Jimmy Strobl

This conversation is closed.

What TED Conversations would you like to have but don't take the time to create?

I suspect that we all have a million Conversations that we'd like to have, and even though creating a conversation isn't hard i also suspect that many don't bother since.. Well, it's a couple of clicks away and I know from experience that people are less likely to do something for every additional click that it takes, there's also the pressure of writing an explanation that for some is a big task.

So, simply put: What would you like to talk about on TED?

  • Jan 4 2014: How about a discussion of the ted talk by bonnie bassler about how bacteria communicate. Specifically about the implications to our sense of being individuals in light of facts like there are 10-1 more bacteria cells in and on the human body than human cells and a hundred times more bacterial genes than human genes and these all are a necessary part of our survival. What does this mean to our sense of ego.
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    Dec 11 2013: If I can read between the lines better than the censorship, you're actually asking what conversations we'd love to have if the TED administration took a day off. Congratulations, though the time argument is suspiciously dumb. I mean, let's face it, people on this forum clearly have time for it. Anyway, good job.

    SO let's get to it.
    1- Is it better not to buy shoes that were made by children, considering that a job in the factory is probably the alternative to theaft and prostitution?
    2- What is wrong with Islamophobia?
    3- Why is animal torture wrong? (Because they feel pain, is the ordinary answer. But.. why do we care?)

    I can't think of all the stuff I've been trying to get smart people argue about over my time on TED. This censorship is quite a shame, because there isn't much places where people can ask absolutely stupid questions and get intelligent answers. I think it'd be good if a neo-nazi posted the questions "Why don't we sterilize inferior races?", because he'd immediately get answers, some of them hostile and thus useless to him, but some of them constructive from which he would understand that there is no such thing as an inferior race, for instance.
    So :

    4- Why not get rid of censorship on TED, exception made for advertizing and uninteresting questions such as personnal ones?
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      Dec 11 2013: Thanks but for once I didn't write between the lines... My conversation was not meant for the rejected ones, But I can understand that people take the opportunity to vent.

      Point 4 is a good conversation to have I think, but there's room for that in http://www.ted.com/conversations/21896/a_conversation_on_the_ted_term.html
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        Dec 11 2013: " I didn't write between the lines... "

        Sure you didn't. I'm not here to blow your cover. Just saying, good job. You've opened the field for skillful conversation smuggling.
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          Dec 11 2013: I tend to open a few door at TED every now and then... :)
          But this was actually unintentional, I did not foresee this, maybe it's because I haven't slept in a day and a half... Goodnight!
  • Jan 9 2014: Is there an open sourced website focused on corporate responsibilty? Something to help us be more responsible consumers.
  • Jan 6 2014: Here's another, is there and should there be a difference in being a homo sapiens sapiens and being human? Should we define them differently based on our actions and choices?

    P.s. sorry for dropping all these on your discussion, I have tried starting conversations but I get an error reading "crsf attack detected" and I'm not computer literate enough to understand what this is and how to fix it.
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      Jan 7 2014: I don't think that there's a difference between being a Homo sapiens sapiens and Human, in fact they appear to mean the exact same thing, Only that the scientific term isn't Human it's Homo sapiens (sapiens).

      Not a problem dropping questions here, glad to have them!

      With regards to your csrf attack, could try emptying the cashe files, temp files, history and such. Or install a new web browser. If you're using Internet Explorer I recommend switching to either Chrome or Firefox.
      • Jan 7 2014: It was something touched on in a book by Eliot Deutsch (one I admittedly never finished so I wont try to comment on what he was trying to say). I guess I meant it as a philosophical question. We are all born homo sapiens (sapiens), but should we strive for a certain standard to hold ourselves to, in terms of responsible action, to be "human beings"?
      • Jan 7 2014: Thanks for the advice ill try it out
  • Jan 6 2014: Here's a topic on the lighter side of things. Who is your favorite science fiction author? What influence, if any, has science fiction had on the path of development that modern science and technology has followed?
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      Jan 7 2014: For me it's probably Douglas Adams with The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, it's one of the greatest books in the field of sci-fi ever made according to me.

      And I believe that science fiction has had great impact on the advancement of technology, with the most influential probably being Start Trek.
      http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/10-star-trek-technologies.htm
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultural_influence_of_Star_Trek
      • Jan 7 2014: Great book! I ve always been a big fan of Isaac Asimov. I don't guess theres really any question of scifi influencing minds and science influencing scifi, thought it be interesting to see who were the favorite authors, though. Its funny youmention star trek. I remember catching a rerun of the next generation and seeing picard withwhat looks an awful lot like an ipad.
  • Jan 5 2014: I don't presume to understand all the problems with the health care in the U.S. and don't know enough to speak on the viability of universal health care. I think though that we should at least provide free health care to everyone under the legal working age.
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    Jan 5 2014: From time to time in America I have heard people say there are no stupid questions. Do they say that in Sweden? Just so, I would say there are no worthless conversations. I think there is a natural brake against worthlessness, because when or if it appears that the conversation is steering towards worthlessness, I believe one or both parties will withdraw from the conversation.

    I like this idea of natural brakes, that when a situation starts to get bad there are natural brakes that will prevent it from moving toward being utterly horrible.

    In the case of massaging with saliva, for me there has definitely been more to say, Jimmy. I don't know if people understood that I do this here and there throughout the day so using my own saliva is convenient as I don't want to carry an oil container with me as it might break in my pants pocket and stain my pants. Also, now, if I have a practical problem I might massage the thing with saliva, for example, the slats that hold up the mattress were falling out from under my bed, and I could not figure out how to make them stay. So I started massaging, rubbing, and cleaning the bed with saliva, the slats with saliva, the bed runners that support the slats with saliva, my head and body with saliva, it was a "festival" sitting on the edge of the bed and rubbing everything with saliva, eventually it led to an idea of how to stop the slats from falling out.
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    Dec 31 2013: well, for some reason certain substances the body produces itself, such as blood, mucus, semen, sweat, breastmilk, saliva seem more powerful and "primal" than substances one acquires "externally," such as massage oil or cleaning fluids. Do you agree with me on this, Jimmy, if so can you put into words why it might be true?

    It's funny, using saliva to clean yourself might seem like a new idea, but if you believe in evolution it is what we did as animals, so in fact it's an old idea.
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          Dec 20 2013: "To be clear, I am not saying that life does not evolve; only that humans have not evolved from apes."
          Yes you say that but you have a wrong understanding of evolution and as much as you like to ignore that fact it's not going to change.
          While humans don't ascend from chimpanzees, both we and them have the same ancestors. This is a fact Chris and all your denial isn't going to change that.
          So, yes you refuse evolution as it is accepted in the scientific community and elsewhere replacing it by your "version" of it.
          Chris, for some reason you seem to be a very angry person, unable to maintain a civilized dialog.
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      Dec 19 2013: TED content curation, as they call it, sure hurts a lot Chris. I know that better then most I believe. To date I've managed to keep 77 conversations without rejection or deletion. I think that I've had at least 20+ conversations rejected or deleted, but I'm not sure of the exact number since it's a bit messy in my inbox and TED hasn't always notified me of rejections and such... I still have more than 10 errands that have not been replied to, even though I've asked for it.

      What I've found when creating conversations is to ask questions and keep NEUTRAL in both the title and explanation, now for some reason some conversations are still allowed despite being obviously biased in a way that contradicts the terms of use.

      Please don't take this as an insult.

      Even though I think that you are wrong in your assumptions about the conversations that you tried to start I think that because others that are equally, or even more, wrong in their assumptions are allowed to have conversations you should be too.

      So here's my tip as a "pro-conversations-creator" :-P

      I'll only do the titles since I'm running out of characters. Keep the explanation as small and neutral as possible, don't put biased (any except Wiki or TED) sources in there.

      Flat earth conversation:

      "Did people actually believe that the world was ever flat?"

      Evolution conversation.

      "What are the best arguments for evolution"

      Atlantis conversation

      "Do you think that Atlantis actually existed once, is there proof?"

      And hey Chris, if you feel that you've been mistreated by TED you are welcome to join my subreddit, created solely for discussions about TED. http://www.reddit.com/r/TEDconversations
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    Dec 13 2013: Time for another list of conversations I haven't bothered with, this time it's going to be a scientifically answerable list.

    "Why does it seem that when it is snowing outside, it seems quieter?"

    "Is absolutely every organism on Earth related, or has life started on Earth more than once?"

    "Can creatures that are small see even smaller creatures (ie bacteria) because they are closer in size?"

    "Why is glass so chemically stable? Why are there so few materials that cannot be handled or stored in glass?"

    "Why do we have different sized dogs but all the domestic cats are (roughly) the same size?"

    "If air is mostly nitrogen and dirt is mostly carbon, why do plants get all their nitrogen from the soil and all their carbon from the air?"

    "Did the insects with queens (bees, ants, wasps, termites) all evolve from a common ancestor with queens, or is their social organization an example of convergent evolution?"

    "Why did Europeans have diseases to wipeout native populations, but the Natives didn't have a disease that could wipeout Europeans."

    "What if we put a mirror in space, 1 light year from earth and we pointed Hubble at it would it be possible to see two years into earths past?"

    "How scientifically valid is the Myers Briggs personality test?"

    "If oil takes millions of years to be made, how much of it is made each year?"

    "Theoretically, what's the farthest back in time a human could travel and still safely breathe the Earth's atmosphere?"

    "How would you ground electronics in the space station?"

    "If I was an organism in a 2D world, would there be any experiment I could conduct, in order to prove whether there is a third dimension or not?"

    "When you graph your family tree (parents, parent's parents, parent's parent's parents, etc), it's an ever expanding graph. But humans started from a very small pool of people. Would the graph end up looking like a diamond? At what point would the graph start getting "smaller"
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      Dec 13 2013: Some of these are factual questions you might want to search about online to get quick and reliable answers.
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        Dec 13 2013: I know the answers Fritzie... These are not from the top of my head, they are the highest rated questions from a big science source where people can ask freely but it has to be scientifically answerable. All of them are indeed factual, but then again so is everything that isn't philosophic.

        And since the questions are so popular on another site, and sprouted great debate and very much interesting off-topic info. I generally think that it's a good idea to have the same conversations here, but since I know the answers it's not that important for me to ask them here, but I think that it would be interesting and educational for many TEDsters.
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        Dec 13 2013: "you might want to search about online to get quick and reliable answers." That is how I feel about the majority of Conversations...
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          Dec 13 2013: I actually think that most conversations here do not ask questions of fact but rather are "open" in the sense of naturally bringing out different perspectives, many of which have merit, rather than right and wrong answers.
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        Dec 14 2013: I view merited as mostly being right, unmerited as likely being wrong.

        So TED Conversations is an ongoing philosophical debate about right and wrong?

        I feel that perspectives rarely change, what's learned here are different views and facts.
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      Dec 13 2013: Chris, you clearly lack knowledge about evolution and I suggest you read up on the topic before making false claims.
      We share 98 % of our genes with chimpanzees which should be plenty of proof that we are very much related. Or in other words, chimpanzees and humans have common ancestors and if going back far enough in time, all living organisms share a common ancestor. For this very reason we even share genes with plants and fruit flies.
      That said, it doesn't mean that we descend from chimpanzees but that at some point different lineages developed (from the same common ancestor), one leading to humans and others leading to other primates.
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          Dec 18 2013: Ah, ok, so, according to you where did the first human being spring into existence ? Humans developed from more primitive ancestors but at some point they were no humans.
          Why don't you look up "time line of human evolution" or "pre human" ? That gives you plenty of links explaining where we evolved from.
          Root races ? Sorry, I'm not into the esoteric.
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          Dec 18 2013: Chris, Please Read Darwins original work. It managed to convince the majority of the world of it's validity without even coming close to genetics and the modern sciences that we have today. It's a really good book, and if you're still not convinced you'll at least have a better understanding of how to refute evolution to those that accept it.

          It's just $6.60 on amazon http://www.amazon.com/The-Origin-Species-Charles-Darwin/dp/0553214632
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          Dec 18 2013: Chris, I follow the evidence. Your claims are not supported by any evidence, hence they are meaningless to me.
          There are many people believing strange things. You are not the only one.
          But for me science is too exciting to waste time with esoteric humbug.
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          Dec 19 2013: Again, cite scientific references if you want to make a point.
          Atlantis discovered ? You should stop reading Erick van Daniken ;-)

          " I came here only to post the conversation TED rejected,"
          Did it ever occur to you that there might be a reason for that ?
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      Dec 13 2013: Chris,

      You are being misinformed by your community. There are many misconceptions about "Flat Earth" your Wiki showed some of them, let me show you some more http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flat_Earth

      Concerning Darwinism I'm much too fatigued at the moment to get into it properly, let me just inform you of chromosome 2 with this Wiki, once again your sources of information are misleading to say the least. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chimpanzee_Genome_Project#Genes_of_the_Chromosome_2_fusion_site

      Atlantis... No... I'm sorry http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlantis#Location_hypotheses

      As I've said before, run Chris, RUN!
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          Dec 18 2013: Dailymail, USAToday, etc are the "scientific" evidence you are citing ?.....lol
          What about some scientific papers instead ?
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    Dec 11 2013: Do we thumb others up in TED to draw attention?
    How about trading TEDCREDs to buy a rejected conversation into publication?
    Can we have private conversations alongside the regular one?
    Should TED get rid of inactive accounts?
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      Dec 11 2013: Question, Pabitra. I would guess most of the accounts on TED are held by people who want an alert of the day's talk or week's talks rather than to converse. What would you call an inactive account and what benefit to the community is there in deleting them?

      In terms of TEDcreds, I actually prefer that they not be exchangeable for anything. I think it is important for newcomers not to feel that having been on the site longer allows a person any preferential treatment. I also think it is better for there to be no extrinsic motivation for accumulating credits that could induce people to focus on getting points more than on making comments that add value to the discourse.
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        Dec 12 2013: You have a point Fritzie. It didn’t occur to me that TED members can simply use their accounts to get mail alert. I cannot presume that all TED community members are interested in conversation.

        But I have seen TED accounts promoting escort services or pornographic videos. I think the community will be cleaner without these accounts.

        I was actually being cheeky suggesting sale of TEDCREDs to buy rejected topics to publication :) However, TEDCREDS may seem imposing to new members – they have a point there. It does not seem imposing to me, nor do I care so much for TEDCREDs – so may be I can have the right to donate some to our new members to make them happy? :)

        I am a member of Project Reason. There they use badges like New Member, Senior Member etc. I think there can be innovative ways of recognizing a member’s contribution in conversations by nominating Best Commenter of the week, month of year.
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          Dec 12 2013: I also am completely ambivalent about TEDCreds, but I notice they are a real thorn in the side of some members, though they do not confer any privileges to those with many.

          I too have noticed that some profiles are advertisements. What I do not know is whether the page with all the profiles with pictures is viewed enough that people tend to see those. The only time I see that page is when I click on someone's name and find the person has no profile.

          I too am a member of a site with badges of the kind you describe in which the categories are only New and Senior and those designations carry no ancillary benefits.
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      Dec 11 2013: I get that that's your view, but as I've said. Your claims on that conversation are not true and it's pseudoscience, I've never seen a clearer case on TED.
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          Dec 12 2013: Video: House Committee on Science, Space and Technology held a hearing titled, "Astrobiology: Search for Biosignatures in our Solar System and Beyond."
          Yes, I'm not disputing that they did. This proves nothing, and the ideas are nothing new, and I agree to the likelihood of life in the universe.

          Quotes: The quotes that you claim are out of context and you interpret them at will without actually reading what Dawkins said.

          What I'm doing is protesting to false claims on TED, since it's not supposed to be allowed.
          And yes, I'm trying to direct some traffic from TED to http://www.reddit.com/r/tedconversations when I see that people have complaints that I fear will be lost on TED, I wish to gather those so that a comprehensive picture may be assessed of the problems with TED.

          I'm not promoting myself, I'm promoting ideas that I believe are worth spreading.
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          Dec 12 2013: TED Admin has made a grave mistake in allowing this conversation according to me. I wont repeat the reasons since it's becoming lame.

          I am not in control of TED, if I was we wouldn't have this discussion. You think that I'm damaging TED, I think that you are.

          I am not spamming. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spam_(electronic)
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    Dec 11 2013: I don't have a million conversations I'd like to have. You do, Jimmy? I try to only start a conversation that I think is interesting and those don't come to me every five minutes.

    One of mine that got rejected was about mentally retarded people. I mentioned that when a mother in the Maasai tribe of Kenya has a mentally retarded baby, they put the baby out on the plains to be eaten by the lions at night. Hence there are no mentally retarded people among the Maasai. I wondered if we could learn something from this, as in my opinion mentally retarded people take a lot of care and don't give much back.

    Another that got rejected was whether North Korea is indeed an "evil empire"?
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      Dec 11 2013: Yes I do have, well maybe not a million, but I could put a thousand up here, and I'm not exaggerating. I find questions on other sites that don't have this censorship/curation that would be very giving to the TED community, but it's not suited for TED, they say.

      You really have some... different... moral views.
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        Dec 11 2013: maybe you should name a few you'd like to see? You can say why they don't work for TED, or you cannot?

        well, I don't think mine were "views." They were honest questions, I think they were interesting questions, still do. Where do you hear a "view" there?
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          Dec 11 2013: "I wondered if we could learn something from this, as in my opinion mentally retarded people take a lot of care and don't give much back."

          But yeah, I think that you should be able to question most things, as long as you're portraying the truth and are fact/evidence based I'm all for it.
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          Dec 11 2013: I'll do the titles, not the explanations, many of these are likely allowed but I don't take the time.

          "What's craziest or weirdest thing in your field that you suspect is true but is not yet supported fully by data? "

          "What free stuff on the internet should everyone be taking advantage of?"

          "What are some must have web-browser extensions?"

          "Besides pornography, what is a website you frequent and don't want anyone to know?"

          "What is something you think everyone should have installed on their computer or laptop?"

          "Which websites do you usually visit when you are bored of TED

          "Chefs of TED, what are some some tips and tricks that everyone should know about cooking?"

          "Doctors of TED, what is the biggest mistake you've made?"

          "What's the most intellectual joke you know?"

          "what is your favorite picture on the whole internet? (possibly NSFW)"

          "Employers of TED: What is one thing someone has said or done in an interview that made you want to hire them on the spot?"

          "What is a "dirty little (or big) secret" about an industry that you have worked in, that people outside the industry really ought to know?"

          "What are the most intellectually stimulating websites you know of?"

          "What is the saddest lyric you've ever heard?"

          "What non-fiction books should everyone read to better themselves?"

          "What is the happiest fact you know?"

          "What gif reduces you to hysterical laughter every time?"

          "What is the best toast you know for drinking?"

          "What are the most beautiful pieces of Classical music that every person should hear?"

          "What quote gives you chills every time you hear or read it?"

          "What is the best documentary you've ever watched?"

          "What did you just recently realize you've been doing incorrectly your whole life?"

          "Why is it that sex offenders have a registry, but murderers don't?"

          And those questions are some of the ones that I, without anonymity, would feel comfortable asking on TED, notice that their all questions.

          Feel free to use any.

          I'm out o chars.
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        Dec 11 2013: right, well, I guess that would be an initial view, but in my mind it's so latched to the larger question, whether knowing this practice of the Maasai should change anything anyone else does, that it becomes a question itself? I think it would make an interesting conversation. But we still haven't heard the ones you'd like to talk about but can't?
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          Dec 11 2013: I didn't make this for the ones that I can't talk about, I made this for the ones that I don't bother with.

          I can't state what I can't talk about since the comment would be removed.

          And I was typing, reload the page.
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        Dec 11 2013: well, many of those are interesting and worthwhile, Jimmy. Is it really a time issue? I have hosted perhaps nine conversations on TED conversations, and in every case it only took me five minutes to write the submission, and some of the conversations were successful, garnering over a hundred comments. I would think in most cases it is something other than time, you might think the topic is too controversial, or you might think it's not interesting enough even if it might get approved. For me so far the question of freshness is important, the topic or question has to feel "fresh," like it's not something you see every day, or perhaps a slightly different angle, or it's something people do differently in different parts of the world. When you do submit one, is there something that differentiates it from ones you don't submit? Can you articulate what that is?
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        Dec 11 2013: well, my impression is that sometimes TED doesn't want to make something a conversation, but comments about it on other peoples' conversations is more tolerated. I guess it's not as conspicuous.

        I have heard somewhere that when someone says they don't want to take the time to do something, there's usually some other factor that is more accountable. To some degree one makes time for what one cares about?
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      Dec 11 2013: These are excellent questions.

      To answer the first I'd say that if a society can take care of a citizen, then it should. It makes sense (or it made sense at some point) for the Maasai to discard retarded children because of their tough lifestyle.
      It doesn't really cost me a lot to see that they are saved and taken care of in my country, there is no significant sacrifice. So why the hell not?

      As of North Korea, why would you possibly question that it is an evil empire? Surely you know about the horrible conditions endured by the people there, the famins, the absolute lack of freedom, the massive propaganda, the public executions... Surely all of this, and much more, qualifies as "evil", right?
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        Dec 11 2013: Thanks, Gerald. Your questions are excellent, too. I don't think any of these questions would bother a careful reader, they would understand that the person posing them is simply curious and trying to understand life. But I'm thinking TED is trying to appeal to a broader audience, they probably have readers who come to the website and aren't entirely careful readers, and if they saw questions such as ours' would have a kneejerk reaction, they would think we are advocating for, say, animal torture, and not notice the nuance where we are only asking questions. It's too bad, because TED is very convenient and also big, where you get a lot of minds contributing. Maybe the cost of being big is that you have to be careful and a little safe/bland about what you publish?

        I don't know, TED conversations did allow me to host a conversation about six months ago where I asked people what conversations TED conversations had rejected.
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      Dec 11 2013: Hi Greg,
      Regarding your proposed topic about mentally retarded people, which was rejected by TED....

      You state above...."in my opinion mentally retarded people take a lot of care and don't give much back."

      For me, it is more enjoyable to engage in conversations when the facilitator has not already made a determination regarding what direction the conversation will go. I'm not saying you do this Greg, but I think sometimes topics may be rejected by TED because of how they are presented.

      If we genuinely want to learn about something or someone, it might be helpful to leave the topic more open ended? Do all mentally challenged people take a lot of care? Do mentally challenged people contribute to society in any way?

      Personally, I learned a quite a bit about mentally challenged people while helping to coach special Olympics. Those kids were some of the most loving, cheerful, appreciative, determined, focused, grateful, encouraging people I have ever met. Sometimes, the other coaches and I were asking ourselves and each other....who is giving to whom here? Those kids were WONDERFUL human beings, and we felt that they were giving us (coaches) SO much:>)
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        Dec 11 2013: well, maybe, Colleen. I think I would have just been stating an initial opinion on one aspect of the matter to get the topic going. But no, I was told the topic would be "incredibly" offensive to some members of the TED community. In a way, I understand it. I think some people if you even discuss the possibility of doing something, they think you're saying you actually want to do it, or think it should be done. They can't separate their strong reaction to something, in this case the Maasai policy, from just talking about it to see what you think.

        When Jimmy posted this topic I misunderstood his intent, I thought he was for one thing looking for things we had tried to talk about and weren't able to. If you haven't read the whole conversation, it becomes clearer that he thinks sometimes people don't post a topic because....well, I'm not sure how much he thinks they care about the topic in question, but anyway they don't want to take the time and effort.

        Your experience is what I would have been looking for if TED approved. But I don't want to have the conversation now "looking over my shoulder" thinking TED will dislike. If you read the whole convo you will see a comment/question I pose to let's see is it gerald o'brien?, I say something to the effect that we like posing on TED because it's "big," it attracts a lot of people and a lot of minds, but maybe the cost of becoming big is that TED has to be a little safe and bland? One might say to your comment here that mentally challenged were so nice because they didn't have to work or deal with problems cause the rest of us are footing their bills? My topic here has come up on other sites, here is something related http://www.sythe.org/something-all/1559869-euthanasia-severely-mentally-retarded.html

        I've been noticing if you look at the profile pix that show twelve people who have lately contributed, it often seems to be more men......
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        Dec 11 2013: for example, right now we have six men, two women, four ambiguous, would it be sexist if I said it's nice to hear from a woman?
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      Dec 12 2013: Hi again Greg:>)
      I usually read all or most of the comments already on a thread before contributing, to get a feel for how a conversation is evolving. While I think TED is more "safe" now with the moderation, I don't agree that the conversations are "bland". I still think/feel that it has a lot to do with how a topic is presented, and how the conversation evolves, that determines if it might be offensive.

      Regarding "footing" the bills of mentally challenged people. My perception is that as a global community, we are all interdependent. There are times in our lives when someone may be helping to financially support us, and there are times when we are more or less capable of helping to support others. For example, after a near fatal head injury, I was supported by friends and family, both mentally/emotionally and physically. That may have gone on for the rest of my life...we didn't know for sure. I do not agree that mentally challenged people should be cut off from our society. I also observe lots of mentally challenged people working and to some extent supporting (or helping to support) themselves financially.

      I personally do not perceive it to be sexist to say you like to hear from women:>) From the time I started participating on TED, there have been more men than women participating in conversations. The number of women participating is growing......that's progress:>)
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        Dec 12 2013: Thanks, Colleen. I agree with you, the conversations aren't bland as far as they go, but I do believe there are more fringe topics, that maybe have a slightly "kinky" feel, that TED cuts off. Did you notice the questions Gerald O'Brien said were possibilities to him, but he was quite sure TED would not allow them? I would think they would fall into this category. But maybe you're right. Let's take Gerald's question, what do we care if an animal suffers when we torture it? Is there a way you could present that question so that it would be acceptable to TED and TED community?

        I apologize, colleen, I would love to discuss my question with you, but I'm a person who hates to do anything looking over my shoulder.

        Do you think you're special for participating heavily despite being the less participating sex? I guess when I interact with a woman on TED it has the pleasure of intellectual conversation plus a little tingle for me of sex and romance. Although one doesn't know for sure one is talking to a woman, for all I know, Colleen, you could be an NFL lineman with a Harley and a sixpack. And I could be a Playboy pinup model?
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          Dec 12 2013: Greg,
          Re: Gerald's proposed question...."what do we care if an animal suffers when we torture it?"

          My interpretation of the question as presented, is that it is common and acceptable to torture animals. "When we torture it" feels like it is commonly accepted.

          "What do we care", feels like the felicitator has already decided that we don't need to care.

          I cannot ever be sure how a question might be accepted or not. How about trying...
          "How do you feel about animals being tortured?"

          Personally, I feel horrible about animals being tortured because they are living, feeling creatures. Secondly, when I was co-facilitating programs with men who were incarcerated, it was common that most of their offences started out with torturing animals when they were young boys. I don't know if there are any statistics to back that up or not....I never pursued that topic. What I state is simply my observation. I think it would be a great discussion topic though!

          LOL! No Greg, I do not think I am special for participating heavily despite being a woman. I may be a little more determined than some women:>) When I first started participating, there were a couple guys who were abusive....particularly to women, and quite a few woman stopped commenting because of that. I'm glad to see more and more women now participating. You know what I'm often saying about "modeling" a behavior? Well, although I said many times...." I am out of here.....this is horrible", I stuck around, worked with the TED administration to help TED become more user friendly:>)

          LOL! Yes Greg, when participating in on-line forums we could be totally different than what we present. When I started participating on TED, I used another last name and no profile pic. because this was the only on-line forum I participated in. Then I thought.....I am who I am, and as the TED administration began to change things on TED for the better (in my perception), I became less afraid of using my name and photo.
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        Dec 12 2013: well, I'm thinking that even asking how you feel about animals being tortured, well, in the explanation of the question you're going to have to state your purpose for asking, well, come to think of it, what is Gerald's purpose in asking? that would be interesting to know. I'm just thinking the question would only be interesting if at least one person said they were fine with animals being tortured, I mean if everyone just agrees it's awful that's a good thing but might not make for a provocative conversation? But since you don't know if anyone replying will say that it's okay with them to torture animals, wouldn't you have to suggest in the explanation that it might be okay for the sake of conversation anyway, and then discuss the disagreement you will inevitably get? But if you put in the explanation that it might be okay to torture animals, TED's going to reject the submission? I certainly think you've gotten closer to making it acceptable, colleen, but I can't see that one can get that particular question over the hump. Maybe it's just too outside the mainstream way of thinking. TED maybe likes things that are different but not too different? Do you agree with my reasons why I think it would be hard to get that conversation up?

        Did TED always have the opportunity to flag comments? If so, I would think it would have always been pleasant to participate as you could just flag abusive commenters?

        I suppose in most cases I believe that the person is who they say they are. Usually the presentation of their identity seems to hang together? It's funny, for a while I thought Fritzie was a man just based on her name. And also Morton who works for TED again for the name, even when I saw her photo I couldn't put it together that she is a female cuz I got so centered on her name. And when I read their comments nothing seemed to contradict me thinking they were men, even though they aren't...............
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          Dec 14 2013: Greg,
          I don't know what Gerald's purpose is in asking the question. I notice that you often ask that question at the beginning of a conversation though...what is the purpose in asking the question. Not always....but often..... I can "feel" the purpose, depending on how the question/debate/idea is presented. Sometimes, there is a particular agenda...sometimes a person is genuinely seeking to solve a question that they have for themselves...some people simply like to start lots of conversations...etc. Although I started a couple conversations when that feature was offered by TED, I prefer to see how the conversations evolve, and participate with people wherever they are with an exploration.

          Honestly Greg, I do not perceive a "hump" when submitting a topic for discussion, unless the facilitator has already determined the direction s/he would like the conversation to take.....that would be a specific agenda, and that creates a speed bump for a conversation and causes it to go round and round in circles, which we've seen quite a few times.

          What I suggested for the topic you questioned is...""How do you feel about animals being tortured?"

          That, to me, is totally open ended, and in my perception, does not direct the conversation. So no, I do not agree with all of your speculation about whether or not TED will approve it, what people might or might not say, etc. What is the purpose of all this speculation without actually trying it Greg?

          I don't think TED had the feature to flag comments when I started. There was a thumbs up AND thumbs down option which was terribly abused and misused.
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          Dec 14 2013: To me questions or positions that predictably represent a universal consensus within a community are generally not very interesting and tend to serve a different purpose for the person putting the question forward than questions in which people are likely to have a variety of perspectives. For example, a person may enjoy being reminded that most people agree with him!

          The potential interesting dimension of such a question is WHY there is universal, or almost universal, consensus on a question. Is there something innate in people that causes them to "call it" that way? Is it just obvious as a matter of fact? Is it a deep belief in the environment in which people were raised or live their life experience?
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        Dec 12 2013: that perhaps shows there isn't a male perspective or a female perspective, that when you don't know the sex of the commenter you really can't tell from their statements?

        Are you saying you participate in other forums? Which ones?
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          Dec 14 2013: I do not perceive necessarily a male or female perspective, and I often perceive a male or female communication style.

          I have participated in a couple other forums for a short time Greg.....none at the moment.
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        Dec 14 2013: thank you, Colleen. Well, the fact is that for myself I am not terribly interested in discussing how people feel about animals being tortured. I just think it's interesting to try to understand whether to get big, an organization has to become "safe" and "bland."

        I think if you care about an organization, as we do about TED, it's good to understand the organization also as a way to understand yourself, in other words, why do you like this org, what does it speak to in you?

        I also wish like hell I could have run my Maasai/mentally retarded conversation.

        Yes, I often think that if you can clarify your purpose in asking a question it will help you answer the question itself, or maybe see that you don't care about the question as much as you thought you did, or maybe it's a different question you should be asking. Does that make sense to you, Colleen, that if you can clearly state your purpose you have a better chance of answering the question, that feels true in my gut but I can't quite say why. It's also fun to know what people will do with an answer, it makes the whole conversation a bit less abstract and more practical?

        Sorry if you had to take abuse for being a female. Was it guys thinking they're smarter than females, or that females aren't good at intellectual conversation?

        Can you say more about not thinking there is a male and female perspective. Does it change a female's perspective that she is the one the baby grows in and comes out of?
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          Dec 16 2013: Greg,
          I personally believe that an organization can be safe without being bland. There are great topics that can be discussed respectfully, and for me, respectful does not mean "bland". As you insightfully say...clarifying one's purpose and related information in our "self", helps answer some questions for our "self". I agree that understanding an organization in which we participate, helps us understand ourselves if we are open to that possibility. TED draws me personally, because I LOVE the process of connecting with other people, and TED offers that opportunity with people around our world.

          My perception of those who abuse others, is that they may not know a better way of "being". How we communicate says more about us as individuals than it says about the people we are communicating with. We cannot give something to others (good communication in this case) that we do not have in and for ourselves...make any sense? Some of those who abused the TED system, I believe were "gamers", and one actually wrote....I don't have to play video games anymore...I found TED. That was a person with multiple accounts/ identities, just gaming, or trolling.

          I think many males and females have similar perspectives ("the interrelation in which a subject or its parts are mentally viewed"), and we often communicate the same perspectives in different ways. This is not necessarily male/female because many people have the same perspective and present thoughts, feelings, beliefs differently. When I say..."I often perceive a male or female communication style", I suggest that females, in general, tend to be a little more gentle with communications, which we have been taught to do. Again, this is very general, and certainly not the case all the time. There are also some very gentle men, who communicate in that way:>)

          I think the reason is, that is what we have been taught by society.....women/girls are supposed to be the emotional supporter, and men can be that as well:>)
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        Dec 16 2013: Thanks, colleen. Well, I was using "safe" as a synonym for bland. Well, I have read thinkers who say that sometimes products get "dumbed down" to try to appeal to more consumers. I apologize, I cannot recall what products they were referring to, it may have been about the way TV fiction shows are written? Well, it does seem to me that TED played it too safe on my retarded conversation. I submitted it, and the way I wrote it it was clear that I was open to multiple viewpoints, the question would have been something like "Is the way we handle the mentally retarded the best way?" or something like that. But it was rejected because it would be "incredibly offensive to some members of the TED community." Well, what is TED afraid of here? That offended people won't come back to the TED site? Or stop donating to TED? And yet it seems like a reasonable question to raise, if you discover a people who have eliminated mentally retarded people from their life you wonder if that should be spread. I've discovered now that other people have also killed mentally retarded babies, such as the ancient Romans. So it's not completely out of line.

        I would say asking about someone's purpose might help to target a conversation better? You might be better able to tailor your reply not to just their question but to their purpose, and they might be able to host the conversation with a stronger direction to getting what they want out of it.

        I don't feel I encounter many trolls on web. On YouTube you can read some pretty sharp and salty comments under videos, but they always seem to have some purpose and seem to have an idea nestled in them. I enjoy them.

        If males and females have similar perspectives, one wonders why we differentiate between them, why we have the words male and female.
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          Dec 22 2013: Well Greg, I don't always perceive safe as bland:>)

          I have also read a lot about advertising and TV shows being written to attract less intelligent people. Commercials are also often louder, supposedly in an attempt to insure that we do not miss anything!!!

          I don't know that TED is afraid of anything, and I cannot speak for them in any way. Why don't you ask TED those questions?

          Yes, I agree that asking someone's purpose may help to clarify a conversation. Another question is....do people start a conversation to get what "THEY" want? Or is the conversation genuinely to share thoughts, feelings, ideas, perspective and perceptions?

          I think/feel there are many males and females with similar perspectives, and as I said before, I think/feel it is often more about our different styles of communication.
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        Dec 25 2013: Well, the way I'm using the word "safe" here is to mean an org doesn't post something they think could be offensive because they want to be safe from criticism or people ceasing to patronize the site. And that could lead to blandness?

        Well, Colleen, I've probably had ten conversations rejected by TED. When I've had them rejected, it always goes the same way. I write back saying why I think they should have accepted it, and giving the reasons. They write back countering my reasons. I write back countering their counters. And they don't write back, they never reply to the counters to the counters. And at that point I stop pushing it, because it feels uncordial, I would like to debate with them but I'd also like to be their friend, so I don't feel I can push it too hard.

        Well, I think when people want an exchange of thoughts and feelings, it is somewhat for their own benefit, they hope to learn something or accomplish some practical purpose from the exchange?

        Oh yes you had said that. What I'm wondering is if the style is even that different, if you don't know the sex of a person writing something, could you guess accurately from the writing?
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      Dec 25 2013: I agree Greg, that people generally want to learn or explore something, or maybe accomplish something with the exchange.

      No, I cannot guess accurately all the time to determine the sex of a person who is writing a comment.....it is always just a guess:>)
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        Dec 30 2013: I just submitted a TED conversation, Colleen, I'm sort of guessing it will be rejected but maybe I'm wrong. It's about how I do a lot of self-massage, primarily of my face and head, and use my own saliva as a lubricant. They'll probably think it's gross, but it really isn't, I got the idea from watching my pet cat clean himself, first he licks his paw, then he cleans his body with the paw. In the submission I included a link to the YouTube vid I made about it http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kb1Ml4KR9z0.
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          Dec 30 2013: Wow, I just watched you lick your own face... That was the most "special" TED related moment I've ever had...

          I'm still smiling, thanks Greg!
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          Jan 2 2014: I've watched my cats cleaning themselves too Greg....just as I've watched them catch mice, scratching a scratching post or tree, and other "cat things".

          I have sometimes used just water to clean myself when in very remote areas.....I've used moss to scrub myself....plucked from the side of a mountain stream.....I make fresh herb (from the garden) bath and shower scrubs, which are delightful, so I'm not adverse to trying different things. Messaging my face and head with saliva, does not appeal to me. I do, however, respect the fact that people have different preferences.

          Did you ever try messaging the face and head with fresh aloe? Or cream infused with fresh aloe? That feels really nice:>)
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        Jan 2 2014: Well, I like the warmth and softness of dealing with my own tongue and saliva, if I were to deal with a commercial product it would be a cold hard plastic container that I would have to handle, plus the oil would be cold, or room temperature. How exactly does one massage one's face with fresh aloe, do you have to press the aloe out of the aloe leaf? But using your own saliva is somewhat less effort? Plus the saliva is always with you, you can't "misplace the bottle." And in my mind it has a cleaning as well as lubricating effect. But I don't like people to force things, for me it comes quite naturally to use my own saliva.

        As best I can recall, Colleen, we didn't talk on that conversation I hosted "What have you learned from animals?" Are you suggesting that just cause a cat cleans with saliva, or chases mice etc. we as human beings don't have to do it? You're right, but I'm sure you'd agree that at times we can learn from animals, probably we could learn something from the way cats hunt mice, or scratch a scratching post. Is there any behavior you've learned from animals?

        All your scrubs and oils sound very nice as well.

        Well, the conversation did get rejected with their standard rejection form, as I "predicted"? Can I ask why you wouldn't use your own saliva, Colleen, does it seem unsanitary to you, or what is the block? I'm thinking people might consider using your own saliva unsanitary, but I consider it is sufficiently sanitary, so I wrote TED back, I said I thought this convo could bring up interesting issues of what people consider sanitary and not, and why. We'll see if they respond?
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          Jan 4 2014: Greg,
          Most oils, creams, and herbal concoctions can be heated to the warmth one desires. In fact, heating the ingredients is part of the process to make them.

          I have aloe plants, so I use it directly from the plant.....just squeeze out the jelly-like contents from the leaves. I also mix aloe with some of the herbal creams and oils I make with herbs from the gardens. The creams, oils and herbal scrubs I make are WONDERFUL...in my humble perception:>)

          Personally Greg, just because a cat does something, I do not feel an urge to do the same thing.....but......to each his own choices! Yes, I've learned from watching animals (especially cats) how to just "be".
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          Jan 4 2014: Are you guys still on this!? I see that this might be a conversation worth having... But then again aren't all conversations worth having to some degree?
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        Jan 4 2014: how do you squeeze out the jelly-like contents? Squeeze them into....? Well, those all sound nice, Colleen, there's just something about saliva for me, well, it's very convenient because I do self-massage here and there all day long, using my saliva I don't have to go find my oil, I just stick out my tongue, get a little saliva on my fingers, and voila, lube and cleaner.

        Sometimes now when I need an idea I'll start massaging and cleaning the thing with saliva lube. Like I was trying to figure out how to get the slats to stop falling out under my bed, so I was just massaging and cleaning the bed, the slats, the runners, my head, my body with saliva. Eventually I did get an idea so I think it helped.

        No I don't mean do it because the cat does it, just that seeing how an animal does something might give you an idea you wouldn't have thought of otherwise. I love that idea of just being.

        Possibly you should make some YouTube videos about how you make your scrubs and oils, Colleen. It's a cool feeling to participate in conversations, it's also a cool and slightly different feeling to have the videos online.
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          Jan 5 2014: Greg,
          It's really easy to get the contents out of the aloe leaves..... slit the leaves across and squeeze the contents into a container, or the hand...or.... slit the leaves lengthwise, and you can scrape the contents into the hand or a container, or you can use it on the skin directly from the leaves.

          I did lots of films and videos when I was a professional in that field, and it was great fun. I do not have a desire to do videos at this stage of my life. I think I mentioned that in another conversation with you Greg, when you encouraged me to do a video:>)
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        Jan 5 2014: Well, as I say, I'm happy with the saliva, but I'm still happy to know about the other. It's probably a case where I wouldn't work with aloe because when it comes to plants I'm very oriented towards grass as it fits into this whole cows-milk-grass world that I like. Is there any way to get oil out of grass?

        Yes, I believe you did say that, Colleen. Did you say why you don't want to make them? The videos you did before were what like entertainment ones? The ones I was thinking of for you now would be more educational ones?
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          Jan 5 2014: Greg,
          Oils can be extracted from some grasses....lemon grass is one example.

          I don't feel like appearing in videos because I did that for one stage of my life, and it does not appeal to me now! Most of the videos I did were commercial, educational, in house training videos.
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        Jan 5 2014: Can they be extracted easily, just in an average household?

        Oh, I'm sorry, Colleen, you had mentioned doing the training videos, but I hadn't realized they were the bulk of your video work. Well, it can be fun to do the vids where you're educating about your own knowledge, as opposed to educating what the company wants its employees to know. Do you know why it doesn't appeal to you now?
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          Jan 6 2014: Dear Greg,
          Anything is easier once we know how to do it. Yes, oils can be extracted in an average kitchen:>)

          http://blog.morethanalive.com/how-to-make-oil-extracts-infusions/

          The training videos were part of the whole....not necessarily the bulk of my video experience.

          Yes, I know why it does not appeal to me now, and I've told you that....it was one stage of my life, and I have moved on to another stage of the life experience. I've been there....done that....now it's time for a different experience:>)
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        Jan 7 2014: Yes, nice link, Colleen, thanks. Again, though, I tend to prefer the saliva as my lube. I suppose one reason is that it's less oily than the kind of oils being described in the link. For instance, I'm often running saliva through my hair as I massage my head, and the saliva quickly evaporates; but if I used oil my hair would get pretty oily, I think?

        Well, YouTube videos to me are somewhat similar to TED conversations in the sense that one gets to share one's ideas, thoughts, and feelings. But they do have some advantages in that TED conversations are pretty cerebral, whereas a YouTube video can be anything, it can be cerebral, it can be practical. Please don't take it that I'm putting any pressure on you, it's just fun for me to hear how people make decisions. I get that you've already made videos, I still say YouTube is a bit different in that you really could make videos about anything, whereas, when you made them before, weren't you always making them as part of a group, so you were somewhat limited to what the group wanted, or was paying, to make them about? Besides the training videos, I'm afraid if you've said I can't recall, what other vids were you making?
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          Jan 9 2014: To each his/her own choices Greg!

          Re: Doing Videos.....I have told you several times....I've been there....done that....now it's time for a different experience. I really am trying to be patient Greg, and your insistence sometimes is tiring.
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        Jan 9 2014: well, you say been there, done that, but I don't know what you're referring to. Do you mean you've made videos in the past, and you don't want to make any videos of any kind whatsoever in the future? But you do understand that the videos you might make for YouTube could be different from the ones you've made in the past?

        As I say, Colleen, it's not that I'm thinking you should do it, it's just interesting and educational to me to hear how you, or anyone, makes decisions.
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          Jan 9 2014: Yes....exactly Greg. I have made videos in the past, and do not have a desire to do so now. No, I never said I would not do any of any kind in the future. I understand what videos are Greg.
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        Jan 9 2014: Well, I'm still not clear on why you wouldn't want to make them. You can say been there, done that, but then again, you could say that about many things you've done in the past that you continue to do. For instance, you continue to garden even though you've done it plenty in the past, when it comes to gardening you've been there, done that, yet you continue to do that. You continue to TED converse even though you've done it plenty in the past, you could say been there, done that yet you continue to do it. So why is making videos different?

        Of course you understand what videos are, I wasn't trying to suggest that you didn't?
  • Dec 11 2013: No-liability Organizations! I have tried three times but TED does not think the subject is appropriate. What do you think? Wouldn't you like to discuss what I think is the biggest problem in the world, starting with corporations?
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      Dec 11 2013: Maybe this conversation will make people take the time to create conversations more often, thinking "why would I comment, I'll just create the conversation"

      I feel a need for more conversations, I need more content.
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          Dec 11 2013: So this conversation does serve a purpose after all..

          I think I know what might work, try labeling it

          "What's your thoughts on Panspermia"

          And then you could do the explanation yourself... I don't know but I think it will work...
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          Dec 11 2013: Jason, it looks to me like that thread is open and has a reply from Entropy. http://www.ted.com/conversations/22000/is_life_on_earth_the_result_of.html
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          Dec 11 2013: The problem with this hypothetical topic is that the answer can only be yes.
          Yes it is possible that the Earth might have been seeded by aliens.
          Anything additionnal is probably bullshit. Case closed, for lack of evidence.
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          Dec 11 2013: yeah, that was really not what I thought that that conversation would be about... If we both still have our memberships can we move on?
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