Tim Colgan


This conversation is closed.

Nothing's off topic

This conversation is meant to be one where nothing is off topic. That is, a conversation which is unconstrained and able to take on any direction.

The diversity of background and depth of thinking of TED conversation posters is outstanding. Where will an open conversation lead? Let's see.

What's on your mind?

We are all adults here and capable of negotiating differences between ourselves. Although heated disputes have emerged in these conversations, they have as yet not led to violence. And the process of the community resolving conflict is one thing this conversation could exemplify. Remember Chris Anderson's insight:

"You need clear, open visibility of what the best people in that crowd are capable of, because that is how you will learn how you will be empowered to participate."


To posters: PLEASE DO NOT DELETE YOUR POSTINGS. If you are unwilling to allow your contributions to remain indefinitely, please go elsewhere. Let this conversation be an unadulterated record of human interaction.

Closing Statement from Tim Colgan

Internet forums such as this have become the new "public space". As such, it is essential that users demand normal rights of free speech in the places that they congregate as in any other public space.

This conversation, though initially open-ended, was singled out by TED for early termination, despite the fact that it generated significant traffic and interesting conversations.

Transparency and openness is essential for the success of an endeavor such as the one TED conversations has claimed as its purpose.

This has become a dictatorial and closed environment.

"Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely" (see Birdia's Leopold Kohr quote "The Power Theory of Aggression" below for the more elaborate version).

In memory of Pabitra (PBUH).

For when this gets expunged - an unexpurgated version of this conversation will soon be placed here:


Googling "Nothing's off topic" should work soon.

And keep your eyes out for TEDanon. For those wishing to relieve the withdrawal pains from quitting TED.

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      Jun 15 2011: or just upvote it. and no, i don't want its expiry date modified. i'd like it to be open ended. i don't like half solutions.
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      Jun 15 2011: I have never commented on this conversation but I have looked in and enjoyed many of the posts here. Although I have had disagreements with Tim, that is part of a free democratic discourse and I fully sympathise with his disgust in this matter and fully support his efforts to have have conversations without censorship.

      It is regrettable that the one method he had found to avoid censorship is also being shut down.
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          Jun 15 2011: You're welcome. I hope others will join their voices in protest also.
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        • Jun 15 2011: Birdia..... Let's get drunk on freedom....
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        Jun 15 2011: this is quite sad, indeed.
      • Jun 15 2011: "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"....Martin Luther King.............. Great words.... but I don't think so any more..... Not after 9/11
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    • +3
    Jun 16 2011: We'd like to shed light on what flagging means:
    We encourage you to flag comments when you see it is clearly a spam and when it's inappropriate according to our Terms of Use http://www.ted.com/pages/conversations_terms
    Flagging does NOT result in the immediate removal. While we check all the flagged and unflagged comments, flagging gets our attention first and we take close look at it. We do not delete most of the flagged comments, because sometimes people just flag what they don't like. We know that so we carefully approach to every comment. But it's very helpful to detect violations and take action accordingly.

    Please do not take it as offensive and attack your fellow community members if they flag certain comments.
    After All, TED Conversations is a platform for mature and respectful discussions.

    If You have questions, please email us at conversations@ted.com and we'll be happy to further clarify this.


    TED Conversations Admin Team
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    Jun 16 2011: @ Lindsay, you know, I would REALLY want to have a conversation with anyone who is convinced that the holocast didn't happen. Really I would. And that to me would not be a breach of the rules of civility- I just would want to understand how they arrived at that conclusion. I know someone who is 100% convinced that dinosours never existed- they are some invention by some nuthead :) And I have gained a whole new understanding and even awe at the power of the human mind, just by talking with this person. Also, I have learnt how to share the space where our lives meet in a more harmonious and mutually beneficial way, where their belief systems don't determine whether we can plant a tree seedling together, or reach out to one another in times of need.

    Now if someone thinks I shouldn't have such a conversation and such great outcomes that improve my day-to-day experience with my neighbor, well then, that just plain sad. But again, maybe they have a reason, perhaps something that they fear, and hence the need to decide for me what I can talk about with you on this forum.

    I heard it said 'Love thy neighbor'. It didn't say 'Love thy Christian or Muslim or Hindu or Atheist neighbor', which I think means we ought to be more open to others unlike us. But again, which all that free love going around, someone's bound to run out of business...
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      Jun 15 2011: I am only reminding you that GE is our Sponsor and that we are guests here asked to partcipate in accordance with the TED guidelines established.. By the way, it is not considered civil to direct such personal comments at anyone. Those who are persisting in this rant against TED, Conversations Admin and GE just don't seem to get that this is their site, their rues. Why would they want to finance people who behave and speak as many here to day have? Wh would anyone want their brand associated with this?
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        Jun 15 2011: May I remind you that we are the energy behind this project and GE has the honor of gaining visibility through our efforts. (And the potential of giving the impression of being open and honest).
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        Jun 15 2011: Lindsay, if what you say is true, I then hereby declare my right of independence from the tyranny of TED, GE and any other entity that desires to suppress my freedoms. I will abide by no such rule and I invite all others to rise up against those who believe they can buy and then nullify human rights.
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          Jun 16 2011: that would be "here here"
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          Jun 16 2011: I think "hear hear" is more appropriate in this case.
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          Jun 16 2011: Yes, Tim..I hear you. so you are really leaving? A loss..truly..you have been a consitently valuable and civil voice here at TED Conversations.

          Will miss you.
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      Jun 6 2011: Tell us more of your China experience Nichola. How long have you been there? Where are you from?
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      Jun 6 2011: Thanks Nicola, You posted this advice to me once before and I thanked you for it then. I promise to reserve it for other bull headed westerners!
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    Jun 2 2011: http://inspire.2ia.pl/ - I love this.
    And this.

    Edit: oh, and there's a beautiful girl on my mind right now.
    And this is perhaps the most "on topic" conversation @ TED Conversations.
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    Jun 16 2011: What about starting a new conversation as this one expires entitled, "Everything's On-Topic" :::)
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      Jun 16 2011: should be opened few minutes before the deadline, and the link is to be put here.

      or maybe in a closing statement? i don't know how it works, i don't believe in the expiry deadlines.
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      Jun 16 2011: Feel free to start it. And put the link here.
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    Jun 15 2011: TED's corporate partner, GE owns and controls the largest share of the American media. GE is known to actively practice censorship on what it owns. Audubon TV suddenly lost its GE funding support when it stumbled upon controversial GE logging tactics. GE also did not pay any taxes in 2010 despite earning nearly $15 billion in profits.

    Tim, welcome to spreading worthless ideas.
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      Jun 15 2011: GE recently closed up a plant somewhere in the mid-west and moved it to.....mexico!
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    Jun 15 2011: The reply button dosent work again. Anyway , Tim . I love the idea of keeping things open-ended and see where they go that you intented in this thread.Its quite experienmental like stream of conciousness. and i saw you in another thread said you will go after this is terminated. I just want to say if you think your contribution has been put a time limit to I dont think your intentions and ideas outside this thread can be put a limit to as i have enjoyed and appreciated your perspectives often even though i havent been here very long.

    Also , I think TED must have some good reasons to make that decision.

    So I encourage communications cuz i believe creative solution is a key to make a change ! Maybe its time for us to walk the talk?

    Lastly, Tim we dont want to see this thread going away and then see you going away becuz of it.

    Just some thoughts

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    Jun 8 2011: I have a question:

    One of my favorite quotes is Albert Einstein's: "Imagination is more important than knowledge."

    So much is made of how important it is to learn from history so as not to make the same mistakes. I agree that's true to a large degree, but there are times in conversations when I get a sense that we lean too heavily on history. When it does more to stifle a conversation than promote ideas. When it seems that, unless you're an expert, there's not much you can contribute.

    Do you feel that knowledge/historical perspective can sometimes saddle a debate and and in so doing stifle outside the box thinking?
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        Jun 8 2011: Birdia, I understand what you're saying... I think what Einstein was trying to communicate was that knowledge without imagination is like a match without a spark.

        "It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.” -Mark Twain

        I guess I'm just trying to say that sometimes the best ideas are not borne out of what we do know, but from what we don't know; what we feel. That it's OK to look at an issue, think about it, and let your imagination go to work on it without the benefit of the history of it.
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          Jun 8 2011: Perhaps imagination is the spark, but knowledge is the firewood.
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          Jun 8 2011: Tim,

          Give me a list of what you have been reading lately. Impressive articulation. "Thinking like a child" ideals!
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          Jun 8 2011: Wongmo,

          "History tends to repeat itself so that would indicate to me that we are not good at learning from our mistakes!"

          That is not fair to claim!

          The education on historic events is a responsibility of the people in a society not a universal right.

          History will always repeat itself as long there is no education on the past.
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          Jun 8 2011: Still a societal issue my friend...

          Teach people to care, they will care to teach.
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        Jun 8 2011: Tim - But what good is firewood without a spark?
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        Jun 8 2011: "But I would like to look at it this way: knowledge is the air that sustains the fire. Imagination is the sound of the burning of the woods."
        Birdia, I think you are placing too little value on imagination! Or maybe we aree defining it differently :)

        Think of it this way: A long time ago, before there was fire, on a cold day, someone took some wood and built a dwelling out of it to keep warm.
        On another day, someone else in the same village rubbed their hands together and noticed it made them warm.
        The two of them had a chance meeting on a cold day and they shared with each other what they did know about keeping warm. Along came a third person who sat and listened. That person used her imagination to put the two pieces of knowledge together and suggested that maybe, if they rubbed two pieces of wood together, something might happen.... Now that's imagination!!!!!
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        Jun 8 2011: Birdia,
        Is it buddhist? Maybe there's some truth in everything.

        Off the top of my head the first example I can think of has to do with the conversation here on TED about Obama's call for Israel and Palestine to begin negotiations based on pre-1967 Israeli borders. Early on in the conversation I felt overwhelmed by the high degree of knowledge and history people were bringing to the table. At one point I think I even said I was going to bow out of the conversation because although I was fascinated by the topic, I felt I didn't have enough knowledge about the history of the issue to contribute in a meaningful way (I didn't feel I was ignorant - just not knowledgeable enough of the history and everything else that makes that issue so complicated).
        I continued to listen, but jumped back into the conversation when I realized that I didn't need to know the history - In fact, I feel that part of the problem IS the pre-occupation with it's history.
        I've learned a ton from others who know so much more about the history of the issue, but still feel my perspective is valid (not “the best” ideas, but valid)

        Another example is Bill Gates. He has said that some of the most innovative ideas he has taken and turned into software, etc. have come not from those who you think know the most, but from those think freely about what might be.

        Although it's not directly related to my question, I think this Robert Kennedy quote comes close to what I'm trying to say: "There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why... I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?

        I'm not talking about ignorance, though. Ignorance can stifle everything!!
        I'm talking about being able to contribute to solutions without having a complete understanding of what the problem is.

        I'll try to think of more examples when I have time.
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        Jun 8 2011: With regard to history and learning from it, there is that saying, "Those who fail to learn history are doomed to repeat it" - Yet so much of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is rooted in history. Actually mired in it. I think less history and more trust and desire to change is the way to go.

        The saying, " There's no need to re-invent the wheel" implies that once something is done it's done. But I think there IS a need to re-invent the wheel. Again and again and again and again. It's the way we make things better....I think I/we are getting into semantics a little bit here and if there's one topic I refuse to engage in it's semantics!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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        Jun 8 2011: Birdia,

        "That's what I would call an 'invention' rather than imagination :)"

        I actually see imagination as having produced the invention. My definition of imagination (there are many forms of imagination but I refering specifically to imagination as applied to problem solving) is when a person can take two or more seemingly unrelated ideas and combine them to create something/solve something/change something. That was what I was trying to exemplify with my little story about the invention of fire. Without imagination we'd all be out in the cold ; )

        David Whyte talks about this kind of imagination in his presentation "A Teacher's Vocation". He is in some ways very close to Sir Ken Robinson on this topic. David Whyte, however, is a poet by trade and has an astounding ability to communicate. Have you heard of him?

        Semantics..... yes, you're right, but they can turn on you without warning!!
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        Jun 8 2011: OK, I'm calm now %)

        Yes, I agree, all those things go into invention.... one other thing, too - venture capital!!!
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      Jun 11 2011: Hey Jim,

      I share your thought on Einstein's "Imagination is more important than knowledge".

      But in a sense, perhaps it should be "Imagination is more powerful than knowledge". What do you think?

      It's kind of funny that Einstein's biggest legacy are quotes. I'm obviously not disregarding his physics, I am by no mean qualified or knowledgeable enough on the subject anyway, but I would think that Tesla had much more impact on the world through his work than Einstein; yet Albert is probably the most famous scientist today. Perhaps a better PR? At least, he sells much more head-knockers than Tesla and Newton combined :)
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      Jun 3 2011: Birdia if anything, parental guidance is steered in a terrible direction more often then not, but it cannot be overrated!

      When I am a parent I will teach my child all that I know as simply as possible. "Dad, what is space like?" "Space, is the ocean of the universe; planets, stars, black holes, and all of life exist" "What is the universe" "Good question, think about it for a while, how did I use it when I explained you first question?"

      That is how I would imagine guiding my children, as how I feel many parents should also guide their children. Maybe not involving complex philosophy but involving life. Which is also problematic considering a lot of philosophies are replaced by fundamental religion.

      What you are upset with is "You can't be gay, that is wrong" "The city is dangerous at night, I do not want you to go" "I do not like that friend, he looks like a criminal" etc

      I agree in your negative emotions, but I do not agree in the generalizations. People are built to have emotional capacities to care about their offspring, it is normal. What is wrong is when their ignorance, delusions, and lack of educations effect their children's development in life. **However what can people really do?** The only people who can fix this are teachers (in my opinion) of the public education and they are too busy teaching kids how to test...
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          Jun 3 2011: All I am saying is to some people, guiding their children is letting them know the truth about the world while others it is trying to protect them from the truth of the world.

          Both people have good intentions, but one is doing a better job educating their child.
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      Jun 3 2011: Birdia: What about grand-parental guidance?
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    Jun 1 2011: Who likes potatoes?
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      Jun 2 2011: I like more what potatoes can produce, greasy delectable fries...
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        Jun 2 2011: Myth about Fries. (Potatoes + Iodized Salt) "deep-fry, french fry"

        Potatoes are rich in Potasium. = Potasium removes Iodine in the body.
        Salt nowadays are rich in Iodine, no wonder they call it "Iodized Salt" o_0??? in reverse removes Potasium in the body.

        you do the math and what do we get from a McDonalds Fries? who cares !!!

        (can correct me if im wrong...not a nutrionist here. hehe)
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          Jun 2 2011: "greasy delectable"

          Verified I knew what I was getting myself into!

          Also what makes McDonald's fries taste so amazing are flavoring additives.

          Back in the hay day of no vegetarian rights, McDonald's used meat oil (yes, meat oil) to make their fries taste amazing and like they taste today. After the law suits due to this process of making non-meat products, they had to resort to using more chemicals to make their fries still taste meaty but still vegetarian.

          Ever see what they make chicken nuggets out of?



          You did a good job simplifying the want over the benefit of fries!
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        Jun 2 2011: I like the liquid version, vodka!
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          Jun 2 2011: I always considered the idea of ice pops (the ones in the plastic you break and push up) should be mixed alcohol for a treat. I think they would be a big hit!
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    Jun 16 2011: I've never seen the watch before, I want the last comment!
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    Jun 16 2011: Fare thee well!!
  • Jun 16 2011: What is CSRF???
  • Jun 16 2011: Help me someone....
  • Jun 16 2011: I seemed to have attacked CSRF... What is CSRF????
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    Jun 16 2011: Come on everybody, take your last swing at someone before time runs out!
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      Jun 16 2011: Watch your step Jimmy!

      Oops. I really didn't mean to trip you.

      Happy trails partner.
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    Jun 16 2011: Btw, do you notice a change i peoples behavior here? I'm less respectful, use foul language and don't even feel the need to fully express myself here... but that might just be me...
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    Jun 16 2011: A question to all participants, do you like the feeling you get from this conversation?
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        Jun 16 2011: Actually, it felt a lot better before the time limit was imposed. I had hopes of adding more topics. And of reaching out to bring more people into the discussion.

        I really think you're overlooking the value of a personal ongoing discussion Jimmy. Ownership means a lot. And having the time to develope means a lot. There is room for all kinds of discussions here. Why, why, why add limitations?

        But I suppose TED got their wish. They thought that by imposing a time limit they would accelerate the discussion. And that they did. But accelerating bodies produce a lot of heat.

        PS - Be sure before passing judgement on what you see here that you compare the timbre of the comments before the arbitrary change on the time limit was imposed and after.
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    Jun 16 2011: Dear Tim,
    One of my life philosophies is: "If I'm not part of the solution, I'm part of the problem". Sometimes, we need to work from within an established system to facilitate change. In my perception, you are an excellent model for what I'd like to see more of on TED, so I hope you stick around. I also respect whatever choice you make:>)
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      Jun 16 2011: Thanks Colleen. I'll miss you. But keep your eye out for TEDanon. Coming soon to a website near you.
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    Jun 16 2011: Jim Moonan:

    "But then we turned to the actual topic that started the experiment in the first place: TEDc administration’s terms and conditions and how they are being implemented - and all hell broke loose."


    Get things straight.

    All hell broke loose when they changed the rules from this being an open-ended conversation to one closing in three days. These people are control freaks and they need to be put in their place. If you are OK with such arbitrary control, that's fine, but I will speak out against the abuse.
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    Jun 16 2011: Replaced comment. Minus one phrase which TED censored:


    Thanks Birdia. And thanks for everyone who supports this cause.

    Internet forums such as this have become the new "public space". As such, it is essential that users demand normal rights of free speech in the places that they congregate as in any other public space.

    We try to operate within the rules established by TED, but they keep pulling the rug out from under us. Changing the rules arbitrarily. Unwilling to openly discuss the decision making process. Total lack of transparency.

    This conversation, though initially open-ended, was singled out by TED for early termination, despite the fact that it generated significant traffic and interesting conversations.

    TED has apparently determined that openness and transparency in TED Conversations is damaging to their ???. Hence, this has become a dictatorial and closed environment.
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    Jun 16 2011: From Richard Dawson below:

    "It was S.R. Ahmadi who said the holocaust was a lie. Of course I disagree with him. But I defend his right to have that belief. He and others are not going to change their beliefs by censoring. Though some might after open debate."

    Agree or disagree? In favor of free speech or not?
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        Jun 16 2011: .

        Ronald Kiman's comment from below (important to this thread):

        @ Lindsay, you know, I would REALLY want to have a conversation with anyone who is convinced that the holocast didn't happen. Really I would. And that to me would not be a breach of the rules of civility- I just would want to understand how they arrived at that conclusion. I know someone who is 100% convinced that dinosours never existed- they are some invention by some nuthead :) And I have gained a whole new understanding and even awe at the power of the human mind, just by talking with this person. Also, I have learnt how to share the space where our lives meet in a more harmonious and mutually beneficial way, where their belief systems don't determine whether we can plant a tree seedling together, or reach out to one another in times of need.

        Now if someone thinks I shouldn't have such a conversation and such great outcomes that improve my day-to-day experience with my neighbor, well then, that just plain sad. But again, maybe they have a reason, perhaps something that they fear, and hence the need to decide for me what I can talk about with you on this forum.

        I heard it said 'Love thy neighbor'. It didn't say 'Love thy Christian or Muslim or Hindu or Atheist neighbor', which I think means we ought to be more open to others unlike us. But again, which all that free love going around, someone's bound to run out of business...
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      Jun 16 2011: Tim - Yes I'm in total agreement with this example you give and also with Birdia's point of view.

      I think it would help get this discussion back on track if we weigh in on some other examples and just let our opinions fall where they may....Here is an example (It is not hypothetical)

      Someone uses comments you made within a different conversation and ties them to sexual abuse of chiildren.

      In favor of this remaining in the thread?
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        Jun 16 2011: Perhaps I would object. But I wouldn't want you to be the one making the judgement call. That should be my decision. Maybe I want it to remain so that I can call attention to it and address the issue in public. Then the person making such misleading statements would become known as unreliable. And others who have the tendency to act that way would be discouraged.

        This red-flagging behind the scenes is just an abuse of power. And destroys the whole flow of the conversations. Usually the people involved in the conversations would prefer the debate to remain intact.
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          Jun 16 2011: "This red-flagging behind the scenes is just an abuse of power. And destroys the whole flow of the conversations. Usually the people involved in the conversations would prefer the debate to remain intact."

          I don't know what the answer is as far as red flags and their misuse (I definitely see how they could be). What If the red flag was removed from visibility but a person still had the ability to object to TED about a comment made by another based on TED terms and policies, and then TED had the ability to make a decision to remove the comment if they deemed it inappropriate. But I do think TED needs to stand their ground and steer far clear of trying to be politically correct when it comes to red flaggers with agendas!

          Birdia, I totally agree that the integrity of conversation (and the integrity of the person) is violated when someone lifts/uses a comment made by someone within one conversation and uses it to (supposedly) prove a point in a different conversation. It feels like stalking and runs against the grain of TED.

          So SR doesn't believe the holocaust happened (actually he does believe something happened, but not on the scale that the rest of the world knows it happened).
          So WWTD? I think TED would do exactly what Tim says they would do. Accept it for what it is and let the people who know better get to work using their best persuasive skills. If that didn’t work, then maybe that’s the time we just have to accept that the world is a far from perfect place - TED included.
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      Jun 16 2011: At best somebody will succeed to change his mind, at worse he's only doing discredit to himself. It's not a few misguided people who will make TED look bad.
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        Jun 16 2011: I'd like to say that at the worst he makes someone else believe that it didn't happen...
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          Jun 16 2011: Conversion to an irrational belief is most likely to occur in a closed system
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      Jun 16 2011: personally, if the holocaust denial is the topic somewhere, i tend to keep out of that zone. it is like you don't go in a room that stinks.

      but i would strongly oppose any legislative, coercive measures against such opinions, whatever moronic they are. some people who bear the smell, will try to shed some light in the intellectual darkness.

      however, it is completely OK to kick out such individuals from a club for example, and it is the club's decision. TED community is a club. the community can decide to kick such individuals, or disallow to express such opinions. every club is a self organizing, sovereign entity, and they are very different. so it is not against any "written in stone" rule for TED to exclude any opinion from its premises. it does not make the decision good or bad, of course, but it is the owner's decision to make.

      on the other hand, non-owner members can and should propose ideas and changes, express opinions about the club's internal dealings. and it is wise for TED to listen to those.

      my vote is: allow holocaust denial, but only in topics dedicated to it. or maybe if the conversation opener agrees to let it go.
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      Jun 16 2011: Free speech? YES!
      Free speech at TED? NO!

      If I read "the holocaust is a lie" I would flag, flag and flag (comment, conversation and member)... There is certain shit that you need to keep to your own fucked-up mind here at TED!
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        Jun 16 2011: Careful with that foul language Jimmy. Someone might be offended.

        Plus - could you respond to the argument instead of just blurting out your gut feeling?
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        Jun 16 2011: Jimmy: Did you ever read the comments on the holocaust or the Palestinian threads? I thought they were very revealing. They represented a broad spectrum of views.

        The fact that S.R. Ahmadi seems to have holocaust denial tendencies is an interesting point in itself. Especially considering the fact that Ahmadinejad, the president of Iran, has expressed similar views. I think it is worthwhile for the world to be aware of those facts.

        And the greatest argument in favor of allowing those ideas to be expressed is that then they can be debated. Analyzed. And discredited.

        Now perhaps you have less lofty goals for TED. But I thought it was all about exploring ideas.
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          Jun 16 2011: I have to absolutely support Tim on this one.

          I went on to challenge SR directly in another thread on Antisemitism based on the consensus and input we had during the first conversation on Palestine and he not only admitted it happened but we could talk about why he hated what he considered its misuse. I believe however, that without the sincere and respectful dialogue that the common ground could never have happened.

          I absolutly want us to have the freedom to talk about the tough stuff but it can only happen in a civil environment where people are not attacked and ridiculed.
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          Jun 16 2011: Even if I strongly disapprove of almost everything I've read that S.R has written, talking about him as an example of someone who's views are wrong at this scale seems a lot like bullying...

          I did not read them, I will no longer go into conversations hosted by SR, after visiting "Is the Koran a miracle?". If a TEDsters opinion differs too much from mine and I don't even find the person being able to reason in the same way as I do, I usually don't waste my time.

          Concerning my "blurt", I thought that I was able to say anything in any way here... I stand behind most comments that promote some kind of censoring here at TED, the rules are sufficient as they are but they can be improved...

          P.S. I must say that I'm certainly not feeling the TED-Love that usually goes around and that I'm actually glad that this conversation will be closing soon...
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      Jun 16 2011: I am not sure your correct and you should not use his name here like that.
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        Jun 16 2011: Could be your last chance to flag me Lindsay. Better grab the chance while you can. I know how much satisfaction it gives you.
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          Jun 16 2011: Have you been red flagged???? That is very hard to believe. If you like though, happy to be the first..only problem..you haven't earned..thna godness..that's why you will be missed.

          Sorry you are leaving with this really stupid idea that I am responsible for every deletion that ever ocurred.when in fact I have doen very few..until this recent bizarrre tirade.

          The problem here is a few people never got it..I guess that';s why they hired a conversation manager maybe???? I don't know. I only know that very big hullabaloo I've seen here has been caused by the same 4 or 5 people doing the same things..over and over and over. Icall them the magpies.

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          Jun 16 2011: Lindsay,
          Give it a rest. I'm ONLY entering the conversation because you say the "same few people never got it". Do you "get it" darlin'? You admitted on a site that you flagged an entire segment I was involved in because you didn't think it was "on topic".
          You also have said many times that calling people names is not acceptable!
          One of the "magpies"
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        Jun 16 2011: @ Lindsay “Birdia re "holocaust is a lie" a really shocking reaction that is in itself an offesne to common decency..

        And that is the whole problem here with the greatly disgruntled...a few gaps in undertsanding what is and isn't civil.”

        And what is Birdia’s “really shocking reaction” re "holocaust is a lie"?

        It is this:

        “Lindsay, I might have missed the "Holocaust is a lie" post, but if you have a problem with it, give evidence (links, videos, etc.) to prove that it is not a lie. Flagging a lie doesn't give you truth.”

        According to Lindsay this isn’t civil and an offence to common decency and Birdia displays a lack of understanding about civility with this remark.

        Respectfully in my opinion there is nothing uncivil in that response. It suggests the correct way to respond to such a statement and correctly points out flagging a lie doesn’t give you the truth. A lie has to responded to with the truth and not censorship.

        @Lindsay "Three thumbs up on Birdia's remark suggesting the appropriate response is videos and documentaion to prove the holocausr was not a lie would suggest that the problem here are the four involved in that.”

        So anyone who disagrees with Lindsay and thinks Birdia has a point are "the problem". It is a pity you view the world that way.

        @ Lindsay “..Civilized intelligent people simply don't go around saying the holocausr was a lie.This is really pointing to the core truth of what the problem really is here. What is of issue here. What needs to be .sorted out here at TED Conversations… this is about a few people who need to work on civility.”

        This shows your idea of civility - anyone who disagrees with you (which in this case is also the majority world view). The issue was never about whether the holocaust was a lie or not - it was about whether a person has the right to say it. That is what I will always defend. It was not said accompanied by any rude language or abuse so civility has nothing to do with it.
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        Jun 16 2011: @ Lindsay "“@ Birdia.."Lindsay's Red Flagging Habits" a mem you are planting and promoting as is your personal style. Red Flags are anonymous and I use them sparingly and always 100%vin accordance with our common "terms of use agreement".

        I will pusue a more formal resolution, if necessar, but I strongly suggest you try civility and remove that unwarranted and untrue remark."

        That threat is obvious and something that you use as your preferred method of control.

        I guess saying things like "I strongly suggest you try civility" is very civil.

        That unwarranted and untrue remark was merely a link to your own words regarding flagging in another conversation.

        It can only be concluded from the above that you have shown a desire to control conversations you are taking part in, based on your opinions of what is right or wrong. And you are using the flags as the method for your control.

        PS Talking about civility would you say "There is certain shit that you need to keep to your own fucked-up mind here at TED!" is very civil language?

        And Jimmy gets 2 thumbs up for that. You dont need to be Sherlock Holmes to guess who those may be.
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          Jun 16 2011: With our actions and interactions Lindsay, we ALL reveal ourselves.
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          Jun 16 2011: Well... There was a point with saying that... I don't use that kind of language normally...
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          Jun 16 2011: Ricahrd Tosh
          Yes and so you have..
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        Jun 16 2011: Let go of trying to control Lyndsay. You'll feel a great relief. I assure you.

        And TED - This may seem like a valueless conversation to you. But believe me, there is a lesson here to be learned.
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    Jun 16 2011: Well, it looks like Nichola has been expunged from this conversation. Just like Masonic 33rd Ring was expunged from other conversations of mine. Sure does hurt to see a friend blown away like that.
  • Jun 15 2011: Is it just me or has anyone else noticed that there has been a slow down of comments on other Questions, Ideas or Debates. Tim your debate should have been titled "Ted Conversations" or "Tim Conversations" instead of "Nothings Off Topic"...... I think my next topic for conversation will be "WHY' ...... But, I already know the answer, it's "WHY NOT"..... so I won't bother....
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      Jun 15 2011: Sorry Gio. I'll be freeing up the bandwidth real soon.
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      Jun 15 2011: are you leaving? why the farewell notes? i expect a second part of this conversation to to open, and a link be put here shortly.

      (down with the healthcare reform!! this one is just to tease you.)
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    Jun 15 2011: latest development in the conversation: admin deleted his own comment. or one admin deleted the comment of another admin.
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      Jun 15 2011: the censors censoring the censors. i noticed that too. where will it end?
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        Jun 15 2011: let's call that a free association, and not a related remark: the good thing about socialists is that eventually they shoot each other.
    • Jun 15 2011: I sense some panic in the air.... I have a great solution for what ever the problem is here..... First I have to figure out what the problem is. Think, analyse and draw up some conclusions. Then begin my draft then post my answer...... Then I want to make sure I don"t violate any rules so that my answer will be posted.... Oh wait..... I have one day four hours and 30 minutes....... Not enough time ..... Forget it......
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      Jun 14 2011: Nichola: Do me a favor. Add to the thread below - "What do TED Conversations mean to you?"

      Tell what they could mean... if they were handled properly.
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    Jun 14 2011: Dear Community Members,

    All conversations will be set a certain time period from now on. So please don't take it personal :)
    There will be no open ended conversations.

    Like TEDtalks have certain time period, TED Conversations will have expiration dates. This would help gain conversations momentum and hopefully result in productive contributions.

    TED Conversations Admin
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    Jun 14 2011: What do TED Conversations mean to you? I had great hopes for TED Conversations. Open communication with a global community. Free flowing information exchange. And many other personal reasons.

    What do TED Conversations represent to you?
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      Jun 14 2011: A start of the "global Symphony of Knowledge", 24h a day as everybody thinks deep and plays his/her typewriting instrument in a different timezone. A jamsession as well.

      Where intuitive thinking has a free flow among specialists, generalists and the ignorant. I am ignorant on many issues.

      It's bar talk, teahouse talk, the next morning you wake up and you forget, realize one day it was useful or are making real world plans to do something like the effect of a teahouse talk can have sometimes.

      It's mirroring our collective conscious bit by bit. It's up to TED to find ways to turn conversation to collaboration, masterpieces, partitures...

      ...or is it just a dream, more closer to our unconscious than conscious as we do not know eachother, met eachother and probably never will...

      .. or simply bartalk, having a headache next morning like Tim has now ;)
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        Jun 15 2011: Paul, I like the "symphony" analogy!!!

        It would be ashame if we were'nt able to hear every note, every instrument's expression.

        However, using that analogy implies there is a conductor somewhere (?!?!) who makes decisions about whether or not the symphony sounds like it should, or if someone walked into the concert/conversation and began banging pots and pans. Even more unproductive is when someone steps in and takes your instrument out of your hands, as is the case when someone defames/slanders you.

        But, if TED is listening, (or not) I think Tim has every reason to object to many of the comments TED has removed in the name of "off topic". We need a new rationale for removing comments here at the symphony.
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          Jun 16 2011: Maybe a grand new music ensemble? No real conductor...

          I think we all just arrived in the orchestra pit by TED invitation. Some tuning their instrument, some jamming a bit, some looking for a partiture.

          What this TEDc mental tool good for is pushing around memes. In our minds we make all kinds of relations, though we do not have a partiture sheet to put the collective notes on, so we can share, remember, like Mozart could do. We have the piano, but not the paper...

          Analogies analogies, who doesn't love them!! ;)
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        Jun 15 2011: Paul: The jamsession metaphor is good.

        But a jamsession needs to be able to meander. And time constraints definitely damage it.
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          Jun 15 2011: Is there some sort of compromise position, Tim?
          Is there a way to set a conversation for a month and then start the next one like those yeast doughs that require you to take a cup of the first batch as a starter?
          Could you pull out particular topics and comments and seed the next without feeling like you have lost something important to you?

          I find that I like to post my threads for a week of intense debate but I love to be able to check on progress of the longer ones but when they get beyond a month, I barely know how to trace down the parts that I am interested in and often the most interesting parts are at the bottom of the pile and were posted very early in the discussion.
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        Jun 15 2011: Debra. S.R. Ahmadi makes a good argument for the value of ongoing conversations:


        There's actually a trick to managing long conversations. Make sure that short threads get a response and pop to the top. Also, if someone new comes on board and you want to refer to an older post you can link to it.

        But it all gets back to the main point - self-regulation. If people lose interest the conversation will drop from visibility. End of story.
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          Jun 16 2011: As for self-regulation being the ultimate solution to the issue, here is what I have seen happen:

          We (the people) reach an informal consensus that we are being unfairly restricted in our conversations and begin to demand more freedom of expression within the context of TEDc.

          TEDc appears to do what they think is appropriate in that they let the experiment take place in the form of a conversation entitled, “Nothing’s off Topic”.

          For a time, it works beautifully. We speak our minds, find common ground of some issues, disagree on others, express controversial opinions, speak our minds, go off on tangents, and move on. Expressing ourselves with respect seems to be all we need to speak freely without censorship.

          But then we turned to the actual topic that started the experiment in the first place: TEDc administration’s terms and conditions and how they are being implemented - and all hell broke loose.

          Some people have begun to back off and indeed walk away from it, feeling it has devolved into small-minded talk – not the kind of talk that reflects TED.

          Is this where self-regulation has taken us? Self-regulation can sometimes take the form of self-destruction. I think I can regulate myself, but when it comes to group dynamics, then what?
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        Jun 16 2011: Paul, continuing with your analogies... they are a great tool for expressing ideas.

        "Maybe a grand new music ensemble? No real conductor... I think we all just arrived in the orchestra pit by TED invitation. Some tuning their instrument, some jamming a bit, some looking for a partiture."

        All good! The more I think about it, the more I think the "jam session" analogy is closer to what TEDc is than the "symphony" analogy.I want to explore some more the symphony/jam session analogy you made because I think it is a good one

        By using the jam session analogy I can understand better that we must tolerate tangents and accept all sincere attempts by the musicians to further the journey with their unique voice and instrument. There is no musical score we are following. All we know is we want it to be an expression of ourselves. We don’t need a conductor to do that. We need to listen to each other and feed off each other.
        But carrying the "jam session" analogy further, I question whether on some occasions (very rarely) some people come through the TEDc Music Hall door and sit down in the music pit - but have no intention of jamming. If it wasn't so damaging to the free flow of ideas it would almost be comical that they seem to actually misinterpret the meaning of the word "Jam" to mean "derail" or "prevent" rather than "blend". Again, I'm talking about rare occasions of this happening. But I've seen it happen.
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          Jun 16 2011: To use an old expression: Right ON!
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      Jun 14 2011: Tim,

      I go to a state college, all the kids are worried about, around me, is getting wasted and having fun (New Jersey is stereotyped for a reason)... I enjoy a good party here and again, but constantly wanting to party, is stupid to me. Now, early 20's, is the time to prepare for the future, so that you can retire early and party all day with less worries, in my opinion.

      TED is a community where I actually get to argue with people who had previously considered their arguments before! It challenges me to consider other cultures and information into my considerations and positions.

      TED conversation-like chat room things, are rare on the internet. There are message boards but usually no one ever changes their mind on the topics because everyone wants to be right. On TED more people are fine with being proven wrong, in fact, a lot enjoy it!

      Tim, you seem "upset" over the fact TED is limiting people. Which I can see is easy to get mad over, but trust me, Kris said it somewhere before. You do not want the chaos the internet can bring onto a board like this, if you are not familiar with "raids" or "trolling" internet communities can get REALLY annoying fast without some structure.

      I have already taken your idea of "Nothing is off topic" and will make it a rule of my future conversations, because it was a good idea.

      You have made some awesome conversations prior, go re-open them with new guide lines of conversation!

      The conversation boards challenge me to think more, that's all. More information to browse.
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        Jun 15 2011: Nicholas: You make valid points about not wanting absolute chaos. But excessive control can be just as bad a problem. And once arbitrary control starts to be exerted, where will it end?

        TED Conversations always struck me as a great idea. But when I got here and saw the General Electric propaganda in the upper left corner of this page, I had my concerns. This is the company that pays no corporate taxes, outsourced almost all it's US manufacturing and has it's CEO as the president's economic adviser. And now they are financing the communication medium we are using. Dangerous influence.

        Chris sounds like a great guy. But when people say "I don't do this for me, I do it for you" you know you have to keep an eye on them.
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          Jun 15 2011: They are also making Ted Conversations possible with an expectation of value to the world somewhere near the TED standard for talks..It would be a shame to lose this important opportunity.to have a global e-salon that is pursuing inquiries not only of general interest to the full TED membership but of global interest

          .You Tim, have always been a model of what it takes to build a conversation..what it takes to pursue an inquiry responsibly and with focus. It would be a loss to the whole community to lose you.
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          Jun 16 2011: I agree with Lindsay. Tim you have always and with respect addressed your peers as maturing individuals; calling on them to adopt what responsibility they can for themselves and their actions. In this way you provide them opportunities to develop those tools necessary for personal growth while surrounding yourself with competence.

          TED needs your example as well as your council. Please continue to provide opportunities for us to develop our collective and individual integrity. Us includes GE.
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        Jun 16 2011: Hi Wayne. Nice to see you back again. I posted to your new conversation. But then it got blown away right after I posted. I was warning you about the no open ended issue. I liked your concept of a personal writing project. That, in a way was what I intended here. This page was originally open-ended, but the powers that be arbitrarily decided to change the rules on me. Getting a bit tiring. I've gone through a lot of efforts developing conversations only to have the ADMINs trash them.
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          Jun 16 2011: I know exactly how you feel, I reposted a revised version of the original which has not (as yet:) been pulled and look forward to reading your insight. Cheers.
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      Jun 15 2011: I see TED Conversations as a very important social/cultural experiment. There is no counter part for it anywhere, I think it was tremendous act of faith in humanity for General Electric to fund it.

      It was supposed to revive the art of conversation at a global level on issues that matter to all of us in the world..issues that through enagement and dialog can change the world .All that had been cultivated as communication before was an exchange of the egoic and trivial on Facebook or drop in comments at blogs or brief engagement around comments at our own blogs

      Some of that carries over into TED Conversations to a point where serious and influential thinkers wouldn't dream of posting here .I think what TED admin is trying to do is bring TED Conversations up to a level that is closer to the TED standard, closer to sponsor expectations and closer to what can really be an important ongoing Global Conversation which was the vision for TED conversations

      Every thing to do with TED with the TED brand is about standards of excellence..and service to the world. Somehow TED Converstaions has to self regulate toward that goal or we won't have TED Conversations any more. It's as simple as that. .
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        Jun 15 2011: Lindsay: I agree that we should be striving for excellence. But that excellence will come from the posters, not through arbitrary regulations. See the Chris Anderson quote at the intro to this conversation. He claims to know that it is through empowering the crowd with "clear, open visibility" that will make the difference.

        Set some basic guidelines. And let the system be self regulating after that. Unsupported open-ended conversations will drop out of visibility. No need for ADMIN control for that.

        Many times what third parties are calling racist comments are easily settled between the participants. And the resolution is a lesson in itself. Minimize judgement calls from big brother TED. Let the offended party make the call.

        The human potential is here. Will TED empower it? Or will it be wasted because of over control?
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          Jun 15 2011: The biggest danger in my opinion is when ideas are flagged as being 'off topic' before the group gets a chance to consider them. Someone who is under educated in the topic cannot always appreciate where a new idea fits in and the nuances of the issue and still appoints themself as arbitrator of 'on topicness'. By not allowing the community to consider it as a puzzle piece, trying and guessing and trying to fit it again and even to discard it - this causes us all to lose potential insights. Ideas are being aborted and never reach viability. I think that the group can either pick it up or put it aside without one member appointing themself as arbitrator.

          I still feel we should all have the right to flag abuse, ridicule that goes to far or something slanderous.
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          Jun 15 2011: Tim you know how much I respect you and your commitment to any conversation you partcipate in but conversations and threads don't belong to the partcipants..its not a majority rule in the conversations.

          If I were GE and came in on a thread that began "The holocaust was a lie" I'd have had that guy permanently removed and considered shutting down TED Conversations.It isn't self regulating. It doesn't get worked out.

          As a community those of us who value and want to keep TED Conversations should be cooperating with TED Admin trying to be clearer on what they have invited us to do here..and that's they we are invited..we are here by invitation and with all invitations the hosts rules of conduct apply..we shouldn't be fighting admin..we should be listening,
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          Jun 15 2011: Debra..a flag results in admin review..not elmination..admin sets the standards..we are supposed to learn and follow them..they don't delete everything that's flagged..they apply their standrds and take action based on that.
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          Jun 15 2011: So would you watch a TED Talk that was filled with derogatory words and racial slurs? Would you request that TED remove this video or would let the community self regulate it? If the community self regulates, what's the benefit of keeping the negative energy that the regulation stems from on the site or in the video? Does this not dilute the quality of the conversation over time' particularly for newcomers?
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          Jun 15 2011: Thankyou Corvida for calling it square and reminding us that this TED..TED owns this site..TED sets the standards for participation. If we want to keep it..our job is to honor those standrds without exception..unfailingly..always.
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          Jun 16 2011: Let's get REAL about Silvermans' talk!

          She did a COMEDY routine around choosing to adopt a mentally handicapped child and deciding that a terminally ill one fit her life and commitment level best.

          Some things are not for main stream audience and do not deserve to be backed by TED.
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          Jun 16 2011: That's very disingenuous since I did write to you privately about an incident of incivility and you did nothing about as moderator ..TED then took care of it..very diicretley I might add and I let you know, privately, how disappointed I was that you had not acted appropriately in reigning things in

          .It was one of very few flags and was well deserved as TED agreed. Their decision in that instance was very consistent with a deletion they made of my quoting a members "TED Idea worth spreading by way of comment on a remark he had made" ..the issue was characterizing another member ( which I didnt think I had done as I was quoting from his profile without any comment..just his quote describing himself)

          . I think that's a very important standard for civil conversation...to not characterize or mock or offer personal commentary on others .Two other people here using terms like "bullying" to describe use of the red flag were red flagged for exactly that..for personal commentary on others.. and another loud conplainer here did the same thing to a lovely man new to or membership the other day .

          Beware people who come up with words like"bullying" to describeAdmins good faith and very discrete efforts to establish common courtesy and civility.That's like the little boy who just through a rock through the window screaming "no fair no fair" when the nice policeman comes to take him home for a talking to.
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          Jun 16 2011: This is a good example of the issues!

          Why is Lindsay forced to pubicly talk about her personal trials in order to stop the bullying about her postings?What kind of people are we to require this of anyone?

          @ Birdia, spurious, high sounding rationalization and I utterly do not buy it from you. Are you seriously suggesting that this comic had those children's welfare in mind?

          As to Hawkings have you noticed his book sales? I think he qualifies as a mainstream author in today's TED climate.
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          Jun 16 2011: debra, apparently chris anderson is mainstream, as he didn't like it. the audience did, as far as i know. it seems that sarah silverman's talk also has "little to no value to the TED.com community and site". i have to have a look at that value-meter!
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          Jun 16 2011: Birdia, your reference to "Lindsay's red flagging" is another example of a breech of cvility. As I believe you are well aware, characterizing another in this way is not welcome in any civliized place.. And once again, for the record, Birdia, your theory that I am a mad flagger is just not correct. If you have been red flagged a lot perhaps you have offended many others as well. I believe you have been directed to discontunue that line of attack..all attacks on me. Please do so.
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          Jun 16 2011: Birdia..you should not use another members name as you have..please remove it from your comment.. I didn't use it..and in fact that is not the member I recall using it so unless you double checked to have it here is slanderous..As to tolerance. INone of us here at TED are expected to tolerate any aggegious violations of the terms of use especially if they are reapeated by the same members over and over. An TED admin is working all by itself to make sure its " terms of use" are observed here.Do not direct any commentary at all towards me nor any further characterizations. I have asked this repeatedly. You have been directed to this effect repeatedly..You are out of line.
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        Jun 15 2011: Corvida: I'm all in favor of eliminating offensive remarks when someone says "I've been offended by that remark".

        But to have a third party be able to say "I think someone else might be offended by that remark", when the active participants who are being "slandered" have no problem and want to maintain the conversation. That makes no sense.
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          Jun 15 2011: Tim

          You keep speaking as if participants own the conversation.

          They don't.

          Every conversation and everything in it belongs to the entire TED community. An offense is an offense to the entire community. The use of careless personal charatcterizans and attacks directed at other members, which seems to be rotutine these days, sets an offensive, hostile. toxic and uninviting tone.

          It isn't up to the standards of "conduct that would be expected at a TED conference".. That's the standard we all agree to for the privilege of being here..That's the standard every single TED member should expect in every conversation whether paricpating, monitoring or reading closed conversations.
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          Jun 15 2011: "That's the stanadrad we all agree to for the privilege of being here..That's the standrd every single TED member should expecet in every convresation whether paricpating, monitoring or reading closed conversations."

          Judge not that ye be not judged.
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          Jun 16 2011: I still can't figure out why no one here (except debra) has suggested any solution to the issue we're discussing and instead keep ratcheting up the ranting. OK, maybe buried within this conversation there are some suggestions here and there, but where is our resolve to make this happen????

          I think we as a group that is concerned with our ability to freely communicate in real time with each other should compile a list of requests for TED and respectfully bring it to them along with what we want them to do with it.
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        Jun 15 2011: Wongmo, Lindsay, Corvida, Richard (anyone):

        What is your opinion of me claiming that this comment might be offensive to others?:

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          Jun 15 2011: beware not to turn your struggle into a mad crusade. nothing specific. just a general thought.
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          Jun 15 2011: Tim,

          I saw it and was pretty shocked that you thought it was fair. You'll hurt her. Is that your intension?
          I think you should remember that Wongmo is no enemy of yours and to single her out to further your crusade here is really unfair. When you bring it back here to gloat about it and discredit her even more so I hardly recognize you.

          This thing has gotten out of proportion.

          Now you're not fighting for free speach any more- you've lost perspective.
        • Jun 15 2011: I agree with Debra. This disagreement seems to be growing into something ugly

          Number 7 of the terms of agreement for becoming a member of the TED site:
          "TED reserves the right to remove any comments or content from the site, for any reason and without prior warning"

          We all agreed to that when we signed up. Sure, it can be viewed as a lot more complicated than that, but it really doesn't have to be. Turning it into personal attacks to fit the argument and prove a point is something that it should certainly should never become.
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          Jun 16 2011: Tim..must have been a wrong link? In any event the people who have been flagged would have more information than I on what TED has been telling them

          Contrary to myth..I have used the flags very sparingly and with careful reference to the terms of use we all agreed to and that every member has a right to expect all others will honor, In every ocasion TED admin has agreed.

          For instance I think there is no dispute that saying"The holocaust is a lie"..doesn't belong in any civilised place. It's a crime in some places

          .I have seen only a few instances of admin postings in conversations and it is always about the same few people doing the same thing.

          This whole rant is mystifying and doesn't belong here at TED Conversations. Handle it privately with TED admin as they have repeatedly asked you to do,
        • Jun 16 2011: I don't know who it was that first said "Alcohol makes a much better servant than a master", but I feel it is wise advice. I think that same thought applies to many things and TED is a perfect example.

          When a website starts to consume our thoughts, change our behaviors, force us to attack each other, I feel it has become the master. In this case, would it not be better to step back and collect ourselves so that we may take control again? TED is a good thing, no?

          I also suggest that everyone read the terms of use for this website. If those terms are not agreeable to you, so be it. We all have the choice of leaving the site.

          No money was paid as a membership fee, but I would say that anyone participating in these discussions is invested in the site. Conversations on topics important to us, friends we may have developed through the time spent here,..No doubt people are invested emotionally to the TED community. This causes emotions to run high at times.

          Again, when this happens I would say step back, collect ourselves, and use the site instead of letting it use us. If we choose to use the site, the terms of use apply.

          As far as this reply goes, one may not agree to it, but at least it is not off topic...Cause in this thread, Nothing's off topic!
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          Jun 16 2011: Birdia re "holocaust is a lie" a really shocking reaction that is in itself an offesne to common decency..

          And that is the whole problem here with the greatly disgruntled...a few gaps in undertsanding what is and isn't civil.
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          Jun 16 2011: @ Lindsay “For instance I think there is no dispute that saying"The holocaust is a lie"..doesn't belong in any civilised place. It's a crime in some places”

          With respect Lindsay you are NOT the judge of what is civilised or not. I strongly object to your flagging that.

          It is not a crime in the US where Freedom of Speech and the First Amendment is paramount. Its not a crime in my country.

          It is a crime in 15 European countries and Israel most affected by the Holocaust. Holocaust denial laws have been struck down in Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, The United Kingdom, Denmark and Sweden.

          What else in your opinion cannot be questioned? God? Evolution? Islam? Christianity? Buddhism? Religion? Who gives you the right to decide what can be questioned or not?

          In the Palestine conversation you were going up and down telling people what to do and think. You even suggested at one point that the purpose of the conversation was to solve the Palestine problem! I thought that was a trifle egotistical.

          There are two types of posters here one who actually make some contribution to the knowledge on the subject and others who arbitrate and judge as to what should be asked or not, or what information is acceptable or not. In getting posts removed where people have actually made a contribution based entirely on your opinion you are impacting negatively on the conversation.

          You cant imagine how frustrating that is for a person who has taken the trouble to put some thought into their posts. Can I request you again to be more tolerant?
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          Jun 16 2011: @ Debra "I saw it and was pretty shocked that you thought it was fair. You'll hurt her. .."

          Yes to flag her will hurt her. She of course is allowed to flag anyone else according to her opinions, which she admits she does. Only some peoples feelings count. That she might hurt anyone else is immaterial.

          "I think you should remember that Wongmo is no enemy of yours" Lets divide this whole place into friends and enemies and flag accordingly

          "When you bring it back here to gloat about it and discredit her even more so I hardly recognize you."

          Oh please. Gloat? He asked our opinion. How is that for dramatisation, loosing perspective and blowing things way out of proportion?
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          Jun 16 2011: @Birdia "Holocaust was a lie.". and Richard Dawsons defense of anyone's right to assert the holocaust was a lie

          Three thumbs up on Birdia's remark suggesting the appropriate response is videos and documentaion to prove the holocausr was not a lie would suggest that the problem here are the four involved in that.

          ..Richard, this is not my unique personal view. This is a standard in the world at large, in the global community.. Civilized intelligent people simply don't go around saying the holocausr was a lie.This is really pointing to the core truth of what the problem really is here. What is of issue here. What needs to be .sorted out here at TED Conversations.

          .This isn't about censorship by TED. This isn't about Free Speech. This isn't about lack of trasnparency at TED this is about a few people who need to work on civility.
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          Jun 16 2011: Dear Lindsay and wongmo, with respect it is about free speech. On the Palestine debate Tim and Ehis and others and I have been on opposite sides of the debate. Yet when it came to deletions we were united. We respect our right to voice our opinions.

          It was S.R. Ahmadi who said the holocaust was a lie. Of course I disagree with him. But I defend his right to have that belief. He and others are not going to change their beliefs by censoring. Though some might after open debate.

          I have taken the example and opinions of Chris Anderson about TED conferences here:

          We should not try to impose our opinions or beliefs on others by censoring their points of view. That is a fundamental principle of our democracies.
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          Jun 16 2011: It may be a fundamental principle of our democracies Richard but it is civiility that makes it all work. Some of this stuff is simply tirades, bullying and ridicule. I think people can find ways to share their opinons without demeaning their opponents in the debate.
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        Jun 15 2011: OK. It's deleted. But tell me how such a flag would be any different then any third party entering a conversation and proclaiming a statement offensive.
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          Jun 15 2011: im offended, man. the "k" in "OK" was capital as well, so i asume you are yelling at me.
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          Jun 15 2011: SUPER FLAGGED! hah :)
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          Jun 15 2011: Thanks for considering my argument. I appreciate the openness of that.

          Tim some of this stuff is escalating to the point of bullying. How will we speak up against bullying in any part of our societies then? Surely that is not what we're promoting.

          It is starting to be unhealthy- a few have been empowered by this but not for anything productive or good. There have to be ways to de-escalate this into more win/win solutions and no one is more equipped to figure out what they might be than you are.

          For god's sake - we're all against more division in the world!
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          Jun 16 2011: im with debra though, there was to be more creative ways to bring light to this issue.
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          Jun 16 2011: You still don't get it. There are no third parties to any converstaion. They don't belong to the participants they belong to the whole community.
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          Jun 16 2011: TimBlackburn,

          why don't you asked the rebels here that have been flagged what TED admin called to their attention? Ask them which remraks of theirs were removed and why. Let the whole community judge that. I'm pretty sure no one had a flag or a deletion over a capital K

          This is just plain ridiculous;a real blight on TED Conversations; a real disservice to TED and TED admin..
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          Jun 16 2011: except TED deletes without community advise, as it seems.
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          Jun 16 2011: I agree with that. Since the flags are anonymous TED does not know who has flagged it. It may well be the person to whom the post has been addressed but, as has come to light here, in most cases it is 3rd party keepers of our morals and arbiters of what is right or wrong. The thought police.
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          Jun 16 2011: @Tim Blackburn you're drinking the kool aid here I think.

          Contrary to what has been portrayed here TED Admin uses a very light hand in reviewing red flags..there are a lot more red flags than there are deletions. Every deletion is attended by a notice to the person with the text of the deleted comment , an explanantion of why it was deleted, and there is always an opporttunity to discuss it further. What these folk would you believe, is simply not true. These same people were involved in the few conversations I have been in where there lots of admin deletions and admin positing in the conversation. It is not a widesread problem. It's just a few.
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        Jun 16 2011: Agreed. Excessive flagging is bullying. Let's stop it.
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          Jun 16 2011: you are on to something though, TED should be more transparent in its community. they can preach it but in action....
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          Jun 16 2011: Can we work on what we think is fair to flag?

          I think that most conversations are left alone until someone starts to flag. At least that seems to be the pattern that I've observed. There is just too much written every day for the staff to be policing it unless it is their particular interest. So what do we think deserves flagging?

          I want the right to flag when I see someone being abused if a direct address to the person does not do it- I would speak up in real life so I want to keep my rights to do so here.
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          Jun 16 2011: Some things are better left unsaid Birdia.There is nothing pretty or meaningful in this little tirade.Looks more like a bar room brawl to me than what TED had in mind as a "global conversation". Also I understand from text here that feed back from admin referenced the revenue attraction or some aspect like that..that's what had me concerned GE might not be too happy with what some folk have doen with this wonderful opportunity to have a global conversatiion of interest and in service to global possibilities.
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          Jun 16 2011: Tim..there is no lack of transparency at TED. We have a contract with each other..not just with TED. That contract is ".the terms of use".As all these folk who have had comments removed can tell you TED admin is very clear about the reasons for removal and work very hard to smoothe ruffled feathers and keep things going smoothely.

          They prefer, and I agree, that it be done more discretely and one on one with members..very civilised and very appropriate .I don't think those who have had comments removed would want TED's judgment on their remarks to be on public display. Although I am thinking that would be a very good idea. Yes, that would be transparency..perfect transparency.Let's have TED admin handle all of its attempts to sheperd a few stray sheep made public and placed right out here so we can all see. It would be great and then we could all learn and be guided by the guiance being given to the disgruntled. I love it!. Great idea!

          And also let's have the red flags show in the conversation with a count next to it so the individual would know how others are responding. I love it.

          Perfect Transparency

          .Might silence this kind of thing.once and for all.
        • Jun 16 2011: This conversation, and Lindsay's involvement in it reminds me of "the greek seaman" book review...


          Looks at the comments by the author on the review. Similar level of English as well...
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      Jun 13 2011: adios. ted just lost one more fan. these people are a bunch of control freaks.
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          Jun 13 2011: Out of the blue they just said they would be terminating the conversation.

          They don't seem to respect the fact that posters have an investment in these creations. They sure know how to piss people off. If they really want this thing to grow, they need to encourage open communication.
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          Jun 14 2011: my doubts started with the case of sarah silverman.
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          Jun 14 2011: They could have a motivation, as a bar also closes for talk, though they could have asked Tim with one private question. "TEDc is successful, and to stay fresh, the open ended conv should go... is it ok to let your conversation expire in a week? If this is too short, we leave it open for a month, so you can think off a followup conversation" Not kicked out in 2 days! Than they wouldn't loose respect. Openness is TEDs middle name not?
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      Jun 13 2011: From TED Conversations:

      Hey Tim,

      I just wanted to inform you that our Conversation "Nothing's Off Topic" has been given an expiration date for the end of this week. The Conversation was a great run and we were willing to see where it goes, but there is little to no value of keeping this Conversation open and going to the TED.com community and site.

      It is scheduled to close this Friday, June 16th.


      TED Conversations Admin

      E: conversations@ted.com
      W: http://www.ted.com/conversations
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        Jun 14 2011: "there is little to no value of keeping this Conversation open and going to the TED.com community and site"

        wow, they discovered a method to measure value. they can't keep it secret!! i want a TED talk about how to measure intrinsic/emotional values!
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          Jun 14 2011: Krisztian: You might just turn me into a libertarian yet.

          Apparently TED doesn't trust the market. Central control is their method.
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        Jun 14 2011: I have to wonder if you've edited this to look like a true copy/paste email. It tastes bitter to me...
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          Jun 14 2011: Tim wouldn't do that! You can get these kind of responses...
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          Jun 14 2011: Want to confirm TED? Or do you only work in the dark?
        • Jun 14 2011: Hi Rosemeri, I generally keep out of the fray in these conversations but I am compelled to respond in this case. What is it about Tim's post that would lead you to accuse him of editing it? What about it leads you to cast aspersions on his integrity?
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          Jun 14 2011: And TED didn't like Tim his face also? ;)
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        Jun 14 2011: Tim, don't give up on TED just yet please!
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        Jun 14 2011: Dear Tim,
        Please check you email.
        I see you are not happy about this, but we encourage you reach out to us instead of commenting, that way we can communicate better and quicker and achieve mutual understanding.

        We are not ignoring the suggestions or dissatisfactions of our community members, rather our team has been discussing the ways to please most of you and look into off-topic comment cases, along with conversation timing.

        TED Conversations Admin
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          Jun 14 2011: getting out of grasp to keep track? for who? why would anyone want to keep track? the FBI can't wrap their head around it? or TED moderator algorithm page-faulted trying to run the "offtopic" analysis?
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    Jun 13 2011: Hi Tim,
    Since this is an open-ended conversation and is growing to a very large such I was wondering if you could "sum-up" the conversation so far?
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      Jun 13 2011: Jimmy: So far it's been mostly what I hoped for - interesting meandering.

      It is nice to have a space with no constraints. And just see where the conversation goes.

      What are your impressions?
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        Jun 13 2011: I think we should practice making new threads after a while, if someone responds in a monster thread, that monster thread goes above the smaller ones... thoughts can get lost!
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          Jun 14 2011: Good idea Nick!
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          Jun 14 2011: Exactly, and even with a deadline of 1 month some conversations start to repeat themselves after 2 weeks when new people enter, some conv are too long too catch up.
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      Jun 14 2011: Dear Community Members,

      All conversations will be set a certain time period from now on. So please don't take it personal. :)

      Like TEDtalks have certain time period, TED Conversations will have expiration dates. This would help gain conversations momentum and hopefully result in productive contributions.

      TED Conversations Admin
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      Jun 16 2011: So Jimmy. You're not TED Gestapo are you? Sorry to have to ask, but those guys are pretty tricky you know. Always working in the dark and all.

      Just that it seems my conversation got the termination notice shortly after this comment of yours. And you do seem to be spending a lot of time cheer-leading for TED. Plus you never answered my question - "what are your impressions?".
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        Jun 16 2011: Hi Tim, Sorry for not answering until now, didn't see it!

        I can understand how you might get the impression of me being "TED gestapo" - I'm not! (I don't think they have any)

        I have also noticed that the termination of your conversation came shortly after my comment about it, I do believe that they might be co-related, if an Admin read about it, it is possible that they questioned if it should be open-ended because of my comment... Sorry for that if it's so...

        I do spend a lot of time cheering for and spreading TED, I think you know why.

        Haven't had the time to answer yet... give me a sec
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    Jun 13 2011: was Weiner's apparentlt effective ouster an engineered regime change or did he just get caught in his own stuidity? If he hadn't lied publicly about it and just kept quiet would the consequences have been different even if the fcats remained the same.?

    Very disappointing when someone who works so hard, is a real fact checker himeslf ( he goes through chiefs of staff like crazy because he is such a task mater and so nsustent on dotting the i's and crossing rhe t's)..lately he was emerging and speaking well. A blow for Schumer as well as Schumer has cultiveated hi from the early days in brooklyn before either of them was known.

    Just so hard to imagine anyone could risk that over such stupididty.
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    Jun 10 2011: Do you believe you have free will?

    [Answer here, read there, answer there, read here... just share ideas!]
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      Jun 9 2011: Thanks for posting this Birdia. I need to dig into it a little more to have much to say.

      I found this section of his "town hall meeting":

      If anyone finds the full video, please post.

      Did want to respond with one quote from the article:
      "In America there's a failure to appreciate Europe's leading role in the world,"

      with another from Eduardo Galleano:
      "The dominant countries have to begin to learn how to substitute the word “friendship” for the word “leadership.”"
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        Jun 9 2011: I took a look at the town hall meeting section. The guy is brilliant.

        One of the ways his detractors dig at him is to say he can't think on his own two feet - that he needs a teleprompter to get his message across. It's sad... The guy is brilliant.
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          Jun 10 2011: He is absolutley brilliant but he is the only one who is speaking back and speaking up - where is his party? They are doing things like undermining him with Netanyahu.
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      Jun 9 2011: btw: Was it this NATO summit where they planned the invasion of Libya?
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      Jun 9 2011: Thanks so much Birdia for posting this speach.
      It heartens me to have someone address the elephant in the room of international relations.
      Nations interact on a macroscale much like individual interact on the microscale. Thus I think that the tools for medition and healing between individuals can be appled to international relations.
      The first step is always acknowledging the issues. Obama takes that first step here.
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          Jun 10 2011: Re: "backlash Obama received"

          Did you read the comments at the bottom of the article that you posted? There were many very disturbing statements. Example:

          "The arrogance is coming from our weak elitist president who thinks he knows so much but continues pandering around apologizing and bowing down to all the countries and spending money we don't have. Instead of taking effective action he is spinning out of control but as long as he talks nice and looks nice he must think he can continue to fool the world and us commen sense hard working Americans. Clearly he has wrapped some of you around his finger but it looks like most of America is finally waking up! God Bless America!"

          Stuff like this constantly worries me of a red-state backlash like that which twice "elected" King George.
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          Jun 10 2011: In all honesty, I cannot see him being re-elected even though I would give him a second term if I could. My reason comes from watching the Canadian election. The mood has swung right, in my opinion. The country 'tried' the new and (pretended to) expected instant success (never acknowledging that he was in an utter quagmire to begin with). He won his Nobel prize and I honestly think that hurt him domestically with some sort of weird backlash of resentment. The Democrats are still so unfocused. Its like they need to hire some Republican debating experts (or Richard) to de-wimp them. They want to be seen as nice guys while the Republicans are playing for keeps. The Democrats need to take the moral high ground and kick butt.
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          Jun 10 2011: He gets this backlash from the right wing republicans no matter what he says. Btw, have you seen the field of candidates they've rounded up so far to run against him?

          But it does worry me. Aside from the northeast and the black vote, it seems everyone else has either a single issue they will vote on (the right wing christians) or will vote for the one who says they'll lower taxes and slash government spending. The republicans want to make it all about the economy and unemployment rate. Without even so much as a blink of an eye they blame the economy /unemploymernt on Obama. It took the Bush administration 8 years to create the train wreck that Obama inherited. It really worries me.

          But Obama is unlike anyone in recent american politics. I have confidence that he will be able to reach the american people again and demonstrate that he is the right person for the job.
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          Jun 10 2011: It is paradoxical that a middle-class African American would be labeled "elitist" while the born-with-a-silver-spoon-in-his-mouth Bush would be considered one of the "good old boys", but that is a common mind-set.
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          Jun 10 2011: They all went to the same 'stick your fingers in your ears and yell at the other guy'" school of debating. It never matters what the other party's President says (if its your President God says pray for your President but it not you trash him)- you stomp and yell on cue. It doesn't matter what's at stake you have to stay on your 'team'.
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          Jun 10 2011: Yes, he'll need all the help he can get. But It's the african american vote and the latino vote that I think hold the most sway.

          The unemployment rate is at 9.1% overall, but it's nearly double that for african americans and 50% higher for latinos. Illegal iImmigration issues are red hot and may end up being as much as a determining factor come elections as anything else.

          Obama got 96% of the african american vote in 2008 and nearly 70% of the latino vote. Those two ethnic groups combined are a powerful voting block.

          Some interesting information here about the asian american voters. Interesting that asian american voters are the least likely of the ethnic groups to vote.

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      Jun 9 2011: Wow!

      Thanks for this Birdia. It only deepens my view that Obama has the right perspective on many of our world's most troubling issues.
      Sadly, what is largely happening here in the US under his leadership is gridlock on virtually every front. It's so disheartening.
      I credit Obama for reviving my hope that our country (and the world, really - I think he's that good) can overcome much of the meanness, greed, arrogance and religious extremism that has been festering in our country over the past decade.

      2+ years into his first term his critics on both the left and the right claim he has let the country down. That he promised change and it's not happening. He never said change was going to be easy.... the most he is guilty of is underestimating the amount of resistence he would get in sparking that change.

      He is brilliant in my book, and if we don't take advantage of this opportunity to follow his leadership well then shame on us.
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          Jun 11 2011: 50-50
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          Jun 11 2011: You're crazy (in the good way) Jim,

          I bet you all my TEDcred he gets reelected.

          Same goes for anyone.


          I hate politics, so I will just take wagers and not discuss heavily, but no amount of propaganda in the world can say Obama isn't doing his hardest in trying to govern this chaotic system. He has the youth vote and the minority vote of this nation, which are huge. Those who have green attitudes toward keeping the planet healthy like him.

          The majority of the stats America has in economy, are rising.

          It must be tough to be a president and how only your actions televised and not your words. George Bush was on T.V for every stupid thing he did, more words than actions, opposite of Obama.

          By no means is Obama the best, but he is doing his best. Character use to be the core decider for a president (JFK), and it should still be a correlation.

          However, again, it isn't a president who is responsible for significant change, it is "we the people"
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          Jun 11 2011: For all of your sakes, I sure hope Nicholas is right! Nice to see the young are optimistic about it.
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          Jun 11 2011: Nicholas – You’ve persuaded me to go out on a limb: 51-49….

          I'm hoping, too, that the facts win out over the propaganda.

          I usually try to stay reserved in my support of Obama (could you tell? Probably not) because every time I make my feelings known about him someone from the “far” side begins to hurl insults at me, but I’ll come clean here and say I think Obama IS near-perfect.

          Near perfect for the job in terms of character, intelligence, demeanor, management style, etc. He is forward thinking on green issues, on energy issues, on social issues, on financial issues..... but what turns me on the most about him are his world views. (My TED friend Tony would call that American cultural arrogance - Is it? A teacher of mine once said to me that arrogance, in spots, is not a bad thing) but really – I want the world to change!
          I’m a little bit desperate about it.

          If the US doesn’t re-elect Obama I might just give up and go live the good life in Canada. Seriously. Or maybe New Jersey….

          Alexander Pope’s world view was this: “Tend your own garden.” I’m afraid he’s right.
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          Jun 11 2011: DO NOT GO TO NEW JERSEY

          I respect/appreciate your pessimism and optimism as being a balance into your considerations and beliefs.

          Arrogance is actually an under-appreciated practice; when being arrogant with the right facts and skills behind you, arrogance is what you need to "trick" yourself into coming in first place! To yourself or to everyone.

          I met plenty of athletes that are so full of themselves, it doesn't make for a good conversation, but they were awesome athletes. Arrogance deludes you into believing something that may not be real, but want to make real, so you are "going to" make it true..

          "We think, therefore we are"

          I am with you on a uniting globe, it is what I think about often, that is why I want to see it first hand.

          I think Obama will be re-elected, and would put money on it, but I do not think the steps for a uniting world will begin in my life time..To unite, it is going to take something bigger than the internet itself.

          To be fully honest, I do not care who wins presidency, it will not affect me directly as I do not plan on living here. However, it does concern me greatly, America is a world power and its people need to know what is the "reality of politics" in America and not the illusion.

          Votes really do not count, democracy is nothing without individual unionized groups of concerned citizens constantly on top of their local politicians. But we became to comfortable with appealing to authority... and then our education systems do not spark interest in politics AT ALL, and if they do, it is "American Politics". Left or right. Which is stupid. There are multi-dimensions in which things can be done. Left and right only means which one of two is going to make bank.

          Where is my green party at? Where are communist-like politicians? Where are the politicians who are doctors of science and medicine, and not doctors of laws?

          I think George Carlin can say this better.


          I agree Jim, make "peace" possible.
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          Jun 11 2011: Nicholas -

          I don't know how you do it, but you do.
          Thoroughly informing, thoroughly entertaining. You are sage, man.
          I like your arrogance thoughts.

          But I'm going to New Jersey. I still have some old roots to pull up down by the river.
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          Jun 11 2011: Well Jim,

          If your hearts contention is on dirty jersey, I cannot stop you, but warn you of the horror.

          Thanks for the words of praise, but I am no where near sage-level.
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      Jun 9 2011: So Birdia. I am curious. What motivated you to post this article/video? What was it that struck you most? Do you agree with the things Obama said? Disagree?
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          Jun 12 2011: being all the time in europe, though not to generalize, among people I know and mainstream media have a 'whatever' attitude..
          The problem is it looks, Obama is following footsteps in putting big issues in black-white; you are with or against us... Not agreeing on some issues does not mean 'against usa', though it is put as anti Americanism.
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          Jun 12 2011: Well, I don't know where in Europe you need to be not to be affected by "if you are not with us, you are against us". 'For' and 'Against' has been defined unfortunately quite black and white by it in the American context.

          What did change is, America is no 'ideal' anymore, which was for many east european people still only 5 years ago. That is also not 'anti-american', never the less worrying.
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      Jun 10 2011: i have two problems with this talk. (well, with the first 4.5 minutes of it.)

      1. he says america is changing. what is that change? i see no change. we all waited for change, which didn't happen.

      2. he promises change again, in the relationship with eu. what will be done differently? it was painfully absent from this talk. i feel these efforts will fall short too. nothing will change.

      but honestly. what should be changed? i don't really see how the lack of cooperation causes any of the problems we have today. if the us and the eu coordinated more closely, what difference would that make?
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        Jun 10 2011: I can't disagree Krisztian..just not enough.
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        Jun 10 2011: No change? What do you mean?

        Before the US mounted unilateral invasions. Now France leads multinational invasions. Isn't that meaningful change and cooperation?

        [please don't fail to note the sarcasm]
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          Jun 10 2011: yeah, good that the US does keep out of this one! ;)
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          Jun 11 2011: France chose the best candidate for a catastrophic foreign policy. I mean, look at the guy, it would be a perfect cast for Napoleon de Bonaparte. Ok, perhaps for a low budget TV network, but still... France has never been so pro-USA, so I let you make your own conclusions.
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          Jun 12 2011: France is highly depended on North African oil and investments, that is not 'pro-USA', it's preventing cardiac arrest.
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        Jun 10 2011: America is changing. The change is excruciatingly slow and even painful. What major change on a scale like we're talking about isn't???? What are you looking for? Change handed to you on a platter?

        Have you been paying attention to his accomplishments? I won't list them, but a few off the top of my head:
        Healthcare reform (and please don't say nobody likes it - not true.)
        He's confronted the two wars Bush shoved us into and has implimented a plan to end /drastically reduce our involvement.
        Changed the military's "don't ask don't tell" policy regarding gay enlistees
        Put into place the first wave of consumer protection laws in response to the lawless financial sector that provided the mechanisms for sending our country into the deepest recession sincve the 1930's
        Has begun to put plans in place to reduce our country's dependence on fossil fuel
        Has begun to restore credibility to our country's reputation (the town hall meeting video was an example of that)

        Is he perfect? Show me a perfect politician and I'll show you a world gone mad. Does he do the right things? Most of the time. Can you name another leader you think has a better skill set to affect change? Let me know who that is and I'll stand by him or her, too.
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          Jun 10 2011: You're right on all counts but none of it counts when the only debating tactic you have to use is to ignore the accomplishments- never, ever acknowledge. It is a simple advertising tactic of 'share of mind'.
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          Jun 11 2011: this is the change? this is pathetic. healthcare reform consists of adding another big chunk to the existing dysfunctional system. now you have a bigger dysfunctional system. impressive.

          confronted? he could end them. did he? not yet.

          internal policy of the military is of no concern to me.

          consumer protection laws in financial sector is makeup for the terminally ill. the recession is ongoing, and the obama administration has no ideas how to fix that.

          dependence of fossil fuel is red herring. trade is just fine. besides, it is not his mandate to control international trade and the energy sector.

          has begun. maybe. i can't refute that. what i can tell is the reputation is not at all restored, and 4 years just passed. if he's really begun to restore, we can postpone this debate for a few years and have a conclusion then. ah, by the way, he just watched an illegal assassination operation abroad, conducted without the country's permit, from his playroom. half of the world does not approve. me neither.
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        Jun 11 2011: Kris - The examples I gave do not represent his entire body of accomplishments - far from it.

        I am an optimist with realistic expectations. You appear to be a pessimist with unrealistic expectations.

        It sounds to me like you have some major frustrations with the EU and I can't comment on that because I don't have much info about it.
        But I do know that the world is struggling to change and has been for decades. Epochal change, I think. Maybe you are too fixated on the immediate problems of the EU to see the larger picture of the world changes taking place... I don't know, just trying to understand your frustration.

        But back to Obama:
        End the wars? Just end them? Just pack up and leave? Sounds great, but not very realistic. Also not very responsible.

        On the financial issues: What you seem to be unaware of is that Obama has many great, innovative, substantive ideas for economic policy change in the US, but is being blocked by Congress. I'm not going to get into the details of that - It's just a sad fact.

        You said: "healthcare reform consists of adding another big chunk to the existing dysfunctional system. now you have a bigger dysfunctional system. impressive."

        Respectfully, you don't know what you're talking about. The US has some of the best medical/health care services in the world. The healthcare changes that the Obama administration has put in place are aimed at doing two things primarily:
        1) Curtail the spiraling cost of healthcare.
        2) Provide every citizen with adequate healthcare that is affordable.

        My wife works in the field of medicine as an educator and I know well what the hard-working professionals in the field think of Obama's plan - and it's not the catastrophe you say it is. It is instead, a step or two or three in the right direction.

        Again, what are you looking for? Change on a platter? Someone to wave a magic wand?

        I asked you: Can you name another leader who you think has a better skill set than Obama to affect change? Can you?
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          Jun 11 2011: "Respectfully, you don't know what you're talking about. The US has some of the best medical/health care services in the world."

          By "some of the best", do you mean within the top 50?

          I agree that the US spends tremendous amount of money, tax payers' money, on health/medicare. I doubt this means it can be called one of the best.


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          Jun 11 2011: A little balance in perspective is a good thing. I don't like the way healthcare is distributed in the USA but anyone has to admit that-like the little girl with the curl from nursery rhyme fame- when they are good they are very very good.

          Some of the best advances in medicine come from the USA. One of the things that they have given to the world that few people take into account is the CDC. In my opinion the work of the CDC goes some way to counterbalance (OK not too far) their constantly war prone policies.
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          Jun 11 2011: wars: yes, just end them. that was the promise. if he does not think they can be ended, don't promise.

          economy: show me some of those ideas. but also keep in mind that our topic is not obama's ideas, but "america is changing". a good excuse does not equal a solved problem.

          healthcare: if it is so good, no change is needed. why everyone talks about change? as far as i know, US health care is extremely expensive and badly organized. it was not changed, just extended to some more people previously uncovered. good for them, but i doubt it can go on for too long that way.

          if you say, but there was some change, i reply there was some change under w as well. it is not realistic to say that in any 4 years, there are no changes at all. when he said change is coming, we assumed some fundamental change, larger than polishing here and there.
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          Jun 11 2011: I agree, both the Iphone and Facebook came during W's office. Right?

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          Jun 11 2011: Kris,

          Don't forget: Wars: There is profit in war. Destroying and then cleaning up countries is profitable.
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        Jun 12 2011: Kris,

        "wars: yes, just end them. that was the promise. if he does not think they can be ended, don't promise"

        Forgive me, but you sound like wars are like a bad date. Wars are hell on earth. There is a right way and a wrong way to do it, and although I am waiting for the day when not a single US miltary person is left in both Iraq and Afghanistan, I believe Obama is going about ending the wars in the (mostly) right way. By the way, it's my impression that the majority of people in both countries would also not want us to abruptly walk out on them. It would be like throwing salt in the wound.

        You're right that I should not use excuses for why there has been less change than "promised". Obama's strategy in initially had relied heavily on getting bi-partisan support. When mid-term elections rolled around and republican conservatives (and tea party people) gained seats in both House and Senate, that strategy became a "pipe" dream.
        So he changed his strategy. He will play a game of chess with the opposition to his changes by thinking 2-3-4-5 steps ahead of them.
        For example, his supporters nearly mutinied when he allowed the tax breaks for the rich to be extended. He had "promised" to do that. Instead, he compromised - knowing there would be another opportunity to accomplish it. That opportunity will come this August, with the congressional vote to raise (or not raise) the debt ceiling. My prediction is the ceiling will be raised, spending will be cut - AND UNFAIR TAX BREAKS FOR THE RICH WILL BE ENDED! (Sorry to shout - TED gives me very little to work with in terms of formatting).

        Don’t misunderstand me; personally I think taxes are too high and spending is poorly managed. But the issue here is that the tax breaks to the rich alone could take a big chunk of our debt away if they were repealed. Some promises are more important than others – this one (and the end of the wars) to me are most important. He will fullfill these two.
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          Jun 12 2011: you are diverting the conversation. you don't have to defend obama's policies, it was not the point whether it is good or not. i said it is not at all different than we saw previously. war can be good? fine! but then don't promise endng it! and also bear in mind that many people thinks wars can be and should be stopped.

          and the same thing about all topics. good excuse does not equal change. i can give excuses too. it is easy.
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        Jun 12 2011: Kris -

        You said: "healthcare: if it is so good, no change is needed. why everyone talks about change? as far as i know, US health care is extremely expensive and badly organized. it was not changed, just extended to some more people previously uncovered. good for them, but i doubt it can go on for too long that way."

        And you said: " this is pathetic. healthcare reform consists of adding another big chunk to the existing dysfunctional system. now you have a bigger dysfunctional system. impressive."

        Again, with all due respect (but I'm starting to lose it when it comes to your statements about healthcare) you don't have all the facts, you don't know what you're talking about.

        Tony provided a link to an article from the New York Times to prove your/his point about how pathetic our healthcare system is. Problem is, this was an article from 2007 - before Obama was elected - and provides much of the rationale for why we needed healthcare reform (It also confirms my statement that thge US has some of the best healthcare in the world).

        Obama knew that healthcare reform had been tried and failed for more than 75 years. He kew he had a small window of opportunity immediately following the election to get it done. He got it done. No one has been able to do that until now. You call this "polishing" and not significant change???? It was historic change.

        You say all it did was provide healthcare to "some" people who didn't have it before. Some???? 45,000,000!!!!!!! Spelled out, that’s FORTY-FIVE MILLION people.

        You say that the healthcare system is extremely expensive and badly organized? The healthcare reform bill passed specifically addresses those two issues. Read the summary of the bill before you start in with your uninformed criticism.

        You sound like a Fox news personality. I have liked many of your comments elsewhere but your assessment of Obama and the change he is producing is just way off the mark.
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          Jun 12 2011: i wouldn't say i'm an expert on the US health care system changes. but it would truly surprise me if it was a deep reorganition that went totally unnoticed in the world media.

          but hey, this is the NIOT conversation, please start a new thread, and explain us, in plain words, without symbolic talk, facts only, how obama changed the healthcare system. we are all ears.
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        Jun 12 2011: The conversation is, "Nothing Is Off Topic".

        "explain us, in plain words, without symbolic talk, facts only, how obama changed the healthcare system. we are all ears."

        You mean aside from the 45,000,000 reasons ? I've given you nothing but facts and you respond with no facts, just a reference to the information you've gleaned from the world media.
        One more time (without symbolic talk, just facts) here is how Obama changed the health care system:
        1) For the first time in our history we have a health care system for all of our citizens. Yes, for the first time in our history. That makes it, if nothing else, historic.
        2) It is a health care plan that will begin to reign in the costs of providing health care. The plan, by the way, is being rolled out over a 7 year period, so ease up on your condemnation of a plan that's yet to fully take effect.

        Which brings me back to another "off topic" subject I've been trying to get an answer from you on: Why are you so impatient? You and me both want the wars to end, but you can't find the patience to end them responsibly and instead want to add insult to injury and just walk out on them.

        You say you want the change that Obama promised and that you've given him 2 years and 6 months to make the changes and that's plenty of time. I disagree.

        Again, what are you looking for? Change on a platter? Someone to wave a magic wand?

        I ask you again: Can you name another leader who you think has a better skill set than Obama to affect change?
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          Jun 13 2011: no thread, no data, no information, nothing. if you are so sure about the positive change, why don't you present it? it is easy. just list a few things.

          and no, i won't give you the satisfaction to name another candidate, so you can shift the focus from health care to that other candidate. we are talking about obama and change. i see no change. if you do, time to speak up!
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        Jun 14 2011: Ok, this is the time when we shake hands and agree to disagree : )

        Time will tell.

        By the way, I wasn't asking for a "candidate" from you. I was simply trying to get a sense from you about which current world leader you see as being more effective than Obama at sparking change. We desperately need leadership now, at a time when I sincerely believe we are in the midst of major global changes. I am open to anyone who sees our world as it is and wants to change it for the better.
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          Jun 15 2011: that would still be an escape route of this conversation. persons are not important. ideas are important. principles are important. facts are important.

          you still owe me a summary or a set of examples of the great changes obama carried out in health care.
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        Jun 14 2011: Krisztian - I think we’ve come to the point where we smile, shake hands, and agree to disagree :)

        Time will tell.

        I did want to clarify, though, that I was not asking you to name a “candidate” (as in presidential candidate) you thought is better suited to affect change than Obama; I was asking if there is any other world leader that in your opinion possesses the skills to lead us through such major global change?

        But I don't need to know!!!
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        Jun 15 2011: OK, I honestly thought we were talking as much about the man and his accomplishments as we were ideas...

        The health care reform bill will be phased in over a number of years. Here are the major implimentation points of the reform. Some pieces have already taken affect, though, and I've starred them below. In other cases they are in the process of being implimented. Here are the goals of the plan:

        1. Ensure that all Americans have access to quality, affordable health care (currently 45,000,000 are uninsured, placing a tremendous financial burden on the rest of the population)

        2. *Prohibit denials of coverage based on pre-existing conditions. (This happened routinely under the old health care ruiles).

        3. Provide sliding-scale subsidies to make insurance premiums affordable.

        4. Extend much needed relief to small businesses.

        5. Create a new, regulated marketplace where consumers can purchase affordable health care.

        6. *Clamp down on insurance company abuses.

        7. Hold insurance companies accountable for how our health care dollars are spent.

        8. Expand Medicaid to millions of low-income Americans.

        9. Improve Medicare by helping seniors and people with disabilities afford their prescription drugs.

        10. Limit out-of-pocket costs so that Americans have security and peace of mind.

        11. *Help young adults by requiring insurers to allow all dependents to remain on their parents plan until age 26.

        12. Invest in preventive care.

        Since much of the bill has yet to take full effect it's not possible to tell if we have a better healthcare system than previously. Time will tell. I think we have something that is at least 2-3-4 steps in the right direction. One thing is undeniablly true: This was a historic bill that will provide health insurance to millions and millions of people previously not covered. That fact alone is impressive.
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      Jun 10 2011: Birdua,

      Great link..great issue..we could be here for years on that issue

      .I'm a life long advocate.Wwe have to keep our radar screens pretty much focused on what we are trying to bring awareness to. So through Ted and through just looking for the truth myself , not believing what I see and hear from Washington or the NY Times or anyone, I am just awakening, not just to what people around the world think about Ameirca..butto why they think that..

      I am deeply ashamed of my country. I want it to change how it enages the rest of the world

      .I don't what to believe or who to trust now that I am just awakening. I want to believe its ourCcongress, their old ways that they cling to that is limiting what Preseident Obama can do and say.. I honestly don't know .I am disappointed in these remarksby my President, Birdia.

      ..they aren't enough. It's not strong enough. Who would be moved by that??And who else is there to lead???

      Too overwhelmingto get my brain and heart around..I only know

      we have to change
      .we have to stop doing what we have been doing

      .Thnak you Birdia for reminding us of that painful truth
    • Jun 12 2011: Birdia..... I believe it's the " cowboy" mentality that has created the anti Americanism in Europe and other parts of the world.

      The "Military Industrial Complex" is alive and well in America.....
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    Jun 9 2011: What fascinating stuff everyone has shared regarding pros and cons of One World governance!

    We could go on and on about the pros and cons of One World governance, but I think it is so far down the line in terms of the world evolving to a point where it will make sense that everything we envision is a stab in the dark.

    Nicholas quoted, "When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace." I think that, too, will happen - and must happen - before the world sees itself as "One" and develops a One World governance to protect and promote and USE the power of love. But it's a long, long time coming....

    I don't see this quote as meaning what I think so many people who dismiss it as "pie in the sky" thinking think it means. I don't think there will ever be a utopia on earth - But do I think there will be a much more enlightened place than we find ourselves in now? Yes!!! I have to believe that! To me, the quote is referring to human values evolving to a point where we finally see the folly of war and the power that love (and what flows from it) has to help us all reach a standard of living that is universally (almost) accepted.

    I'm not a realist and never want to be. There are just too many unknowns for me to feel comfortable saying "give me proof to back up everything". But I'm not naive. Archaic institutions like the major religious institutions do very little for me personally. I also think they do tremendous damage (plenty of proof of that!) Unless they totally re-invent themselves, I believe they will wither away with time - or at least be put into the context of philosophy. I think it's happening now, gradually. Has there ever been a time in history when religions have been called into question like they are now? (Thanks technology!) I hope that in it's place (but not in the traditional "religious" belief sense) will be the value we place on love, respect, thinkers, artists, philosophers and the like. But it's a long, long time coming...
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      Jun 11 2011: Yes it is great :)

      Though as long as all the children in the world have to memorize (nation) states and their capitals by force... name the world religions, their icons and where they are; We will keep believing the (nation) state and (classic) religions are worth discussing / fighting for.

      Every year primairy school kids are massaged into this world view based on the love for power (both matter and mind), so we need to change primary school classes to memorizing the power of love :)
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    Jun 8 2011: Birdia: Looks like I'm not the first to parallel dialectics with yin/yang:


    what do you think?
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        Jun 8 2011: Specifically, Hegelian dialectics:

        "usually presented in a threefold manner, ... comprising three dialectical stages of development: a thesis, giving rise to its reaction, an antithesis, which contradicts or negates the thesis, and the tension between the two being resolved by means of a synthesis."


        I'm not trying to say that it is exactly the same as yin/yang. Just that both are describing the same underlying concept.

        The numbers one, two and three are fascinating to dwell on. One is the totality. Two comes from dividing the whole in parts. Three is the combination of one and two, which brings us back to one.

        Perhaps it sounds trivial. But I think the mind works on a basis of trivial models.
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          Jun 8 2011: @ Tim Colgan

          That's 'funny', I'm actually writing on that right now. The old concept of Thesis, Antithesis, Synthesis. We could always extend the theory, or plunge into another. I find the trinity quiet symbolic in Hegel's approach, so much that you could compare, for better or worst, to more spiritual concepts(like the mention of the Ying/Yang). This triangle for course of events is almost like a sacred geometry pattern.
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          Jun 8 2011: Same as the way story telling is taught: Act I Introduction, Act II Conflict, Act III resolution.
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        Jun 8 2011: Tony: Ah, a fellow trinitarian. Below is something I posted from another conversation. Tell me what you think.


        I'm a bit biased by my Catholic upbringing which dwelt on the trinity concept of Father, Son and Holy Ghost. A while back I was struck by another trinitarian concept. While walking through a department store (must have been Target, the sign was red) I was struck by the advertisement headlined "Body, mind, spirit". The parallels are amazing. Perhaps the human mind works well with threes.

        Consider also Michelangelo's "Creation of Adam".


        Here we have God (in a cloud shaped like a human brain), reaching out to Adam (the corporeal lump on the ground), and you can just imagine the spark about to be transmitted between their fingers (the spirit?).

        Maybe the Hegelian dialectic is at play here. What is life? Thesis - the body. Antithesis - the mind. Synthesis - the spirit.

        And, although the yin/yang is generally considered a duality principle, couldn't it also be considered a trinity principle? We have the yin, the yang and the yin/yang. The whole being greater then the sum of the parts.

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        Jun 8 2011: Birdia: My viewpoint on the "trinity concept" is that there is
        1) The traditional religious exploitation of the concept.
        2) The intrinsic mental construct.

        So, it would be nice to get beyond 1 and explore 2.
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        Jun 8 2011: Birdia: Wasn't sure how cubism fits in, then found (wiki:cubism):

        "objects are broken up, analyzed, and re-assembled".

        That's exactly it! The finite mind cannot comprehend the infinite totality so it breaks it into parts, then re-assembles the parts to approximate the whole. 1,2,3.
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        Jun 8 2011: I'll be looking for you over there. Anyone else interested, it's here:

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    Jun 8 2011: Nice topic:

    a blur of rants and discussions, pollination of different ideas is what TED is about I daresay!
    Thumbs up Tim!

    Here's a random topic:
    What are the proverbial Elephants in the TED Conversations?
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      Jun 8 2011: Big brother TED for one.

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    Jun 8 2011: Last Ronaldo's match, now @ São Paulo, Brazil. Brazil X Romania. One of the best soccer players the world has ever seen.
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      Jun 7 2011: Thanks Nichola. Throw in a new idea now and then. See where they go.
  • Jun 7 2011: Antimatter! Did anyone read the stories about antimatter? When the universe was created, scientists think that there were equal parts matter and antimatter. Now, since everything is made of matter here... where did the antimatter go?
    My completely original (or so I thought before I googled it) theory is this- what if... there was another universe made of antimatter? A parallel universe, if you will. I don't have any idea how they would be separated, as antimatter and matter destroy each other on contact, but I still think it's a vaguely good idea.
    Thoughts? What do you think happened to the antimatter?
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      Jun 7 2011: I've been giving a lot of thought lately to the "many worlds interpretation":


      Perhaps it encompasses matter/antimatter universes. I'm not sure.

      But the idea of a continuum of universes where we are living in just one cross-sectional slice is intriguing. And apparently it is a theory which is widely accepted among cosmologists.
      • Jun 8 2011: Tim, that's incredibly interesting. I don't think the idea of an antimatter universe fits into that theory but it's very interesting nonetheless. (I admit to not fully understanding the mathematical bits, though)
        Reading the Wikipedia article made me think about Schrodinger's cat some more. I read somewhere that Schrodinger actually hated the idea of Schrodinger's cat. As I understand it, he wanted to simplify quantum physics but he actually made it more complex.
        The idea is supposed to prove, or maybe explain, that it is the act of observation itself which conforms reality into a specific state. I disagree, though Was the Earth not round when people thought it was flat? Maybe I just don't understand quantum physics.
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      Jun 8 2011: since nothing is off topic here, i can just drop in a fun fact. the movie avatar was not ... how to put it ... too realistic in many respect. but. the starship at the very beginning is incredibly well designed, and actually thought through down to detail. you can read about it on the internet. how it relates? its fuel is anti-hydrogen. those big spheres on it are the tanks storing normal hydrogen and anti-hydrogen. and it is also a very realistic, because we know no other method to store enough energy to reach another star in reasonable time. even hydrogen fusion is not enough dense, you would have to pack too much fuel.
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    Jun 7 2011: So, the other day my two gardeners were helping me transplant lettuces. When we had filled thebed to maximum capacity that would allow the fullest growth of each lettuce//the best overall quality for the entire bed we still had so many beautifully rooted viable lettuces for which we had no home.. So we just left them in the field for the wild rabbits and the deer

    .It all of a sudden reminded me of conversations where people think they have to find a home for every single fact and idea that has any bearing at all or that just pops into mind

    except ideas and knowldege aren't like lettuces..they aren't frail.. they will keep

    they may even grow more robust more vibran tmore fully formed

    and be that much more powerful when they find the right home.
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      Jun 7 2011: But perhaps ideas are like lettuces. They just need a little water and sunshine to grow.
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        Jun 7 2011: Yes, but water and sunshine can't make an overcrowded bed healthy..everything dies or grows in a verystunted and deformed way.
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    Jun 6 2011: Is a world government unlikely because it would not allow for alternatives?

    This thought has been on my mind. Is it possible that a single world government will not come about because without alternatives for comparison any government would simply devolve? Is competition between governments necessary to determine which approach is best?
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      Jun 6 2011: I think a World Government is ultimately how our civilization will evolve - after many hundreds of years of evolution from today.
      As flawed and feckless as it is, the United Nations is a first step towards that end - So you see how far we have to go...
      Ive said it before and I'll say it again:I will die a happy man if this fragmented world saw the light and crystalized into one world. I think it will, but not in my lifetime.
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          Jun 8 2011: That word ("supernatural") has been haunting me since starting with these TED Conversations!
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          Jun 8 2011: Tim, I agree!

          Supernatural to me use to be just "what is beyond the knowledge involved in nature" or "what is not understood yet in nature"

          Here on TED people stick it to ideas of religion too often and that is not where the word usage originated from.
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          Jun 8 2011: Nicholas:

          Yeh, I really liked that concept:

          supernatural = "what is not understood yet in nature"

          Some how it gets turned into "what you can't understand unless you study Kaballah (or name your favorite holy literature) like me".
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          Jun 8 2011: The dictionary definition leaves a lot of leeway!

          su·per·nat·u·ral   /ˌsupərˈnætʃərəl, -ˈnætʃrəl/ Show Spelled
          [soo-per-nach-er-uhl, -nach-ruhl] Show IPA

          1. of, pertaining to, or being above or beyond what is natural; unexplainable by natural law or phenomena; abnormal.
          2. of, pertaining to, characteristic of, or attributed to god or a deity.
          3. of a superlative degree; preternatural: a missile of supernatural speed.
          EXPAND4. of, pertaining to, or attributed to ghosts, goblins, or other unearthly beings; eerie; occult. COLLAPSE
          5. a being, place, object, occurrence, etc., considered as supernatural or of supernatural origin; that which is supernatural, or outside the natural order.
          6. behavior supposedly caused by the intervention of supernatural beings.
          7. direct influence or action of a deity on earthly affairs.
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          Jun 8 2011: supernatural = "what is not understood yet in nature" is a very nice one!

          somebody supersmart = "somebody not understood yet by others"
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          Jun 9 2011: this is the first time I have encoutered a deliberation of the supernatural on Ted. Where else has it come up?
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          Jun 10 2011: Lindsay,

          Pretty much any thread about "God" religion, and atheism.

          Edited: Bridia,


          Etymology of "supernatural" - From Latin supernaturalis, from super (“above”) + natura (“nature; that which we are born with”), from natus (“born”), perfect passive participle of nasci (“to be born”) + adjective suffix -alis.

          "Ghost" being related to the supernatural is a newer occurrence, but spirits.

          "English-speakers use the word "spirit" in two related contexts, one metaphysical and the other metaphorical." (Wikipedia)

          Etymology of "spirit" - Middle English spirit from Latin spīritus (“breath; spirit”). Compare inspire, respire, transpire, all ultimately from Latin spīrō (“I breathe, blow, respire”). Displaced native Middle English gast "spirit" (from Old English gāst "breath, soul, spirit").

          Depending on the school of philosophy will depend on the usage of "spirit".

          No "supernatural" did not begin through ideas and the words spirits and ghost, but through philosophies attempting to understand nature.
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          Jun 10 2011: Nicholas, I don't think Birdia needs a lecture on the "Etymology of supernatural" when she can write about philosophy and political systems right off of her head. What made you think that she didn't have a dictionary at home and needed your guidance?

          I believe she posted her question as a challenge in response to your totally wrong definition of the word: "Supernatural to me use to be just what is beyond the knowledge involved in nature or what is not understood yet in nature"


          Debra's definition is adequate IMHO.
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          Jun 10 2011: John,

          "Nic, what was the origin of the word "supernatural"? ghosts/spirits?"

          It was hardly a lecture, and I did not know how to interpret her question.

          Sorry John, I just simplified my interpretation, but it is not wrong as it goes into a few of the definitions in which Debra posted.

          1. of, pertaining to, or being above or beyond what is natural; unexplainable by natural law or phenomena; abnormal. (beyond the knowledge involved within* nature)
          3. of a superlative degree; preternatural (what is not understood yet in nature)

          If you interpreted it as a lecture, fine, otherwise, perhaps I mistaken Birdia's question. Again, I am not wrong. If you feel I am please by all means, debate.
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          Jun 10 2011: Obviously, Birdia's question on the origin of the word was addressing to your claim: "Here on TED people stick it to ideas of religion too often and that is not where the word usage originated from."

          Her first comment: "I'm all for it as long as it is not haunted by the supernatural."

          I think the usage of the word 'supernatural' here is as a noun.

          Debra's post:
          5. a being, place, object, occurrence, etc., considered as supernatural or of supernatural origin; that which is supernatural, or outside the natural order.
          6. behavior supposedly caused by the intervention of supernatural beings.
          7. direct influence or action of a deity on earthly affairs.

          How do your ideas of the word fit in there?

          What is there to debate?!
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          Jun 10 2011: My comment was addressed to Tim about supernatural in which I was dictating my usage of the word as an adjective towards Tim, not Birdia's noun usage, so my definition was not "totally wrong" as you put it which was the grounds for the debate.

          Also the etymology was suffice, the word supernatural itself was originally the today's adjective interpretation and then made into the current noun (pertaining to ghost and spirits) was established around/during the modern English language consensuses, I should have actually lectured, supernatural meaning "beyond nature" predates "spirits/ghost" by 300 hundred years at least.

          Claiming me to be totally wrong and to be doing something I thought* was was asked to answer, seems immature, grow up sir.

          Edited: Apparently I indeed mistook Birdia's question, you were right that my reading of her question was misguided. Which is fine with me, lesson learned.
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        Jun 7 2011: Jim: I agree that there is a need for international agreements on certain issues. But is a world government per se a good thing? Or are multiple nations necessary to experiment and determine the best working system?
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          Jun 7 2011: It's hard to envision the exact structure...

          It may be that the "World" government acts as an umbrella under which "Continental" (for lack of a better word) governments operate

          I'll try to use the US government as an analogy.
          Think of 3 layers of government:
          1) The the world government would be analogous to the federal government, with an executive, legislative and judicial branches.
          2) The continental governments would be analogous to the state governments
          3) Then there would be "cultural" governments that would be analagous to our local governance.

          Separation of religion and state would need to occur at the "World" and "Continental" levels, but "Cultural" governments would have the freedom to develop a government that was whatever the local customs, etc. are.

          I think we should do it....
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          Jun 8 2011: Why do governments exist :
          a. to protect the interest of 'investors' with force.
          b. to arrange basic conditions for the workers for 'investors', so their employees do not get sick and do not complain all the time.

          1. So yes the continental government, Though these continental governments will not function as the state governments. They have a different role. I believe there will be a ying-Yang situation of 11 continents, all having their SWOTs strengths/weaknesses/opportunities/threats though these 11 sit at a round table. Making the balance in "MeFirst-WeFirst" terms.

          2. There is the region for survival, this is about 35km/22 miles to 150km/100 miles, depending on the population densities. This will be regulated by crowdsourcing principles, supply and demand is in balance because of technology. No government interference is needed as the basics of survival is arranged through computers, preordering food and resources will become normal, LESS WASTE, LESS STRESS, communitarian principles and common good thrive (best of capitalism and communism, leaving out biggest rotten eggs)

          3. On the continents there are several boards as continents are big and after each about 1400 km the temperament/culture is different. They also do the tax thingies.

          What I can see, the EU is already to big to handle and should be 3 different regions of 1400 KM radius, for practical-logistic and cultural reasons.
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          Jun 8 2011: Paul,
          Very good thoughts...

          I think before something like we are talking about is viable much else needs to evolve... economies, a mixing of cultures, standards of living, health, education, etc. for lack of a better term, Globalization.
          Once this happens, the whole equation changes and the possibility of something like we are talking about becomes real.

          Paul, you said: "On the continents there are several boards as continents are big and after each about 1400 km the temperament/culture is different. They also do the tax thingies."

          "What I can see, the EU is already to big to handle and should be 3 different regions of 1400 KM radius, for practical-logistic and cultural reasons."

          This is why I think a 3rd level would be needed - Cultural governments that would have jurisdiction over, in EU's case, 3 different geographic areas.

          Does that make any sense?
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          Jun 10 2011: First everybody should have the same idea on what we mean with 'culture', as the word has been used and abused everywhere.

          I believe there is nature for the body and culture for the mind.

          Culture vs tradition is used/abused
          Culture vs national is "/"
          Culture vs Art is "/"

          We need the mathematics of culture I guess, the basic rules, like http://www.ted.com/talks/damon_horowitz.html is talking about when referring to Plato. Basic ingredients of any local culture there can't be any misunderstanding/discussion about like 2 = 2.

          An analogy I like; You can't make soup without water. For the rest the soup is up to local ingredients and personal taste.
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          Jun 10 2011: Culture = the minor differences that divide the world more than religion does.
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          Jun 10 2011: Nicholas.

          "Culture = the minor differences that divide the world more than religion does."

          Don't blame culture if you're a victim of your own. It is racism, sexism and prejudice of all kinds, both blatant and subtle, that is dividing our world.
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          Jun 10 2011: Assumptions, assumptions.

          Trust me, it is a lot more than just racism, sexism and other prejudices.

          It is the cultures that endorse prejudices that divide the world.

          I put the "more than religion does" as a denotation that religion also does divide us, but also that religion has a lot to do with cultures.
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          Jun 11 2011: Exactly the trouble; as long as we do not have a common understanding of 'culture', on what it is and is for in essence, we have no starting point for progress.
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          Jun 11 2011: Paul, (from your profile, which is great)

          "So my focus;
          SCHOOL : where to go?
          FOOD : where to go?

          If enough people care and focus, we can solve these two basics in survival together."

          Insightful, what do you feel are and can be a contributing factor towards what separate(s) the world? Which has more of a playing role, school or food, for making this altruistic perspective/viewpoints a reality?
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          Jun 12 2011: great you take interest in my profile. according to your profile you must see the rebirth of the arts vs economics symphony in the future :) nice you have this vision/passion already.

          'contributing factor'; Google Fridays. Every person, every company should implement 1 day a week to work on something bigger than themselves like school or food challenges.

          'playing role'; School is most important to collectively address globally, and it can be pragmatically possible. It is to redesign the way we prepare children for the world by inspiring the leaders who have the means by actually doing so. There have been many attempts in recent 20 years, though (ofcourse) now it will work. This takes time, though there are some shortcuts at hand.

          Food starts with empowering yourself and countryside. And should be involved in schooling also ofcourse. Though we are with 6 billion people and mother nature didn't count on that. What is important is to start to see the duality in everything between 'survival' and 'luxury', if we understand that, globally we can start solving the food chain.
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          Jun 12 2011: All teachers should be spreading these ideas of unification, no?
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          Jun 13 2011: Current Teachers ( at least in europe ) have a work overload, growing each year due to the kids are more advanced each year when they enter school.

          We have tried to work with them, but as long as we don't offer instant ways of saving time and better results, we are off.

          So start with students learning to become a teacher, show them different ways, as they are fresh, open minded. By the time they get into schools they ofcourse are heading for the same daily overload, though have learned about an alternative.

          There you have your start.
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          Jun 13 2011: The work load should be in parallel with the "interest load" making the students more in an educating role.


          In response to fixing this "shit filled education system of academia" simply add one class "Critical Science-Fiction 101" - A class where sci-fi movies and books will be read, analyzed, articulated, and reflected upon the current times in which we live in. This can do a great deal of benefits for the world and for the children themselves.
          - More globally aware young citizens
          - More creative imaginations in reflection to the real world
          - A better understanding of bio-products, transhumanistic philosophies, and robotics.
          - More reason to be interested in science; not just seen as a bunch of definitions and math problems....
          - Perhaps even more interest into other fields of study also. Cannot have a future without history. Math is a universal language. etc..


          In response to a beneficial universal education system:
          - A democratic education, should be installed everywhere, immediately.
          - 3 months of summer changes. Ridiculous to maintain this value today... Just give more hours and less days OR less hours more days. Vote on it, but 3 months summers are where the youth get their education for getting wasted more than they are getting prepared for their futures.
          - Education systems that inspire all children to the fullest contention in each field of study. + When you study math, stop teaching yes or no answer, teach them what math is and can do for life! + Science, stop teaching it like a history lesson, get their hands dirty and blow something up! (Can go for academia also)

          We cannot start with the teachers... the teachers are already ready to get working on the "treadmill of anxiety" that is the 10 hour work day of school, lesson plans, and grading... The only thing that teachers need to change are their salaries.

          Systems need to change, all educations, not just public,
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          Jun 13 2011: Yes for SF in school, 50% global imagination, 50% localized through solutionist method.
          Yes to change it tomorrow; show me the proof of some testruns to scale it up globally, and it is possible next week...

          Teachers, Parents and Children ask for change, a revolution, all 3 together is the first time in history. Though all are stuck in chicken-egg story.

          Nicholas, are you prepared to go beyond English and Philosophy?
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          Jun 13 2011: English, is my joke major, I am only in it to be able to teach ESL in other countries. Philosophy, is just another interest of mine... truly if we lived in a society like the one I could imagine, I would be a cognitive scientist and study people all day.

          English itself is a joke major.... Philosophy is too broad.... they are both silly in my opinion. Just using them to get me our of this nation..

          I do not see a revolution for a few more years or a decade... depends on how angry our teachers get here in the states.
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        Jun 8 2011: Paul: Are you familiar with Leopold Kohr ("small is beautiful")?


        Your suggestions remind me of his thinking.
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          Jun 8 2011: Noop, but great thinking this guy has! It's a pattern we are each about 100 years are in, and each time we miss the point and have to start over ;)
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          Jun 9 2011: Always so much more to learn. The Kohr link was excellent for making me realize it anew.
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          Jun 9 2011: haunting and deeply troubling quote Birdia..and would that mean that somewhere deep inside us we all have possibility to do ghoulish hideous heinous things.?.is Sado Masochism on the same axis?

          Or, and I prefer this possibility that those who crave power carry other traits about control and domination that co-occurr with pleasure in torture.

          I'd rather entertain the possibility of a ghost viisting than entertain the possibility that we are all somehow capable of such acts.
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          Jun 10 2011: a further quote from Kohr..he says it exists in all of us and is checked only by fearof being cheked..essentially

          "But what is the critical magnitude leading to abuse? The answer is not too difficult. It is the volume of power that ensures immunity from retaliation. This it does whenever it induces in its possessor the belief that he cannot be checked by any existing larger accumulation of power"


          don't think I accept that
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          Jun 10 2011: Tim,I like the premise of "small is beautiful"

          .Buckie Fuller used to say" think globally act locally"

          We need the engagement of local community, neighborhood before we engage effectively as national citizens let alone global citizens. That loss of community and neighborhood sensibility, I believe. is part of the huge disconnect I think between "we the people" and "those folk in Washington".That was a premise of my undergraduate thesis many moons ago, although I was not aware of Kohls at the time.Others wrote about about it as well..Jane Jacobs, Oscar Newman

          The extreme that Kohls is pointing to in the quote Birdia shared below, as an end result of huge ruling enities accountable to no one, grows naturally from the disenfranchisement that comes from non engagement. ( iei no one is looking, no one is involved in carrrying it forward anchored in values of community and humanity)We have a saying in Maine. "You can't get there from here".Look what our disefranchisement allows now.. Look how we vote. Look how disconnected we are from what our governmnet actually is doing and has done for decades.our . It's a recipe for exactly the grim prospect Kohls presents in ever larger and ever more powerful government units
          .@ Birdia "Hope it makes you feel better"
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          Jun 10 2011: Lindsay : yes, what happened actually to the Bucky Wisdoms? Where is the movement? Now and than I googled a bit the last 10 years but I only see sustainable design things, not the broader view beyond architecture.
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          Jun 10 2011: Just a further though on te Kohl quote Birdia shared with us..and contiuing from my post "Think globally act locally"...

          What Kohl is saying seems to connect up with gunatanmao in my mind..unimaginable that the U.S. would have created Gunatanamo and used the exceptinal challaenges of terrorism to pour holy water on the use of torture. I don't think that could have happened is we as a country ..we the people were not so disconnected from what our givernmnet is actually doing..

          It re enforces Kohl hypothesis that certainty of non retaliation is an ingredient to these horeenduous degradions of humanity . Th Us assumed that we would excuse it if we found out..there was no fear of retaliation or challenge ( they thought).

          Obviously many factors other than size play into governmnets undertaking these actions .my working theory at the moment is that it also requires whne a democracy unertakes these things a deep dinfranchisement of "we the people"
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          Jun 10 2011: Hi Paul..as a young planner Buckie was a very important touchstone for me.. ..and strangely my island home is right across the bay from his..I can paddle there. He was much beloved here and his family still live here.

          The main message for the world today from Buckie's work, what he would want us to remember and carry on is at the individual level. There is a wonderful essay at scribd which he wrote weeks before he died addressed to the world's youth...I will try to find it and bring it here.

          His suicide by drowining was interrupted by a voice that said "what are you doing, your life doesn't belong to you , it belongs to humanity" He stumbled out of the water went home to his cold water flat in chicago and went into complete silence for two yeasr to ponder what that meant and how that was possible tha tone life could mean anything to humanity.

          Hhe emerged not with a vision of dymaxion domes(that din't come til later as a class project at Black Mountain) but a sort of "rule of life" from which he knew somehow his life would make a difference to humanity.

          His essay reflects back to that moment in the lake and tries to speak to how that emanated how that became that his one life gave so much, inspired so many to "think globally and cat locally"..it is specifucaklly addressed to the young.Would be a great Ted Talk.".the power of one"..how one life can mean so much to so many and pass its value on through the generations.

          Buckie's story, the way he lived his life, even what he said in his last essay would have a high woo factor for the Ted atheist/agnostic community ..I'm afraid it would set Birdia's supernatural alarms off. But the core idea is universal and acessible and true. His life is proof that it is true.
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          Jun 10 2011: I am a great enthousiast on Buckminster, his spaceship earth and world game writings changed my mind on the 'world' concept. I all the time wonder why there are not more people with his type of inspiration.

          I would love to read his vision/kick under his butt. It is indeed hard to explain why 'my thoughts' are not mine and are for humanity, lately I refer to Stephen Pressfields book ; The War of Art... it made me laugh and made me understand this bigger 'in-spiration' picture and how it works (for me).

          I was in other discussions on the 'supernatural' and agree on old religions belong in museums not to be fought upon in material ways, though the essence should become immortal once again in new mythologies as we long badly for it and hollywood movies are not enough.

          Anyways, on buckminster fuller; my favorite quote; don't argue about something which is not good, 'simply' offer a better alternative.
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          Jun 11 2011: @ Birdia..picture..thanks Birdia..not my taste at all..and am surprised that it's yours.a Rothko.would have made me happy...:>)))
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          Jun 10 2011: Lighten up = definitely. That suggestion can go your way too at times.

          Otherwise "origin" through me off, we have been in disputes before over poor communications, on both sides of our arguments. We are vastly different people Birdia.
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          Jun 10 2011: That's good advice, Birdia, Would be great if everyone followed that.
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          Jun 10 2011: *Lighten up = definitely. That suggestion can go your way too at times.*
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          Jun 10 2011: Touche.

          Glad my confused misinterpretation was humorous.

          P.S. - This conversation is perfect.
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      Jun 7 2011: No money in one world government Tim
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          Jun 7 2011: Preaching to the choir Nicola!

          "Now, and for a long time the USA has been becoming a Socialistic-Semi-Capitalist-Fascist Nation. China has become a Socialistic-Semi-Capitalist-Fascist Nation."

          A republic is a form of government that adopts many systems in which runs the systems. China and the U.S are republics today, definitely.

          I agree with all you have to say, but my pessimism in the topic of uniting the world under one government still remains. While the ideals of money = wealth/power, those who own all the wealth and power will keep it to themselves...

          "I would say no money = union"

          **No money in one world government Tim**

          Nice conclusion :-P (maybe, I am misunderstanding you though)
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          Jun 7 2011: Is it the Hegelian dialectic at work (which may must be another name for yin/yang)?

          A thesis gets established. It has shortcomings. An antithesis is proposed. The two battle it out. A synthesis emerges. Rinse and repeat.
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          Jun 7 2011: birdia, i suggest the world government to has 7 billion members, and all have the jurisdiction on his/her own property.
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          Jun 7 2011: people can roam through others' property with permit. you would be welcome to my piece of land anytime.
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          Jun 7 2011: I vote for freedom to roam:

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          Jun 7 2011: if the cave or mountain is not inhabited yet, they can take it.
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          Jun 7 2011: Tim, I agree and thanks for article.

          Birdia + Time + Kris, you are welcome to stay on my property let alone visit! It is rare for me to find those who enjoy philosophy, art, and worldly issues in my area of living.

          Kris, I know you have a distaste for the following, but I still think it is valuable for considering how the world would work united... you guessed it...

          Venus Project - is an organization that advocates American futurist Jacque Fresco's visions of the future with the aim to improve society by moving towards a global sustainable social design that they call a "resource-based economy". Such a system incorporates sustainable cities and values, energy efficiency, collective farms, natural resource management and advanced automation, focusing on the benefits they claim it will bring to humanity. (Wiki)

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          Jun 8 2011: nicholas, we totally agree that the v.p. is a perfect example of those movements that aim for centralizing decision making under one superpower. all what we have today, the eu, the un, the imf, the wto, all these organizations try to control large chunks of the globe. if you want to analyze what would happen under total central control, v.p. is a good case study. you can also study the already realized versions of such systems, in the former eastern bloc. an experiment stopped abruptly when their economies collapsed.
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          Jun 8 2011: Mind giving me some references Kris? websites, articles, links, and what not)

          I just find this quote more and more true as I see the world what it is and what it could be/

          "When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace."
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          Jun 8 2011: references to what? what would happen? or that v.p. seeks control? or that wto seeks control? or that the same caused the downfall of the soviet bloc?
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          Jun 8 2011: Sorry,

          references to "you can also study the already realized versions of such systems, in the former eastern bloc. an experiment stopped abruptly when their economies collapsed."

          How would V.P want to control exactly? lol
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          Jun 9 2011: you really need a reference to how and why the eastern bloc collapsed? i would start with a mid level material "economic calculation in the socialist commonwealth", written in 1920. you can also watch some talks of yuri maltsev, you can find some on youtube.

          v.p. wants to control everything with a giant computer. even the idea of a "good" distribution of resources indicate that they think they can show us what is "good". and if something is definitely good, i see no reason why to allow different approaches. destroying money also points into this direction. money is required for participants in the economy to distribute information. without that information the economy can't function on its own, it needs central planning.
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          Jun 9 2011: That's why all the leaders of the scientific communities of the world need to tell Jacque Fresco "Good job, now step aside!" and take his inventions, put his name on some, and get to work!

          My history class probably wasn't like yours Kris. We learned all of the American wars - 3 times a piece - before we were allowed to choose a world history class...which was Europe instead.
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          Jun 9 2011: nicholas, the socialism experiment was described a lot of times as something fundamental, spiritual, whatever. but the real essence of it, apart of propaganda, was central planning. a central planning board decided what to produce, and how. harvesting machines were rusting on the field, because there was no gasoline to run them, and there were no buildings to park them in. meanwhile, people stood in queues to get a loaf of bread, because there was not enough food. in the plant producing natural gas, there were quotas how much to produce. not meeting the quota meant bad to managers. producing more was also bad. so if they produced more than the quota, they released it out to the air. even in the 90's, some western economists raised the question whether the superior soviet economy is the better, or the free western. little they knew about the empty shops, the queues, the black markets, the outrageously low life standards, the dysfunctional factories, the forged statistics, the systems of lie. this all ended near 1990, when socialists finally had to admit that they have no clue how to get things work. it was not a revolution. socialists simply gave in. they failed miserably. things just refused to work under their reign.
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          Jun 10 2011: Kris,

          Ever since you argued with me original on V.P I did do research on socialism, and there are always flaws with a system who wants equality but no one is willing to share wealth...

          Pure socialism and communism can work, but without central banking.

          The fact they haven't worked means they cannot work in alliance to Capitalism or Republic-ism ideals.

          However if altruistic qualities were placed into the central design of socialistic society, there would be a lot more room for improvement. "The bakery co-op is also significant because its assembly-line workers earn over $65,000 a year." http://www.axiomnews.ca/NewsArchives/2009/October/October21.html

          The bakery employees make over 65k a year, because their bosses are all the employees, that is pure socialistic ideologies.

          I know it is not the same to have seen and lived through the experience of a collapsing system. However the system collapse because of the people. The people need to be blamed more often. They should have rioted, they should of have destroyed the banks and protested at the government buildings.

          The middle east is now an example of how and why people should start taking charge of their governments. So that equality is not expected but taken.

          Again, it is hard for me to talk, I been privileged not to see these awful events, however find yourself lucky you were able to pull through and can live through such challenges and be able to be free in thought like you are, the world's poor beats the world's rich a million to one. That is not right, and that is because of money being seen as more than a tool for trade.

          Sorry for the rant, but, we need to start figuring out how to eliminate culture, eliminate extra, and focus on what matters for all. That is socialistic-communism, but not in the political manner but in the true manner.

          Politics involve military and money. Money shouldn't be cared for over humans, and our only enemy should be aliens who want our resources, not one another!
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          Jun 10 2011: nicholas, this does not make sense: "Pure socialism and communism can work, but without central banking.". in socialism, *everything* is central. all banks are operated by the government. it is purely an organizational choice whether they create a central bank or not, since every decision is ultimately made and state level.

          people can be blamed if they have the responsibility and the power to make decisions. in socialism, they didn't have. everything is decided centrally, people just have to comply. socialism didn't fail because people refused to comply. socialism failed because the central decisions were awful. and i claim that nobody can do better. not even the envisioned supercomputer. only the distributed knowledge of the 7 billion can.

          btw don't think my life was so disastrous. when i was born, in the late socialism, things were much better, as they continually stole technology and methods from the west. so we had food (bread is bread, no brands. 2 types of milk, such variety of everything), we had cars (trabant, wartburg, dacia and lada), we had flats to live in (provided by the state), we could travel (inside the bloc, outside of it once in every 3 years, only if you behaved well). meanwhile, the government borrowed money like crazy to be able to provide even this.
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          Jun 10 2011: Sorry, a central banking system is what I meant Kris!

          Then I must rephrase, democratic-socialism through technology. Would also comply to 7 billion being the leaders. Education all people how to be a citizen of the world, and the world would be one citizen. Do you think that is brainwashing or just altruism?

          I like the respective you gave me, it was insightful! Glad you did not find it too terrible.

          You know, from talking to you a few months ago and now, you seem to have considered a lot of different view points (opinions and thoughts) from then until now. Am I thinking correctly or is it just my imagination playing tricks on my consciousness?
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          Jun 10 2011: democratic socialism is an oxymoron. if people can vote, they don't vote on socialism. only when they don't know the consequences, but then they will soon learn it the hard way, and never again vote for them. you can maintain socialism only with shooting significant percentage of the population. as the soviets did.
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          Jun 10 2011: So Kris,

          Simply, dictate to me, how you begin to start your ideal government, and then tell me how it would maintain itself.

          A brevity of an answer would be suffice, but it would be interesting to hear what you would do with your own system to dictate over, for an experiment.
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          Jun 10 2011: dictate? i'm not sure what do you mean by that. my ideal government can not be formed today. not before the people realizes some basic truths. at that point, governments become unnecessary.
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          Jun 11 2011: Well articulated.

          I meant dictate as to describe what you would want in a government!

          However, since this is your standpoint (which is brilliant).

          Describe your ideal education system to help people be citizens and not to be followers of a system then!
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          Jun 11 2011: it is called the internet, and thanks, we are fine!
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          Jun 11 2011: I wanted your perspective of education.

          "we are fine!"

          I think there was a miscommunication.
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          Jun 12 2011: i thought you are asking about education about government. if you talk about basic education of kids, my position is, not at all suprisingly, freedom. in the simple way: abolish all regulations at once.
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          Jun 12 2011: Democratic education-like?

          No not about government, sorry a mis-translation through context. Sorry.
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          Jun 13 2011: democracy is a form of regulation. we don't need that either. we need freedom.
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          Jun 9 2011: Jimi was an interesting person. Interesting in diverse ways.

          But, his messages were imaginative.
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      Jun 7 2011: The EU is an excellent model for how world governments might work..a better one than the UN.
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        Jun 8 2011: I doubt it. In fact the EU are taking example on the US. Look at France and the laws being passed on every months(especially regarding social security and retirement) while the French people are completely oblivious to what's going on, hypnotized by the mass-media and their beyond-mediocre entertainment, with a President whose main concern is to make sure photographers do not forget him while 'trying' to stand next to Obama.
        Or look at Italy, whose prime minister still believes that women belong to the kitchen, and claims loud and clear:" better cheat on your wife with a gorgeous 19 year old than being gay".
        Then we have Merkel, to whom I wouldn't even give the keys of a kebab shop by fear of having to file for bankruptcy the following year.
        Let's not forget about the UK, one time colonizer today colonized by the 'demons' of the excelling US foreign policies. And those are the nations of the G8...

        I really believe we're all on the same bag right now, and that bag is on its way to the landfill unless we redirect the course of our Evolution. Am I off topic? ;)
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          Jun 8 2011: i agree with lindsay on that one. the eu is a perfect example how the world government would look like. to describe this, i would like to introduce the term "fractal disaster". it means a situation which is disastrous on every possible level, no matter if you look at the big picture or a small detail, personal, local, regional or global. economy, culture, law, whatever aspect you choose, it will be a hopeless incoherent mess, and nothing will show any sign of functioning.
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          Jun 8 2011: Krisztian – “’fractal disaster’. It means a situation which is disastrous on every possible level, no matter if you look at the big picture or a small detail, personal, local, regional or global. economy, culture, law, whatever aspect you choose, it will be a hopeless incoherent mess, and nothing will show any sign of functioning."

          Where does the term “fractal disaster” come from? Is that term referring to how you feel the EU is showing signs of becoming? It sure feels at times like we (USA) are on that road... and then sometimes I think it is bigger than that; that it is a global “fractal disaster”; and then sometimes I think it’s not a disaster, it’s just the way one epoch ends and another begins.

          I don’t think the world is anywhere near ready for a One World form of governance. It will be a long time before we are evolved to the point where economies, cultures, and the many other things you mentioned will be ready for it. A long, long time.
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          Jun 8 2011: the term "fractal disaster" is a variation of the internet-born "fractal wrongness".

          and it explains my frustration with the eu.
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          Jun 12 2011: The problem is there is EU and there are nation states. The big progressive/protection things are decided on EU level. As nation state governments are 'undressed' so to say in hard currency, they become social nationalistic to legitimize their existence.
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      Jun 9 2011: Ok thanks. If it's any consolation, I have the same feelings for the most part about our situation here in the US. I really think we are in the midst of an epochal change.
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      Jun 14 2011: I used to think that a one world government was inevitable. I also thought that this could only lead to a corrupt oppressive power with no one to monitor the beheadings. I thought this because my mom is obsessed with the rapture and my childhood was filled with scary stories about what trials we would face before Jesus took us home. Now, however, I am a young adult (24) that thinks for herself, and I honestly believe that the ebb and flow of things; the natural order, will continue to knock prosperous societies down a notch, if not entirely, before world government can lay foundation. And if it does happen, rather than the book of Revelation scaring me, I still worry that Brave New World, 1984 and A Clockwork Orange are prophecies. So to conclude my long winded answer - I think any government will devolve before a OWG rises, but not because of a lock of choice, because of the natural order of things.
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    Jun 6 2011: Today if you buy solar panels in America the government takes off a huge amount of the cost.

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      Jun 7 2011: Today if you buy solar panels in Sweden the government forces you to sell the power before you buy it back at roughly 4 times the price...
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    Jun 6 2011: Nicola, your advice is sage advice for the western traveler!! As Tim requested, I'd love to know more about how you arrived there, where to go to get the best feel for the culture, etc. what education is like, what the Chinese think of Americans/other cultures, etc.
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    Jun 5 2011: We now have the internet, seek your own truths, if you feel those are rare and hard to come by in politics then look at many different websites. If many different websites are saying the same information, start considering the information plausible or accurate.

    Various news websites:
    (The first one is my favorite for technology and world issues)

    Newspapers from around the world:

    Here TED, I have more websites that cover specific topics also, just ask and I'll post them.
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      Jun 5 2011: Nichola: Actually I think you've already given the best advice on how to deal with posting:

      "row your boat...gently down the stream".

      An occasional, judicious dip of your paddle yields amazing results.
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    Jun 3 2011: "When do emotions become unequal in reality when they are the same intrapersonally?"
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    Jun 3 2011: Hi Tim!

    Just wanted to say that I love this idea, hope that trolls don't show up and destroy it. And that is why i believe that TED should continue to be censored in the same manner as it has been previously.

    This conversation should serve as THE exception to all the censoring at TED.
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      Jun 3 2011: Thanks Jimmy. You know, I think the community may actually have it's own defensive mechanism against trolls. Power of the people you know. Give it a try. What's on your mind?
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    Jun 2 2011: Dear Sage Tim,
    Here is what my heart is crying out for the last few weeks. How the heck did the world get like this? While I was busy loving my husband, having kids, getting an education, and being a good employee, I looked up and the world I thought was there disappeared (or never was)? While I take full responsiblily as part of the problem for being ignorant, I really did think we were paying people who should have had these things covered.
    So what's a woman like me, facing a new phase of life with an awakened conscience to do?
    Any and all honest advice is more than welcome from all quarters.
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      Jun 3 2011: What is your interpretation of the world? The most broadest sense as all nations, all people, and just overall the entire globe?

      Personally: the world got like this due traditions of not giving two f***s about anything besides self and family (friends).
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        Jun 3 2011: Yeah, Nicholas, that's why I admitted to being part of the problem. While I was busy living my life and focusing on the immediate I feel like I let a lot of stuff get by on my watch. My only redeeming hope is that I have time and energy and education to do something now and I am ready to make a change.
        PS I did think I gave at least one f***!
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          Jun 3 2011: To keep the spirit of this conversation alive.

          Question: Do you feel it is better to master a field of study or to have little foundation in every field of study?


          Just do not continue the tradition of not caring and perhaps your children will be some of the mover and shakers this planet needs to coming to peace.

          "When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.”
          - Jimi Hendrix (I think)

          Theravada Buddhism is by far one of the most interesting religions of all time. Teaches to follow elders (wise men), create your own path in life to follow, and to find joy in everything. Those actions will bring you to enlightenment. Should be how we educate all children in the world.
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          Jun 3 2011: Hi Debra

          Ability of taking own responsibility is not a small matter while most loves to shift monkey. In my culture there is saying that says if one is unable take the responsibility of her/his immediates, how come she/he thinks to be ready to take over even greater responsibility ?

          So I think you are right and you are more right as you have the awareness & intension to do something for at an extended level. Raising kids with a better outlook means you added some more good people to the civilization, so you can be happy rather for that.

          Like you if everyone of this humankind at certain point of life could have that intension as you have , world could be much better than as it is now.
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        Jun 3 2011: That's good advice. I have one son and his wife who are working on some of the world's tough issues as diplomats and I did raise my kids to make a difference. I made a difference in woman's rights in Canada as I shared on your how you learn question- but I am still stuggling with the 'making a difference myself thing". My plan is to teach English in China as soon as my house sells but now I am wondering if that will be enough, I wanted to reach out and learn about another people to foster some world peace but I'm not sure if that is just pie in the sky. All my kids are grown and I am free and I have a heart full of love that wants to be dumped somewhere.
        I'm just have not found a good strong focus yet.
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          Jun 3 2011: It's never too late to start a new journey.

          Changes are needed for a healthy life, even if they are minor ones daily.

          I decided to make the change by leaving this dreadful country. Although an oxymoron statement; I plan on being spontaneous in life. I plan on teaching ESL immediately after I graduate, I want to teach in various countries for one or two years at a time. Maybe peace corps and other non-profit organizations on the way between countries. I want to see if my generalizations of people are accurate for everyone in the world, and for foundations to write my books on.

          Your son sounds like a good guy, I know you're proud!
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          Jun 3 2011: Debra which city in China you are heading for?
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        Jun 3 2011: Nicholas, perhaps we'll meet teaching ESL someday!

        To respond to the question that you asked- I think it is important to get knowledge what ever way it comes to you or which ever way is natural for you. Sometimes you get a wide foundation of knowledge and it leads to specialized knowledge. Sometimes a deep interest leads to a widening search that supports that tower. In a lifetime lots of opportunities arise and as you follow your interests and stay open you will end up with a solid structure.

        In response to your adjective about your country I just want to say that a country that produced so many good people (like you) has much to redeem it.
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          Jun 3 2011: I hope so !

          if there's anything i could be of any help ,feel free to email me:D
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        Jun 3 2011: Amily, I was responding to Nicholas above and had not seen your question.

        I am still deciding and would very much appreciate any input you could provide. At this point I am leaning toward the north in a second tier city. I hope to remain for at least a year or two and to move to a couple of places within the nation. Starting in the north where I might have a chance of learning Mandarin because I understand that there will be more alignment between the Mandarin I would be learning and what is spoken in daily life. As the language is so complex and I am an older student I want to give myself every edge.
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          Jun 3 2011: I know.... Debra ...not easy to pick up a new language.I have been learning english since secondary school and still feel quite chanllenging in understanding meaning-condensed sentences.ohh people in the north are considered as more straightforward which makes it easier for communication. i am sure you will manage everything well!!

          ohh to your previous post, made a mistake myself ;D
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          Jun 3 2011: Tell us about Chengdu Amily. I've been fantasizing a trip into China from Nepal which would lead through Chengdu. It seems like a fascinating place. Historic. On the edge of the Himalayas. Tell us your impressions.
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          Jun 7 2011: sorry for the late reply Tim. Chengdu is famous for its Panda resort and food here is very spicy and hot . if you ever visit chengdu ,Jiuzaigou is a must go-a gorgous place. Its on the edge of Himalayas in map.actullay far away from that mountain but it is near Tibet.there are several acient streets and DUFU(a ancient chinese poet)shrine in the city.

          will you be able to visit other cities as well , i know Yunnan is a really nice place,especially in June and July .
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        Jun 5 2011: To all who took the time to advise and to help me (both above and below), you cannot possibly know how much I appreciate your kindness and insight!
        Big hugs to all!
    • Jun 3 2011: Debra, I think you did everything right, and I know it could not have been easy (really). I applaud you for being able to do so much, and to do it well. I don't think the world is any more messed up than it has always been. The difference is that with our technologies, we are exposed to a lot more, and a lot more is exposed to us. So, we see a lot more of the furtive inner workings, with our own governments and with others. But we are also in a better position to do something about it. It is more difficult to keep up quiet now.

      Re: your trip to China, again, I applaud your openness. Good luck and take extra care on those poor air quality days!
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      Jun 3 2011: Welcome to the land of the knowingly ignorant Debra.

      It's really not that bad a place once you get used to it. A new discovery around every corner.
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      Jun 7 2011: Hey Deb!

      I think the world you thought was there never was... sorry...
      Because it's only getting better and better (with a few dents here and there) and I think that that is what you should be doing as well, try making it better!
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        Jun 8 2011: The wonderful thing about disillusionment is that you get to reconstruct the world more accurately! I'm working on that daily. Thanks, Jimmy!
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      Jun 2 2011: Thanks Birdia. I noticed your location changed. Are you in Morocco now? What inspired you to go there?
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          Jun 7 2011: So how is the sheltering sky? That was one of my favorite movies. Is the book good too?
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      Jun 2 2011: Hi Wongmo

      To answer your first point, I am with same view point as you made an nice analogy with dinner table.... but having all good intension to carry on the discussion , I also find it difficult sometimes to track my comments , as all of us here are busy with professional and personal life.

      I proposed to TED to have an notification system (actually I opened up a discussion on that issue but was immediately closed citing the reason that I should give the feedabcak to conversation admin instead opening a discussion) once any post of any member is commented by some other members, so that s/he can right away go to the point and check whether it needs a further response.

      Right now the system does not have that. Each time one has to go to her/his "my conversation" option and then look in to each and every conversation & check whether there is any new post on that though not sure whether it is an independent post or a reply of her/his comment that needs further attention.

      The person has also to memorise the total number of comments that conversation had earlier and compare it with latest comment numbers, which is a challenge , sometimes deleted post either by admin or author creates another confusion.

      So may be it happens due to those reasons as I tried to capture above.

      Another thing can be done, now each time anyone clicks conversation tab, the page of "Featured" one pops up first , instead if TED can upgrade the system in a way that with first Click the member will see "My Coversation" first, if someone who has yet to start a coversation for her/him Featured one can come first.

      May be it will solve to some extent the issue you raised.
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      Jun 2 2011: Maybe they should of named this area "Beta" a work in progress
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        Jun 2 2011: It will definitely be interesting to see how it evolves.
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      Jun 2 2011: wongmo: I agree (btw - did I leave the table?). Salim is right also that it is tough to keep track of all of the conversations.

      What really irks me is people who start a conversation and never return. But I guess each has her/his own motivations.

      I think what motivates me is:
      . being able to express my opinions (and having them challenged)
      . hearing other people's viewpoint
      . socializiing (i.e. - just plain interacting with others)

      What motivates you?
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        Jun 2 2011: Hi Tim

        I think for me your 2nd point is a major driver but I can't ignore other twos as well. though I agree with Wongmo to some extent as I have no challenge in socializing in real, but virtually it offers me something more like, socializing with someone thousand miles apart , great people like Tim , Wongmo, Richard , Debra, Jaime (missing him though here) Nicholas and many more, that also hugely valuable to me.
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    Jun 2 2011: haha Tim this is fun! rule breaking time!!
    here's something crossed my mind this morning
    1 how prejudice is formed?how can people escape it?
    2 Giving less birthes to make the life of the rest better ,is this going to justify birth-control?
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      Jun 2 2011: Hi Amily. I think prejudice is formed the same way any belief is formed. Outside influences train our mind to think in a certain way. Of course, the issue with prejudice is that it is not based on facts. So I guess to escape it we need to become educated. Reading can help. But I think interacting with a diverse group of people is probably the best. The tricky part is that once we learn something it can take a long time to unlearn it. And the older we get the more calcified our thoughts become.

      What do you think?

      [I'll leave the birth-control question to someone else.]
      • Jun 2 2011: Education is the most effective contraceptive. It is also the best antidote to prejudice and fanaticism, I think.
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          Jun 2 2011: That might just be true, Julie Ann.
          In grad school I was a statistical anomaly among educated women to have 5 kids. Of course, I got my degrees after I had my five and that wasn't easy. ........But voila! no more kids after!
          I'll leave the birth control questions to others too (I finally figured out what was causing it! - just jokin'!)
          Absolutely no regrets though. They are amazing people.
      • Jun 3 2011: Debra, a generalization of course, on the scale of countries, not individuals. I have friends, both veterinarians, 5 kids, most wonderful parents.
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        Jun 3 2011: Tim I think the prejudice is formed before people come to realise it is misconceptions.and i agree that its like any belief being formed.it seems people has little choices wether or not to form it cuz many of them exsited as a part of cultures and it passes around. but Yes i think we do have something that can be done to minimize it . i found interacting with people works really well and also it its thru the interaction that people become aware of the existence of prejudice.

        here's link about understanding prejudice, havent gone thru it all but think it would be helpful.

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          Jun 3 2011: Amily: I am really interested in what motivated your original comment about prejudice. In your experience where have you seen the most prejudice? Against yourself? Or against others (who)?
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        Jun 7 2011: Tim good questions what led me to ask that question are some thoughts coming from Sam Richards' conversation and also stigma issue in general. i havent reseached enough to see what are most prejudiced .i could only speak from what i know so i guess mental illness is somthing that are heavily prejudiced.some people suffers more from it than the actual illness.i have known a friend's family memeber who was diagnosed shiziophrenia which means isolation from the rest of the villiage becuz people believed that he was occupied by a ghost .thats quite sad and thats a part of their beliefs. so i am interested to explore it further and see how it becomes what it is and maybe there are some solutions there.
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        Jun 7 2011: Birdia I am fine just came back from dragonboat festival here;) what about you?
        emm its not ghost its shiziophrenia but local people(minority tribe) dont really understand it due to lack of mental health educations.its quite complicated to change people's minds there.

        yea ghost movie i have never watched it since 12 cuz the imagination may run wild after watching it!
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        Jun 8 2011: Birdia this year here no Dragon No Boat , just Holidays and Rice Dumplings and i loved it.

        thanks for the recommondation of Rosemary's Baby too! i remeber watched a Japan horror movie when i was a child and the spiders with human heads in it haunted me for a long time.so i guess i ll read the introduction before i watch it;)
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      Jun 2 2011: if we all agreed to less births then what will happen in sixty years?
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      Jun 2 2011: Birth-control is great, but what it does to the female's body is still up for debate!

      I feel it is going to turn out like some of those science fiction movies where women need a permit to have babies as to keep population from not going crazy high. What prevents babies could be another type of birth control or perhaps surgery to keep them from getting pregnant and then surgery to allow them to get pregnant. Where will science take us!??!

      - About justice, it is a philosophical idea of right and wrong and how people should handle those who do wrong against the pre-established consensus of right. How do escape it? Run, change you identify, and/or hide.
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          Jun 2 2011: Lol other diseases that can be transmitted not just babies.. haha

          Well good but maybe your future genetics will suffer side-effects you do not know.

          I am not a chauvinist, if people were educated to understand that sex isn't everything there would be no future laws on sexual activity in my picture of the future lol. Education is the cure for EVERY problem in the world.


          Or maybe I directed my futuristic thoughts the wrong way....
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          Jun 3 2011: The idea of the Vasectomy = bothersome to think about

          However also, can equal a good idea.

          Yes, STD's are no joke.

          I wonder if this is TED appropriate but ...

          Ever hear about the anti-rape condom for women? It was mainly designed for women of Africa, but I think this is an idea worth spreading, while on the idea of safe sex/STD's...

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          Jun 3 2011: Way to be an information topper! That story is way more vicious to imagine!

          I find it fascinating the our intelligence is universally high enough to understand why rape is wrong in this world. To me, a demonstration of evolution in intelligence, a slow + sloth-like evolution, but a change towards the right direction none the less!
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        Jun 3 2011: Birth control used to be quite a big part of life here and a lot of horrible things happened as Nicolas mentioned about what were done to women. (actually i dont know much about it until i heard from some friends what they have heard ). but now much better. just got very shocked how a little piece of policy could mean to many human lives.
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    Jun 2 2011: Hi Tim

    As usual you opened up a very good, moreover timely discussion , my worry whole thread will be getting deleted. Will be watching out......Best wishes for your discussion :)
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      Jun 16 2011: You were right Salim. But it did get in a good two weeks. Missed you here.
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    Jun 2 2011: What is the best way to live life?

    Can you measure personal success? How? What does it involve?
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      Jun 2 2011: Nicholas. How to measure the success? Great question. Though I'm not sure anyone functions on the basis of measures. But an intriguing thought nevertheless.

      For me a few "measures" come to mind:
      . feeling happy (I suppose a "happiness index" would come in handy)
      . getting up in the morning anxious to confront the day
      . going to bed at night satisfied with the day and getting a good sleep

      So perhaps we could rate each day on whether we satisfy each of these three measures and sum up the numbers (or keep a running average). That could be a measure of success.

      How would you measure success?
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        Jun 2 2011: Let's put it this way, since we both have pretty much the same opportunities in life, perhaps I can measure success with you or against you, but in general I cannot measure success. Success for many means getting a meal at the end of the day, success for many others is not dying from gun fire, while success for even more is not being imprisoned for talking against their government even though they disfavor the actions of it often.

        My personal success is the amount of understanding and consideration I do towards man, the world, and myself.

        Being happy is also perspective, however we can agree this would be where success is often weighed. Again referring to my first statement, happiness can be achieved in much more serious and uneasy ways. The questions when succeeding happiness in all of these situations is "Who is more happy in the world and why?" "Does happiness increase upon not having to worry about basic needs or government influence?" "When do emotions become unequal in reality when they are the same intrapersonally?"
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    Jun 1 2011: How to sustain yourself and family and do 100% good.... 50%?
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      Jun 1 2011: Paul: Finding the correct balance is definitely a tough thing to do. Plus I keep asking myself - how much am I struggling just to compete with those around me? And then there's the big question - what is "good"?

      What components do you think make for a good life?
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        Jun 2 2011: Real food, real wisdom and real housing ;) I that is arranged you can spend all he time in the world with your beloved ones. In the meantime, going to sleep at night having worked on one of the 3 makes my day good.

        Real food is hard to find
        Real wisdom is still splintered all around
        Current housing / mortgage system is the most enslaving system still in society.

        So lot's to do ;)
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    Jun 1 2011: How can we make more connections between different science fields? Students become experts in one problem in one specific field. Scientist cannot understand their fellows in the same field. For an interdisciplinary research to be published, you need peer review. But there are a few people who do that type of interdisciplinary research. So reviewing process gets too long. More on the topic:

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      Jun 1 2011: Could something like the wikipedia model be used? I'm always impressed by the amount of discussion that goes on behind the scenes on popular pages. For example, check out the discussion page for conscioussness:


      If new information could be presented, linked, discussed and moved up/down in prominence in this way, it seems like a lot could be achieved. I keep hearing issues based on "lack of peer review", but wikipedia's quality has been constantly improving. And besides, it is important that readers learn how to evaluate information.

      What do you think?
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    Jun 1 2011: What do you think can be done to resolve the Israeli/Palestinian conflict?
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      Jun 1 2011: Israel needs a pro-Palestine Prime Minister. It is obvious that Netanyahu is not a supporter of the Palestinian people. The same should be said for Palestine; they need a pro-Israel President and Prime Minister. That being said, Palestinians also need to stabilize their own government before any actual negotiations can take place.

      In all honesty though, I do not believe the conflict will ever be resolved as Israel is a large Jewish state full of infidels. Remove "Jewish" and change "infidels" to just "people" and we may one day resolve the conflict.
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        Jun 2 2011: So Andrew, you being a "man of the book", how do you view the Israeli foundation for existence? After all, 2000 years of reciting the biblically inspired "next year in Jerusalem" has to have an effect.
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          Jun 2 2011: In my honest opinion, Israel, as a state, should have never been founded. But that all happened well before I was born. Right after Obama made the statement for Israel to return to pre-1967 borders, a very intelligent friend of mine posted as his status Facebook status, "Breaking news, Native Americans ask for a return to pre-1607 borders." I laughed but at the same time imperialism is no laughing matter. Israel is sovereign state, and I see no reason for this to change, especially in the light of the 21st century. As I'm sure you'd guess, I think the solution is getting rid of religion. All these bronze age ideologies have caused so much more harm than good.
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      Jun 1 2011: I was told it can't be fixed. What I understand is that the fear of Israel is that Palestinians have way more children, so I
      Israeli will be a super minority in the region, slowly squeezed out time after time if there would be pure 'peace'.
      They have to keep on kicking people out to give Israeli a safe 'home' feeling.

      Though this doesn't contribute to the solving...

      Honestly, what about deciding not to appoint a leader or party who is asked to fix things? Look at Spain and Northern Africa, they don't want to appoint fixers, they want 'original democracy'
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        Jun 6 2011: Paul: You make an important point which I rarely hear people discuss.


        Can anyone describe a long-term, positive outcome for the survival of the Jewish state of Israel?

        Personally, I would like to see a solution which allows the Zionists to have a state and brings peace to the region, but it is hard to envision.
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          Jun 6 2011: But peace will remain impossible as long as the Muslim world continues to shout Jihad. The Zionists have their fair share of prejudice as well, commandment numero uno lays it on the table upfront.
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          Jun 7 2011: We are in a time where there are no alternatives to look into the future. Communism fell because the hope was put onto capitalism. Though now we want to get rid off capitalism.

          The same is for religion, we know we need 'empathy/compassion' stories, but the stories to teach us are old, used and abused, divided the world.

          If we can't give a group of people a better alternative for material vision and immaterial vision, all we can do is hold tight on the past at whatever (human/natural) cost.

          Expansion/kolonialism for physical survival
          Traditional books for mental survival

          Who is writing/living up the new 'stories'?
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          Jun 7 2011: @ Nichola..religion not a good basis for a governmnet unit of nay kind

          this came up in the main body of the discussion on the Israel Palestine borders..although I have always valued the American foundation of separation of church and state in a framework of personal freedoms, including freedom of religion, I had never considered where a governmnet based on religious affilitaion ( or ethnicity for that matter) ..

          Atthis moment in time..where we are inescapably global citizens..we must learn to liveand think as global citizens. That is not well served by Nations like france trying to prserve what is quinitissentially culturally french by banning Hijab or reating or encouyraging the creation of new nations based on religion and ethnicity.

          Would make a terrific separate Ted Conversation and so kmportant as Egypt for example seems most likely to form itself as a muslim nation..as a nation of islam with intolerance and opporession of christians, jews, and other non-muslims..

          And still anoter on this theme that is now troubling to me..At the moment israel was created Britain didn't want Jewish refugees. The U.S. didn't want jewish refugees and wasplacing all those who came in in holding camps not welcoming them.. so can we really say that the creation of Isreal was abou giving them their long lost home;and..building a thriving new democracy based on western demicratic odeals or was the real purpose at the time to create a jewsih ghetto that would preventunwantedummigation to other nation and encourage all jewish migration to be there?

          It's a hideous thought that that was really what the creation of the State of Israel was all bout. But of late it is a nagging thought, .Still another Ted Conversation.
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      Jun 2 2011: Leaders on both sides must block out the extremist views and do it for the majority of people on both sides who want peace for their families and their children.

      One thing though - I don't know if a majority exists among the Palestinian people that recognises Israel's right to exist. Perhaps something of a referendum should be taken on the question in both Israel and among the Palestinian people.

      If not, then peace is a distant goal.... and both the Isreali and the Palestinian leaders have a lot of work to do...