17 Aug

Hans Rosling: The magic washing machine

Every once in a while, the TED Talks will come up in casual conversation.  Every once in a while, I even find myself quoting a TED Talk.

Frankly, I’m quite shocked I haven’t covered this TED Talk yet because I have a tendency to quote it so much.

Rosling, the man who loves the washing machine, can be seen here.


Date Filmed: Dec 2010

Length: 9 minutes, 15 seconds

Total Views so far: 926,503

One Sentence Summary: “The world needs basic technology, more than keeping the world green.”

I’m not entirely certain if my summary of the TED Talk is particularly fair, as it implies an environmentally unfriendly attitude.  In relation to some of the previous EDTalksTed entries, Rosling even mentions that the danger of global warning is real but the benefits of giving access to a time saving device like the washing machine is all together more important.

What surprises me in this TED Talk is that Rosling is able to find a graphic that so clearly demonstrates the ‘lack’ of technology that exists in other parts of the world.  The idea of using little gray dots to represent energy consumption clearly shows that we live in an unbalanced world of technology.

Let’s face the reality, none of us really demand that we consume more energy than the rest of the world, it’s a by product of it’s natural state.

So when it comes to tackling the issue of making the world a better more ‘greener’ place, it’s us lucky consumers who utilize the most should be looking for greener alternate methods.

And that’s an 80/20 percent ratio, one could make some interesting comparisons to a 99/1 percent ratio.  (Although I’ll save those arguments for another day)

My favorite quote: “Even the hardcore in the green movement use washing machine” (4:40 mark)

This is like bringing a gun to a knife fight when it comes to finding a weak point in overzealous green students.  There is the possibility that you might be debating with someone who washes their clothing in the river, but that should be quite obvious.

I think this is also the only TED Talk that has a washing machine puppeteer, that’s pretty impressive.

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

Push our washing machines out to the curb and begin heating our water by fire pit!

Which is a terrible idea, for one, seeing that I’m capable of breaking washing machines every time I turn one on, I’m pretty certain I’d discover ways to ruin open pits of fire.  That and what Rosling says is true, having a washing machine far outweighs the circumstance of not having one.

It would be interesting to see that if in 50 years, will there be a TEDtalk that says something similar about a growth technology today?   An example might be, teaching and the internet?

In any case, that easily forgotten washing machine, makes one hell of a great story.

-Updated every Friday

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Posted by on August 17, 2012 in TED Talks



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