TED Talks: Procrastinate Smarter


Photo by Doug Peters

Photo by Matthew Serafin/matthew.serafin@mu.edu

Caroline Comstock

I had seen TED talks once or twice in classes throughout the years. Still, I never really jumped on the bandwagon until I literally had nothing else to do and wandered onto the website. Turns out there is an extensive list of topics with hundreds of talks to fit your liking. In case Netflix and chill has gotten old, consider becoming a “lifelong learner” and killing some time on the site. Here are some I found particularly interesting.

  1. Meg Jay: “Why 30 is not the New 20”

Clinical psychologist Meg Jay refutes the resounding belief that your 20’s are an extension of childhood. Although many people are aware children undergo major developmental periods early on, few know that another developmental period occurs in your twenties. Dr. Jay argues that despite the fact young adults tend to reach major life milestones later and later these days, the biology of the human brain suggests twenty-somethings should still be looking at these years as formative.

  1. Siddhartha Mukherjee: “Soon We’ll Cure Diseases with a Cell, Not a Pill”

Dr. Mukherjee offers an introduction into the new approach many scientists have been taking in regard to disease and their associated cures. The traditional approach has always been to encounter disease, take a pill, and destroy the cause. Lately, scientists have considered approaching today’s most prevalent diseases with creation rather than destruction.

3.    Kevin Breel: “Confessions of a Depressed Comic”

Kevin Breel opens up the conversation on depression and how those who seemingly “have it all” may be struggling. Breel challenges audiences to change the conversation on one of the world’s most deadly diseases with a moving personal testimony.

4.    Will Potter: “The Secret US Prisons You’ve Never Heard of Before”

Journalist Will Potter sheds light on one of America’s most disturbing secrets. Communication Management Units (CMUs) are incarceration facilities specifically designed for criminals labeled as domestic terrorists. The facilities are dictated with many seemingly draconian policies that smell of serious corruption.

5.    Wendy Chung: “Autism — What We Know (and What We Don’t Know Yet)”

Wendy Chung debunks commonly held beliefs surrounding the causes and genetic factors associated with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Though much about the disease is yet to be understood, researchers have discovered hundreds of mutations responsible for the disease, which could explain its large spectrum.

6.    Donald Hoffman: “Do We See Reality as It Is?”

Donald Hoffman explores possibly one of the most confounding enigmas of our time: our perception of reality. Why is it that we can all agree and perceive that the grass is green and the sky is blue? Are such perceptions consequences of our individual realities? Hoffman explains that our evolution has caused our brains to view reality in terms of a “computer desktop-like” format. Only watch if you are willing to take on somewhat of a headache.

7. Patricia Kuhl: “The Linguistic Genius of Babies”

As our economy becomes increasingly global, knowing more than one language is more important than ever. Is it possible for twenty-one year olds to master another language this late in life? It seems to be a commonly held belief among researchers that there exists a “critical period” in which your chances of retaining a secondary language are highest, and chances decrease sharply afterwards. Kuhl studies babies and how they process languages before they can speak themselves. Such research may aid in discovering what we need in order to learn a language post-puberty.