By Warren McPherson
News got you down? Frustrated with dysfunctional politics? Insulted by infotainment posing as news? Want to lift your spirits and elevate your hope for the future?
Try a dose of TED.com talks on the internet. TED is a nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. TED talks I have clicked on have never let me down. Their spirit of originality, inspiration and caring reflect the best in the human quest to serve the greater good.
The site is well-organized by topic, length and tags and provides connections to the speakers and additional resources if you wish to delve deeper into the ideas presented. I find myself referencing these talks whenever I wish to elevate a conversation to a more insightful and hopeful plane or to provide visionary solutions to entrenched or seemingly overwhelming problems.
I'll mention just a few of my favorites and recommend them as starters if you don't know where you would like to start. As an advocate for children and families, I recommend tuning in to two talks given by children. The first is What adults can learn from kids by Adora Svitak. Another child named Birke Baehs, just eleven years old, sets you straight with What's wrong with our food system. For beautiful visuals of a dream realized ,check out My Green School Dream.
If there is a toddler in your house, you will be fascinated by the insights generated by the radical home-based experiment designed and graphically analyzed by Deb Roy entitlted: The birth of a word. This project and the associated graphics will appeal to technology enthusiasts as well as parents. You will also hear the utterances from the beginning to the end of a toddler's journey to the formation of the word 'water' compressed into a minute and a half.
Looking for more uplifting news and beautiful comprehensible graphics? Try Hans Rosling's The best stats you've ever seen.
One of the best features of these talks is they only last from three to twenty or so minutes. I find that I can rarely stop at one and usually take in three or more once I tune in. Despite their undeniable lure, I recommend them as a "healthy addiction."
If you like the bigger picture of world affairs, listen to Niall Ferguson's The 6 killer apps of prosperity.
If you feel torn and plagued by the many conflicting claims on your charitable inclinations, learn more about Sasha Dichter's The Generosity Experiment.
If you feel like turning away from the turmoil of the outside world, then follow Christopher de Charms as he Looks inside the brain.
It's all free and you can be charmed and uplifted by the wit, creativity, and passion of these speakers.