Category Archives: Blogging

Confessions of a Comedian With Depression

What’s so haunting about this TED talk by Kevin Breel a young writer, comedian and activist is how he could be just about any kid I know.

I realize anyone can suffer from depression at any time but you don’t think of young, athletic, academic and funny kids when you think of depression. You think of the kid who OBVIOUSLY doesn’t fit in and that circumstance leading to depression.

The thing is, how do I know that any of the 4 kids under my roof aren’t suffering or struggling with depression if, as Kevin described, it’s possible to present two different personas?

Let’s say my kids are all relatively healthy, mentally and emotionally speaking, it sounds like there’s a great chance that one or more of their friends, who otherwise looks healthy and stable is suffering. How can you tell?

Mental health issues are so stigmatized unlike other organs and body parts that are broken that it’s nearly impossible for kids to reach out to the people most likely to be able to help them.

I would love to hear what Kevin has to say about his parents’ role in helping him understand his depression and his ability to advocate for mental health. According to his website, he traveled extensively as a teenager doing stand-up comedy, it sounds like they’re pretty supportive.

If you watch this talk, please let me know if you also can’t stop thinking about it.

Kevin has a new book out that I’m anxious to read.

 

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Think Human Trafficking Doesn’t Affect You?

Even though Noy Thrupkaew had been investigating human trafficking for more than 8 years, she never made the connection that her beloved “Auntie”, who cared for Thrupkaew until she was three years old, had been the victim of human trafficking. The young, distant relative was brought from Thailand to the United States on a temporary work visa to care for Noy.

The young woman endured repeated abuse from other members of Thrupkaew’s family until she ran away and eventually went back to Thailand.

Contrary to the common assumption that trafficking only involves bad men forcing young girls into prostitution, that scenario only accounts for 22% of human trafficking in the world.

Applying a more accurate definition: “the use of force, fraud or coercion to force another’s labor”, Thrupkaew shows how we all benefit unwittingly from human trafficking.

In this thorough and powerful TED talk, Thrupkaew challenges all of us to follow the labor and supply chains of the products we consume.

Thrupkaew hasn’t written a book (though she should) but if you’re interested in learning more about human trafficking, including ways to combat it, you can go to this government website: 20 Ways You Can Help Fight Human Trafficking…..and if you buy shrimp from Costco, ask about it.

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Kids Can!

This TED talk by Gever Tulley is a great go-along to Sugata Mitra’s research in self-organizing education. Instead of giving kids access to a computer and having them learn biochemistry on their own, the kids at Tinkering School get tools and learn equally impressive skills and concepts.

Of course, Tulley’s written a book which I bought a few years ago and have to admit, was too scared to have the kids do most of the challenges. “Fifty Dangerous Things (You Should Let Your Children Do” would make a great challenge series. One challenge at a time is enough for me!

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An ABUNDANT Future

Peter Diamandis, one of the most vocal thought leaders of our time, is my new celebrity crush!

Not only does he support massive innovation through funding and founding projects like the X Prize Foundation and Singularity University, he has a unique ability to make anyone understand the impact of these exponential technologies in our world.

In this 2012 TED talk, he argues that humans have never been more equipped to anticipate and solve the most challenging global problems like peace, water, energy, health, climate and poverty. He makes a convincing case that now, more than ever, we can be optimistic about the future.

Of course, Diamandis has a few books. This talk is based on the book “Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think“. I’m currently reading “Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the World” in which he gives a roadmap to entrepreneurs to predict when exponential technologies will disrupt an industry. Hint: The number one predictor, in his view, is user-friendly interface.

 

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Walking the Walk

One thing I loved about sociologist, Alice Goffman’s, Ted talk was that she spent 6 years living in one of the worst neighborhoods in Philadelphia. I think that’s brave.

Goffman discovered first-hand how young people of African-American and Latino descent are guided down a singular path to prisons-even for minor first offenses.

This is a fascinating talk and important work. The question is whether and how change will result from studies like this.

I haven’t read Goffman’s literary account of her social experiment but I plan to. You can find “On the Run: Fugitive Life in an American City” here or in your library system.

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Wanted: Cyber Grandma!

What happens when you put the internet in a hole in the wall of a slum? Find out in this Ted™Talk by education scientist, Sugata Mitra.

There’s so much here that I’m going to let this one speak for itself. Applications for cyber grandma’s will be accepted right here at the conclusion of the talk. (wink wink)

If you’re interested in how self-organized learning can be integrated into any classroom (Good luck with that), you might be interested in the Kindle short “Beyond the Hole in the Wall” where Mitra provides step-by-step instructions.

 

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When a Neuroscientist Has A Stroke

If you ever had a stroke or know someone who has, don’t miss this talk by Jill Bolte Taylor.

Bolte Taylor is a brain scientist who suffered a massive hemorrhagic stroke and lived not only to tell about it but show us how it’s possible to rebuild connections in the brain after a devastating event like that.

I have read her book, “My Stroke of Insight” repeatedly and refer it to people all the time. It’s one that borrowed from my mom but wanted my own copy.

Bolte Taylor does such a good job of explaining the difference between experiencing the world through her right brain for the very first time when the stroke damaged the left hemisphere. She tells how caregivers with high energy and sudden movements overwhelmed her and how her mom was her fiercest advocate and protector during her recovery. (I don’t want to give more than that away but her mom quickly became the hero of the story).

The other part I loved was her explanation of how a negative thought transmits chemicals through the entire body in about 15 seconds and her conscious efforts after the stroke to minimize or eliminate negative thoughts because of that.

 

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through a link, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

 

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Introverts DisUnite!

I’M AN INTROVERT AND I DON’T CARE WHO KNOWS IT!

It’s true. Although, as an outgoing introvert, I wasn’t chastised at school or encouraged to change, so I was one of the lucky ones.

Susan Cain, (God Bless her for getting up in front of all those people in spite of her introverted self) explains why, now more than ever, it’s critical to provide solitude to introverts in work and school environments which will allow them to find solutions to complex problems.

Even if we aren’t inclined to adapt the environment to accommodate introverts, we can at least quit trying to turn them (us) into extroverts. The world needs introverts!

I haven’t read “Quiet!” yet, but it’s on my list as one of James Altucher’s Top Ten Mind-blowing reads. According to some reviews on Amazon, it’s not a scientific study but a lay-person’s summary and description of research on the topic. So, it sounds like it’s a good introduction if you haven’t read a lot about personality types. I’ll likely borrow this one from the library.

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Why You Should Join the Doodle Revolution!

Remember all those scribbles in the margins of your notes and homework when you were in school? Well it turns out, your brain was doing what it does best….helping you solve problems.

In this TED™Talk, Sunni Brown, author of “The Doodle Revolution“,* explains how doodling is really deep thinking in disguise, it’s universal across all time and cultures and can be harnessed to unlock innovative thinking and complex problem-solving.

*I’m a serious book junkie and I own this one, too. Although you can probably find this one in your library system, this is a reference that you’ll want to return to. Brown goes through several methods of learning how to use doodling in different settings (even on creative teams at work). It’s entertaining, thorough and well-organized.

 

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