When you look up some flags, you often get a webpage, or list if it were a part of a group or you had searched the group, and links to the place the flag represents. Sometimes, you’ll get a map with some flags, and be able to download a graphic. That lack of consistency was frustrating to me, as was the large lack of information about flag design components and other flags with similar features, for design research and/or inspiration to avoid duplication or find inspiration among variations. So in the winter of 2023, I designed and build interactive online displays that would contain it all, as well as be able to grow and change over time as the information changes. I did this using the Tableau Public platform, and the first result was this demo using national flags as a set.
An Aspirational Solution to Fix Capitalism
A week or so ago, I wrote about capitalism’s funnel problem to drive all wealth to a small percentage of the population at a rate we can’t sustain without really harming the rest of the vast majority. I didn’t offer any solution to keep the post a reasonable length, but would not have criticized capitalism if I didn’t have something to offer because I’m not the type to criticize unless I thought there were better alternatives, and realistic alternatives, at that. Here is one. It’s bound to seem to be undoable, but if any alternative did seem doable, do you not think it would have been tried? As for how undoable this or other alternatives you hear about, I would encourage you to think about how many blatantly stupid, reckless, biased, and/or unfair laws and policies we have today, and in recent history, that somehow got the nod to be put in place. These range from economics like redlining (the systematic denial of various services or goods by federal government agencies, local governments, or the private sector either directly or through the selective raising of prices), to inhumane treatment of others like Jim Crow laws (state and local laws that enforced racial segregation in the Southern United State). Many are so horrible that I just look at them and say if we could do that, then we could do this because it’s minor in comparison for effort and guts required.
What if Work Employed Drafts, Trades, Waivers and Free Agency like Sports?
The 2012 NFL draft is tonight. Players will be drafted out of school. Players will be traded for positions and picks. Players will be kept or let go to free agency pending who gets picked up. It all generates a huge amount of hype, no matter which sports draft you’re talking about. And that got me thinking… what would that be like in the work force?
Ted.com, My Inspirational and Educational Addiction
This past weekend, I happened upon Ted.com, the site for the Technology, Entertainment and Design community. With a moniker of Ideas Worth Sharing, and people like Al Gore, Bill Gates, Isabel Allende, Brian Greene, David Kelley, among many others, I knew I was on to something good. A day later, it has become an addiction I will have to moderate myself so as not to spend all my time on it, and it will be something I will keep in my life as long as it and I exist.
Among the things TED.com contains are 378 videos (at time of posting) of talks and interviews with people who are inspiring, knowledgeable and/or interesting. Each is about 20 minutes, some with content markers along the bottom to help the viewer find the segment desired. The site has all the videos, but you can see some of my favourite in the bar at right in my Vodpod list.
The speakers in the videos are there to share, wow and open your mind, heart and soul. Listening to just a few, I realized this was the very state of existence I would maintain if I could 24/7. I love to learn and think, especially think about things and/or in ways that expand the limits of my thinking and imagination, in enlightenment of being inspired. I speak of enlightenment here in the purest sense of the word as in realizing something new that has value, not necessarily the religious enlightenment. My enlightenment could be about some very dark matters, though with insight it will be useful to shed a solution for positive change. To see the light in darkness is far more enlightening than to see it in light already existing because you see far more new things in the former situation.
Furthermore, TED.com has a vibrant free membership community where people can rate the talks on a variety of criteria, like inspiring, informative, jaw-dropping, etc. You can join forums, discuss, get notice of new videos, and so on as well. The synergy and inspiration I feel from watching the video and being part of the community is amazing. But be forewarned, the membership profile is probably the most thought provoking one you’ll ever have to fill out! They ask you some pretty neat things!
I also realized I could learn more than just what the TED speakers share from how I learned about TED. I heard of TED via a story of Bill Gates talking about his foundation’s fight against malaria, proceeding to release mosquitoes into a large lecture hall (Feb 4). Bill stated “not only poor people should have to experience this”, although his mosquitoes were malaria free. Funny, bugs follows the Microsoft Windows founder everywhere.
Bill has done similar talks before. Maybe not exactly the same talk, but it was not the first time he has talked about malaria to a large group, that’s for sure. Then, in a conference full of brilliant speakers, he ups the ante and becomes the story that gets out the farthest among all the ones at the conference. And he did it with a jar of mosquitoes. That was just brilliance. He didn’t get to where he is and isn’t who he is for nothing, you know!
Better yet, the video was mostly about Bill talking about what makes a great teacher. Most of us will definitely learn something from that! Now if only the many school systems around the country could and act upon it.
Now, how am I going to ingest Ted.com’s 378 videos, with more coming? That’s a lot of time! And even more brain and soul power! Inspiration and knowledge are like drugs for me. I can only handle so much of it at once, even though I love it. I then need time to absorb it and recover from it.
[ I should warn you that drug analogy is lie-kely a lie because I have never taken a drug in my life, and I barely drink an average of a glass of wine every 10 years. I don’t really know what I’m talking about but I feel I can imagine it accurately. ]
Moderation is going to be the key to ingest those videos. That solves the absorption problem, but what about time and my conscience? I can’t bear to ingest media without multitasking. Well, nobody said you had to really watch the videos. Sure, watching helps a little bit, but all you really need to do is listen. That’s all you need to be inspired, which means I could multi-task to do things like, say, cook? Yes, I need to cook more in my life. What a partnership this is going to be!
I can also download the talk in MP3s, which means I can also listen to them while I run. I already listen to audio books while I run, but for the most part, they won’t compare to this! As if running generally weren’t enlightening enough for me considering how many bright ideas I get during my runs, this will be unbelievable!
Of all the sites I have discovered over the years, I can honestly say few have gotten me as excited as Ted.com, includes porn sites if you’ll pardon me for an inappropriate and inaccurate joke. 🙂
Enjoy! I mean Ted.com, not the porn sites!
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Reading Level: 7.7