TED Ads Worth Spreading 2011, Part 3 of 3

This is the final part of 3 posts showing all the ads TED deemed worth spreading. Please click on the links for Part 1 and Part 2.

The TED (Technology Entertainment and Design) community just released its 2011 Ads Worth Spreading contest winners, and the ads are better than the ones I have seen for the Super Bowl in any year! But what did you expect from a brilliant group who’s moniker is “Ideas Worth Spreading”?

These ads aren’t like those in the Super Bowl where they last 30-60 seconds. They tend to be much longer, often the full version of the ad rather than the truncated TV time version. However, with ads like these, I could watch commercials in place of TV shows because I don’t notice how long or short the ads were. I’m actually a little sad once it’s over, alongside whatever mood the commercials left me in.

I have posted the ads here because I have found higher quality versions of the ads than the ones available on the TED website. Otherwise, I’d have just linked to them all on TED’s site.

Enjoy and be prepared to be wowwed!!!

Continue reading

Free Personality Assessments Based on Works of Jung, Myers, Briggs and Keirsey

March 2016 Update

I have added a separate, but very detailed introversion / extraversion assessment from Scientific American magazine. This is the most confusing and misunderstood dimension of the four in the personality assessment below so you might want to try this Scientific American assessment to better understand yourself, and/or the concept of introversion / extraversion, itself, and possibly others with that better understanding.

January 2016 update

The personality assessment here is now available as a free iOS app in the iTunes App Store! (my version is an Excel spreadsheet that works like software)

Thank you very much to Shawn Seymour, a student at the University of Minnesota, Morris, who wrote the app for free and made it available for free! Please check out his other work on his site!

———————————-

Get a free, complete personality assessment via the personality typing system created by Carl Jung, popularized by personality assessments as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®)* and Keirsey Temperament Sorter® (KTS®). This assessment is neither the MBTI® nor the KTS® (both paid services), though it has the same objective to identify your personality type in Jung’s personality typing system. The questions are just slightly different from the KTS® to extract the most accurate answers from users so you can get the truest results for yourself.

Why is method so important?

All the personality assessments mentioned above rely on how honestly you answer questions about yourself. They are only as good as you can be honest about yourself. Unfortunately, being honest about ourselves is something we are all challenged with to some extent in life. We all have biased self-perception, misconception or ignorance of our nature, or inconsistent understandings of what it means to be something. To overcome that, the questions in the assessment here ask about common real life situations so people can recall how they reacted rather than theorizing how they would react. What people say and do can often be very different! Cultural biases, obscure expressions, words with stigmas or noble connotations, and the like, have also been minimized.

Why do this assessment or do it again?

Ultimately, you’d do this assessment to get an objective view of your personality, what you are generally like in life and how you interact with others of differing personalities. The assessment cover situations at work and play, in various types of relationships and general life, and interactions with all other personality types in Jung’s system.

A side reason, possibly funner and more practical reason, is to see how you compare with anyone else who has taken a version of this, MBTI® or KTS®… or can be persuaded to take one by you. You can even compare yourself to famous people and fictional characters who might have never taken the assessment! Jung’s personality typing system is actually a theory so experts have been able to type people who have never taken the assessments based on their known actions (not words).

If you’ve done MBTI® or KTS® some years before, you might want to try “it” again as people change over time. This is truer if they have lived through life changing events like marriage, children, trauma or otherwise.

Downloads for the personality assessment tool

There are two Excel files for download here, in which you can answer the questions to get your personality type identified and assessed. One file is a modified KTS® assessment with the “best” questions, in my opinion, from KTS® versions I and II. The other is the same assessment with very basic English or “plain language” for people not completely fluent in English. Theoretically, you should get the same result doing either assessment.

Click here to download the Free Personality Assessment (Excel file)

  • Based on the best Jungian personality assessment tool available, in my opinion, developed by David Keirsey in his classic books Please Understand Me and Please Understand Me II.
  • Version here is a “best of” KTS® versions I and II, using questions I thought would elicit most honest answers from most users. KTS-II® is used by the KTS site.
  • Questions ask about real life situations, not abstract concepts like preferred words.
  • Does not ask for absolute answers, but rather preferences.
  • Has been extensively used around the world. Claims to be most popular personality assessment in the world and Web traffic seems to indicate that, but MBTI® is probably most well-known from its longer history (close to 50 years).
  • Has flaws of challenging language, cultural bias, references and expressions which may be challenging to those not fluent in English or have low literacy.

Click here to download the Free Plain Language Personality Assessment (Excel file)

  • Mostly uses questions from the “best of” Modified KTS® version above, for the reasons that make it excellent.
  • Language is simplified so those for whom English is a foreign language, or those with low grade reading levels, can do the assessment and do it accurately. This is actually an excellent ESL or EFL class exercise!
  • Idioms or expressions are minimized.
  • Terms with cultural bias, like noble or stigmatized words, are eliminated.

Doing the Personality Assessment (Fig 1)

Please refer to Figure 1 above.

  • There are 74 multiple choice questions to the test.
  • Just put A or B in the boxes beside each question.
  • You can’t select any cells besides those so no worries about messing up the file.
  • If you put anything besides A or B, the file will tell you to do otherwise.

Getting your Results Summary (Fig 2)

After you have entered an acceptable answer for all 74 questions, click on the RESULTS tab near the bottom left of the window to get your results.

The file tabulates your scores so there are no mistakes, and gives you a summary as shown above.

Click Print and it will print out all on one page automatically, if you want a print out.

Your Results Summary and Full Assessment (Fig 3)

Your results summary is just a brief part of your full assessment. There are multiple PDF files available with tens of pages of content for you to consider if you so wish.

Please click here to download files specific for your personality type results.

MBTI and Myers-Briggs Type Indicator are trademarks or registered trademarks of the MBTI Trust, Inc., in the United States and other countries.

My First Piano Master Class Audit Experience (Given by Anton Kuerti)

I “audited” my first piano master class today, and here are some things I’d like to share from it because it was an amazing experience for me. First, though, a little background.

A “master class” is a class given to students of a particular discipline by an expert — the master. In the public realm, at least, a piano master class is a class given by a well-known and respected pianist, to a student or someone less experienced. I don’t know if they call classes from good music professors (who are experts) to be “master classes”, since students would take them regularly from the professors. I don’t take piano or play to know. However, what I’m talking about here the rare and privileged events given by some true masters, sometimes made available to the public.

The one I attended was open to the public, obviously, I not being a music student. Mind you, I’m very particular about my solo piano. I want nothing less than Claudio Arrau playing Beethoven. In fact, I have thrown Beethovenian fits upon hearing pianists rush through the Moonlight Sonata movement #1 (i.e. less than 6:30 long with Arrau taking almost 7 minutes), or commit other such piano atrocities! It’s as if I played and knew enough to be a teacher, but I just know how I like my classical piano music.

Anton Kuerti, pianist

I also like Idil Biret for my Chopin, with Martha Argerich being a fine choice, too. I like Rachmaninov for Rachmaninov, where Rachmaninov is available as there are recordings of him for sale, but Vladimirs Ashkenazy and Horowitz are good complements. And Alfred Brendel for Mozart. And so on.

Anyway, the first piano master class I “audited” was at Dalhousie University, for a small fee that was well worth the admission, and given by renowned pianist Anton Kuerti. They call it “audit” because that’s what you do in classes you don’t take but want to see what it’s like.

Master classes are usually in intimate setting, so you are pretty close to the action. This one had the audience on the stage starting just a few feet away from the piano. Unless you have access to watching someone talented play the piano up close, even front row seats at a concert won’t get you this close to the pianist or his/her hands to see what’s going on. And trust me, even if you don’t play, the hands are pretty amazing to watch!

Of course, master classes are not performance. There are a lot of stop and go, try and retry, and retry and retry, sometimes. If you listened to the music alone, it’d probably be annoying. Watch this sample of a documentary video showing pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim teaching Lang Lang, currently a world sensation pianist. They are working on the Appassionata by Beethoven, and you’ll hear why it’s got that name. See how “interrupted” the music gets as they work on it phrase by phrase.

Poor Lang. Didn’t get too far before he got interrupted and criticized, and he’s a world class pianist! In most master classes you might get to audit, there’ll be real students still learning the trade, not a professional who is a student for life, so to speak, like Lang Lang. Anton Kuerti was much more diplomatic and generous in the master class I attended, but that brings up a great point about the students. As diplomatic as Anton Kuerti was to the four students taking the class, over 2 hours, essentially, those students were exposing one of their strengths in life to constant criticism that nitpicked it apart, under the view of a paying public!

Think about that for a second.

What do you pride yourself in doing well? Now, how would you like an expert to come in and tear it apart for everything not perfect about it, even if still good? And have friends, family and strangers pay to watch and find out everything that’s wrong with what they had admired you for doing well? That’s what those poor students were subjecting themselves to, and I applaud them for handling it admirably. They weren’t like Lang Lang who’s renowned enough to be named some UNICEF Ambassador for children. They were just university students.  See what else Lang Lang was subject to during his master class that has some vague similarities with what the students were subjecting themselves to.

So why would someone want to audit a master class then? Especially someone like me who didn’t play. Do I just like to see students get trashed so much I’d pay for it?

No, of course not! That’s just my warped sense of humour.

My short answer to why one would want to audit a music master class is so you can know more about the music. Whether you  know a lot about the music already, or nothing, you’ll still learn lots. That’s the beauty of good music. It can be an endless conversation of learning. Sure, you’ll learn lots of about playing techniques, and maybe some things about the composer and/or his or her style. Beethoven and Mozart were very different in their markings, for examples, with Mozart having lots of dots on notes whereas Beethoven having lots of strokes, though Beethoven was terribly inconsistent in his markings nobody still knows what to make of what should be what. Anyway, that didn’t need to make sense to you. It’d have made more sense if you heard the demonstration of the difference. More Lang Lang and Barenboim?

Ultimately, it’s the music you learn more about. And you don’t need to be well-versed in music theory or such. Music is its own universal language. You can just “get it” from hearing the differences between what’s played by the student and the master. You learn what to listen for to appreciate the nuances you never knew existed before. You get thinking about the music. Why soft there and loud here? Why choppy there instead of lyrical? What does a little interpretation off tempo does for a piece, or just a phrase? Appreciate all the thinking and consideration of the performance because for a lot of people, I think they just think these artists just play the notes with a little liberty the way someone might strap on a guitar just to play a rock ‘n’ roll song. That’s the sort of stuff you get out of master class. You don’t have to agree with what is taught, of course, but now you know there’s a difference, and the differences.

Aside from knowing more about the music, you also learn things you can translate to life. Again, Daniel Barenboim has an example I can use on YouTube. Here, from the same session with Lang Lang as above, Daniel answers questions from the public about producing a “crescendo (increasing volume) on one note” (on a piano, which isn’t possible because sound fades after you hit a key on a piano). Starts at 1:55 after some interesting questions by a kid.

We didn’t have a chance to ask questions like with this documentary here, but that was fine. Well, I should have stuck around to ask the students how they felt, though. Maybe I’ll write the Dalhousie Music Department to see if any of them would be willing to offer up an interview or quote.

One thing I would have liked to have asked Anton Kuerti, though, was regarding his comment about how no publisher has a version of the Beethoven piano sonatas for which the the dot and stroke markings were well done. He obviously knows the difference, having studied them for years and recorded the complete cycle. Why doesn’t he contribute his opinion to a set, even if just for student use since all the celebrity pianists would want to interpret it their own way anyhow? I mean, wouldn’t you have loved to have known how Liszt would have played them if he could annotate the score as closely to the way he played it as possible? Besides, the first student had a Mozart score which Anton Kuerti criticized as being a poor version immediately and told her to buy some from the Far East (her ethnicity, if not origin) that were magnificent reproductions of the original (meaning staying true to the original score, not some altered version).

Perhaps next time. 🙂

Regardless, I would highly recommend you to see if a school near you have master music classes for auditing. I don’t think you have to be a connoisseur of the music at all to enjoy it, and for the price of a movie or less, it’s well worth the experience. I, personally, can’t wait for another one at Dalhousie, but they’re rare.

Meanwhile, if you like to see more piano master classes, YouTube is full of them. The user who had the videos above has many more. This link has the next one after the ones I have, with David Kadouch as the student. If you’re not a fan of Barenboim, try piano master classes videos by Jorge Bolet, Maria Joao Pires, Artur Rubenstein. Just search “masterclass” as one word on YouTube to see what shows up as there are also classes for other instruments.

OK, if you’ve made it this far, I’ll leave you something a little shallower, but funnier. It is a spoof of a music master class, by Hugh Laurie of House. Hugh is also a talented musician and comedian, from the post I had of him singing a song called Mystery (not sure if he wrote it).

p.s. I’m actually not a fan of Barenboim’s playing. I respect his talent and opinions, though I love a lot of classical musician’s opinions on this music, his playing just doesn’t move me like other pianists’ playing. I like Anton Kuerti’s playing of Mozart best, and I have some of his recordings of Mozart Piano Concerti which I rather enjoy.

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Reading Level: 8.1

Share/Bookmark

Juan Martín del Potro Shocks the World Beating Roger Federer in 5 Sets for the US Open Title 2009

Juan Martín del Potro shocked the world today by upsetting Roger Federer in five sets, coming back two sets to one down, to beat world #1 Roger Federer in the US Open Finals. The 20-year old underdog was even more impressive considering he had beaten Rafael Nadal the day before in the semi-finals, proving that victory was no fluke. Del Potro was ranked sixth, so it wasn’t a huge historic upset victory like unseeded Kim Clijsters’ victory earlier in the day. However, considering the dominance of Federer and Nadal of late that it sometimes seemed the only one who could beat each was the other, del Potro’s victory was a huge upset. It was doubly so considering del Potro beat both of them on consecutive days!

Del Potro won 6-3, 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-7 (4) and 6-2 for his first tennis major, and ended Roger Federer’s 5 year winning streak at the US Open. Match point is shown below.

.

It was the first time the US Open Finals went to five sets since 1999, when Andre Agassi beat Todd Martin. It was the first time since 1977 that an Argentinian won the US Open (Guillermo Villas over American Jimmy Connors 2–6, 6–3, 7–6(4), 6–0 when the US Open was on clay).

At times, it seemed del Potro lost a little focus, like when he had the lead in the fourth set after breaking Federer, only to lose the set in a tie-breaker. Yet, he always seemed to get it back to end up winning the match, like how he broke Federer’s serve to win the match.

With a tournament like that, going through the two dominant players of the day when not even 21 years old, the young Argentine has an incredible future ahead of him. Perhaps the next lesson he has to learn will be one of focus, to make these victories easier…. but maybe not.

The entertainment value of the ups and downs, back and forth of such a match as the one he just won is what made it a classic!

Congratulations, Juan Martín! It’s nice to see a fresh new face on the men’s tennis scene! Congrats also has to go to Roger Federer on a great match, tournament and absolutely incredible run over the past 6 years at the US Open. Interestingly, Federer’s last lost at the US Open was to another Argentinean, David Nalbandian, in 2003. David was not in this year’s US Open, recovering from hip surgery.

But Roger Federer still had the shot of the tournament, probably shot of the year, and arguably shot of US Open tournament history!

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Reading Level: 9.6

Share/Save/Bookmark

Juan martin del potro

Schedule and Links for Tunes at Noon 2009 in Halifax, with Christina Martin Opening Review

Tunes at Noon takes place every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from Noon to 1:00 pm in Grand Parade in Halifax, till August 28, 2009. The schedule of performers include:

July 15 – Christina Martin (folk/rock)
July 16 –­ Rebekah Higgs (folk-electric)
July 17 ­– Pink Thunder (pop/rock)
July 22 ­– Ian Sherwood (rock/jazz/folk) / Steven Bowers (folk rock)
July 23 ­– The SideCats (roots/world/jazz/blues)
July 24 ­– Marimba Stew (percussive groove)
July 29 ­– Shannon Quinn (celtic)
July 30 ­– Shan Arsenault (jazz)
July 31 ­– Around Town Band (rock) / The Repercussionists (rock) [great name!]
August 5 –­ Fullhouse (Latin)
August 6 ­– Dave Carroll (folk/pop), of Sons of Maxwell and United Breaks Guitar viral video fame!
August 7 ­– The Strangeboys (bluegrass)
August 12 –­ Ryan Cook (country)
August 13 ­– Grassmarket (folk/bluegrass) [nice name]
August 14 ­– Telfer (pop/funk)
August 19 ­– Mary Stewart (pop/folk) / Crissi Cochrane, aka Save September (folk)
August 20 ­– David Myles (folk)
August 21 ­– Ruth Minnikin and her Bandwagon (Americana/folk)
August 26 ­– Kim Wempe (folk/jazz) / Norma MacDonald (pop/folk)
August 27 ­– Mike Trask (rock)
August 28 ­– Kev Corbett (folk)

Christina Martin, photo by Aaron McKenzie Fraser

Christina Martin, photo by Aaron McKenzie Fraser

Summer 2009 unofficially arrived in Halifax today with the first Tunes at Noon 2009 concert, featuring Halifax’s own little dynamo, Christina Martin. Well, I shouldn’t call anybody little being at 5’2.625″ and 108 lbs. But Christina comes with an energetic and vibrant repertoire from some solid award winning recordings. Even with just one acoustic guitar amped up slightly and playing solo, the set was great!

I’ve been meaning to go see Christina play for a while now, more than just a few songs here and there where I’ve only managed to see her thus far. My stars just hadn’t aligned. They weren’t today, either, but I fixed that. On my way home to visiting Mom’s Vietnamese cooking during her last days here, I delayed it when I saw Christina playing at Grand Parade.

“That’s right, I held off Mom’s Vietnamese cuisine for Christina Martin’s music!”

I stayed to watch Christina’s set till the end, with intent of then going home and packing the lunch to take back to eat at my desk after the concert. I even called Mom to join me, but she was out so she didn’t know I was playing hooky with her cooking. So please, don’t anybody tell my Mom! 🙂

Instead of me trying to describe Christina’s music, though, nothing speaks for it like the music itself so I have included three videos below. They are songs from Christina’s sophomore album, Two Hearts, which won her 2009 East Coast Music Award (ECMA) Pop Recording of the Year and two 2008 Music Nova Scotia Awards: Female Artist Recording of the Year & Pop/Rock Artist/Group Recording of the Year. The Tunes at Noon series schedule follows the videos, with links to all the bands for you to preview their music. I hope to attend as many as possible and review some of my favourite ones on the blog. We’ve got a lot of great musical talent in Nova Scotia who deserve a lot more profile than they get. There’s also a lot of diversity in flavour. So if you can come down to watch, or click through on the links above to hear their music and spread the word, I’m sure they’d appreciate it!

The first of Christina’s featured song is the title track from Christina’s sophomore album, Two Hearts. It is my favourite song of hers, and this is the official video.

.

The second is a live performance of Cut It Out from Christina’s Two Hearts CD release party at the FRED Whet Salon in Halifax.

.

Finally, Christina acoustically performs You Come Home at the 2008 Nova Scotia Music Week Gala Show.

.

Tunes at Noon is presented by Councillor Dawn Sloane, the Downtown Halifax Business Commission and the Halifax Regional Municipality. Music Nova Scotia, C100 radio, The Coast and The Centre for Arts and Technology are also supporters.

You know, as I write this, I want to be out there someday performing. Being a singer/songwriter myself (my MySpace page), I don’t devote a lot of time to it due to the many other things I do. These people here have worked hard to get where they are today. Maybe seeing enough of them will motivate me to put on a much bigger effort and make that dream happen. Should do it soon while Dawn Sloane is still my city councillor, though, to increase my chances. 😉

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Reading Level: 8.2

Share/Save/Bookmark