Saturday, July 12, 2008

saturdays with ted: brian greene and barry schwartz

Recently, I have become obsessed with the Ted Conference and its blog. The website and blog both have videos of the talks presented at the conferences (even dating back a few years), and it's so wonderful that these talks are available to the public in such an accessible format. If I had the $6,000 required for one year's membership, I would pay it in a heartbeat. But, for now, I'll settle for these engaging talks online. I've decided to share a few videos that I find particularly interesting in a series of posts I call "Saturdays with Ted." Hopefully this will be more optimistic and educational than those Tuesdays with Morrie...

Brian Greene, author of The Elegant Universe, discusses String Theory, the idea that "miniscule strands of vibrating strings of energy in 11 dimensions create every particule and force in the universe." It is the first theory of everything, mathematically describing the now-cohesive laws of natural forces and matter (like quarks and leptons). On a basic and fundamental level, Greene explains the theory and the possibility of 11 dimensions (10 in space, 1 in time) and how the supercollider at CERN may be a way of testing this hypothesis. (February 2005, 19:05)

Barry Schwartz, author of The Paradox of Choice, explains why more is really less. He argues that our lives need a metamorphical fishbowl because, without it, the so-called freedom is paralysing. For the most part, I agree with Schwartz. I think people forget that, at any given moment, we really only have two choices: to either do something or not do it. We just have a lot of things to either do or not do, and that is where choice because difficult. But Western tradition likes to give us freedom of choice, and with so many choices, we often don't make a choice or are unhappy with that choice because we think that there is something better out there -- which is referred to as a "missed opportunity." Very interesting talk and one that could greatly benefit everyone. (July 2005, 19:48)

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