Tag Archives: ted

Safe is Risky

Sometimes in your career, while driving home one day in the evening commute, a Seth Godin quote pops into your head and refuses to let you go until you’ve made the braver decision.

Yeah, those moments, while not dramatic, changes one’s life, even if the results are disappointing and the battle is lost.


TED: Evan Grant: Making sound visible through cymatics

Screenshot: TED: Evan Grant: Making sound visible through cymatics

This is quite fascinating. There had been many approaches to seeing sound using abstract representations, but this is a direct, physical approach to that. It’s similar to using water to visualize sound, but this is more concrete!

Sound can make patterns!

Link: http://www.ted.com/talks/evan_grant_cymatics.html


TED: Janine Benyus: Biomimicry in Action

Janine Benyus at TED

Saw this TED presentation by Janine Benyus, who enthusiastically listed so many wonderful ways we can learn from nature for design solutions that would improve our way of living while improving the world. Almost every function she mentioned is filled with both ingenuity and inspiration, and the way she talked about them just make you feel everything is possible.

I’m not particularly a nature person, but this is worth a watch: http://www.ted.com/talks/janine_benyus_biomimicry_in_action.html


Jane Poynter: Life in Biosphere 2

I caught up with my TED videos after a week or two of absence, and I came upon this interesting piece on the environment. I’m not much of a biology person (I’m a robot, bada-bump!), but I sort of want to try to live in an isolated manmade biosphere, making my own food and working to keep my biosphere sustainable.

But what’s more eye opening is how much more closely connected we humans are to our environment than I realize. I would love to know where exactly my food comes from, or how we really smell according to someone who doesn’t put on any chemicals, but like a lot of people, I am just not ready to make the leap.


TED: Natasha’s Story

TED: Natashas Story

Just watched a photo essay presentation by Rick Smolan at TED about the photographer’s experience with a young girl in Korea in the 70’s (or 60’s, I’m not sure. The whole time I thought it was recent because the clothes didn’t really date the times).

Really interesting and moving story to listen to and find out what happened to the girl. Sort of gives you hope about journalists’ (and reflectively, designers’) roles with the work that they do.

Also gives you about 20 minutes of wondering why this girl looks so much like Shawn Johnson and doesn’t look like her face ever changes as she grows up.



Elizabeth Gilbert, Olé, and Weird Optical Shrinkage

Elizabeth Gilbert

I just watched Elizabeth Gilbert’s TED talk on reverting the concept of the genius back to being a separate magical entity that occasionally helps out creative people. Just like my last TED post about Mae Jemison, this talk wasn’t over-the-top impressive, but it made up for it in thought provocation (rw?).

Elizabeth Gilberts Tiny Head at TED

Elizabeth Gilbert's Tiny Head at TED

Author of Eat, Pray, Love (which I have not read but have seen the cover in bookstores and online), Ms. Gilbert argues that creative people suffer from the pressure of constantly having to do something great, and if they don’t, they would have serious mental implications. From the writers and musicians she interviewed, She vividly describes examples of the alternative approach to such dangerous creative process.

She then prescribes that the only thing that creative people have to do is their job, and if that wiff of brilliance arrives in their work, Olé. If not, it’s okay, because the writers or the musicians or artists have done their job and shouldn’t be pressured or ridiculed for not producing great work.

Gilbert, being a writer, describes it a lot better than I do, so I think it’s worth listening to her talk.

Visually Losing Perspective

On a separate topic, I was watching this TED talk full screen on my monitor, with all my lights off. Then after a while, I started to see my large widescreen as a tiny rectangle in the distance. And because of the clothes that Ms. Gilbert was wearing, her head became even tinier, and I felt like everything was floating in space and I didn’t have a ground.

This has happened to me many times before, and it’s cool but terrifying at the same time, like I was losing my mind. Has this phenomenon happened to anyone before (without being on drugs)?


Mae Jemison on teaching arts and sciences together | Video on TED.com

Mae Jemison on teaching arts and sciences together | Video on TED.com.

(Testing WordPress’s “Press This” bookmarklet app.)

Today I watched a TED presentation (link above) of Ms. Jemison speaking about art and science as two seemingly opposite fields that stem from one human characteristic: creativity. Basically both involve thinking and using our minds to arrive at certain outcomes.

That’s a really interesting way of looking at these two fields, as it makes me feel more comfortable about my interests and passions in design and science. The video is worth the watch if you’re interested in both.

Incomparable Comparison of Life Accomplishments

During the presentation, she mentions her academic experience in college, where she was studying all these physics courses with complicated sounding names while putting together a dance show that she was also passionate about. After that she mentioned that she went to space, which made her super impressive in my book.

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Learning from TED

I sort of left out something from the monthly review that I forgot to mention. For the past month, I started watching through a bunch of TED videos at a time on the Adobe Media Player. I wanted to see what some of the smartest and and most successful people have done and can inspire me with. Some were hits, while others misses.

I am often amazed at how some of these presenters think so differently and creatively to solve their particular problems. I’m sure some of it was BS in their presentations, but the rest is quite impressive.

This evening, I watched IDEO CEO Tim Brown’s presentation on creativity and play. He explained how as children grow up, they learn to self-edit and develop judgment of their actions, thus the ability to create freely and to brainstorm diminishes.

I certainly feel that way. Based on the environment in which I grew up, it’s practically inevitable that I’d learned to be all about perfection and accuracy. But I’ve also since learned to pull myself away from that and am now finding a balance between entropy and order (this explains my equal love for visual design and programming).

At the same time, my head is constantly filling with so many ideas about everything, it’s ridiculous. For the past few years, I’ve used many tools to download those ideas, with different levels of success. Currently, I have this blog Flush, though you can tell how much success I’ve had with it as my ideas-unloading medium (but hopefully that will all change now that I’ve switched to WordPress), I have my GTD “Someday/Maybe” system that safely stores my ideas for a later time, and I have Twitter, to my followers on which I apologize, for the thoughts there are less design and more… unusual.

And now, I am working on another medium that is the most related to design, the Experiments. It’s one of the main sections of my website that I am redesigning, similar to what I’ve done to Flush, and hopefully, this will be an easy medium for me to work with and that the convenience will encourage me to finally do experiments on a regular basis. Here is a screenshot of the design I’ve worked on today:

Yes, it’s going to be blog-based, but the individual categories will be in a slightly different format. This is going to cut down on the programming but still have room for me to be creative and explore with code and design.

So with the opening of the Experiments section in the coming days, I am optimistic that I can more easily take Tim Brown’s advice to explore and to play, and to keep creativity regular.