Monthly Archives: July 2013


Sleepy Man Banjo Boys: Bluegrass virtuosity from … New Jersey?

How surprisingly frustrating, the TED video player refused to start for almost half an hour.  I know this sort of thing happens (since my sketchy laptop overheats faster than a nuclear reactor) it just happens that the surprise that twists the knife.

For the past few days a thought had been doing laps in my head, in the way a lone marshall might have to leap up and down to grab the attention of a passing jet.  Its become enough of a question that I have to bring it up.

Why don’t we support the artists we know?  Why is it easier to promote work from third party individuals rather than someone who is local?  (And to go into the far off tangent, bloggers?)

Is it because artists have a bad ‘rap’?  That some artists live in a world of no rehearsing or preparation or forms of self control, yet some of these artists earn dollars way beyond the average?  Or is it a form of contextual jealousy? 

eg> I knew a person who loved a picture they found online, until they found out the picture was taken by another mutual acquaintance.  That picture afterwards, in that person’s mind, changed and it quickly fell out of favor. 

We should support artists (and writers, actors, singers) who create and put their work out in the world.  99.99% of them will not earn enough money to live off their artistic trade so whatever thumbs up they receive quite literally matters more.

The TED Talks support a wide range of artists and they vary in age and depth of recognition.  And in terms of young prodigies, this band might fit the bill.

current number of views: 288,344

I love Bluegrass.  There’s a local line dance enthusiasts group that play live music for their events and that’s where I had grown a fondness for it.  (Both the line dancing and music)  Mental note: Ted Talks about Line dancing <- does this exist?

Tommy, Jonny and Robbie are all under 16 and they’re virtuosos.  Much to my second surprise, they’ve been on Ted Talks before.


It looks like their first foray was via TED@NewYork.  It makes perfect sense that a great show should be repeated on the main stage.  In the world of band culture, the rising level of venue is all of part of that game. 

Support an artist and share their work, it’s a TED idea.


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Posted by on July 30, 2013 in Uncategorized


Marco Tempest: The electric rise and fall of Nikola Tesla

(Too much sun during the day has made me quite impossibly exhausted now)

Tempest talks about one of the Internet’s greatest stars, and an inventor who became a star years after his death.  Admittedly, I had quite a few conversations about Tesla in highschool before the internet so he may have indeed been a phenom before already, however it is this rather unique fandom from social media culture which is quite peculiar.

Current Total number of Views: 718,441

Length: 6 minutes, 5 seconds

Tempest gives a great demonstration of how the medium is the message (McLuhan-esque) through use of the ‘old timey’ feel that his desk top presentation allows.  Combined with some sleight of hand, surprises and a fascinating character, and shows just why so many people have become absolutely steadfast in their rave of Tesla’s life.

(If you’re the type that just skipped the video, please don’t.  It’s a good exercise to see multiple biographies of an individual in an effort to get the full picture)

Here are some examples, I’m not summarizing these this evening only because the creativity and genuine love of the man should not be filtered.

Why Nikola Tesla was the greatest geek who ever lived by The Oatmeal

Ok, changed my mind.  Quick Summary:  The Oatmeal (Comic creator, blogger, runner) summarizes a great number of aspects of Tesla’s life, but even more highlights the intense rivalry between Tesla and other famous inventor, Thomas Edison.

Now what makes this more interesting is that this wasn’t a rivalry that existed during their lifetimes.  Rather, it is about the historical writings involving Edison versus Tesla’s historical recognition.  In effect, The Oatmeal tells us that not only do the history books / lessons mislead us, but there is a ‘nerdy’ purity about Tesla that modern geeks have forgotten.

That and he makes the point to show Edison was a big jerk.  And he’s funny while doing it.  (warning, he also swears a shitstorm)

Don’t take my word for it, it’s worth the read and it’s highly entertaining.  And don’t continue until you have actually done so as knowledge about Tesla will only make the next link more relevant.

Epic Rap Battles of History: Thomas Edison vs Nikola Tesla

One of my personal favorites, I have to admit, these epic rap battle guys are really damn clever.  Not only do they go about describing important details of the Edison vs Tesla trope but they do it while shredding beats and dancing.

They also make note of some highly important facts.  For one, Edison DID make electricity a global phenomenon.  Not by making electricity useful, it is inherently useful in this regard, rather it is by making electricity ‘profitable’.  That’s reason enough for people to start hiring other people nad building electricity generators everywhere.  I’m certain someday people will work incessantly hard for the good of the world alone, but that age of Aquarius wasn’t around in the early 1900’s.

As for Tesla’s tower (hinted in the ERB song and mentioned in the talk) have some more details listed here by the folks of

Sure enough, this tower idea was to fire energy skyward and anyone wishing to tap into it could do so with a spherical antenna.  I honestly cannot envision a world where my cellphone has constant 100% power so I’m forced to state the Tesla Tower of Power fits into the ‘myth’ category.

That is, until it’s actually built.. again.
And if you’re one of those people who like to spend time on the internet forever, then you can attempt to search through Reddit.  (A source also mentioned in the ERB video)

Simple discussions, from hypothetical scenarios to happy birthdays to joke inventions, there is post after post of people talking about Nikola Tesla.

Now there was a reason why I had placed The Oatmeal as the first source on tonight’s list of links.  He went out and started an Indiegogo campaign to build a Tesla museum and ended up receiving just over a million and three hundred thousand dollars to do it.–5


WOW, talk about a following!  That’s a huge amount of money 

Tesla sir, I tip my hat to you.

Share the power,


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Posted by on July 16, 2013 in Uncategorized


Wade Davis: Gorgeous photos of a backyard wilderness worth saving

Wade Davis: Gorgeous photos of a backyard wilderness worth saving

Length: 6 Minutes, 35 seconds

Total Views so far: 298,631

Happy Canada Day!

And because I’m curious about it, I did a search on Ted Talks for ‘Canada’ and tonight’s selection did seem quite intriguing.  (Admittedly enough, this is close to rolling a die and seeing what would come up, but It’s a good talk)

Simply put, it is about preservation of the British Columbia ecosystem versus the exploration for natural gas in the area.  (and then some, I’m just summarizing)

Wait, this video was filmed in 2012.  Was this resolved?  A quick view of the comments below implies that it has (with one comment stating that it is resolved).

A quick search of the internet and the agreement is found and is available.  This release was done on December 18, 2012 and is in favor of preserving the area, and for Shell to withdraw plans from exploring for natural gas in the Kapplan.

Is this actually a form of Ted Talks protest?  Was Davis able to gather enough support from the Ted Talks specifically to affect matters?  Or was the Tahltan Central Council able to succeed on its own?

I’m afraid some of these are questions I am unable to answer, however it is also readily apparent that this subject of debate is far from over.  As of a few days ago, the Keystone XL pipeline was in the headlines as it was being placed into question by the president of the United States.

So it certainly does not seem that this Ted Talk is moot, despite the fact the primary subject in question has been resolved.  Nor are Ted Talks the front means to bring awareness to the issue.  (Another commenter mentions searching for Moccasins on the Ground, and this brings up the Tar Sands blockade:  Found here:

And as these issues are ongoing, I will curve back to the subject which is this Ted Talk.  As it has been resolved, it might be better to bring up my own reactions as opposed to questions.

Davis shows some of the most beautiful pictures I’ve seen regarding the wonder of nature.

Now I have clearly identified myself as a Canadian and over the years every time Canada is mentioned in an advertisement, the first image they bring up (and I mentally bring up) is its beautiful nature filled environments (plus the sound of a loon).  On the flip side, when Davis describes the pictures as my backyard I lose the suspension of disbelief a lecture begins with.  It ISN’T “my” backyard, in the sense for a city dwelling mouse in a maze.  I understand the idea that this serenity belongs to all of us, yet I don’t immediately recognize it as my own backyard and thus I have to connect a mental bridge to see it as anyone’s backyard.

It’s a very vague point but I am under the impression that this is one of the reasons why a talk like this is delivered in this manner.  The words seem precise, and specific to this reason.

In searching more about this kind of topic, it also brings up the question of tar sands.  I’ve heard for years, that the tar sands was this wellspring of an economy but I don’t know the specifics.  I see commercials when I go to the movies regarding how they’re developing technology around it.

A quick search on Youtube for “Tar Sands Learn more” brings pages upon pages of material to absorb.  (too much to link all of them)  However it does let me know how blind I am to the situation and I would assume that I have at least about twenty hours of video and articles to ingest (that’s a guess) before I could even attempt to make a judgement call on what I’m seeing.

So what does my gut tell me right now?  What would I believe to be important without knowing a single thing?  Or I suppose, how should I interpret this Ted Talk in regards to Davis’ subject?

The photographs are beautiful.  If I had seen them isolated from the talk, I might naturally believed them to be from Canada.  However, the photographs alone are not enough to compel me to think about it further.  So to speak, it is a pleasing distraction but it isn’t one I’m directly associating to the day to day life of a city based individual.  I have to make a few mental steps to re-associate myself with the fact that environment plays its own role in the human living equation.

For instance,  single person, who happens to be hard working, contributes to society, etc, happens to live in a condo.  The equivalent of a tiny cube located in the sky.

A family, equivalent to the above, lives in a house in the suburbs,  A larger space required for a larger number of people but they too might effectively have a cube of space to themselves individually.

Insert a farmer.  An individual who needs acres of land and in order to produce, requires a much larger, more vast amount of space.  This audience seems like the first to understand the quandary at large.

Now let’s go out on a limb here and go HIGHLY specific.  A person that creates goods from ‘free range’ livestock (eg> I dunno, a fisherman), and suddenly you’re not just including a person but the animal’s territories of space for work.  I’m not even going to guess how this might expand if that animal was a predator (eg> a wolf) that had to follow another creature’s migration patterns.  (enlarging the amount of space required yet again).

The contrast is gigantic.  It isn’t surprising that city based individuals may consider themselves more observers than participants to the ordeal in question.  And even a bigger question, even in a world of social media, would information be enough to compel people to care?  Would they need to experience it first?  How does one get that experience without being invited to it?

This is quite hypothetical, so I’m going to do some more research.

On the other hand, what I do know, is that when a commercial about Canada appears, what I expect to see is the beautiful nature filled environment.

That says something on its own too.

Happy Canada Day,


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Posted by on July 2, 2013 in TED Talks