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Monthly Archives: June 2012

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Ken Robinson says schools kill creativity

Education is personal, a statement I paraphrased from Ken Robinson in his entertaining and educating TED Talk:

Link: http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity.html

Date Filmed: February 2006

Length: 19 Minutes, 29 Seconds

Total Views so far: 11,091,925 Views

One Sentence Summary:  “Education has become improperly specialized while not supporting the diversity with which the mind actually functions.”

This TED Talk is incredibly profound, and as it was originally released in 2006 it brings me great pain in wondering why some principles from it haven’t been placed into affect as of yet.

What do I mean by profound?  Robinson doesn’t finish his talk with a puzzling or deep message, rather it is clear from the very beginning.  “Creativity is as important as literacy, and it should be treated with the same status” is the direct quote, and the inference from this (or literal take I guess) is that the priorities of the education system are wrong.  This wasn’t directly a design flaw, rather it was both an evolution of how the ‘successful at education’ became educators and the general structure of how wealth is attained.

This post tonight is in high danger becoming incredibly long, as there are so many aspects surrounding the above that I’m uncertain where to begin.

Let’s start with the simple truths that he speaks of.  During development, aka being a kid, one quickly hears stories of who does what and how much they earn.  “There’s no poor doctors”, “Teachers aren’t paid enough”, “Do you want to be a janitor for the rest of your life?” all these kinds of phrases bounce around an immediate labeling occurs.  That there is a scale that accompanies each occupation, and that one’s occupation is determined entirely on what grades the student is receiving.

Now I admit that grades might be an indicator.  There are several indicators of an individuals possible development but that piece of paper is the one that is used today as a proof.

And in this regard, this is perfectly reasonable.  However, the beast that comes out of it is that the education and experience itself becomes a secondary goal.  What ends up the primary goal?

To get that damn piece of paper.

A person does not need to be well rounded, empathetic or creative to ‘test well’.  And to properly administer a test isn’t tailored to the individual, rather it is tailored so one can test multiple individuals at the same time.  I can dance if there’s music with a recognizable beat, but take that away and I’m looking like someone who is in the process of falling down.  If there is a tiny percentage of individuals (let’s say, .01%) that actually think BETTER with music on, then the current method of testing a group in close to silence puts them at a distinct disadvantage.  This disadvantage might mean a couple kids in each school, each year, are unknowingly penalized by the system and over decades this could mean hundreds or thousands of individuals who have grown up with the belief they can only achieve so much.

Now in the example Robinson brings up, Gillian Lynne, it wasn’t about a kid who needed to dance so they could add two plus two.  It was about a kid who was innately interested at something, and that if properly directed could do something with it.

More about Gillian Lynne can be found on her wiki page here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gillian_Lynne

I know I’m simply reiterating the same points he makes (hopefully from a slightly more detailed angle) but its just that I couldn’t agree more as I know that the system of education impacted my own development.

(And not to get into too much detail, in my early years I had a speech impediment (‘th’ was a sound I couldn’t make), I had trouble learning how to write and I needed my own unique class of ‘one’.  It would be years later that I was labelled ‘gifted’, which was also in my opinion, misleading of character)

What caught me off guard:

The first few steps Robinson makes while walking in seem forced.  I do not know if he was injured, making a joke of it or if it was simply an illusion of the camera.  Nonetheless, it caught my eye.  Based upon his consistent humor and style of humor, I’d imagine that this limp is real.  I’d also make a guess that it was something he had for an extended period of time only as humor makes a great distraction from other things.  (If it wasn’t the limp, then it would have been something else, maybe the stutter).  Speaking of which, he stutters a few sentences early on.  I bring it up because it distracted me, just like the cellphone ringing.

You’d think they’d have a PIxar based introduction that reminds people to turn their cellphones off.  I love those things.

Outside of all these very minor distractions, the very best surprises is the fact Robinson is so very funny and he tells jokes I haven’t heard before.

There is something that Robinson brings up which aren’t necessarily true, or I don’t immediately agree with.  For instance, saying degrees aren’t worth anything.  This isn’t entirely true.  For one, there are a ‘shopping cart’ of degrees a student can now select from, and many of these degrees are not exactly ‘real’.  It’s widely accepted that some degrees were designed in mind with ‘getting students’ and not actually pushing a philosophy of raising educational standards.  And although many people are indeed educated, it’s also said that 80% of jobs aren’t advertised, so finding immediate work in their initial specialty of study does not happen.

(I graduated to be an actuary but find today that I’d very much would rather do things that I pushed aside when younger simply because there wouldn’t work for it.  Y’know, like a ninja or dessert taster.  Ok, maybe not those two but you get the idea)

So what now?

This is the biggest question, for as nice it is to say the education system is wrong there isn’t a clear solution to how to make it right.  There’s a system of jobs, a hierarchy of multiple systems and lifetimes of expectations that need to be resorted out and reinvented before anything can really happen.

It is really quite possible that the children we are educating today might have to educate the next generation to make the necessary changes.

Except in their case, they’ll have the TED Talks to remind them.

ED

– Updated every Friday

 
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Posted by on June 29, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Sebastian Thrun: Google’s driverless car

There are two inventions that I’m really looking forward to.  These aren’t massive inventions that will solve all of the planet’s problems, but they would make a difference.

The first, the invention of the office robot dog.  I did a summer retreat once while on student council (a long time ago) and the cottage we were staying at had a bunch of dogs that lived on the premises.  These dogs would run around and just randomly show up to say ‘hi’ and it was always a welcome surprise.

Mind you, real dogs are a pain to maintain.  They require food, water, exercise and this strange emotion called ‘love’; that’s a long list of things just to keep up a novelty while working.  (Home pets are different, so let’s just accept this difference for the theory)  Ergo, to save a great deal of effort and possibly any allergies / fears, the invention of the robot office dog.

The second invention, is the robot car.  The appropriate nomenclature today is ‘driverless car’, which is a term that simply feels more acceptable as something to insert into the living traffic of today.  (Robots, they get no respect)  The link is below:

Link: http://www.ted.com/talks/sebastian_thrun_google_s_driverless_car.html

Length: 4 Minutes, 14 seconds

Date Filmed: March 2011

One Sentence Summary: “Humans really are crappy drivers, and there’s a lot of hope ahead.”

How it Related to me

Now this is an idea I would support!  I have driven countless hours coming to and fro from the workplace, to meet friends downtown, to go off on gallivanting trips across country.  If I could have used that time doing something else, anything else, it would have been great.  Even if it meant more time playing stupid games on my phone, handheld or reading a book, it would be worth it.

Let’s talk about another car innovation for a moment, the electrical or hybrid vehicle.  This is a great idea for those that are looking to save the environment and at the same time, slowly ween away our reliance on gasoline.  It actually makes sense on many levels but just reducing our general carbon footprint alone is a worthy enough cause.

As an individual who wants to be an early adapter, I thought this would these cars would be the shiznit, the cat’s meow, the freakin’ A!  That even if I didn’t adopt the cars early, there would be many others who would and I could simply buy a used version sometime in the future.

This, quite obviously, hasn’t happened.

And why not?  If I was so grand on the idea of buying a hybrid electric, why haven’t I?

It comes down to pricing point.  The simple fact I’m writing in a blog must be evidence enough that I can’t afford high end items.  (I’m just joking, I’m certain there are many bloggers out there who are wealthy.. somewhere)  And when the hybrid vehicle came out costing anywhere from 10K to 15k more than the same vehicle without the ‘bells and whistles’ of an electric / magical engine that made many potential buyers pause.  Ten thousand dollars more?  Just to be eco-friendly?  How much gas would I need to save in order to make up that value up?

Now admittedly this was a time before when gas prices were only considered ‘ridiculous’ and it had not yet reached the ‘what the fuck this is bullshit’ pricing of the modern day.  In any case, I remember doing the math and realizing that I needed to be driving that one car for over ten years before I was ‘saving money’ from using less gas.  This hurt.

But for a ROBOT car.  Er, but for a DRIVERLESS CAR.  I’d gladly pay the extra ten thousand for that.  Heck, I’d even allow a whole mess of other features that would be deemed inappropriate.

– Car has a maximum speed of 50 km/h -> Sure, I didn’t need to get there that fast anyways.  You know what?  I’ll write my next novel on the road instead.

– Car insults you every time you turn it on -> I can take it, I’ve got rhino skin.  Just get me to my destination without having to look at the road, or be conscious for that matter.

– Car uses TWICE as much gas as a normal car ->  I actually believe this WILL be a mandatory part of the driverless car.  Why?  I don’t know, to appease the oil barons and car manufacturers or something.  Maybe it’ll need to have a constant burning ‘Olympic style torch’ to signify it’s a driverless car.  I don’t care, just put these damn cars to market already!

Because that I am THAT TIRED OF DRIVING.  Actually, that’s not entirely true, I really enjoy driving.  I enjoy driving much more than the average person I’d surmise and it isn’t too uncommon that I’ll go out for a drive on an evening just to get out and feel the city.

“Won’t you miss driving then?” -> Quite possibly, although I’d imagine that initial models will have some kind of ‘manual option’ where one could turn the driverless driver off so you could drive the driven drive off the driveway.  Driving on, even without a manual option, I’d still be content with it.

Wait, given the limitations set above, where each day’s drive costs twice as much, takes double the time and you get to be made insecure through verbal conversation, doesn’t this exist already?

The answer is yes.  They’re called Taxis.

And as much as I dislike taking cabs, the driverless vehicle I’ve described so far is pretty much a glorified taxi cab that has one distinct difference.   The necessity of your own awareness to the outside road, the driver and the fare itself, is strictly voluntary.  That added privacy and comfort time, is well worth it.

That and drivers today are suicidal / ignorant / suffer from compulsive disorders.  People want to use their cellphones, they want to be texting and chatting and surfing.  A decade ago, there was a ‘distracted driver’ ticket where drivers who were distracting themselves were targeted for fine.  One woman, was applying make up, painting her toenails, talking on her phone and driving.  Some guy, was pulled over while he was making a sandwich.  Come on, isn’t obvious that the people want one thing?  Robot dogs!

I mean, driverless cars!

What Caught me Off Guard

This talk is filmed / posted on March of 2011.   2011!!!  If this was an Apple product, we’d be on version 3.0 by now.  Shouldn’t there be a dent of market share of driverless products by now?

Questions

Where is the driverless car today?  Is it still an idea coming to reality?  How much will it cost?

Without needing to look it up, I know the driverless car is currently being tested in the United States.  I’d gladly be a test flunkie for it here in Canada.

And although the car is yet to be in production for sale, there is a state that is preparing for the eventuality.  This would be Nevada during March 2012.  Link: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/road-and-rail-transport/9252657/Driverless-cars-approved-by-Nevada.html

The Google driverless car has appeared in other media as well.  Including television shows like Nova, Stephen Hawking’s Brave New World and others.  (Not to mention hypothetical versions of driverless cars like in Minority Report, Total Recall and Knight Rider)

The wikipedia link for autonomous car is here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autonomous_car

Despite my best efforts, I cannot find a solid link on how much the driverless car would cost.  However, the costs of the equipment used have been made public, and the costs are mind shattering / overwhelming.  Approximately $150,000 of equipment are thrown into one of these babies and that’s putting the initial line of driverless cars to be in the hands of the super rich only.  (Article can be found here: http://content.usatoday.com/communities/driveon/post/2012/06/google-discloses-costs-of-its-driverless-car-tests/1#.T-QNpbUxO9s)

So now that its been discussed, what can I do?

Unfortunately, it’s the same story that was told for the electric vehicle.  I need to wait and hope that it will become popular and heavily integrated into society.  Maybe then I’ll be able to buy a used one.

ED

– Updated every Friday

 
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Posted by on June 22, 2012 in TED Talks

 

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Suheir Hammad: Poems of war, peace, women, power

Ever wonder if there’s more to life than the coincidence of related events?  That somehow opportunities lay out in a pattern where the expectation is that it’s random?

This isn’t a poem or anything, but for whatever reason it is on the brain.  Mostly because poems have entered my life almost daily since I posted last week.

This Monday I noticed, at last minute, an invite from my friend Megan to attend the Rowers Pub Reading Series.  As I don’t see the event listed on their website, I can only assume it was meant to be a ‘closed’ event as it detailed the change of the guard of it’s executive. 

Nonetheless, you can learn more about this group of Toronto based poets here: http://www.rowerspubreadingseries.com/about.htm

Quite obviously, there was a lot of poems, jokes and stories that were told.  I can see why poets actually become poets, there is a lifestyle here.  There is a group of friends to meet with, visitors from out of town who congregate to interact with and performances to be made or entertained by.  I was told afterwards that there were chapbooks for sale as well that I had missed. 

And to be honest, I had no idea what a chapbook was (so I asked).  You can find it’s definition here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chapbook

As last week I covered a spoken word poetry TED Talk, hearing about two dozen poems at the start of the week and so I decided to spend one last entry on the subject of Poetry this week.

You can find this poetry link here:http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/suheir_hammad_poems_of_war_peace_women_power.html

Length: 5 Minutes, 53 Seconds

Date: Dec 2010

One Sentence Summary: “The title is suiting, poems of war, peace, women, power.”

It’s a cheat to stick with the title that was given to it at TED, but to be honest, I’m still trying to wrap my mind around poetry.

You see, when it comes to poetry, I JUST DON’T GET IT.

I’ve written poetry before, I’ve read poetry from many authors and I even have a few books about poetry sitting on my shelf.  But as much as I ‘know’ poetry and its methodologies/reasoning/beats of performance, there is something that I am missing.

It is a desiderata of missing understanding, there is a search for something missing here.  (Odd, I just reread Desiderata of Happiness just the other day too).

Desiderata of Happiness poem: http://www.rationality.net/desiderata.htm

Look, I consider myself a tech guy.  A computer nerd.  I type faster than some people speak, and I keep to update on virtually everything in tech news/YouTube/E3 (well, video games in general)/media/uh, random crap.

And yet I find the dancing verbal tantalization of prose to be fascinating, it is definitely something decidedly different from what I’m used.  (and now I’m just playing with my sentences like a high school student)

As poetry in itself an art form, I will have to slide into the category that I simply enjoy live performance and forgive the why.  As it isn’t exactly a pertinent question to be answered, I can find the answer of ‘why I like poetry’ on another night.

“I, why?” – anonymous

I think the above is the world’s shortest poem.  Heck, I’m not even sure if it is real.  All I remember is my grade 10 teacher writing it on the chalkboard claiming that is what is was.

As Hammad’s poems, they are quite intense.  I see a great deal of verbal / cerebral pleasing moments for her as she speaks.  She talks to the TED audience like she was at a cafe or smoking bar.

And this is an interesting contrast from last week.  I didn’t realize it as much then, but I think that felt more like a classroom setting as opposed to this one.  There is a lot of comfort here, like glasses filled with beer or spirits are being passed along in the back row. 

And despite this casual feeling, the poems involved are so much not.  These are very real, very intense subject matter.  Yet the cascade of images presented in such a manner that the journey you take isn’t scary, or funny, it is a very different ride altogether.

What caught me off guard:

It’s hard to say a poem or a presentation with poems can catch one off guard.  Hammad doesn’t go into the details of why she is speaking at a TED event nor does she appear to be directly interfacing with the audience.  In some cases a TED speaker will speak to the audience, like there is ray of light between the two and the audience is about to convey something back.

In this case, she speaks knowing her audience is out there, but they will remain in the dark.  (Well, except to make some noise)

Questions:

Suheir Hammad’s profile on TED is here: http://www.ted.com/speakers/suheir_hammad.html

Her wiki page too: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suheir_Hammad

Hammad’s enunciation first caught my attention and then the subject matter of the poem.  It isn’t exactly clear where she is going (at least, not to me), so the journey becomes rather interesting  As I said, poetry eludes me so I find myself a bit fascinated.

So now that it’s been discussed, what can we do?

To be honest, I think I’m going to switch gears and start reading something high tech or literal next week.  All this poetry has filled my chapbook of a mind quite full.

ED

-Updated every Friday

PS> My own little poem.

“TED.  Said.”  – ED

 
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Posted by on June 15, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Sarah Kay: If I should have a daughter …

As mentioned in the previous post, it’s due to the RGD Ted Party that the decision to talk about this TED Talk was made.

The spoken word artist can be found here: http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/sarah_kay_if_i_should_have_a_daughter.html

Date Filmed: March 2011

Length: 18 minutes, 29 seconds

How it related to me:

I remember watching this TED Talk the first week it was posted and I remember having mixed reviews about it in my mind.  Poetry is something that I used to enjoy in my younger days and watching it performed at a TED Talk brought an interesting mix of reactions within me.

The most notable, something that Kay admits to the audience, is that she sounds nervous.  Not ‘NeRvOuS’, in the sense that she’s stumbling over words and making terrible mistakes, but the kind of jumpy adrenaline rush that accompanies a performance.  You can hear a tremble in her voice and I found it distracting the very first time I listened to it.

(Odd note:  The very first time I watched this Talk, I didn’t even know who she was referring to when she mentioned Anderson Cooper which is ironic when compared to my experiences today)

Kay’s opening poem is beautiful, it does a dance with imagery and leaps about in points of view that keeps the listener entertained.  She explains many situations that she wants to share with her daughter that might possibly be her own vexations of life that she had experienced.  Kay may be young, but she seems to have lived.

There is a very interesting statement that is made by Kay, and that she writes poems to solve questions to herself.  It’s a very interesting explanation because it also summarizes her natural desire to write poetry.

What questions did she solve with ‘If I should have a daughter’? 

Please keep in mind, this is my conjecture about a piece of art, so I’m shooting for the moon here.  And if I were to hamper a guess, it really is a list of life lessons that she wants to pass on to her daughter.  Effectively a form of mnemonic to use if the day were to ever arise, and that’s rather brilliant on its own.

Kay continues on with some of the major milestones and steps in her life.  These milestones described are a girl that intimidated her, adults and experts that intimidated her but in turn, much to her own surprise, showed acceptance.  Acceptance of her, her poetry and it was the starting point of how she began her spoken word poetry journey.  The steps she follows are also things that are intimidating, continuing because you choose to; being who you are accepting the fear that your style isn’t the style you thought you need to carry.  

Indignant – (as defined by Dictionary.com) feeling, characterized by, or expressing strong displeasure at something considered unust, offensive, insulting or base:

Kay’s finishing poem of reincarnation/rebirth finishes with the reminder that the now is the time to try our hardest.  Yes, life is a cycle, but regardless of where we are in it; it is our chance to strive for the better.

One Sentence Summary:

“Some poems by Sarah Kay”

I admit, I have a very hard time trying to tie this Ted Talk down to a single notion.  Kay speaks multi dimensionally where sentences carry double meanings/entendres, call backs to other famous quotes or songs, and sentences that use ‘I’ but really mean ‘you’. 

Curse you poetry and your fancy poetryness!

What caught me off guard

At the 4 minute 9 second mark, the suspension of disbelief temporarily bursts for me. 

The first four minutes is the poem entitled, and it’s very rehearsed.  There are gestures, moments and tones that fit together like a jigsaw of seemingly broken pieces but form together to create a whole.  There are moments of vulnerability, of insight and of surprise.

And then after the poem, she talks naturally.  The beats with which she speaks are completely different, her pauses are different, Kay’s attitude seems different.

This throws me off me temporarily.  For I realize that it was a performance, and that moment of vulnerability, is one that has been rehearsed.

But at the same time, this doesn’t matter.  It still is a very real life experience and the delivery (most likely done through nervousness, real or feinted) isn’t the important pieces.

So now that it has been discussed what can we do?

(I’m a bit tired, so I’m hoping I haven’t used this example before but part of my mind thinks I had previously)

There is a card game, Mille Bornes, that I had found in the classroom in grade four.  I didn’t want to draw attention to my secret find, so I quietly read the rules and played a silent game in the back of the class.  This game was about driving to a 1000 km and you played cards showing mileage to get there.  There was one card, entitled ‘Right of Way’ that threw me off.

The reason being, and why it burned into my memory, was it showed a Firetruck with the phrase ‘Right of Way’ on it and it broke the rules of the road. 

I had assumed I was driving along where this firetruck appears and because of it I’m suddenly allowed to go through red lights?   I’m somehow following the firetruck so closely no one notices I’m breaking the law?  Why is the firetruck going my way?  Is it legal to say you had ‘Right of Way’ when you’re chasing a firetruck?

It took me YEARS to realize, that in the game, when you played that card, YOU became the Firetruck.  You weren’t a car following, it was your ‘ride’.

If you ask a boy (who has a brother), ‘Do you have a brother?’ the child will say yes.  If you then ask the child, “Does your brother have a brother?” and they might say ‘No’, only because they do not associate his or herself as a third party entity.  (I’m summarizing here so its a wibbly wobbly description)

The reason why I bring these two examples up, is that even though Kay speaks her poems in the first person, these poems aren’t meant to be from HER perspective only.  Yes, the experiences are extremely personal but at the end of the day, they are perspectives worth sharing.

And that sure sounds familiar.

Eugene

– Updated every Friday

 
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Posted by on June 8, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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The RGD TED Party

Writing on the fly on WordPress is a bit more dangerous than I realized.

Why?  Well, it starts with the fact I like to write with a hundred windows open that shoot all over the internet like a spider web of lag and information (mostly lag).

Accidentally press the back button on the wrong window, and I instantly realized I should be working in a standard word application.  Aw to hell with that, let’s live on the edge and type this raw.  (Seriously, anyone who reads just one of these blog entries should instantly recognize the signs of the ‘off the cuff’ writing style; multiple spelling errors, atrocious grammar mistakes, thoughts that run in pointless circles and random references to Gandalf / Aquaman and episodes of Community.  (PS> Aquaman sucks)

It’s that grab the seat of life and make no apologies mentality that brought me to the RGD TED Party.

It started with seeing a friend post “TED Party on Tuesday!” as her status, which I responded to with a lifted eyebrow brimming with curiosity.

An email here, registration form there, a drive to the Madison Pub and I was there!

It was the Association of Registered Graphic Designers of Ontario Provisional Team’s Social TED Party, an event held a couple times a year.  (Btw, I’ll be referring the above as RGD from now on… no reason)

Now I admit, I was late to the party / viewing.  Luckily, I had ended up sitting beside Lisa, one of the co-ordinators / Provisional team members who was hosting the event itself.  Friendly and enthusiastic, she gave me the basics about RGD and the event itself.

Note: RGD Ontario’s website can be found here: http://www.rgdontario.com/

Aside, I can see many benefits to having events like these.  Bringing groups of professionals together always gives birth to possible collaborations, networking and its a fun way to maintain friendships within the organization.  It also allows for them to pass along information and details about RGD to those that might be interested in learning more.

Each member had selected a TED Talk and each gave a small description / reason why they had selected that TED Talk to be viewed.  In some cases the reason was left to the audience member to decide but there was definitely a theme of design / humor that ran throughout the night.

In no particular order the TED Talks selected were:

Jane Chen: A warm embrace that saves lives

http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/jane_chen_a_warm_embrace_that_saves_lives.html

David Kelley on human-centered design

http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/david_kelley_on_human_centered_design.html

Joe Sabia: The technology of storytelling

http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/joe_sabia_the_technology_of_storytelling.html

Tim Brown on creativity and play

http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/tim_brown_on_creativity_and_play.html

David McCandless: The beauty of data visualization

http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/david_mccandless_the_beauty_of_data_visualization.html

Sarah Kay: If I should have a daughter …

http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/sarah_kay_if_i_should_have_a_daughter.html

Now the selections above were actually quite fascinating to me, for in almost every case (except Jane Chen’s Talk which I hadn’t seen before), I had considered doing a write up on their TED Talk but decided not to.

The reasons why I had passed writing over the 5 others are each unique to the situation where I had first viewed them.  Maybe it didn’t relate specifically to the feeling I had that week or maybe there was something about that talk that did or did not stand out to me.

And it was in this difference, that these would be the top TED talks they wanted to show that opened my eyes about them.

There were brief moments throughout the night for members to get to know each other.  In some talks, like Tim Brown’s interactive audience moments, papers were passed along for the designers in the room to give it a try as well.

The most well received TED Talk, was selected by the co-ordinator Terra, this was the Sarah Kay: If I should have a daughter selection.  (It is also with this Talk I’ll be delving into this week.)  Go spoken word poetry!

With the TED Talks completed, the various audience members slowly drifted out.  A couple stopped midway while exiting and asked if they could be invited to the next TED Party.

I understood exactly where they were coming from, after all, a TED Party is a great idea.

– Eugene

 
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Posted by on June 8, 2012 in In General..

 
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Jim Fallon: Exploring the mind of a killer

And in Zombie Apocalypse news, we had this article during the week:  http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/story/2012-05-28/miami-attacker-chewing-face/55246618/1

The above is the first article I, and probably many others, had seen of this naked man face biting incident.  And as a friend of mine said, “WTF!  Seriously WTF!”

Is this dawn of the Zombie Apocalypse?!?  This article went absolutely bonkers, er, viral this week and according to a recent survey the answer is “Yes”.  Get your shotguns, hide your faces, cause they be biting everybody down there!

Or he was completely high on a rising drug called Bath Salts, which is ten times more powerful than cocaine.  http://theweek.com/article/index/228659/bath-salts-the-quasi-legal-drug-allegedly-behind-miamis-cannibal-attack

Just surfing that website however, also brought up this head scratching headline of an article:

http://theweek.com/article/index/227374/why-the-world-might-need-robotic-prostitutes

Wasn’t there an episode of Futurama about this?  The moment humans get a perfect sex-robot partner, the human race is DOOMED!

Stupid robots!  It’ll be just like World of Warcraft and countless lives will be reduced to in basement marathons of nerds and their machines!  Not that I would have any experience with this, except for that momentary stint where I woke up one morning with a level 80 warrior tank and five years of regret.

Enough of robotic prostitutes and their ilk, back to the zombies!

There is definitely something deeply wrong when a human being resorts to such barbaric actions on such a ludicrous scale.  Being naked in public is taboo.  Attempting to kill a defenseless homeless man, is outright wrong.  Attempting to kill a homeless man while being naked and EATING HIS FACE, is so beyond wrong that it isn’t too surprising that he was shot and killed.  If anything, it’s similar to killing a spider you might be afraid of by curling up a 100 page newspaper or using a baseball bat.  Capture / release feelings aren’t present when the person is so terrified that they pick up the biggest weapon they can find to smash it like The Hulk.

But could the zombie in this manner be acting out of some repressed instinct?  Once done with the first face, would he have gone chasing down other people to eat their faces?  What if it wasn’t the drugs at all?

And even more frighteningly, these people have and continue to exist.

Introducing this Ted Talk, is the famous Jim Fallon: http://www.ted.com/talks/jim_fallon_exploring_the_mind_of_a_killer.html

Date Filmed: Feb 2009

Length:  6 minutes, 29 seconds

Jim Fallon appears to be the first famous person that I didn’t realize I knew.  You see, about two minutes into his talk, I realized I had heard his story before.  It was around here that not only had I seen these results before but he had done several interviews on various documentaries. 

It’s also greatly disturbing, that at the one minute mark he shows a group of photos of psychopathic killers that I all recognize.  I never went out of my way to learn their names, but media, movies and television really throws them in your face.  (Not sure if it was his sense of humor, but one of the killers is simply known as TED)

Now the explanation provided is one that also has been echoed through mediums like Criminal Minds and such, where there is a distinct pattern of abuse / genetics which causes the psychotic mind. 

However, where he veers from what I expected is the explanation that it’s a mother to son connection.  That’s… brow raising.  However it is not simply this genetic bridge but having an extremely violent event that is required. 

This is a really important point, that I’m going to call back to later on.

Fallon then continues with his own little admittance that his family has the psychopathic gene and as there’s three every hundred years, the time is reaching due.  I’m not sure if this is one of those things you post on Facebook as future employers who go creatively deep in researching their prospects will probably end up finding.

On the other hand, by being completely open (and PET scanning his entire family) is likely the best method to prevent or possibly predict the next.. outbreak. 

And just as the conversation gets interesting, the talk is over.  There isn’t a grand summary that ends with a witty or insightful comment, he finalizes with ‘There’s going to be bad news somewhere, it just pops up.”.

Hmm..  Well, I guess that works.

How did this talk relate to me?

I’m a big guy, I’ve worked security, I’ve trained on and off studying various martial disciplines and I only do weights at the gym (in other words, big).  I ‘arguably’ could hold my own in any situation, but the very notion of hurting someone disgusts me.  I don’t even like watching Fail videos where people fall down because I dislike seeing people get hurt.  This is probably why psychopathic killers are so fascinating to everyone (me included), on the simple basis that we don’t understand how they think.  Maybe it’s a curiosity, or it’s like watching the results of a car accident, or maybe its some inborn fragment that we try to learn from it to avoid future horror.  In any case, I’m certain psychopaths will remain in the spotlight for a very long time.

What caught me off guard / Questions

Ok, back to that part where I said I was going to bring it up again later.  The incident of violence triggering the killer persona.  Going back to a previous blog post, I once mentioned the psychopathic mind in the workplace.  For whatever reason, these brains rule the roost and this personality type (according to surveys that I cannot find a link to) not only survive but thrive in the business environment.

Is there an incident of business that happened in their childhood?  How about an incident of bartering or layered negotiation that put them on that path?

Chess great Bobby Fischer was a genius and quite possibly, a psychopath from the start.  In his bio, one of his teachers wrote that whatever Fischer selected to do in life, he would be great at it.  It was the obsessive nature of his personality that forwarded him onwards to become so advanced at whatever he did. 

In his later years, Bobby Fischer became renown for other reasons.  Ranting like a madman and hating pretty much the world for conspiring against him.  When associated with this TED Talk, it makes me wonder, could Fischer been one of these psychopathic brains that had an early… chess incident?

So now that it’s been discussed, what can we do?

Whatever incidents you’re able to give kids, for the love of god, please try to make sure they’re for the social good. 

That, and ask if the person they’re dating has a famous last name that you didn’t realize you knew.

ED

– Updated every Friday

 
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Posted by on June 1, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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