Bigotry with Delightful Posters" campaign. They raised the money, worked with the city of NY for over five months, and got the posters approved.

The posters said things like, "Fact. Grown up Muslims can do more pushups than baby Muslims!"

But then, two days after they were supposed to go up, they were banned for "political content."

Despite this and other obstacles, like death threats, Negin says she still things Social Justice Comedy is one of the greatest weapons against bigotry. "I have performed in red states and blue states, and one thing I've found," she explains, "is that the American people are not built to hate. They want to be friendly and they want to offer you a coffee and open the door for you." They want to be good neighbors.

Because "if you approach people with love," Negin argues, "you get love in return." Muslim or not.

Once more Ms. Adichie's words come to mind, "Single stories create stereotypes. And the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but incomplete."

Remain delightful, because the Muslims are coming, and many of them carry honey.



PLEASE (scroll to bottom) AND DO SO AGAIN!

There was an (ahem) operations error and it didn't go through (sorry about that).


For more on . . .

-N- Stuff  :  Humanity  :  TED Talks


Raising Girls : Brave, Courageous, Adventurous

Gutsy girls skateboard, climb trees, clamber around, fall down, scrape their knees, get right back up — and grow up to be brave women (via).

This really challenged me. With two girls, both with very different personalities, these . . . truths, are appropriate.

Eden is extremely timid by nature, shy, and sensitive. She holds hurts longer than the other two kids and needs longer to work through her frustrations. Her spirit is gentle. She also loves adventures, camping, and exploring, just like her Mom. My challenge for her, then, is to encourage the pushing of the boundaries, to build her confidence, and to provide opportunities where she can succeed (and fail) outside her comfort zone. Because she will need the push.

Zion will need the leash. She has little fear, runs without worry, and jumps without asking. She is often covered in mud and scrapes, with little twigs stuck in her head of curls, and I don't want to squash this fearlessness. For her, my task is to help guide, to provide avenues where she can pursue it with limited danger (the risk assessment Caroline mentioned), so as to encourage it and grow it. Her concept of girl has no limitations, and I want to keep it that way. I want her to be #likeagirl.

Brave, courageous, adventurous. These are what I want my girls to be. But also honest, sincere, kind, and loyal. I want them to be women of character. Women of humility and integrity. 

Woman worthy of the title. 


Caroline Paul is an American writer of fiction and non-fiction. She was raised in Connecticut, and educated in journalism and documentary film at Stanford University (via).

Caroline has published four books:

The Gutsy Girl: Escapades for Your Life of Epic Adventure

East, Wind, Rain: A Novel

Fighting Fire

Lost Cat: A Trust Story of Love, Desperation, and GPS Technology


For more on . . .

Raising Daughters  :  TED Talks  :  On Parenting


9 TED Talks From Writers

We love a good TED Talk. What better way to celebrate this awesome media than witha roundup of talks by nine kickass authors? Whether you are looking for a talk on fear and imagination, or poetry and animation—we have something for you. Just follow the links below.

Roxane Gay

We can’t stop talking about how thrilled we are to have the incredible Roxane Gay as the judge for our sixth anthology. She has established herself as a fiction writer, essayist, and astute cultural critic. Her TED Talk covers the difficulties of reaching a perfect feminist ideal, and why it’s important to keep trying anyway. Watch the talk here!

Lidia Yuknavitch

Lidia Yuknavitch is an Oregon writer who has written both a memoir and several novels. Her TED Talk shares her own journey through life, and her realizations of self-acceptance along the way.

John Green

John Green is the bestselling author of multiple novels, including Looking for Alaska, Paper Towns, and The Fault in Our Stars. His TED Talk is focused on different styles of learning, and how he fell in love with online video. Go on, check it out.

Elizabeth Gilbert

Elizabeth Gilbert is an American author who is best known for her 2006 memoir Eat, Pray, Love. Her TED Talk deconstructs the idea of “being” a genius, and then continues with the supposition that all people “have” a genius. Watch it now.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a Nigerian novelist, and she was awarded the MacArthur Genius Grant in 2008. Her TED Talk is on the importance of multiple viewpoints, whether they are about a country, a people, or a person. Check it out here.

Elif Shafak

Elif Shafak is a Turkish author, writing in both Turkish and English, and she is the most widely read female author in Turkey. Her TED Talk explains the power of fiction, and the empathy it engenders, in overcoming identity politics.

Karen Thompson Walker

Karen Thompson Walker is an American novelist, best known for her novel The Age of Miracles. Her TED Talk describes how fear shapes imagination by making us imagine possible futures, and her talk is centered around the story of the whaleship Essex. Take a gander.

Billy Collins

Billy Collins is an American poet, and he was the Poet Laureate of the United States from 2001 to 2003. His TED Talk combines the written word and visual art, as he shares the story of how his poems became animated films in a collaboration with Sundance Channel.

Jarred McGinnis

Jarred McGinnis is an American author currently based in London, who has mainly focused on writing short fiction. His TED Talk shares his passion for stories, and demonstrates the wonders of fiction as a magical force in his life. Check it.

by Kimberly Guerin


For more on . . .

Ted Talks  :  Stories  :  Writing

The Process of Procrastination

Tim Urban has become one of the Internet’s most popular writers. With wry stick-figure illustrations and occasionally epic prose on everything from procrastination to artificial intelligence, Urban's blog, Wait But Why, has garnered millions of unique page views, thousands of patrons and famous fans like Elon Musk (Ted.com).

According to Tim Urban, his responsibilities include:

  • Writing posts every Tuesday every Wednesday about his psychological shortcomings
  • Picking a topic for the week’s post before realizing it’s icky after diving in and thinking “if only I were doing that other topic it would be so much easier”; switching to that other topic and realizing it’s incredibly icky too
  • Opening three Chrome windows with 42 research tabs in each, just short of getting to that stressful zone where you can’t see the icon on the tabs anymore
  • Pacing around in his underwear hating himself
  • Drawing stick figures at a 2nd 4th grade skill level
  • Drawing head circles ten times before finally drawing one that looks normal
  • Not being an expert on things he writes about
  • Getting yelled at by people who think he thinks he’s an expert on things he writes about
  • Getting scolded by people for using profanity in writing
  • Passionately underestimating how long each post will take to do

You can read his full dramatic nightmare story of what it was like to do a TED Talk