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Morton Bast

Editorial Assistant & Community Mentor, TED


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What's your million-dollar idea to change the world?

Every year, the TED Prize is given to one innovative thinker who has what it takes to make a difference -- by putting one million dollars into action in order to fulfill a world-changing vision.

Since nominations are open for the 2014 TED Prize, we wanted to put our heads together with you, the TED community, and brainstorm even further: How would you choose to make an impact with one million dollars? What would you like to see as next year's TED Prize wish to inspire the world?

This is a space for you to get your mental gears turning. If you would like to officially nominate a mentor, colleague, friend -- or even yourself -- head to www.tedprize.org by Sunday, June 16.


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  • Jun 1 2013: If I had a million dollars I would use it to start a program that would reinvent the system currently utilized for interviewing foster parents to be. As an adult that lived his life within the system I have experienced various different foster homes, group homes, and even residential treatment centers, and what I have found, is that in all of these circumstances, myself and my peers were simply accused of being damaged, and treated as such. But what we are never treated as, is equal. And we are rarely loved. We are given the shadow of a family. I say shadow, because a foster parent cannot sign a field trip permission slip, or put you on their car insurance. My foster parents, and many others I've heard, are prone to sending their foster children to stay at another foster home while they take their family on vacation. In the foster homes I lived in I was mostly made to do yard work and gardening and cleaning projects, while the biological children of my foster parents were allowed to play. I ate Peanut butter and jelly while they ate pizza. But none of that really phased me. What did hurt, and what still hurts today, is that no one ever told me they loved me. Nobody ever went out of their way to get me to believe in myself, instead they told me I was damaged, and they treated my like I was sub human. If I dealt with my torture filled past admirably, my therapists would accuse me of being in denial. If I fought with my siblings, we were sent to separate homes. If I received detention at school, or I didn't get good grades I was threatened with being sent away. These are things that burn the soul, and although all things heal with time, once a scar is formed it is always remembered. Our social welfare system, as it relates to child care, and especially foster care, is flawed. It needs to be understood that there is no benefit in taking a child away from physically abusive parents, only to hand them off to emotionally abusive strangers.
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      Jun 1 2013: Please accept my sympathy for what you had to endure as a child. Your comment is heartbreaking, but contains an extremely potent message about the lasting damage caused by a broken system which allows apathetic and degenerate people to become foster parents. Although it may seem fairly intuitive and obvious to some of us, many others (parents and foster parents alike) need a powerful reminder that children are very malleable in every sense of the word. For better or worse, whatever happens to us when we're young can play a key role in sculpting many staples of adulthood, and influence our emotions for the duration of our lives. Very few individuals are fortunate enough to emerge from childhood completely unscathed, but regardless of the extent of the 'damage', no one deserves to be loved less or treated without respect because of it.
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      Jun 2 2013: Damn man and i thought I had it bad feeling like the least liked kid. I see that you're a strong person because of it and I thank you for all of this! Without you this would most likely not have been brought up. You are going to be make other kids lives amazing and they will love you for it!
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        Jun 2 2013: Jah: In 'my' day it was called 'character building'................................still is in some parts of the world they tell me.

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          Jun 2 2013: Honestly blade runner everything you say means nothing always "specific this specific that" where are your ideas? All you do is criticize and TROLL from what I've seen. There's a bit of "character building" for you.
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        Jun 3 2013: Well Jah............Suggest you confuse criticize with question! Suggest somebody has to bring some sense of reality to some of the half baked ideas that folk put up herein. Maybe you are one of those folk that believes all opinions have equal merit......................I don't,.................that would mean promoting/condoning stupidity!

        As for my ideas....................Well Jah...............as I've said before, pretty much all of the planets current issues/problems all stem back to overpopulation.

        And hey ..........suggest religion creates more problems than it solves and it no longer is a crowd control technique for politicians.

        Also noticed that a bucket load herein feel that life has short changed them and its the Govt, society or somebody else that needs to 'right' those 'wrongs'!

        The longest fire burns from the chip on ones shoulder!

        Hows that for some specifics.......................I have some more, but Hey, they would probably be even harder for you to stomach/come to terms with.

        And btw don't bother with the pithy cry 'Troll' as my experience is that, that usually is forth coming from folk that can't handle their unsustainable ideas being questioned.

        And as for 'character building'................that coming from somebody that changes their avatar every 30 secs kinda suggests they might have some sort of disorientated character issues to deal with.

        Just saying......................

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          Jun 3 2013: Well they are ideas to be collectively worked on so specifics don't just come packaged with them every time. Sorry that doesn't satisfy you. Overpopulation is not a problem either. It may cause problems due to people using more than they need to survive or not doing something the more difficult way to save the planet but I'm probably just a bleeding heart for that as well. As for my avatar... It is to make a statement and show support for the protesters in Turkey, yet again bleeding heart I'm guessing. Excuse me while i shed my humanity... NOT. Instead of asking for specifics why don't you suggest some for once? That would be CONSTRUCTIVE... CRITICISM. :D People would appreciate that and not feel as though they are being trolled every time you post. I don't mind constructive criticism at all but you don't do that. Do you? You seem quite inhumane to me but hey that's just my opinion and who am i but a guy with "half baked" ideas to help the world. Please feel free to share something besides committing MASS MURDER to solve the worlds problems. You're smart, I can tell. Use the old thinker for some good. Hope you crack a smile thanks to me! Have a good one man I know i will! :D
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          Jun 5 2013: Dear Blade Runner. This blog asking for proposed solutions to make the world better is, I think, intended to be a forum for people to share proactive remedies. Stating that your "ideas" are that there are too many people on our planet and that religion does no good only shares your opinion that these are sources of some of the worlds problems. That may well be true but what are your specific proposed solutions? Some here have named you a Troll. This may sound like name calling but I believe the term is now used to describe people who hide behind anonymous pen names to vent their misanthropy. You may not have noticed but most of the regulars on TED use their own names. Some of them may seem strange, like mine, and foreign sounding but they are mostly our real names. Yes many of the people who contribute on TED are young and idealistic and have not had the years that you and I have had to gather wisdom through experience. Much of what you say seems more like cynicism to me however. I have observed that those who trample on others dreams are them selves seldom happy. If that is true for you I hope you find a solution for your suffering. Sincerely Yours, Chad Manderscheid
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        Jun 3 2013: :):): cracks a smile......just for the heck of it....ooops that was two.

        Collectively you say.................recall some Guy called Karl being into collectives, but he definitely had specific collectives on his agenda and as I recall that kinda ended badly.

        Humanity you plead/claim..................curious about your support for 'some' Turks.........anything more special about them than any other 'bitch' of the hundreds going on around the planet?

        Geeez man your full of assumptions and guessing. And as for sorry............suggest we both know your not!

        Further when I gave you two ideas of what needs addressing you still claim I haven't put anything on the table and start rambling on about 'constructive criticism'.

        Bottom line still is your like so many.................you fear the questions because then you have to become accountable!

        And its the questions that sort out the wheat from the chaff or plausible from the half baked.

        Suggest you learn some comprehension skills and get 2 cents worth of rationale deduction procedure to boot................

        Ala....where did I suggest 'committing mass murder'?

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      Jun 2 2013: Jeff: Curious .................and that would change the world for what percentage of the world's population?

      Seems like an idea catering to a minority, not the majority, but hey don't fret, I've noticed of late the minorities have more 'pull' than the majority.

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