UnderCover: TEDx Austin recap 2 months out

Monday, March 21, 2011

TEDx Austin recap 2 months out

I attended Austin's 2nd TEDx event in February. It was an overwhelming experience—twelve full hours of absorbing new ideas and meeting new people. As time passes, I'm finding that there were 3 presenters I'm still reflecting on two months later:

• Dr. BrenĂ© Brown
• Osama Bedier, and
• Dr. Lionel Tiger

Dr Brown is research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. Her (pre-recorded) presentation was about the decade of qualitative research she's been doing on shame and connectedness. I found her presentation the most emotionally engaging. Unfortunately, hers is the only video I can share at this time.

While Dr Brown's talk hit me on an emotional level, Osama Bedier's presentation appealed to me because of its storytelling. Given the rather complex and somewhat vague topic for his speech—the creation of a new form of money—Bedier managed be both clever and memorable. His thesis was that the progress of financial instruments is intricately connected to (for good and for bad) technological innovation. Much like James Burke in his PBS history show Connections, Bedier illustrated this point by tracing the surprising link between the Space Shuttle and the width of two horses' butts. Funny stuff.

Finally, I mention Dr Tiger's presentation. Not because I enjoyed it—quite the opposite in fact—but because it was controversial and poorly argued. Dr Tiger compared society to a zoo of our own design. He then argued that the quality of a zoo can be judged by the ability of its animals to successfully reproduce. He intermixed statistics about college rapes, the high rate of boys given ADD/ADHD drugs, the dearth of college courses studying men (as compared to the number that study women), and the increasing trend of unwed motherhood in our society. And somehow he concluded that feminism was to blame for the decline of males. I find myself debating Dr Tiger in my head—which in my book is a good thing ;0)

Hopefully all the videos from the event will be released soon...

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