TED Talks

TED TALKS LISTED BELOW IN FOUR GROUPS

All classes are assigned the first group of presentations related to how to focus your attention.

For the remaining three groups of presentations, review the presentations for the class you are attending and in the order presented within each group. 

=1= ATTENTION IS YOUR MOST VALUABLE POSSESSION
You will learn how to focus your mind when approaching a challenging and complex task.

=2= MAKING MAPS
You will learn about how to map easier to read and how to provide more information in less space.

=3= REAL ESTATE DEVELOPMENT
You will learn that profit from property development is increased by addressing how the existing site fits into its natural surroundings and fits into existing social arrangements. 

=4= GRAPHICS AND TECHNICAL DRAWING
You will learn that the universal language of engineering and design is a technical drawing, which is valid across cultures and time periods.

=1= ATTENTION IS YOUR MOST VALUABLE POSSESSION

-1.1- How better tech could protect us from distraction
How often does technology interrupt us from what we really mean to be doing? At work and at play, we spend a startling amount of time distracted by pings and pop-ups — instead of helping us spend our time well, it often feels like our tech is stealing it away from us. Design thinker Tristan Harris offers thoughtful new ideas for technology that creates more meaningful interaction. He asks: “What does the future of technology look like when you’re designing for the deepest human values?”

-1.2- All it takes is 10 mindful minutes
When is the last time you did absolutely nothing for 10 whole minutes? Not texting, talking or even thinking? Mindfulness expert Andy Puddicombe describes the transformative power of doing just that: Refreshing your mind for 10 minutes a day, simply by being mindful and experiencing the present moment. (No need for incense or sitting in uncomfortable positions.)

-1.3- America’s forgotten working class
J.D. Vance grew up in a small, poor city in the Rust Belt of southern Ohio, where he had a front-row seat to many of the social ills plaguing America: a heroin epidemic, failing schools, families torn apart by divorce and sometimes violence. In a searching talk that will echo throughout the country’s working-class towns, the author details what the loss of the American Dream feels like and raises an important question that everyone from community leaders to policy makers needs to ask: How can we help kids from America’s forgotten places break free from hopelessness and live better lives?

=2= MAKING MAPS

-2.1-Happy maps
Mapping apps help us find the fastest route to where we’re going. But what if we’d rather wander? Researcher Daniele Quercia demos “happy maps” that take into account not only the route you want to take, but how you want to feel along the way

-2.2- Making Sense of Maps
Aris Venetikidis is fascinated by the maps we draw in our minds as we move around a city — less like street maps, more like schematics or wiring diagrams, abstract images of relationships between places. How can we learn from these mental maps to make better real ones? As a test case, he remakes the notorious Dublin bus map.

-2.3- Making maps to fight disaster, build economies
As of 2005, only 15 percent of the world was mapped. This slows the delivery of aid after a disaster — and hides the economic potential of unused lands and unknown roads. In this short talk, Google’s Lalitesh Katragadda demos Map Maker, a group map-making tool that people around the globe are using to map their world.

-2.4- How the “ghost map” helped end a killer disease
Author Steven Johnson takes us on a 10-minute tour of <i>The Ghost Map</i>, his book about a cholera outbreak in 1854 London and the impact it had on science, cities and modern society.

=3= REAL ESTATE DEVELOPMENT

-3.1- Future tech will give you the benefits of city life anywhere
Don’t believe predictions that say the future is trending towards city living. Urbanization is actually reaching the end of its cycle, says logistics expert Julio Gil, and soon more people will be choosing to live (and work) in the countryside, thanks to rapid advances in augmented reality, autonomous delivery, off-the-grid energy and other technologies. Think outside city walls and consider the advantages of country living with this forward-thinking talk.

-3.2- How megacities are changing the map of the world
“I want you to reimagine how life is organized on earth,” says global strategist Parag Khanna. As our expanding cities grow ever more connected through transportation, energy and communications networks, we evolve from geography to what he calls “connectography.” This emerging global network civilization holds the promise of reducing pollution and inequality — and even overcoming geopolitical rivalries. In this talk, Khanna asks us to embrace a new maxim for the future: “Connectivity is destiny.”

-3.3- From Gotham to isolated, code & debt-free West Texas estate
Seven years ago John Wells sold his heavily-mortgaged home in upstate New York and bought 40 acres in West Texas for $8000. The area (Brewster County) is so isolated there are no codes or zoning restrictions so Wells built his own tiny home (in 9 days with $1600) relying on his set-building experience.

Not wanting to rely on outside labor, Wells has continued to build his own services: a solar shower, a basic composting toilet, a bike-powered washing machine, an Airstream guest house, and a huge greenhouse which also houses 4 shipping containers he hopes to convert to housing/office space.

Wells named his homestead (now 40 acres, he bought a second 20 acres for $500) the Field Lab (short for “Southwest Texas Alternative Energy and Sustainable Living Field Laboratory”) and he likes to experiment with off-grid solutions: one of his latest is a more-powerful solar oven.

=4= GRAPHICS AND TECHNICAL DRAWING

4.1- Why the Pencil is Perfect
Why are pencils shaped like hexagons, and how did they get their iconic yellow color? Pencil shop owner Caroline Weaver takes us inside the fascinating history of the pencil.

-4-2- The Genius of the London Tuber Map
Design legend Michael Bierut tells the story of the accidental success of one of the most famous maps in the world — the London Tube Map.

-4-3- Why City Flags May Be The Worst Designed Thing You’ve Never Noticed
Roman Mars is obsessed with flags — and after you watch this talk, you might be, too. These ubiquitous symbols of civic pride are often designed, well, pretty terribly. But they don’t have to be. In this surprising and hilarious talk about vexillology — the study of flags — Mars reveals the five basic principles of flag design and shows why he believes they can be applied to just about anything.

-4-4- My Life in Type Faces
Pick up a book, magazine or screen, and more than likely you’ll come across some typography designed by Matthew Carter. In this charming talk, the man behind typefaces such as Verdana, Georgia and Bell Centennial (designed just for phone books — remember them?), takes us on a spin through a career focused on the very last pixel of each letter of a font.

-4-5- Rethinking the Way We Sit Down
Design legend Niels Diffrient talks about his life in industrial design (and the reason he became a designer instead of a jet pilot). He details his quest to completely rethink the office chair starting from one fundamental data set: the human body.