Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘TED’

14 APRIL, 2011

Gilbert Tuhabonye on Genocide, Running and Forgiveness

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What the human capacity for evil has to do with the divine gift of joy.

Our friends at TEDxAustin host one of the best-produced, most thoughtfully curated TEDx events in the world. (Their opening sequence alone speaks volumes.) Nowhere does this excellence shine more powerfully than in this deeply moving talk by world-class runner Gilbert Tuhabonye — a candid and raw personal account of finding grace and refuge in the face of great tragedy, recalling how running not only enabled him to survive the horrific Burundi genocide, but also to find true joy and healing. From atrocity to aspiration, Tuhabonye’s talk embodies the most remarkable capacities of a human being — resilience, humility and, above all, forgiveness.

What makes the talk most extraordinary though is that, on the surface, it appears to use the kind of language we’ve come to associate with self-help cliches and contrived motivation-speak — except those were Gilbert’s grippingly real lived experiences, and these are the simple, powerful insights that allowed him to live through them, past them, and with them: The crisp truth in the tired truisms.

Forgiveness has allowed me to move forward. Forgiveness has allowed me to find joy. It was very hard, I had to find running. Running is my therapy, it’s my freedom. It grounds me. It makes me happy. It is the vehicle for all other blessings that have come my way.” ~ Gilbert Tuhabonye

Tuhabonye tells his remarkable story in This Voice in My Heart: A Genocide Survivor’s Story of Escape, Faith, and Forgiveness — an eloquent and poignant autobiography that blends the gruesome detail of an eyewitness account with the transformative, uplifting power of forgiveness.

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12 APRIL, 2011

Collaborative Whimsy: Eric Whitacre’s Virtual Choir

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Last month, we had the pleasure of seeing Eric Whitacre premiere the 2.0 version of his astounding virtual choir at TED 2011. The mesmerizing film is composed of 2,052 performances of “Sleep” from 1,752 singers in 58 countries, individually recorded and uploaded to YouTube between September 2010 and January 2011, and is now available for the world to gasp at. Caution: Hold jaw securely in place before watching.

The project is part YouTube Symphony Orchestra, part The Johnny Cash Project, part something entirely groundbreaking. Whitacre’s TED talk pulls the curtain on the making of the magic and is easily the most goosebump-inducing thing you’ll see all week:

“Sleep” is available on Whitacre’s spellbinding new album, Light & Gold.

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30 MARCH, 2011

Underwater Sculptures Help Corals Thrive

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What metal sculptures have to do with your DNA and the future of the world’s oceans.

In 2009, underwater sculptor Jason de Caires Taylor — whom we had the pleasure of profiling for Wired UK a long, long time ago — founded MUSA (Museo Subacuático de Arte), the world’s first underwater museum and an inspired intersection of art and environmental science. These artworks, admired by over 750,000 visitors every year, are designed to become artificial reefs that provide a unique habitat for the ocean’s most fragile and remarkable creatures: Corals, and their many marine companions.

This year, artist and TED fellow Colleen Flanigan was invited to join the project with some of her Biorock designs. As the temperature and acidity of the world’s oceans continue to rise under the effects of global warming, these new sculptures offer corals a vital alkaline environment: Using a low-voltage electrical current, the installations raise the pH of seawater to attract limestone minerals, which adhere to the metal matrix and help corals get the calcium carbonate they need to build their exoskeletons. So Colleen is gathering the necessary arsenal — welding equipment, metal, supplies, power sources, boat rentals, SCUBA tanks — and hiring a professional filmmaker to capture the incredible journey. And she’s funding it on Kickstarter, our favorite platform for microfunding creative projects.

Corals are near the root of the family tree of all living animals. Humans have put these ancestors on the evolutionary tree in peril. We want to give coral back its color through life-supporting underwater Biorock formations.” ~ Colleen Flanigan

The project embodies our highest ideals, a beautiful cross-pollination of art, science and moral imagination, so please join us in supporting it — it’s the best-intentioned $10 (or $100, or $1000) you’ll spend today, we promise.

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