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2012-366 Day 76 – TED Talks

First things first, never put a little brag up about how well your brackets do historically, not matter how slight it is, because you will get DESTROYED that same afternoon. It could be worse, my 14 of my Sweet Sixteen are still alive and 7 of my Elite Eight are still intact (I expect that to change shortly after this post). I’m apologizing ahead of time to Kentucky for single-handedly preventing them from winning the National Championship. None of my upsets hit, and I didn’t predict any of the upsets so far. I really should move on, because this post is supposed to be about something entirely different. Wait, before we do that one last piece of business, I know I mentioned a Songfest recap today but I decided to post it tomorrow so that anyone who was going would have minimal exposure to spoilers (I know I’m going way out of my way on this one, but I thought it would be fair for the one instance that has like a one percent chance of occurring).

What we’re really here to talk about is what a genius and quick-thinker I am. Okay, no, not really, but I am a little proud of myself for this one. It turns out that we were going to have some extra time in class because we couldn’t start some new material before the midterm next week. I had a little bit of time beforehand (not a bunch due to Songfest last night), so I decided to introduce the class to TED (Technology Entertainment Design) talks. If you are not familiar with them, basically they give people the chance to take fifteen to twenty minutes to give a talk on their passions or research. They are always very informative and usually pretty entertaining. These talks take place at different conferences all over the place and are recorded and compiled online.

So what do I show my class? I did a quick search on some technology related ideas and came across a pair videos by the same contributor about social networks. I decided to show the first one in class and, since we were finishing early, show the second one after class to whoever wanted to optionally stay. Here’s the first video (a brief synopsis below if you don’t have time to watch it):

Mr. Christakis studies how social networks are formed and what their impacts are on people. Now I bet you were expecting Facebook (I was too when I first saw it), but he studies that actual networks of relationships between human beings and tries to see what they can tell us. After taking any general questions they had on the video, I asked them about their expectations. I pointed out that Facebook is a parallel social network, one that can have many of the same effects on us. If you read nothing but depressing status updates from your Facebook friends all day, more than likely you will be a sadder person. I also pointed out the technological references littered throughout the talk, and even all the technology necessary to make the visuals he used. My main point was that technology ties all these diverse fields together and taking this class to familiarize themselves more thoroughly with technology was a smart move.

The second talk by Mr. Christakis is actually more interesting, as, though he reviews a bit in the beginning, the potential usages of social networks in a practical manner start to become clear. The most interesting point is that usually one friend of a random person make better test subjects than the randomly selected people themselves. Two students hung around for this one, but I actually got thanked for showing these in class:

One last one that got brought to my attention after class today, but I totally would have shown it had I known about it earlier. It’s only five minutes so this is the one to watch if you are pressed for time, the subject is copyright math (trust me, it’s not as boring as it sounds).

Weight: 233.2 Max: 240 Body Fat %: 24.7
Yearly Mileage: 64.7 miles
Current Belt: Orange – Next Belt: Blue – Next Test Date: 5/12
Fitocracy Level: 16 (26639 points, 289/4000 to next level) – ID: disciplev1
Soccer – Last Game: L, 5-8 (Record: 0-3) Next Game: 3/18, 5:00 pm

Posted in Matt 2012-366, Matt General. Tagged with , , , .

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