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Language and Grammar In the News… Week of March 15, 2015 – “TED Talks”

Sorry all… it was a rough week here (I was sick for half of it), so I’m a day behind sharing with you my finds for this week’s Language and Grammar In the News.

This week, I’m going to introduce you to TED Talks.  If you already know about them, great! There’s so much out there to watch and listen and learn.  Hope these are new and fresh for you.

If you haven’t heard of TED Talks? They started out being focused around Technology, Entertainment, and Design (“TED”), TED Talks are 18-minute presentations that today covers a diverse range of topics in 100 languages.

Why TED Talks? Today starts the TED2015: Truth & Dare event in Vancouver. Thinkers, dreamers and mavericks come to talk about our world — and what’s coming next.
Full Coverage of what’s happening
Watch it Live (purchase required)

Here are five of the TED Talks in the archives I have found interesting.  I’ve put the time (in minutes) you need next to the title.

One in particular is on Google Labs’ Ngram Viewer.  I use this tool all the time in my editing, and have a draft post about the Viewer coming up in my “Editorial Tool Kit” series I’m putting together.

•What we learned from 5 million books 14:08
Have you played with Google Labs’ Ngram Viewer? It’s an addicting tool that lets you search for words and ideas in a database of 5 million books from across centuries. Erez Lieberman Aiden and Jean-Baptiste Michel show us how it works, and a few of the surprising things we can learn from 500 billion words. (Filmed at TEDxBoston.)

Stuck for ideas? Play a game.

•Play this game to come up with original ideas 5:40
Shimpei Takahashi always dreamed of designing toys. But when he started work as a toy developer, he found that the pressure to use data as a starting point for design quashed his creativity. In this short, funny talk, Takahashi describes how he got his ideas flowing again, and shares a simple game anyone can play to generate new ideas. (In Japanese with English subtitles.)

There’s even TED Talks for the kids. There is a TEDYouth section.  This one encourages the kids to come up with new words.

•Go ahead, make up new words! 6:52
In this fun, short talk from TEDYouth, lexicographer Erin McKean encourages — nay, cheerleads — her audience to create new words when the existing ones won’t quite do. She lists out 6 ways to make new words in English, from compounding to “verbing,” in order to make language better at expressing what we mean, and to create more ways for us to understand one another.

The world is a big place, and not all of our freedoms are found as easily across the globe.  Reading is one of those freedoms.

•For these women, reading is a daring act 5:05
In some parts of the world, half of the women lack basic reading and writing skills. The reasons vary, but in many cases, literacy isn’t valued by fathers, husbands, even mothers. Photographer and TED Fellow Laura Boushnak traveled to countries including Yemen, Egypt and Tunisia to highlight brave women — schoolgirls, political activists, 60-year-old moms — who are fighting the statistics.

I was a history major in undergraduate school, and following the path and patterns of history is still fascinating to me.

•The mathematics of history 4:26
What can mathematics say about history? According to TED Fellow Jean-Baptiste Michel, quite a lot. From changes to language to the deadliness of wars, he shows how digitized history is just starting to reveal deep underlying patterns.

There’s a whole world out there that you can find, if you have the time (18 minutes or less!) and the inclination. There might be some local TEDx events you can go to in your hometown.  TED Talks is a great way to expand your horizons. It truly is Ideas worth spreading.

Remember, if you find anything that catches your eye, and want to share, tell me! Send an email to: BookDoctorDara.

Have a good week, and remember, Keep Learning!

Dara

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