TED Conversations

Casey Kitchel


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When fighting for rights, which is tougher: a battle against an oppressive government, or a battle against an oppressive society?

Manal al-Sharif opens her TED talk by asking the audience a question.

“You know that people all over the world fight for their freedom, fight for their rights. Some battle oppressive governments. Others battle oppressive societies.” And then she asks, “which battle do you think is harder?”

Fellow TEDers, which do you think is a tougher battle? And why?


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  • Jun 27 2013: One can find all answers to the questions in this discussion by analysing social and political structure of INDIA.
    Infact political scenario in real situation is one of the products of Social structure. hence when there is oppressive society, there exists an oppressive government.
    In India, there is a "Caste System"[its mother "varna system" is present alll along India's history]. People in this conversation can google about this system and their effects.
    In short, India has a super oppressive society and a oppressive government[what ever party. it is headed by high caste and dynasty politicians]. But, the government wears a "liberal mask", in which, claim for rights will be heard but there wont be any action.
    In most of the countries, governments and political parties are funded, managed and even headed by bussiness men. In such situations, obviously nothing can go against them.but there is worst.. they become almost omnipotent and prey on public funds.
    Media can never go against it especially local media with ground level access[refer "noam chompsy"].
    we can find our answers in real situations.
    But here i have some questions:
    1. despite mankind knowing solar energy as clean energy and will be our final resort, why there are not many solar cars[if any]? why did it not emerge as an alternative[atleast in some viable cases] to oil? what is the "The Super Power" doing about it?
    2. Every year we atleast one economic nobel laureate. why arent their theories applied in any part of the world[in significant scale]?

    These answers to these questions[or simply the questions themselves] will tell you the answer that, best of the best governments also are puppets in hands of [partially]oppressive societies. those governments will be sheild to such societies.
    • Jul 1 2013: Question #1: There are no viable solar cars, buses, airplanes, etc, because there is not enough energy in the couple square meters of area that a car can provide for solar cells. In addition, solar cells are also terribly inefficient, somewhere in the 15% efficiency range. Finally, solar cars only function during peak sun, so driving to work on a cloudy day at 6 AM just won't work...nor does driving after sunset (actually, you would lose reasonable power long before sunset).
      Question #2: If you took the entire state of New Mexico and covered it with solar cells you could generate most of the electricity needed during the day for the US. That's 121,589 square miles. And that power is only good between a hour or two after sunrise and before sunset. On a bright day with no clouds in the sky.

      What you could maybe do is build a belt of solar around the globe, maybe a few thousand miles wide and 25,000 miles long. We could all share the part of the belt that's in sunlight (if it was sunny).

      Forget solar. It is expensive and inefficient.
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        Jul 14 2013: Supergrid! If people invested in that expensive innefficient technology now, and switched away from fossils, The message would be clear. With the battle lost, the investors in fossil would have to find other places to put their money. Then we'll see how long solar stays innefficient.

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