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Showing posts from November, 2011

My Favorite part of TEDx Amsterdam: The making of the "living brain"

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Amazing performance and idea by the Dutch National Ballet and beautiful photos by Jan Jaap Heine

Alan McSmith: Time to get in touch with your wild side

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For every ten of those Mac worshiping, crackberry addicted, Starbucks weekend worker bees, there is always someone who makes noise of living simply, living deeply, living…period. Modern life is defined by this antithesis; the romanticism of nature rises as we get more technologically dependent and removed from the workings of the daily struggles for sustenance. We immerse in nature temporarily and dwell deeply in concrete worlds; we prefer to be unfamiliar with nature and familiar with the city, our daily landscape that we navigate through. But every once in a while we are called upon to pause, to pay attention, to reflect by physically and emotively experiencing the environment that nurtures us, with a hope that we will realize why it needs to be nurtured in turn. Alan McSmith, a nature guide who has worked for 25 years in the wilderness of Africa and an advocate for environment conservation, is one such soul. His talk starts with the audience surrounding a digital campfire on the s…

Baby Mozarts within us all?

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Who doesn’t love ‘Baby Mozart’? A multimedia edutainment, this musical toy lures parents with the promise of opening up their child’s latent creativity and spatial-reasoning. In fact, the popularization of music within the cognitive domain has pervaded our day-to-day lives as we see this as a means to healing and a balm for many other afflictions such as autism, Alzheimer's disease and disabilities that result from stroke. Part of this attraction is perhaps in its primal status as it serves as a listening stimulus with seemingly transformative powers. Across cultures it appears that peoples’ pleasures and sense of well-being are tied to their passion for music. Yet, can we authoritatively say that we all have musical predisposition? Are we just little Mozarts waiting for the right stimulation to tap into the well of our primitive and latent musical nature? Are we all somehow born with a beat to our steps? Apparently, there’s no point denying it…regardless of who you are or where …

Grey Matter: People Matter: Launching the ‘Living brain’

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Sheer poetry through the hokey pokey! The launch of TEDxAmsterdam by the Dutch National Ballet compels us to emerge, engage, and enter with our left leg, right leg, and oh all of our senses! Ballet artists enter the stage and their seemingly random movements are shown from above behind them, allowing us to see how chaos slowly but surely comes together, becoming the sensible as well as the sensational. And what a way to represent the TEDxAmsterdam theme of 'human nature!' After all, what comes to mind when we speak of ‘human nature’ are notions of being organic, raw, and spontaneous. Yet, when grappling with what constitutes as being human in this current time, we have become more and more preoccupied with significant alienations that occur around us. Crisis looms and reminds us of our vulnerabilities from the possible euro meltdown, techno-hackings to the continuous struggle for political freedoms across the Middle East. The brain takes over, rationalizing, segmenting, diss…

Here we go again! TEDx Amsterdam mania and fanaticism renewed

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Let’s just get this out of the way. Yes, I am still a hardcore TED groupie. Okay, I did not spend all of last year crossing the days off the calendar but did engage with tremendous foreplay - the communication process building up to next week’s TEDx Amsterdam event. Creating the profiles of this years’ speakers to release to the press flirted with my senses, compelling me to look them up on Wikipedia, YouTube and other digital platforms, consuming them voraciously in their presentation style and novelty of their ideas. Almost started to stalk some of them on Twitter but my saner part was kind enough to remind me that I really don’t have much in common with Computer-mediated Epistemology or Musical Cognition in the long run. Ah but that is why this event, a gathering of artists, designers, scientists, architects, technologists, and activists is so unusual and addictive – the adrenaline rush of immersing into unknown territories and specialties with just one common thread –ideas worth s…