About Crystal

Languages

English

Areas of Expertise

Physics, Mathematics, Photography, Writing, self analysis, Philosophy (of science), education

Universities

University of Windsor

Comments & conversations

108386
Crystal McKenzie
Posted almost 3 years ago
Alison Gopnik: What do babies think?
Interesting thought, that maybe there is some truth-sensing and understanding of falsity affecting the results. But was the researcher really being false about the broccoli, or about the goldfish crackers? I'd much prefer broccoli to crackers! :) Maybe the experiment could be refined by using researchers who truly liked the things for which they were expressing their enjoyment, in order to rule out that interpretation.
108386
Crystal McKenzie
Posted almost 3 years ago
Alison Gopnik: What do babies think?
The potential is what allows the classification of babies as geniuses: gen·ius /ˈjēnyəs/ Noun: 1. Exceptional intellectual or creative power or other natural ability. 2. A person who is exceptionally intelligent or creative, either generally or in some particular respect: "musical genius". Someone who is a genius does not necessarily know everything about everything, but has the ability to think about things in exceptional ways. Such ingenuity is dulled by the testing procedures that emphasize rote memorization such as "one plus one equals two", because memorization is possible (and, sadly, rewarded) even in the absence of understanding. Take, for example, someone who has memorized 1 + 1 = 2 versus someone who understands that the expression shows how there are two equivalent ways of expressing the quantity "two": as a sum of two units, or as the number "2" itself. The one with understanding will have a much easier time learning algebra than the one who has merely memorized the result. The ingenuity involved is not obvious, but it does go beyond mere knowledge of what happens when adding 1 + 1.
108386
Crystal McKenzie
Posted almost 3 years ago
Alison Gopnik: What do babies think?
I had learned that acronym as, "in my humble opinion". The humility emphasizes that the opinion belongs to the person submitting it, and it is not being pushed as something that others necessarily need to believe as well.
108386
Crystal McKenzie
Posted almost 3 years ago
Sarah Kaminsky: My father the forger
Were you not listening to the sentiment in the speaker's voice, as you were reading the translation of her words? Or did you turn down the volume? If you didn't turn down the volume, why not? I'm willing to bet that there is something that would get lost in translation if someone else's voice was dubbed over hers. It wouldn't be the person herself telling her father's story. That said, in the name of accessibility, it probably would be a good idea for talks to be dubbed in other languages in addition to subtitles. Or, at very least, perhaps it should be possible for subtitles to be read by a computer voice.
108386
Crystal McKenzie
Posted almost 3 years ago
Sarah Kaminsky: My father the forger
But he did develop technology in order to accomplish what he did! The things he invented may or may not have existed already, but he had to develop them in his own ways in order to be most effective at what he did, given his monetary constraints. His application of technology for a humanitarian cause qualifies this talk as an on-topic idea worth spreading.
108386
Crystal McKenzie
Posted about 3 years ago
Edward Tenner: Unintended consequences
I, too, was surprised by how vague this talk was. It was definitely not put together well. Some of the ideas were interesting, and some of the anecdotes were interesting, but the earliest ideas mentioned had no examples, and the later examples didn't really get brought back to the ideas the speaker was trying to present. As a result, I found the talk hard to follow, for different reasons in different parts of the talk. I almost find myself wanting to make excuses for the speaker, though. He seems like a smart fellow, and has a lot of knowledge, but maybe he didn't have much time to prepare his talk, or maybe he is inexperienced in speaking (something I feel would describe myself as well). Maybe he was nervous and skimmed over examples at the beginning and then caught his mistake but overcompensated by focusing so much on the examples, he wasn't emphasizing the connection between them anymore. I thought for sure the unintended consequence story about penicillin would be about its discovery, which is reputed to be by accident. But instead... the story was supposed to show how the war led to scaling up its production...? I don't see the connection. Was it because the person who encouraged the teamwork that led to the increase in production was a woman, and no woman would be working in such a company unless most of the men were away at war? I was so lost, I was coming up with my own explanations to make up for the lack of them being spoken. I think the main the unintended consequence of this talk was the lesson about how not to do in a talk.
108386
Crystal McKenzie
Posted about 3 years ago
Geoffrey West: The surprising math of cities and corporations
Is it just me, or don't those "exponential" curves look somewhat like the first part of the sigmoidal curve? Or was that the point of the talk, and it wasn't quite emphasized enough? For example, if we were to look at that growth plot for Walmart from the perspective of someone seeing it in ...what year did he say again? 1994? Anyway, from somewhere before the curve levels out, the curve looks like it could be exponential, and there's no way to predict how high it will rise before starting to round out to a very minimal slope (if the final phase of the plot will have any slope at all). I suspect the same trend would apply to cities, economies, etc. There is eventually going to be a point where all these seemingly exponential growth curves level out to some sort of equilibrium. Perhaps this would even imply that there are maxima for all these properties of cities, and these might even already have been exceeded in some of the larger cities that are more reasonably described by their boroughs or sub-cities. (Or I could be totally mistaken on how this works; like the speaker, I am "merely" a physicist who is considering the mathematics of these systems without really taking into account the story behind how the evolution took place or will experience in the future.) I think this data implies it would be beneficial for all companies and cities to AIM for an equilibrium, rather than following the misguided notion that exponential growth can be sustained indefinitely. It might not be entirely predictable how the general shape will apply in every case, namely in the duration of the phases of increasing and decreasing slope. However, if it was assumed that this curve was inevitable, and companies/cities/etc. planned for them, there would be less likelihood of collapse at all. Maybe this foresight is what can be taken from this idea, and there would be fewer failed companies or (as a commenter mentioned) "soulless cities" resulting from impossible expectations.
108386
Crystal McKenzie
Posted about 3 years ago
Robert Hammond: Building a park in the sky
Wow! I had never, ever considered visiting New York in my entire life, and knowing about this park has changed that. I love interesting juxtapositions, like city and nature, and this is a very unique way to have that. I am intrigued enough to actually consider visiting it! Kudos to everyone involved! And thanks to TED for helping make this idea known.
108386
Crystal McKenzie
Posted about 3 years ago
Julian Treasure: 5 ways to listen better
Oh, wow, what a beautiful talk. I got tears in my eyes by the end of it, as I vowed to become a better listener. At the same time, I realize that listening is a skill I already have been actively practicing lately: I've expanded my birdwatching over the past few years to be more of a bird-listening exercise, and also added bug-listening and identification to my repertoire as of last summer and am continuing to delight in what I can hear. Plus, my husband's an audiophile, so we regularly spend time in front of our stereo system, listening to the meshing of instruments and voices and lines of music put together by very talented musicians and sound engineers. So, I totally "get" the amazement that can be sensed from the multi-channel listening exercise. Yay! I also find myself feeling powerfully grateful to a teacher that I didn't even particularly like at the time (and I'm not entirely sure why anymore). It was grade four or five (same teacher for both, so it's hard to recall when this was) and this teacher had decided that part of our class time was going to involve listening to her reading a book. Now, I loved books and reading well enough as it was, and I grew up having bedtime stories read to me until I was old enough to read them myself, but it was a completely different experience to sit and listen to a story of many chapters, over many days, amidst the sounds of my fellow students shuffling around. It took effort to pay attention and follow the story, but the story was worth the attention (The Witches by Roald Dahl) and so I was invested in learning to listen better so I wouldn't miss anything. What a wholly valuable experience, I now realize, especially since it was one of the most memorable lessons on listening that I had ever received! The most potent lesson I am taking from this talk is the notion that our perception of time is linked to what we hear. Such a powerful notion, I need to keep an ear on it and see if it helps me improve my awareness of time.