Tag Archives: psu

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.

– 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.

– 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

An 11-link post

It’s been a while, hasn’t it, folks? I’ve been so busy with my thesis for the past month that any and all websites I found interesting where bookmarked and immediately forgotten about. This morning I finally got around to sorting through all of them, which I think was upwards of 50 bookmarks. At least. Anyway, the final result is that I have 11 I think you’ll find interesting:

1. From The Guardian: “Galaxy’s centre tastes of raspberries and smells of rum, says astronomers”

Astronomers searching for the building blocks of life in a giant dust cloud at the heart of the Milky Way have concluded that it tastes vaguely of raspberries.

The unanticipated discovery follows years of work by astronomers who trained their 30m radio telescope on the enormous ball of dust and gas in the hope of spotting complex molecules that are vital for life.

Finding amino acids in interstellar space is a Holy Grail for astrobiologists, as this would raise the possibility of life emerging on other planets after being seeded with the molecules.

2. Cool Earth Solar

On Thursday, an alumni from my department came in to speak to us about this company that he’s founded. The presentation that he gave us was really remarkeable and I don’t think the website does it justice. It’s a great project with an amazing amount of potential. And, for the good of our planet, I hope that it works!

3. Dictionary app for the iPod Touch/iPhone

One of the best things about my MacBook Pro is the built-in dictionary application. And now, if you’re like me and constantly questioning your spelling, you can get a free version for your iPod Touch or iPhone!

4. A photo from the Kewsick Mountain Festival:

Caption: Diners are served an alfresco meal at the summit of Latrigg, in England’s Lake District, as part of the Keswick Mountain Festival [Link]

5. National Geographic’s New Infinite Photograph:

6. Time Warp videos! This is an excellent show on the Discovery Channel, which takes everyday (or not-so-everyday) activities and phenomenons and films them in super-slow motion using high-speed cameras. I’m using the skateboard video for my Failure Analysis presentation on Monday, but I think my favorite is the video of wet dogs shaking.

7. Future Me – Send emails to your future self! I think I’ll send one to be delivered five years from now, reminding me how hard my thesis actually was. 🙂

8. Clark Little’s photographs of waves – These are absolutely the best photographs of ocean waves that you will ever see. I guarantee that you won’t be disappointed.

9. Footplay: The Soccer Project – This is a really cool concept, and it looks like it’s going to turn out to be a great project.

Footplay is the story of Luke and Gwendolyn, two former college soccer stars who couldn’t quite make it to the pros. They’re twenty-five-years-old. A couple that met on the field, he now works for a billboard company and she’s an aspiring writer. But they’re not ready to be done with the game they’ve always played. So Luke quits his job, Gwen puts her book on hold, and they take off, in search of pick-up games: impromptu contests that happen anywhere, between anyone. Footplay is a feature-length documentary that follows their adventures around the world and tells the stories of the people they meet through the game.

10. The World Cup at Beaver Stadium? – Unbelievable, but it would be unbelievably awesome!

The U.S. bid committee hoping to stage soccer’s World Cup in 2018 or 2022 sent initial letters last week to public officials and stadium operators of 70 potential sites, including Penn State’s Beaver Stadium.

Sixty-five stadiums have a capacity above 60,000, including 20 above 80,000. Among the stadiums listed was Beaver Stadium, the nation’s largest with a capacity of 107,282 but has never hosted a pro soccer match.

11. And finally, the Biblical Curse Generator – purely fun.

Rose Bowl

The shoes and whistle belonging to Penn State coach Joe Paterno are seen as he sits before practice for the Rose Bowl Game in Carson, Calif., Saturday, Dec. 27, 2008. Penn State plays Southern California in the Rose Bowl NCAA college football game on New Year’s Day in Pasadena, Calif. (AP Photo/Danny Moloshok)

Rose Bowl: PSU – USC

Penn State-USC clash set for 95th Rose Bowl


University Park, Pa. — The teams that played in the first Rose Bowl game in the present Rose Bowl Stadium are set to collide in the 95th renewal of the “Granddaddy of Them All.”

Big Ten Champion Penn State (11-1) and Pac-10 Champion Southern California (11-1) on Sunday (Dec. 7) were selected for a clash of Top 10 powers in the Rose Bowl Game presented by Citi. The contest will be played Jan. 1, 2009, at the Rose Bowl Stadium (88,500) in Pasadena, Calif. The game will kick at 5:10 p.m. Eastern Time and air on ABC, ESPN Radio and the Penn State Sports Network.

Picspam: Contest Winner


Last year I entered the photo contest sponsored by the PSU International Programs office, and I submitted two photos from Italy that I really liked. I spent about a week scouring through my thousands of photos and asking all of my friends for advice. I didn’t even get an honorable mention.

This year, I spent about half an hour picking out photos from England I had on Picasa and choosing the ones with the most comments on them. I settled on two and turned them in, and the little gem you see above took first place in the Landscape category! I stopped by to pick up my certificate, and got a tote bag and a digital photo frame as well. Nice.

Not with your gender.

On Tuesday night, Sarah Palin visited Penn State. To read more, check out The Collegian’s article.

Penn State 13; Ohio State 6

In case you have been living under a rock, Penn State football is doing pretty well this year. In fact, we are a beautiful undefeated 9-0, having already beaten rivals Michigan and Ohio State. But the icing on the cake came on Saturday when the team traveled to the dreaded land of the enemy and managed to pull off something that hadn’t been done since 1978: a Penn State victory in Ohio State’s stadium.

The video above is a montage that ABC played before the game which talks about JoePa and his long career with the team. It doesn’t need to be said how much he deserves this season, which may be his last, to be a memorable one.

By the way, you can watch a video of the 4,000+ riotors and corresponding police action back in State College that night over here on the Collegian‘s website.