Thursday, May 28, 2009

AMAZEMENTS, continued

Thanks to the comment posted by Scherezade in response to my previous Amazement, I followed links to TED -- stands for Technology, Education, Design -- and found a treasure trove of inspiration talks presented audiovisually. I am only too sure that I could spend the entire day being inspired, but the very first of these links will take you to a talk about the sort of reasons for which I will NOT be doing that ...

I've picked two of the three talks I linked to:
Don't Eat The Marshmallows ... Yet by Joachim de Posada
Are We In Control Of Our Own Decisions? by Dan Ariely.


Scherezade said...

Heh! TED is addictive. I attended the last one and it's mind boggling what they are doing elsewhere in the world that no mainstream media covers or bothers with.
As student of Social Sciences, I am forever trawling through TED folders.
Also, brilliant - talks delivered by Dave Eggers and Juan Enriquez.

Scherezade said...
Here goes.

Anonymous said...

TED is a truly gr8 site - thanQ 4 pointing it out. i also enjoyed dave egger's thoughts on tutoring kids 1 on 1 - and the rationale.... & as an extrapol@ion i wondered whether dave's thoughts could be also extend to the internet infra structure? wouldnt it be effective if a group of professionals voluntered video based 1 on 1 tutoring? gt

Marginalien said...

gt -- upto a point, yes (the glory of TED). But apparently I have a high threshold of resistance to positive messages. I liked the first couple I watched but then couldn't go the distance with several others. I believe this has less to do with content than my own attention span. A vague impatience builds up in me whenever I listen to a lecture (no doubt amongst the many reasons I didn't remain on the academic path) -- it's like "attention antibodies" start to attack any incoming topic if an "infection" lasts for anything over a few minutes. I might need to wait a couple of days before I can go back to watch some more. Or maybe not.

Probably a sign that a major brain overhaul is due ... *sigh*

Scherezade said...

Any kind of TED intake should be in measured doses. I enjoy the humor pieces(Rives, the Awesome) more than anything else.
Also, it's pretty much on the forefront of science and technology and loads of complicated joo joo is simplified and made easy for digestion.
And yep, some of the human interest pieces are overtly preachy so that might suck the inspiration right out of them.
Some friends of mine have been toying with starting something Egger-esque in Bombay, so I hope that goes well.

Anonymous said...

ms. mp - your colorful terminology and proposal of "attention antibodies" attacking "infection" of attention spans is not exactly immune to attack by the immunologists - though it does open up an interesting avenue of thought - ie the mind body connection. though we often feel that there should be a strong connection between mind and body - the actual scientific hard core medical facts are few and far between.... but some are definitely there - for example the "placebo effect"... or the connection between too much worrying and stomach acidity.. so i quite liked the picture of sitting through lectures and getting antibodies to start nibbling away as the tedium rises. muchos possibilities ranging from homework to politicians speeches abound!
a handful of peyote buttons or magic mushrooms will give you a brain "overhaul" - though at our age it might be more likely that we'll land up with a "brain over..."
also i found scherezade's titbit on bombayites running in eggeresque directions most uplifting. i remember - 20 or 30 years ago vivek monterio doing similar stuff in colaba - i wonder whatever happened thereby. gt

Paul said...

Is the statistical data available on "placebo impact" really authentic?

Marginalien said...

gt -- have you tried Googling Vivek? Okay -- I just did -- there are myriad links, but here's one quick one:

I'm assuming it's the same person ...

Paul, to the best of my limited and layperson's knowledge, the placebo effect has been demonstrated reliably enough over a long period of time.

Scherezade said... - Deconstructing the Placebo Effect.

There is a whole lot of data that we (Psych/Philo) students have access to and are used for dissertations et al. But friends studying neuro-psychiatry have bucket loads information negating it while others in the discipline support it.

Anonymous said...

the placebo is given to people who think it is a "drug"..... though its usually a harmless concoction ...there's no misunderstanding about this. the placebo effect is another story - as it relates to our interpretations of what is happening to people who think they are taking the genuine drug but are getting a sweetened pill. by the way all clinical trials are done "double blind" which means neither the doctor nor the patient ever gets to know who got the placebo - till the experiment (or the patient gulp) is finished. often its not unusual in these studies that sometimes 1/3rd of the patients report positive effects from a placebo! an often quoted example of the placebo effect is homeopathy. i don't want to open a can of worms here but as far as "western medicine" is concerned, homeopathic medicines are non existent because the claimed ingredients have been diluted out of the wazoo. even weirder is the claim - that the more you dilute the medicine the stronger is the effect! but as you might be aware, the flip side is that homeopathic medicine is efficacious for millions of people (my mother swears by it) - or so they claim. there's no doubt that "some" people usually get better with placebos. we just don't know - if this is a select population ? because they are more in "tune" with their bodies? do all of us posses the capability to placebo effect ourselves into good health? my own personal opinion and experience is that the "cleanest" interpretation of medical effects are best seen in animals but of course its often hard to translate research from animals to humans. i mean how are you going to figure out whether a drug prevents a dog from getting Alzheimer Disease? the placebo effect is a very very interesting phenomenon and something that should be ardently pursued and studied. gt