Tag Archives: TED

TEDxExeter 2017

The lunch interval may have been by default vegetarian, but we have had plenty of meat to get stuck into in the first half of the day at the TEDx 2017. Christina Lamb talking about the bomb attack targeting Bhutto’s motorcade when she returned to Pakistan, and what drives her to tell the stories of defiance and life in the darkest places. The chance to talk to speakers is a big part of TED, and watching the interest and excitement of schoolgirls ask her questions about journalism a reminder of the theme of this TEDx. 


If there is to be any, children having hope that they can write, report and be activists to bring about the promise of hope. To live their lives with hope. Andrew Solomon spoke about how travel had the social function to give you a window and a mirror as you engaged the world. That there was a need to challenge Theresa May’s assertion that there was no such thing as a citizen of the world. We have multiple identities, and they interconnect us with the rest of humanity. 

Nujeen Mustafa spoke about being more than a number as a refugee from Syria. If the name is unfamiliar to you, she is the girl in a wheel chair that left that bloody civil war. Her heartfelt plea for acceptance, an understanding of what makes her different was based on a hope that we all could understand one another. If only we were prepared to do so. 

Videos of the talks will be uploaded on the web – will try and update this blog post when they are. We are only halfway through the sessions for this one day event. 

My thanks to Claire Kennedy, the curator and licensee of TEDxExter, for inviting me to attend. It is one thing watching a TED talk. But being there, just makes it more human. 

Being more in touch with our humanity, is to have more hope. 

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Video: Karima Bennoune’s “When people of Muslim heritage challenge fundamentalism”


Standing in a corridor with a parrying knife, waiting for the door to be smashed in by fundamentalists wanting to kill your father for teaching evolution. Thankfully, they did not get in, but the experience set Karima Bennoune on a journey to promote not just human rights, but to show the struggle of Muslims against fundamentalism. By telling their story of living in the face of violence and intimidation.

I had heard of the title of her book “Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here” but having watched the TED video it has jumped to the front of the next one to buy. Too often, I am asked where are the Muslims challenging fundamentalists? That I am on the left apologising for violence blaming anything other than islamism. That I am on the right using examples of Muslim fundamentalists to suggest at it’s heart this is the real isalm.


Karima Bennoune’s talk “When people of Muslim heritage challenge fundamentalism” is the thing to listen to about going beyond this left/right response. By telling stories of the sheer horror of what fundamentalists do, and of the people standing up against them. We hear about the murder and the madness. Much less about the people who are in the firing line taking them on.

Worth twenty minutes of your time.

Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog

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Video: Sunny Hundal on 60 Million Indian Women Missing

Sunny at the TED Amsterdam Women Conference

Sunny at the TED Amsterdam Women Conference

Hundal explains why there are 60 million less women in India, a unique gender differential in the world.

In Sunny Hundal’s 15 minute TED talk, the gender difference between Indian men and women is explained by economic status. Men are financial assets, women financial liabilities – graphically shown by 8,000 dowry related deaths of women in a year – and that is just the official figures.

Education is not enough, nor urbanisation, to stem the tide of what Sunny describes as a genocide against women from gender selected abortion and infanticide through to dowry deaths. Financial independence will truly empower women. Having jobs, starting their own companies – no longer seen as a burden on family’s resources.

So whilst empowering women is the most effective way to end oppression, education is a means not an end in this. Jobs, well paying careers, which give independence to women are the way forward. We do not just need the right economic conditions but a cultural shift in attitudes which have been dominant for centuries.

As Sunny concludes in an article he wrote on this:

But the problem in India goes to the heart of cultural practices that have been around for centuries. Culture doesn’t just determine a country’s laws and how well they are implemented, it also discourages or encourages violence against women. Practices such as paying dowry for brides, shunning divorced women, passing on inheritances only to men, not putting girls through schools – are all part of the problem. As families get richer, there is more pressure to pay out bigger dowries for girls and they have more money to afford an abortion.

According to one estimate, by 2020 India will have an extra 28 million men of marriageable age. The social impact of such an imbalance is unprecedented in history, and India barely has a police force and judicial system that can cope with the current problem.

Unless the country recognises the gravity of the problem and does more to protect half the population, the social impact will be felt in every aspect of Indian society for decades.

Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog

Follow @JPSargeant78

My Huffington Post Blog

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James Randi overdoses on sleeping pills yet lives!

Another humorous and informative TED talk, this time by James Randi explaining why he has put up one million dollars to anyone that can prove the paranormal or psychic abilities. He also explains why he can take an overdose of homeopathic sleeping pills and still survive, and that the conjuring by fraudsters involves playing on people’s assumptions not just gullibility. Often with ruinous results.


More on the the James Randi Educational Foundation can be found here.

Follow Up Blog: Alternative Medicine Claims

Previous Related Blog: Debunking Myths Should Not Lead To Prison

Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog

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I share therefore I am

In a thought provoking TED talk, Sherry Turkle: Connected, but alone? builds on the themes mentioned in a previous blog on multitasking and manners, by talking about the consequences on individuals and relationships when using communications to remain connected.

One key thing psychologically is that with solitude, comes the drive to be with other people. When that drive is diverted by telecommunications, we never learn to be alone and as a consequence end up being more lonely. She makes an interesting narrative about how being connected can lead to isolation.

Sherry Turkle is Abby Rockefeller Mauzé Professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology in the Program in Science, Technology, and Society at MIT and the founder (2001) and current director of the MIT Initiative on Technology and Self. Professor Turkle received a joint doctorate in sociology and personality psychology from Harvard University and is a licensed clinical psychologist.


Previous related blogs:

Multitasking and Manners

Was It Twitter Wot Won It [US Presidential Election]

Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog

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