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10 talks about the beauty — and difficulty — of being creative

12 Nov

Originally posted on TED Blog:

Radio host Julie Burstein has found the perfect analogy for creativity—raku pottery. A Japanese art form in which molded clay is heated for 15 minutes and then dropped in sawdust which bursts into flames, what makes this pottery so beautiful is its imperfections and cracks.

Burstein interviewed hundred of artists, writers, musicians and filmmakers for her book, Spark: How Creativity Works, and heard many of them describe their process in similar terms — that the best parts of their work came from embracing challenges, misfortunes and the things they simply couldn’t control. As Burstein explains in this talk given at TED2012, “I realized that creativity grows out of everyday experiences more often than you would think.”

In this talk, Burstein identifies four lessons that creative people should embrace:

  1. Pay attention to the world around you, and be open to experiences that might change you.
    .
  2. Realize that the…

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5 talks that are all about lying

9 Nov

Originally posted on TED Blog:

The average person lies once or twice a day. And as Cornell psychology professor Jeff Hancock shares in today’s fascinating talk, given at TEDxWinnipeg, the anonymity and ambiguity of technology give us a whole new arsenal of ways to fib. He and his team have identified three new types of lies made possible by text messages, email and online comments.

  1. The Butler. These are lies that draw lines in the 24/7 nature of our relationships, while maintaining friendships. For example: “I’m on my way” or “Sorry I didn’t respond earlier. I didn’t see the message.”
  2. The Sock Puppet. These are lies that preserve identity, like when someone idealizes themselves in their online dating profile.
  3. The Chinese Water Army. These are lies which seek to build a reputation en masse, like when a company posts hundreds of positive ratings of their own product.

But Hancock has noticed…

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5 fascinating findings on how disgust affects the way we vote, grocery shop and discriminate

23 Oct

Originally posted on TED Blog:

A plate of food overrun by roaches. A blood-encrusted scab. The squish of dog poo under one’s shoe. In this talk from TEDxEast, David Pizarro explains that each of these images elicits disgust, a visceral emotion that serves a good purpose — to keep us away from harmful substances. But disgust may in fact do much more than that.

“A growing body of evidence suggests that this emotion of disgust influences our moral beliefs and even our deeply held political intuitions,” says Pizarro, a professor of psychology at Cornell University. “It works through association. When one disgusting thing touches a clean thing, that clean thing becomes disgusting — not the other way around. This becomes a very useful as a strategy if you want to convince someone that an object, or an individual or an entire social group ought to be avoided.” As Pizarro points out, Nazi propaganda described Jews…

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10 talks on making schools great

19 Oct

Originally posted on TED Blog:

With just over a month to go before the 2012 presidential election in the US, eyes around the world are on the contest between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. The election may well come down to a few key issues. So what matters most to Americans? The TED Blog read this Gallup poll from late July on issues that citizens want the next president to prioritize. Conveniently, these are topics that speakers often address on the TED stage. So, every week until the election, we’ll bring you a playlist focusing on one of the top-rated issues.

Among the most important questions in the upcoming election is, “How can we improve the nation’s public schools?” — 83 percent indicated that improving schools is “very important” or “extremely important.”

To get you thinking, talking and voting, here are 10 talks from speakers with some very big ideas about how to reshape our…

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6 fascinating talks charting informal economies

5 Sep

Originally posted on TED Blog:

When we hear the phrase “the economy,” often the first images that pop to mind are crisp bills being printed in a government treasury, or suited traders wheeling and dealing on the floor of a stock exchange, or a mall where suburban shoppers buy T-shirts and sneakers before grabbing a Cinnabon. But as journalist Robert Neuwirth pointed out at TEDGlobal 2012, while the luxury economy is responsible for $1.5 trillion a year, there are currently 1.8 billion people across the globe toiling in the informal, unregulated economy.

“If it were united in a single political system — one country, call it the United Street Sellers Republic, the U.S.S.R., or Bazaaristan — it would be worth $10 trillion every year. That would make it the second largest economy in the world after the United States,” said Neuwirth in his illuminating talk. “All of this is happening openly and aboveboard —…

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Swarms of robots could replace tractors on farms

15 Jun

Originally posted on Grist:

Photo by David Dourhout.

Most farm machinery right now consists of huge machines. But in the future, farm machinery could be “a swarm of planting, tending, and harvesting robots running game theory and swarm behavior algorithms to help optimize every inch of arable space in a given field,” Popular Science reports. That’s one Iowan’s vision, anyway, and he’s created a prototype of a farmbot. It’s named Prospero.

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Making a Dent in the Universe – Results from the NSF I-Corps

11 Jun

Originally posted on Steve Blank:

Our goal teaching for the National Science Foundation was to make a dent in the universe.

Could we actually teach tenured faculty how to turn an idea into a company?  And if we did, could it change their lives?

We can now answer these questions.

Hell yes.

———–

The Lean LaunchPad class for the National Science Foundation (NSF)
Over the last 6 months, we’ve been teaching a version of the Lean LaunchPad class for the National Science Foundation Innovation Corps.  We’ve taught two cohorts: 21 teams ending in December 2011, and 24 teams ending in May 2012. In July 2012 we’ll teach 50 more teams, and another 50 in October. Each 3-person team consists of a Principal Investigator, an Entrepreneurial Lead and a Mentor.

The Principal Investigator (average age of ~45) is a tenured faculty running their own research lab who has had an active NSF grant within…

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