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The Orion

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The Orion

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The Orion

TED talks provide free, fascinating education

Kevin Crittenden

Everybody wants to think of the next big thing.

Fortunately, the pursuit of quality knowledge doesn’t need to be as boring as heavy reading. TED talks offer a wide range of remarkable stories that once can watch.

For those who haven’t heard of TED, the acronym stands for Technology, Entertainment & Design. TED is a nonprofit organization with the goal of spreading ideas worth sharing. There’s no shortage of information available at the click of a mouse in our digital age. It would be a shame to neglect such a hub of awesome content.

These ideas are curated without the conflict of interest that comes with a profit-driven enterprise. Here are five talks on different topics. Each is like a fine bundle of thoughts waiting to be unwrapped.


“Jill Bolte Taylor: My stroke of Insight”

Brain scientist Jill Bolte Taylor’s stroke was a near death experience that gave her perspective rarely granted to anybody. This talk is a humbling look at what it means to be alive and to be capable of both left and right brain functions. It is a reminder that the balance between the creative and analytic minds is a goal worth working towards. “I’ve gotten as much out of this experience of losing my left mind as I have in my entire academic career,” Taylor said.

Science Minded

“Paul Stamets: 6 ways mushrooms can save the world”

What if the web was based on a preexisting, biologically successful model? Paul Stamets studies how mushrooms interact with the rest of the environment and his research could have extraterrestrial consequences. He believes humans could potentially terraform other planets by using a mixture of seeds and fungi. In this talk he discusses how mushrooms can absorb and remove toxins from soil, treat smallpox and be used as insecticides.


“David Blaine: How I held my breath for 17 minutes”

David Blaine is known for his sleight of hand and a monotone drawl that belies the wonder of his profession. But whether or not you believe in magic, this talk is a treat. Blaine proves himself to be a force of will worth witnessing by going against sanity, doctor’s advice and the human body’s normal functioning ability.

In his quest to break the world record for holding one’s breath underwater he shows that sometimes the best illusion is none at all. Doing what seems impossible begins with an attitude that places mind over matter.


“Terry Moore: How to tie your shoes”

Do your shoes ever come untied? You might be doing it wrong. Terry Moore gives the shortest and maybe the most practical TED talk I’ve come across. This three minute video breaks down something most adults think they’ve already mastered. Velcro wearers need not view.


“Ken Robinson: Changing education paradigms”

This video will be validating to anyone that has ever been pissed at the school system for torturing their creative spirit with factory-style education. Sir Ken Robinson discusses the blind spots of the world’s educational systems.

He makes a point to challenge many of the current standards and suggests solutions that may lead to the nurturing of creativity, a buzz word we often hear but is not easily encouraged within the confines of school as we know it.

Knowledge is an ocean. Ideas are fish. TED is offering a free fishing trip with the world’s best crew on board. Take the trip — the journey is the reward.

Kevin Crittenden can be reached at [email protected] or or @kevlodius.

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