Tag Archives: free stuff

Bear Naked: Smart Granola

I recently got a free sample of Bear Naked granola, and on the back of the package I noticed an interesting piece of information:

“Bear Naked is a proud partner with TerraCycle(TM) in an effort to rethink the way packaging impacts our planet. Please join us by returning this bag to us so it can be upcycled into cool gear. Visit http://www.bearnaked.com for more info.”

I took a look at their website, and they’ve got a pretty cool program going called the Bear Naked Sustainable Packaging Project. Bear Naked takes all of their bags back, then rewards you points based on the size of the bag. You can redeem the points (between 1 and 5 per bag) for items like t-shirts (36 points) and reusable grocery bags (30 points).

There’s also a system where your school or organization can collect the bags, and receive $0.02 per bag. Check out more at the company website. Besides all of the above, they make pretty good granola too!

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TEDxPSU review

TED, which stands for Technology Entertainment and Design, is a set of global conferences that aims to disseminate “ideas worth spreading”. They are privately funded by the nonprofit Sapling Foundation, which releases most of the talks (currently 700+) for free viewing online. TEDx is an independently organized TED event, usually organized by a school or business, although the definition is broad enough that even a group of friends can choose to design and host the event.

I was first introduced to TED while at Penn State, where it was referenced in a range of classes from CAS 100 (Effective Speech) to E SC 481 (Elements of Nano/Micro-electromechanical Systems Processing and Design). TED harnesses a great range of topics, usually presented by effective and engaging speakers. We studied the talks not only for their ideas, but also for their unique presentation styles and ways of connecting with the audience.

I also knew of TED through my brother’s experience with TEDxNYED last year, but it wasn’t until I heard an announcement about TEDxPSU that I considered attending one of the independently organized events. It was clear that the organizers had a limited amount of experience and time to prepare for what happened last Sunday, but overall I definitely think it was worth the trip to Happy Valley. Since I knew that TEDxNYED was focused on education, I expected the theme of TEDxPSU to be a little more focused than “Attend. Listen. Enlighten.” (catch the three tens?) but it seemed to be a good approach for the university’s first TEDx.

Pros:
– The entire day, including admission, breakfast, and lunch, was free!
– The use of technology was strongly encouraged. It was great to see everyone in the auditorium on their smart phones, laptops and iPads, tweeting (competing for “best tweet”) and blogging about the day as it happened. Each attendee’s badge was branded with a QR code which could be scanned for contact information.
– Free and convenient parking was a relief and a welcome surprise.
– All three venues (the IST building, Schwab Auditorium, and the HUB) were excellent choices and appropriate in size, location and aesthetic.

Cons:
– I was severely disappointed that the free AT&T wifi visitors had been promised wasn’t working. I raised my concerns (via tweet, as per instructions), but instead of receiving assistance I only received confirmation from other attendees who could not connect. Good intentions, but failed execution.
– Am I the only one who thought our badges were a tad over-sized (4.5″ x 6.5″)? I felt like a kid on the first day of kindergarten.
– I sat in the balcony for the two afternoon sessions, and was surprised at how insensitive the TEDxPSU volunteers acted. They routinely walked in and out of seats during presentations, talking loudly to each other both in the aisles and in their seats, and distracting the other attendees sitting in the balcony.

There were seven talks that I particularly loved from the day that I will link to below. Three are prerecorded (each TEDx event is required to use a certain number of talks recorded at official TED conferences) and four are unique to TEDxPSU. I encourage you to view them all!
(Clicking on the direct link will provide you with more information about the speaker.)

Joachim de Posada — Don’t Eat the Marshmallows… Yet
Prerecorded from TED2009
[ Link ]

Chris Calkins — The Looming Intergenerational Conflict: Dollars or Sense
[ Link ]

Jason O — Musical Performance
[ Link ]

Jill Bolte Taylor — Stroke of Insight
Prerecorded from TED2008
[ Link ]

Michael Berube — Humans, Superheroes, Mutants, and People with Disabilities
[ Link ]

Sugata Mitra — The Child Based Education
Prerecorded from TEDGlobal2010
[ Link ]

Sam Richards — A Radical Experiment in Empathy
[ Link ]

Links for further reading/watching:
TED Youtube channel
TED website
TEDxPSU website
TED on wikipedia

Coldplay + Simon Pegg

At a recent Coldplay concert in London, Simon Pegg (you know him from Hot Fuzz, Shaun of the Dead, and Run Fatboy Run) showed up and performed “Jingle Bells” with the boys. You can check out the video of that performance here. I didn’t know Pegg was such a talent on the harmonica, and to quote their email: “Silly Christmas headgear ahoy!”

Also, Coldplay’s got a free Christmas download of Viva La Vida (Thin White Duke Mix), which is available until Jan 5th. If you like techno it’s quite good, but it’s a free track anyway so why not check it out?

Free Music Alert: Jon Allen

For 12 hours on Christmas Eve, you’ll be able to download a free version of Jon Allen’s new track “Lay Your Burden Down”. I’m not sure which 12 hours it will be, but if you check out his website sometime that day, I’m sure you’ll be able to find it!

Also, the “Going Home” single was just released on iTunes (and includes “Dead Man’s Suit”). You can check it out here (note: link opens in iTunes).