TED.com, or the Idea Generator

So in the lieu of discussing “ideas” here in the Word Asylum, I’m bringing up something that my English teacher recommended a few weeks ago. (And of course we all know that what my English teacher says to me, goes.) What it is is in fact a website; a website for people to share and discuss recent interests or inspirations. I’ve found the teachers at my school have been using this website to share speeches with us about subjects pertaining to the topics that they are teaching pretty often; I guess they’re out of ideas, too.

What I love about this website is just the endless ingenuity and intelligence of the whole prospect; it’s people, talking about their ideas, their interests, things you have to actually look for on places like YouTube. (But I’m not complaining. YouTube is practically my favorite website. Sort of. It takes up a lot of my time, anyway.) It makes me very happy to know that there are people out there who are not afraid to act ‘nerdy’ about random things, and still provide useful information. And it’s anything from doodling to saving penguins to personal experiences. They almost always include scientific explanations and computations to support their speeches fully, which I find not boring but successful in structuring the videos well.

Basically, TED.com takes the form of videos about any subject you can think of, which are of people talking on a stage, with a visual presentation pertaining to that subject. There is always an audience (so you can see their reactions) that the person is talking to, so it’s set up kind of like an awards show, except including only introductions and short speeches. These speeches are anywhere from three minutes long to nearly half an hour, depending on the concept.

The best thing about these people who talk in these videos is their humanity; they not only explain their reason for being on that stage, they include their own opinions on certain details that most people otherwise would leave alone. They get sidetracked and tell about their own personal experiences, and they crack jokes every once in a while to keep the audience entertained. And they always give examples, which is very helpful if you are trying to decipher technical terms and phrases.

As an example (and a recommendation or two), here are a few of the videos I have watched while on TED.com, which I thought were both entertaining and immensely interesting. The first is about doodling, funnily enough. It’s about five minutes long, and is a talk by a woman called Sunni Brown, who does a lot of work with art and visual images. Her video is about how doodling actually enhances focus, new ideas, and concentration, which is not only interesting, it’s awesome. I knew that doodling was fa habit during class when one was bored, but I never knew I could actually focus better by doing it. I actually did a test on myself while my English teacher was talking and doodled in my planner, seeing how much attention to detail I had of her short story while drawing. It actually worked–I remembered more details than I thought I would, and was able to relay some pretty nit-picky information about her story when she asked us what we remembered. You can watch Sunni at it here.

The second video is considerably longer, but still enjoyable. This video is about ‘liespotting’, which is figuring out whether or not you are being deceived using human tools (such as expression, talking, and habits). It’s nearly 20 minutes long, but thankfully there are very few enunciation errors from TED speakers and there is plenty of humorous examples. I especially enjoyed about halfway through it until the end, because it showed actual ways of identifying liars, which I think is a good ability to have. The woman who explains this awesome concept is called Pamela Meyer, and if you’re feeling up to a nearly-20-minute video, you can see her liespotting video here.

My third and final video is a bit different from the others; less informative, more inspiring. This is the story of a man who was on Flight 1549 when it crashed, and not only describes his experience but describes the three things he learned while the plane fell and what he realized before the impact. This is apparently the first time he has talked about it publicly, and it’s a short video (five or six minutes long), but still pretty awe-inspiring. For example; can you imagine being on a plane, and all of the sudden the engines go off? Imagine a plane with no sound. That in itself is pretty scary; but according to Ric Elias, apparently only briefly. You can hear his testimony here.

As my viewers, I challenge you to watch all three videos (if you have the time) and think about each of them from your perspective. I’m not going to have you write an essay or anything, but it’s good to think about these things sometimes, you know? Especially because we think so many different thoughts every day. This is something to add to your list of “things I’ve gained knowledge from while also being inspired to learn”.

Beside that, feel free to explore TED.com for more talks and interesting ideas; it’s also excellent for things to write about when you don’t have any ideas for a blog post (hint, hint). There is some seriously cool stuff on that site. I urge you to check it out.

Published in: on October 19, 2011 at 7:35 pm  Leave a Comment  

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