K H

Mercer Island, WA, United States

About K

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Bio

Hi! My name is Kela Harrington, and I'm a student who wants to make a difference.

Languages

Chinese, English, Latin

An idea worth spreading

In America, most people only know one language fluently, and that language is English. Students should be exposed to more languages at a younger age. In other countries, bilingualism is something that schools strive to implement when children are younger. I want to help the next generation embrace language on a grander scale, and promote understanding between cultures. America needs to gain more awareness and one of the ways to do so is by getting the next generation interested in linguistics and learning about other cultures.

I'm passionate about

linguistics, promoting understanding between cultures, inventing theories, the human mind (neuroscience, psychology), biology (especially evolutionary biology)

Talk to me about

Scientific breakthroughs and new discoveries, the development and relationships between language, promoting understanding between cultures, linguistics, the human mind, biotech, evolutionary biology.

People don't know I'm good at

I have a photographic memory. I can also sketch realistic figures. I am also ambidextrous.

My TED story

TED has helped me think outside the box, and inspired me to change the world for the better. I have learned a lot about myself and the world through being a part of TED.

Favorite talks

Comments & conversations

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K H
Posted 2 months ago
What is art? And why should we care what it is?
Art is communication. Art means something different to everyone for a reason. Some people learn how to draw by simply watching their surroundings. We often forget that art can be (and is often) self taught. Many of the great visual artists in history taught themselves. True art comes from what the brain wants to convey: an idea, a philosophy, a state of mind, hopes and dreams. Formal instruction aids in perfecting technique, but technique must be accompanied by a message. Everyone has seen a sketch where the realism is there, but the eyes seem dead or the symmetry of the face, unreal. The emotion, the communication, is not effective. The rest of the sketch may be accurate in terms of technique. But where is the idea that is being conveyed? The artwork is "lifeless". When one draws, there must be a goal. There can be no second guessing. If you second guess about the emotions you are trying to convey, there is no way you can convey those emotions. One can lack technique but still convey emotion. One can break artistic convention and still get the power of their message across. Literature is essentially the same, only with literature, it is easier to have one's work accepted. This is simply because language is a shared code, whereas visual art is defined differently by each individual. Literature is also communication. Why do people write? Why do poets write poetry? Why do novelists write novels? To explain something, whether it is an argument or a philosophy.
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K H
Posted 3 months ago
Will science ever tell us everything there is to know?
No, we'll never discover the theory of everything, even if it exists. First of all, we only perceive our world in three dimensions. That already restricts how much of the universe we can perceive. We also have short lifespans and are too easily impacted by our direct environment to judge without bias.Though science is meant to be a field free of bias, we are far from perfect as living things, therefore there is no way for our reasoning to be perfect. If the scientific community worked together more than it does, then of course we would be farther ahead than we are right now, but we still won't get far enough. Watson and Crick ripped a majority of their research off of Rosalind Franklin and Maurice Wilkins, whereas if they had all been working together the structure of DNA may have been discovered earlier. And that's only one example. Due to our limited range of senses, we are confined within a certain way of perceiving the universe. Why are we thinking about a theory of everything, when many people around the world don't have enough food to eat or a place to live? Why are we thinking about how the universe works when we can't even understand how our own brains work? Do we really have time to think about a theory of everything? Stephen Hawking himself is adopting a pessimistic stance on this issue. He doesn't think we will be around in 50 years.
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K H
Posted 3 months ago
Stephen Cave: The 4 stories we tell ourselves about death
Good points, Stephen Cave. Religious belief systems throughout history are more similar than we think and Stephen has done a basic outline here. If you look at the mythologies of ancient tribes and civilizations, there are always similarities between religions. Tribes living in the same region may worship "different" gods. However these gods only have slight differences that set them apart. Their names might even sound similar. Remove these variations and you might as well be looking at identical entities. There is always a bad spirit and a good spirit and they're always fighting to control the humans who happen to be in the middle of the spectrum. My question is: Why are all our beliefs about the afterlife similar across different religions? Why always a soul, or a place for the blessed or the damned, or reincarnation?
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K H
Posted 3 months ago
Should schools have the power to limit students' speech?
Taking away free speech always creates more problems than solutions. A teen who wears an armband or a t-shirt that promotes positive change and gives positive calls to action should not be discouraged. Certainly the use of swear words should not be encouraged, but there's a difference between proposing an opinion and angrily bashing contrary opinions. Swearing is not necessary in the exchange of ideas. Many schools which maintain ridiculously strict guidelines about speech often find that their plans for student "obedience" backfire. Students are more encouraged to break the rules, the more rules there are to break. Students who get to share more ideas will be better equipped to handling interaction in their future workplaces. School is where children learn how to interact with their peers. School is as much a place for social interaction as it is an academic institution.
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K H
Posted 4 months ago
According to a Pew Research Poll published on Dec. 30, 2013, only 43% of Republicans believe humans evolved over time. Why is this?
Bart, thanks for adding some longitudinally to the discussion. I was only referring to the two time periods in the report. There is a very similar 2011 Gallup poll that confirms the Pew numbers. On January, 2nd NPR also conducted an analysis of the Pew survey. They note that this result is in line with other polling on science related topics which shows that a growing number of Republicans are challenging the basic assumptions of empiricism and scientific method on all fronts. Again, I think a major reason for this is that most of the stuff they read bashes science. The assault on the global warming hypothesis is another example. The prosperity of America is becoming more and more dependent on science and technology, not less. The attack on science could end up destroying our economy and our environment. The pool of talented scientists will shrink as more and more people put their heads in the sand. We will become a nation of burger flippers.
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K H
Posted 4 months ago
According to a Pew Research Poll published on Dec. 30, 2013, only 43% of Republicans believe humans evolved over time. Why is this?
Jimmy, I am totally with you on this one. In order to make sense of the world we need ways to aggregate the disparate impressions of individuals so we can make generalizeable statements about entire populations. We can't make public policy based on the emotional impressions of a few individuals. You will almost certainly create policies that fail to generate outcomes that serve the general good.