TED Conversations

Debra Smith


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Who can make a worthwhile contribution on TED conversations?

It seems to me that it takes all kinds of people to make the sorts of exceptional conversations that we find here at TED conversations. Please tell me what kind of person you think makes a real contribution. Who sparks your thinking and why and how? Tell me anything you think is relevant.

I loved this TEDx talk and starting at about 3:30 it gets pretty profound to me.


I often think it has something to do with the ying and yang around courage.


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    Gail . 50+

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    Aug 24 2012: Courage is something that those who fear must muster. But when one learns how to walk through fear, and how easy it is to do so, courage isn't necessary. (This comment inspired by your YouTube link)

    As to the rest - diversity is strength. Anyone who has developed at least basic cognitive thinking skills is valuable.
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      Aug 24 2012: It is good to have the 'awakenened' among us. Superior being which can enlighten us, Thank you Ted Lover.
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      Aug 24 2012: Perhaps fear itself is scarier than the real encounter
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        Aug 24 2012: There is nothing to fear, but fear itself.
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        Aug 25 2012: Dear Barney,
        Are you afraid of spiders? Or what they might do to you? They actually don't bother humans too much, although, as we know, some can. As mother nature planned, however, they are beneficial to the ecosystem, so I like them. They feed on unwanted insects, in the gardens, like aphids for example:>)
        • Aug 27 2012: Hi Colleen. Yes, it's completely irrational, I know!

          I like to see them in the garden doing their ecosystem thing - but crawling across my face when I'm trying to get to sleep? Nooooo...!
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      Aug 27 2012: I realize that because of the system sequence, this notification is going to TED Lover, who I believe may enjoy and understand the message as well:>)

      Hi Barney,
      Your fear is not irrational at all....lots of people are afraid of spiders! I totally agree with you....difficult to accept them crawling across the face.......although.......this reminds me........

      While hiking in the mountains of So. America years ago, we came into a little village, and the first person to greet us was a little boy (maybe 9-10yrs. old) with a HUGE black hairy tarantula perched on his shoulder.
      He obviously got a kick out of introducing his pet spider to people, and he was very enthusiasticly trying to get us to hold the tarantula, which was as big as my fist!!! Finally, I said....ok.....if this little kid is brave enough to have a tarantula for a pet, it might be kind of fun to be brave enough myself!!! So, I let the kid put the spider in my hand. The spider immediately, slowly walked up my bare arm, which felt really weird, but not bad, and it perched on my shoulder....just like it did with the kid! It was very cool actually:>)

      My life adventures include facing fear head on, so to speak....
      "You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face...do the thing you think you cannot do..."
      (Eleanor Roosevelt)
      • Aug 27 2012: Well, I've gone from sucking the poor things up into a vacuum cleaner with the longest possible hose attachment, to humanely picking them up with my (gloved) hand and putting them gently back into the garden.

        I think that's progress! ;-)
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          Aug 27 2012: That is EXCELLENT progress. I am thrilled to know that at least some of them made it back into the garden:>) LOL!
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        Aug 27 2012: I love this story! It reminded me of my family:) My family comes from a tropical area and it is not unusual for a tarantula to get in the house or find them in the garden. My aunt taught me that you can get rid of a tarantula by singing to it. One got in a spare room and she said just watch. She closed the door and sang a little song about how the tarantula needed to go home and take care of her children. And when she opened the door, the tarantula was gone.

        Maybe it was the song or not, but the memory of the magic was welcome:)
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          Aug 27 2012: I love your story too Linda!

          I was curious, and I remember wondering, as the tarantula was walking up my arm, what a bite might be like. I never even thought about it again until just now, so I looked it up.

          "They do bite, and their bites are venomous. However, for most species, the toxicity of their venom is much like that of a bee or wasp. It is most likely to cause a nasty local reaction incluidng pain, redness, swelling. However, people can have a an allergic or anaphylactic reaction to spider bites in the same way that some people react to bee stings, and this reaction can be fatal. Also, there are few species which have a stronger venom that could potentially be fatal, or at least make the bite victim quite ill. So while tarantula bits are unlikely to be fatal, you still want to avoid being bitten, and the best way to do this is to learn about spider behavior and treat the spider accordingly. Tarantulas are wild animals, and need to be treated with respect. As a rule, however, most spiders would rather retreat than bite."

          Looks like spiders behave like humans at times.... I'm sure glad I was respectful of that tarantula.....LOL!!! Feel better Barney?
        • Aug 27 2012: Yeah! Love 'em now!
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          Aug 27 2012: Well look at that.....more progress!
          I LOVE that you LOVE spiders now...:>)

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