Thursday, 19 December 2013

Speech: Sherry Turkle - Connected, but alone?

As we expect more from technology, do we expect less from each other? Sherry Turkle studies how our devices and online personas are redefining human connection and communication -- and asks us to think deeply about the new kinds of connection we want to have.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Article: Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed

Original Article written by David Cain for Thought Catalog - Friday 25, January 2013

Well I’m in the working world again. I’ve found myself a well-paying gig in the engineering industry, and life finally feels like it’s returning to normal after my nine months of traveling.

Because I had been living quite a different lifestyle while I was away, this sudden transition to 9-to-5 existence has exposed something about it that I overlooked before.

Since the moment I was offered the job, I’ve been markedly more careless with my money. Not stupid, just a little quick to pull out my wallet. As a small example, I’m buying expensive coffees again, even though they aren’t nearly as good as New Zealand’s exceptional flat whites, and I don’t get to savor the experience of drinking them on a sunny café patio. When I was away these purchases were less off-handed, and I enjoyed them more.

I’m not talking about big, extravagant purchases. I’m talking about small-scale, casual, promiscuous spending on stuff that doesn’t really add a whole lot to my life. And I won’t actually get paid for another two weeks.

In hindsight I think I’ve always done this when I’ve been well-employed — spending happily during the “flush times.” Having spent nine months living a no-income backpacking lifestyle, I can’t help but be a little more aware of this phenomenon as it happens.

I suppose I do it because I feel I’ve regained a certain stature, now that I am again an amply-paid professional, which seems to entitle me to a certain level of wastefulness. There is a curious feeling of power you get when you drop a couple of twenties without a trace of critical thinking. It feels good to exercise that power of the dollar when you know it will “grow back” pretty quickly anyway.

What I’m doing isn’t unusual at all. Everyone else seems to do this. In fact, I think I’ve only returned to the normal consumer mentality after having spent some time away from it.

One of the most surprising discoveries I made during my trip was that I spent much less per month traveling foreign counties (including countries more expensive than Canada) than I did as a regular working joe back home. I had much more free time, I was visiting some of the most beautiful places in the world, I was meeting new people left and right, I was calm and peaceful and otherwise having an unforgettable time, and somehow it cost me much less than my humble 9-5 lifestyle here in one of Canada’s least expensive cities.

It seems I got much more for my dollar when I was traveling. Why?

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Speech: Brene Brown - The Power of Vulnerability (RSA)

Influential author and speaker Dr Brené Brown tackles the myth that vulnerability is a weakness. Instead, she argues, it is the clearest path to courage and meaningful connection, and has the power to transform the way we engage and educate.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Documentary: Guns, Germs and Steel (Jared Diamond, 2005)

A PBS documentary concerning Jared Diamond's theory on why there is such disparity between those who have advanced technology and those who still live primitively. He argues it is due to the acquisition of guns and steel and the changes brought about by germs.

I personally find it a bit too politcally correct, but nevertheless very informative and interesting.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Documentary: Overdose - The Next Financial Crisis

With the US raising their debt ceiling, are we in a global bail-out bubble that will eventually burst? This doc offers a fresh insight into the greatest economic crisis of our age: the one still awaiting us.

The financial storm that has rocked the world began brewing in the US when congress pushed the idea of home ownership for all, propping up those who couldn't make the down payments. When it all went wrong the government promised the biggest financial stimulus packages in history and gargantuan bailouts. But what crazed logic is that: propping up debt with more debt? "They're giving alcohol to a drunk: it just sets him up for a bigger hangover."