The Conspiracy

The Global Citizen: Take a moment with TED

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The Global Citizen is a joint project of New Voices and the American Jewish World Service (AJWS). Throughout the year, a group of former AJWS volunteers will offer their take on global justice, Judaism and international development. Opinions expressed by Global Citizen bloggers do not necessarily represent AJWS

        

              Being that I am far too cheap to own a television, I am always on the lookout for engaging internet content. Over my school break I had plenty of time to poke around, and fell in love with a true diamond in the rough (and by rough I mean Jersey Shore re-runs).  The website I have fallen for is TED.com. A friend of mine called TED You tube for nerds, and I would have to say that’s a pretty apt description. The website is a collection of videos of talks given at the TED annual conference, where the world’s most influential movers and shakers are invited to give the talk of their lives, usually in no more than 20 minutes. Something often talked about in the world of social justice is the notion that people’s abilities to better their condition are most often not necessarily a question of ability, but of access. Ted circumnavigates access all together. All you need is an internet connection to bask in the brilliance of everyone from Harvard professors, to CEO’s, to revolutionary scientists. It’s like all those speakers that you missed on campus being in your home, or wherever you want to use your computer (and you can pause them). As Jews we know the importance of learning constantly, and the creators of this site understood the need for material. I promise you this: you will be a better person (or at least more interesting at a dinner party) for spending some time with TED. Check it out, http://www.ted.com/

Overwhelmed by the choices? Here are a few of my favorites a Global Citizen might enjoy:

http://www.ted.com/talks/ory_okolloh_on_becoming_an_activist.html

Firstly because I am a sucker for the word “Activist”, but ultimately because Ory Okolloh offers a really insightful way of thinking of the way we speak about Africa. Being from Kenya herself,  this talk is something of her call to arms for Africans and people worldwide who wish to improve their condition to step up to the plate. Her style is very fresh, and when it’s over you kind of want to be her best friend in hopes of soaking up some of her chutzpa.

http://www.ted.com/talks/steven_pinker_on_the_myth_of_violence.html

This is a very interesting historical argument offered by linguist Steven Pinker for his thesis: We live in a less violent world than ever before. He uses empirical evidence to make the case that, while there are many horrific things happening today, compared to the draconian civilizations past, we are rather peaceful.  This talk is thought provoking, evocative, and invites you to look more critically at things you take as given. One of those speeches where you sit afterward and stare at a wall and realize your mind was completely blown. A mastery of being able to repeat this may make a great cocktail party go-to. Your fellow cocktailers will think you are rather edgy and alternative, best to be sure the audience is scarce of other TEDsters though.

http://www.ted.com/talks/steve_jobs_how_to_live_before_you_die.html

This is a commencement address given by Steve Jobs at a Stanford graduation. This is a favorite for a few reasons: One, Steve Jobs makes reference to living in Portland and being so poor he would trek cross town to enjoy free Hare Krishna meals. This hits a soft place in my heart, because I’m a Portlander, and have myself enjoyed a Krishna meal or two.   Mostly however, it is wonderful because it’s a short and sweet dose of inspiration. Jobs recounts dropping out of college, being fired from apple, even his spat with cancer, and how his faith saw him through. He even kids that his speech is the closest he has ever come to a college graduation. Afterward you definitely feel a little more motivated to make your dreams come true. I would totally give this speech in a locker room during half time, or to my own children someday (the team may lose, but the moral will be through the roof).

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5 Older Responses to “The Global Citizen: Take a moment with TED”

  1. Faigy E. Abdelhak
    January 7, 2010 at 2:20 pm #

    TED.com is amazing! As a fellow nerd, if I may, I have two suggestions of my own to add on to this great list:
    1) Ken Robinson on schools killing creativity: http://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity.html
    2) AJ Jacobs on his year of living biblically: http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/a_j_jacobs_year_of_living_biblically.html

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    January 23, 2010 at 9:18 am #

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