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Steven Pinker’s TED Talk: Is the world getting better or worse?

I read Steven Pinker’s new book, Enlightenment Now, and came away more optimistic about humanity. We’ve made remarkable progress in even the last few decades, not to mention the drastic difference in the human experience over the past two centuries. The book, though, is filled with an extraordinary amount of data backing up his arguments […]

Kurzgesagt: The universe is crazy big

This video* is chock full of insights that clarify complicated concepts about the size of the universe. And it’s a sobering reminder of just how small we are. The video points out that the local group of galaxies—that includes our Milky Way and the neighboring galaxies that are close enough to ever possibly consider exploring in some […]

It’s all about relationships

I somewhat randomly clicked on this TED Talk by Harvard researcher Robert Waldinger this week. He has carried on the research in one of the longest running research projects of its kind, the Harvard Study of Adult Development. For more than 75 years data has been collected that has led to some clear answers about what […]

To Scale: A short film to put you in your place

Those pictures of the solar system with all the planets lined up in the order of their orbits are nice ways to visualize where things are in general. But they are nowhere close to representing the true scale of the size of the solar system. Wylie Overstreet and Alex Gorosh made this amazing short film […]

Show your work: Star Wars

Seeing inside the process of a craftsman or artist makes me appreciate their work more. Knowing how the magic is made doesn’t diminish the magic; it enhances it.  And that kind of transparency inspires me to push through the messy misfires and tedious small steps on the way to making my own art.  Even the […]

Staying beginners

Tony Fadell, the former Apple employee who led the original iPod team, talks about the importance of “noticing” in this TED Talk about design. He refers to his old boss, Steve Jobs, and his continual exhortation to his staff on “staying beginners”, to constantly try to see the world with fresh eyes and as the […]

SLOMO: “Do what you want to!”

This short film is well worth fifteen minutes of your attention: ht Charlie Hoehn This former doctor has found bliss roller-blading* by the beach. He chucked his living-by-the-rules-and-society’s-defaults kind of life and just started doing what he wanted to do. He was inspired by a chance encounter years before with a 93-year-old whose life advice […]

Jason Silva: The Power of Ideas

I like the twist in style in Jason Silva’s latest short video, The Power of Ideas: Great stuff, as usual, from Silva. It’s nice to see him varying the forms of his videos. And this line in it from Tom Tobbins: A cyclone of unorthodox ideas capable of lifting almost any brain out of its […]

Band camp and intrinsic rewards

I was in the marching band in high school. Trumpet and French horn. I was no great musician, but I especially enjoyed the camaraderie. During the summer we all had to participate in band camp, where we learned the music and the show we would perform at football games and in competitions. (There was no […]

Finding fulfilling work

This is solid advice for thinking about your career choice: Via BrainPickings.org Also see: Follow your passion is not helpful advice And How to find work you love

David Foster Wallace: “This is water”

Merlin Mann pointed out that this great video, which had been taken down for copyright issues previously, is back on YouTube. It’s from the late, great David Foster Wallace’s memorable Kenyon College commencement speech. And it’s as brutally honest and surprisingly insightful as any commencement speech ever dares to be. Instead of offering lofty platitudes […]

Imagining a future on the frontier beyond Earth

This gorgeous short film by Erik Wernquist imagines humans exploring deep into our solar system. The images are stunning in their beauty and in the vision they offer of humans venturing to the frontier beyond our own planet. And there’s Carl Sagan’s voice and poetic words. So good.   Why should we even dream of […]

The truth about art

We all know that art is not truth. Art is a lie that makes us realize truth. –Pablo Picasso Jason Silva keeps making good stuff. I appreciate his effusive expressiveness. He’s got charisma, and I love how he’s using video to convey in short bursts his passion for ideas and feelings that awaken possibility and […]

I want to be a better friend to my dog

I heard this Billy Collins poem about dogs today while listening to the TED Radio Hour*: I laughed, but now I want to be a better friend to my dog, Mosley. *The TED Radio Hour is such a stellar podcast. If you haven’t discovered podcasts yet, this is a great one to subscribe to to […]

Digital AND analog

This talk by master penman Jake Weidmann about the dying art of penmanship is fascinating: Weidmann’s talk makes me care about penmanship. He’s got a great stage presence and makes a somewhat obscure topic something worth talking about. I have terrible penmanship. I’m left-handed and struggled as a kid trying to use a fountain pen. My […]

A tiny splinter of pain

When I’m having a moment in my life that should be pure joy, it rarely ever seems complete, never purely blissful. Even in the most delightful, carefree times, there always seems to be a tiny splinter of pain in my consciousness or a small, indefinable ache of sorrow that tugs at the moment. What is […]

Diana Nyad’s audacious pursuit

I’m spending this weekend at the lake with my family. It’s a final summer getaway before my girls begin the school year on Monday. Being on, around, or in water is good for my soul. Yours, too. There’s even a popular new book, Blue Mind, that explores the science behind why water makes us happier. […]

Drew Dudley and “lollipop moments”

Life can turn in a moment. A seemingly small gesture, an act of simple kindness, can make a big difference. In a world of people busy distracting themselves, being present and attentive and kind has become a superpower. You can be a hero for others just by paying attention and caring. I was reminded of Drew Dudley’s […]

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