Johnathon Lipscomb

About Johnathon

Talk to me about

What is it that excites your heart, enlivens your memories or rattles your inquisitive muscle? Tell of your fantasies, your hopes, your forgivenesses. What sparks your whimsy, your ire, your lust?

My TED story

I discovered TED when a podcast host I enjoyed years ago expressed his disappointment at not succeeding in his application for attendance. Curiosity got the better of me; and, I've been hooked on these talks ever since, mixing in PopTech and Lift Conference talks for good measure. My feed reader stays full of these things which keep my meandering grey matter stimulated, giving me other things to talk about at parties besides the sex, drugs, religion and politics I love so much.

Favorite talks

Comments & conversations

189768
Johnathon Lipscomb
Posted about 2 years ago
Is success related to your talent? Is talent related to your interests?
I define success as attaining a desired goal. Whether that goal is money, health, or simply the completion of a specified task is another matter that doesn't fit into what success is. That said, success relates to talent directly because having a talent in a given field makes attaining a goal within in that field easier. Talent lubricates progress. As a poet and artist I have found that talent is an inescapable component of my interests. Like many creatives, I have sometimes felt compelled to practice my talent beyond all rational or emotional interest in doing so. For example, I used to be bothered by the words that would spring into my mind without invitation and resent the compulsion to immediately write them down before they were lost; but, my talent for being plagued by these words was constantly fed by my interests in poets, writers, storytellers and musicians. Gauging one's own talent and developing it are two huge topics in themselves. In my experience, I am most talented in those areas that come easily and persistently to me, like tastes. I don't have to work at knowing that I love dark chocolate because it easily and persistently reminds me that I love it every time I smell or taste it. Thus, I'd say I have a talent, albeit very minor, for enjoying the taste and smell of chocolate. This is different from the ability to taste or smell chocolate because there are a great number of people who can smell and taste chocolate without any enjoyment of it whatsoever. Being a talented artist requires that your art comes easily and persistently with a passion, without any effort on your part. It could be said that an art chooses the artist before the artist's birth, then the artist practices the art or is simply plagued by it until death. Being chosen by your vary nature is having talent. Talent can not be taught. Talent can, and often should, be developed. As talent is an individual gift it must be developed by those who own it, perhaps with guidance by others.
189768
Johnathon Lipscomb
Posted about 2 years ago
Why is it so hard for one to open up about an abusive past?
Haley Goranson touched on what I think is the core of why it is hard for people to open up about abuse, though I would add that the individual shame is matched by social judgement, as Don Anderson pointed out. All of us humans tend to be full of prejudices and rationalized judgements. Opening up to others requires vulnerability that can be taken advantage of. We come to realize this early on through the petty cruelties we inflict on each other in childhood, when teasing and bullying are common coping mechanisms. Unfortunately, as adults, many of us adopt a stance of exploiting the perceived weaknesses of those around us, whether friend, foe or indifferent. Such people can make the vulnerability required to share pain into a source of additional abuse. Avoiding such abuse is natural. Summoning the courage to share a hurtful experience can be a process of small steps, beginning with acknowledging the abuse personally, to one's self. The next, and possibly last, step might be to reveal the abuse and the emotions it stirs up to the most trusted, loving and compassionate person the abused knows. Although it may feel safer to make such a revelation to an unknown who has no personal investment, such an exchange tends to rob the abused of the potential for further acceptance, grace and empowerment by someone who is personally invested in the abused's well being. That's not to say it can't be helpful; but, rather that it might be less effective. [All of this blather is my personal opinion based on my own baggage, not any professional or intellectual grounds, of course.] It seems to me that if one can take a moment to say that the can heal then one can repeat that moment until it becomes a part of them. Just as we can become inured to pain and abuse, we can condition ourselves to feel worthy of more and better in our lives. Once we afford ourselves such compassion we can then extend it freely to others that they might benefit from it.
189768
Johnathon Lipscomb
Posted about 2 years ago
Why is it so hard for one to open up about an abusive past?
Thanks for turning me on to this talk. In the context of the original post above, Jackson doesn't directly address the issue of why it may be hard to share abusive experiences; but, it does frame the issue well with concepts that should be considered before we ever confront Kate Roseler's question. Although I have not yet read all of the comments on this thread (just those posted before this one) I did notice that some of the comments assumed abuse against women rather than abusive situations in general. I found that curious, and typical, and ironic. [edit] It's kinda disappointing that this powerful talk from 2012 is not directly accessible through a search here on the primary TED site.
189768
Johnathon Lipscomb
Posted about 2 years ago
Given the rates of poverty and despair in even our most "advanced" nations and the onset of global warming, is space exploration prudent?
For those whose information on poverty may be limited, who have 15-60 minutes to spare for a further understanding of the perspective of my question, I suggest a small dose of Moyers & Company: http://billmoyers.com/segment/richard-wolff-on-capitalisms-destructive-power/ Moyers' discussion with economist Richard Wolff addresses issues of perpetual growth, sustainable economics, poverty and the limitations of industry in a very clear and practical manner. Support materials found on the Moyers site include: http://billmoyers.com/2013/05/20/rise-up-or-die/ and http://billmoyers.com/2013/05/15/poverty-and-inequality-in-some-of-the-worlds-richest-countries/ Contrary to what some of the earlier comments in this thread may purport, you will note that inequality, poverty and social welfare are not addressed as technological issues; but, rather, as social issues more requiring compassion and cooperation than capitalization and competition. When the Moyers information is considered with the TED talks by Larry Brilliant and Janine Benyus that I referenced in the original post the result is a socially conscious, sustainability focused perspective that counters the exuberance of the Jon Nguyen and Elon Musk perspectives that tout spacefaring as a pleasure we can afford and should pursue. Obviously, I am interested in learning more that might logically support or denounce the ideas on both sides of the issue as I have stated it in my original question.
189768
Johnathon Lipscomb
Posted about 2 years ago
Given the rates of poverty and despair in even our most "advanced" nations and the onset of global warming, is space exploration prudent?
Thanks for your consideration. I would tend to agree with you. By extension, any problem we create or fail to solve is bound to follow us wherever we go. It would seem most beneficial if we would take care of our current home before we move on to another. At the very least it would be less parasitic of us, don't you think?
189768
Johnathon Lipscomb
Posted about 2 years ago
Given the rates of poverty and despair in even our most "advanced" nations and the onset of global warming, is space exploration prudent?
Although I am prone to simply agree to disagree with you I can't resist this trivial aside: The cotton gin [note that's not a East Indian spirit djinn or jinn) did not end slavery because it was invented in 1793 while slavery in America fueled the civil war there and didn't become illegal in the US until 1865. This obviously ignores the fact that slavery continued in other parts of the world and persists in small pockets even today, though in various forms. Your errors in this one thing appear to be typical of your other errors, which seem to be fueled more by emotion than information. Naturally you probably think my premise here too is "completely incorrect." So, I'll guess that we are at an impasse that won't spiral into an absurd tangent any longer. Thanks for your time though.
189768
Johnathon Lipscomb
Posted about 2 years ago
Can using an introduced animal to control another animal actually work on a large scale?
The "success" of the moth introduction to contain the failure of the cactus introduction has an irony to it don't you think? If you take a peek at the Wikipedia page about the Cactoblastis moth you will find that its Caribbean introduction has resulted in it invading America, decimating the native cacti there, especially in Florida. Perhaps the Australian "success" is more attributable to the absence of similar native succulents and the grace that allowed the moth to not find a native species to exploit, rather than any particular genius of the practice of introducing species.
189768
Johnathon Lipscomb
Posted about 2 years ago
Given the rates of poverty and despair in even our most "advanced" nations and the onset of global warming, is space exploration prudent?
Do you really believe that we would never have developed any form of solar power if we were not attempting to use it for space or could it be that aerospace was simply one of many possible routes to solar power? If a powerful way to get corporations involved in social good is to allow a select few corporate shareholders and executives to profit from a development that millions of global citizens have to produce and pay for, then we should always allow such an exchange. At least that is what I understand that last sentence of yours as saying. I'm sure early American plantation owners would agree with such an argument as their trade in slavery resulted in many new innovations and improved conditions for masses of people both on and beyond their plantations. Solar panels from space programs are as good as cheap rum from slave plantations, right?
189768
Johnathon Lipscomb
Posted about 2 years ago
Given the rates of poverty and despair in even our most "advanced" nations and the onset of global warming, is space exploration prudent?
Interesting arguments Barry. I'll address your points in reverse order, for clarity. The idea that reducing American space exploration is a loss resulting in a win for enemies of the US would seem to put nationalism above the providence of terrestrial life in general and push human life to a supreme position outside of terrestrial life. Such competition seems petty in face of nature, which knows no national, religious or ethnic boundaries. This is particularly odd when put into the perspective that much of the resources needed to support any single nation's space program must be sourced globally rather than nationally. Surely, the greatness of a nation is not in how well it can bully its rival, yes? As to the form of my question, I meant to state it exactly as I did, to frame a topic of query. If your interest in some other topic, so be it. That really has nothing to do with the topic I've proposed and there's really no reason we should quibble over whose topic is most valid. Still, just for the sake of the silliness of it, I have to say, "this is my party and I'll cry if I want to" or at the least ignore tangents that don't fit my interests. While it may be true that entire industries have grown from the NASA project, it, by nature, must also be said that the resources and funds supporting that development may have served society equally well elsewhere. As a simple example, I personally would rather the US government have spent the monies used to research and develop freeze-dried rations on feeding K-12 students or developing more efficient farming technologies. Either of those alternatives could potentially have created jobs and new industries while serving practical, social needs. A world without communication satellites would have no internet, no cell phones, no satellite broadcasters; but, it might also have less homogenization of information and afford for personal interaction than social networks like twitter.