Thursday, March 12, 2009

TED Talks

One of my favourite activities is listening to lectures. I love hearing people talk about their expertise and experience. Learning is a life-long activity, and our horizons need to be expanded constantly in order to live a fulfilling life.

I recently discovered TED, the conference for Technology, Entertainment and Design. Since 1984, this annual conference has covered a wide range of subjects. The site has recently made freely available a vast range of videos of lectures, usually 18-20 minutes long, from the latest and previous conferences. On the site, you can search for lectures by theme, speaker or other tags.

Having found this vast wealth of knowledge and inspiration, I subscribed to the video podcasts through iTunes (an audio verison is also available, but then you'd miss the presentations...) and downloaded the 300+ video podcasts available (as well as getting the new ones as they are posted), and am currently working through the videos at a rate of 3-6 per day, depending on how much time I have. Please don't do this unless you have enough disk space on your computer! It's also worth deleting the videos you've seen. If you ever want to see them again, visit the site.

Note that I don't have a television and prefer to choose my own entertainment. It always upsets me when people say "Who has time to read a book?", but they still watch 3 hours of absolute rubbish on television every day. I also feel immune to the comment "Get a life!", because for me, not being a slave to television represents freedom and control of my life.

Anyway, this experience is enriching my life, both in terms of the wide range of contents, encompassing science, the environment, art, design, technology, society, music and every field of human endeavour imaginable, and also in terms of the wide range of presentation styles. Part of my journey of self-development in recent years has involved my transition from a shy, introverted person to someone capable of public speaking. I feel I still have a lot to learn about how to speak in public. Some of the speakers are clearly completely at ease, while others are nervous but still manage to get across both their message and their passion for their topic. I am truly inspired by many of the talks.

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