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David Levine

Research Scientist, University of Tennessee

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If you were invited to give a 5 minute TED talk to the entire world, what would you say?

If you had the attention of the entire world for 5 minutes (don't worry about the logistics like languages, etc.) what would you say? Would you ask for peace? Would you give advice? Would you preach love? Make suggestions on bettering the world?

It is a daunting question.....think carefully!

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    Jan 13 2014: TED audience are mostly intelligent and successful people. I would solicit from them ten of the most important problems we, humans, face. And then challenge them to propose possible solutions to those problems. I think ten challenging problems are more than enough to keep us busy all the time!
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    Jan 13 2014: I would tell people through a story in my life that they are not alone in their sorrow, that there is hope and that life can be enjoyed. I would tell them to let go of their preconceptions and memes they hold onto and that it is okay not to understand.
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    Jan 20 2014: I would introduce Ted members to our project:
    DESIGNING AND BUILDING AN INNOVATIVE FUTURISTIC 
TOWN/SOCIETY IN THE MIDDLE OF A MAN-MADE 
CRISIS. Our goal is to build an international fully functional model-town, a small anti-Metropolis, that will serve as a new standard for other communities around the world, showing a practical step towards wiser, more intelligent existence.
    This original concept lays in the uncommon combination of ideas. While restoring the charm and cultural trends, as well as sound traditions and peaceful lifestyle of a small old town, its innovative infrastructure will be empowered by advanced technology to support Sustainability. Town's micro-economy and Small Systems will demonstrate flexibility in adjusting to new unavoidable changes of diverse nature (I mean economic, education, healthcare, environmental and cultural changes..) New infrastructure, sound innovation, enchanting architecture will be working in thoughtful coordination with natural environment and specific climate demands.
    The Futuristic town will coherently embrace new lifestyle - it will be this special peaceful place where every denizen and every guest will feel unique and important.

    This project will effectively help re-think the prime paradigms which currently run our stressed-out society.
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    Jan 14 2014: I have three ideas to share so I might need 15 minutes:

    1. Rather than embracing and celebrating difference and diversity among humans, let's learn to recognize, embrace and celebrate similarity and see what that brings.
    2. Our expectations for what young children are capable of are generally way too low. Young children are competent and adults place ridiculous limits on what they can accomplish. ( I gave a talk about this one, but took 17 minutes, not 5!)
    3. We've got it all wrong about humans, other animals and intelligence.
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    Jan 14 2014: Hey David!

    Your Conversation is ending in 19 hours, maybe you'd like to extend it? There's an "edit" button on your conversation that you can use to do this.
  • Jan 13 2014: I have alws belived in the idea that before world peice can ensue, inner peace must be achieved. Now what I'm talking about is a lot of the reason charity exists. People want to help their neighbors so they give money or their time or what ever to helping. Now I am by no means saying charity it self is bad, but if your countrymen and women are suffering and even dying, don't you think that your country should be healed before we try to save the world?
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    Jan 20 2014: After sharing my "Brain Catastrophes by the Numbers: Mental Minefields We Must Traverse to Survive" abstract with TEDsters for 3 minutes, I would promote the crucial input of women in world governments, using this example:

    Self-taught, two-time Pulitzer Prize winning historian Barbara Tuchman saved the Earth and all its inhabitants in 1962. Her book, "The Guns of August," detailed the male-dominant, inbred, Hapsburg/Saxe-Coburg insanity that led up to the horrific meat-grinder of World War One.

    During the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, when Soviet nuclear missiles were placed in Cuba in response to nuclear missiles we (the US) had placed in Turkey along the Russian border, the generals advising our president John F. Kennedy strongly argued for a nuclear "first strike," since we had a 5 to 1 superiority in missiles over the Soviets.

    Fortunately for the entire world, Kennedy had read "The Guns of August" and clearly saw how aggressive, male-dominant insanity was raising its ugly head yet again; yet the costs of war were exponentially higher in 1962 than 1914. He slammed copies of Tuchman's book on his generals' desks, telling them to read it.

    One woman. One book. This is the sword-edge that humanity's fate stood upon in 1962. Humanity simply cannot and will not survive without significant worldwide governmental input from women.
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    Jan 20 2014: One thing I've been wondering lately is, why don't we teach psychology as a core subject in schools? Or, at least, as part of a core subject? I've never used trigonometric functions in the real world, there have only been a few inconsequential times when a basic understanding of the structure of DNA has been useful to me, and, although reading King Lear was fun, I haven't found an application for that, either. I don't think I'm unusual in this.

    However, one area of knowledge we all need is understanding other people, understanding ourselves and understanding the potentially harmful influences and biases we are subject to as human beings. So, I'd push for psychology, especially social psychology, to be taught as a core subject. (Is this already done in some countries?) Might not radically alter the world, but I think it could do some good. And it might be more effective than if I were simply to say 'Just be KIND to each other, people.'
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      Jan 20 2014: Agreed- and reasoning/ critical thinking as a part of this!
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        Jan 20 2014: Yes! I've also thought that would be a good idea - not least for myself :)
  • Jan 19 2014: I would talk somethings about education:teachers,my students,children,parents I talked to and observed.
  • Jan 18 2014: I'd say that it's time for the people of the start to cooperate with each other instead of an endless set of conflicts between each other and I am not referring to war but rather to the way that people look at the world.
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    Jan 17 2014: I would use that time to try to wake up in that broad audience the idea that only through a comprehensive and complete education in all fields of human knowledge and of life in society -including concepts such as justice, equality and freedom-, Humanity may be truly better.
    I know it's a utopia. However, a utopia fueled strongly by many people with great force, during a long time, can change reality or at least partially improve it.
    Very interesant question, David.
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    Jan 13 2014: I've thought about "my TED Talk" for years, and it's always changing...

    The one thing that I think I would talk about would be TED itself. What I believe that TED is lacking and needs. The issues we've had and how we've tackled them. I'd talk about all the thousands of people making suggestions for improvements for TED that are never realized.

    I'd talk about "Taking TED to the next level"
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    Jan 20 2014: Very interesting!
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    Jan 19 2014: 1) I would recommend them to read more and more books, because education is the most important thing and the way to peaceful life. 2)I would tell them that all the religions in the world are for one god! there is no sence to fight for that...
    3) I would ask them to plant even one tree in order to make our nature btter and life healthier... 4) I would strongly advice parents to bring their children up in a peaceful environment, where there is no any fight and litigation... 5) I would tell them that life is very hard and we should give hand to each other!
  • Jan 17 2014: I would demand to the U.S to stop the blockade of Cuba. In terms of education, freedom. national identity, community commitment, and will strength they are (by far) the best country in the world. But unluckily most people like money more than ideas, gifts than earnings, etc. But look at which point the U.S have expanded that a lame country is blackmailed to starving and nobody talks about it, not even in the so called "internay tional news".
    The saddest part is that they condemn them by imperfections not caused by their government nor population but for not providing a higher standard of living when the biggest economic empire is trying to crash their free minds banning their free trade and growth.
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    Jan 16 2014: Wayne - Is this geared toward industry or something else? I guess I understand the general concept but this is not something discussed in many fields. Could you elaborate?
  • Jan 16 2014: The need for large innovation which walks the line of failure versus step wise innovation.
  • Jan 15 2014: "If you want to improve the world, get off your butt and so something instead of listening to TED talks." repeated for five minutes.
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    Jan 15 2014: "So here is the real deal ... knock off the dreams and short cuts do your homework (research, educate yourself, evaluate the issue/project/etc...) ... stop listening to unbelievable pitches / goals / hopes / dreams ... do your own analysis."

    Reminds me of a Chinese saying recently in another post
    “No one who can rise before dawn 360 days a year fails to make his family rich.”
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    Jan 14 2014: David, First I would thank them for allowing the old and dumb the same opportunity as the rich, smart and famous. I would then advise them that there is no five minute solutions ... we set high and I might suggest, unobtainable goals ... in order to achieve these we need to take baby steps and .. viola ... one brick at a time a house will appear.

    We want instant cures for medical, environment, economic, scientific issues.

    Well kiddies that ain't how it works. Remedies, cures, solutions take years ,,, lots of research ... and lots of money. People want green this and that based on what we have ... never happen. Obama put a lot of OUR money into this and it never had a chance ... political pay back ... they took the money ran to the bank and off to the islands. When someone promises you something that sounds to good to be true .... lock your money up and run like hell. That goes for all deals including politics ... there is always a trade off if your are lucky ... and most generally a real loss in the failure to you ... not the politician or the con man ... they take their cut up front ... not much difference there LOL.

    People are looking for what is in it for them and are not willing to go to work to achieve it ... the only place that you will find success before work is in the dictionary.

    So here is the real deal ... knock off the dreams and short cuts do your homework (research, educate yourself, evaluate the issue/project/etc...) ... stop listening to unbelievable pitches / goals / hopes / dreams ... do your own analysis.

    If not you will be the poorest sheeple in the pasture. Unfortunately you will not be alone.

    I could come up with a real subject based on the target population and most likely be a success ... But this short message would save them grief .. I would not be popular in a room of idealists and dreamers holding hands singing Coom By Ya. They do not want facts or reasons just results. Bob
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    Jan 14 2014: Wow - I would love to hear it!