TED Talks That Put Things In Perspective

Take a breather amidst the stress of finals- a ‘study break’ if you will- and check out some both motivational, inspiring and thought provoking talks about life and the pursuit of happiness.

 

Psychologist Barry Schwartz takes aim at a central tenet of western societies: freedom of choice. In Schwartz’s estimation, choice has made us not freer but more paralyzed, not happier but more dissatisfied.

 

Journalist Carl Honore believes the Western world’s emphasis on speed erodes health, productivity and quality of life. But there’s a backlash brewing, as everyday people start putting the brakes on their all-too-modern lives.

 

When the dotcom bubble burst, hotelier Chip Conley went in search of a business model based on happiness. In an old friendship with an employee and in the wisdom of a Buddhist king, he learned that success comes from what you count.

 

Statistician Nic Marks asks why we measure a nation’s success by its productivity — instead of by the happiness and well-being of its people. He introduces the Happy Planet Index, which tracks national well-being against resource use (because a happy life doesn’t have to cost the earth). Which countries rank highest in the HPI? You might be surprised.

Sometimes, mothers do know best

By Matt Huang, PULSE

The organization, ‘Mothers Against Drunk Driving’ (MADD) was created to prevent, and spread awareness about the consequences of drunk driving, and prevent underage drinking. MADD is the nation’s largest non-profit combating this issue.

Image adapted under Creative Commons courtesy of Annika Lidne/Flickr.com

Image adapted under Creative Commons courtesy of Annika Lidne/Flickr.com

Did you know?

The following statistics from MADD’s website reveal just how big of an issue this is for young people, especially college students and recent graduates.

1) In 2010, the rate of drunk driving was highest among persons aged 21 to 25 (23.4 percent). And about 15.1 percent of 18 to 20 year olds reported driving under the influence of alcohol in the past year.

2) In fatal crashes in 2010, the highest percentage of drunk drivers was for drivers ages 21 to 24 (34 percent).

3) The average person metabolizes alcohol at the rate of about one drink per hour. Only time will sober a person up. Drinking strong coffee, exercising or taking a cold shower will not help.

4) The speed of alcohol absorption affects the rate at which one becomes drunk. Unlike foods, alcohol does not have to be slowly digested. As a person drinks faster than the alcohol can be eliminated, the drug accumulates in the body, resulting in higher and higher levels of alcohol in the blood.

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5 eye-opening documentaries

by Lindsay M, School of Public Health

First and foremost, I think it’s only appropriate to thank my ex-boyfriend for not changing his Netflix password. If it weren’t for his generosity forgetfulness, I would not have had the incredible opportunity to watch so many documentaries “for free” over the past few years.

Image used under Creative Commons courtesy of flowercat/flickr.com

Image used under Creative Commons courtesy of flowercat/flickr.com

The thing that I love about documentaries is that they show it “how it really is”—or at least how it is for a particular person or group of people. Documentaries can be extreme, are often one-sided, and tend to leave you with a powerful urge to go and change something, or at the very least post about it on Facebook. And some documentaries are just down-right fascinating.

1. Crips and Bloods: Made in America This documentary brings to light many of the factors that contributed to the evolution of two of the most notorious gangs in America–the Crips and the Bloods. Through insightful commentaries by scholars and historians, and fascinating interviews with current and former gang members, this documentary reveals a story of gang violence that doesn’t often get told.

2. (A)sexual. It has been estimated that about 1% of people consider themselves asexual, or not sexually attracted to people. (A)sexual chronicles one “asexy” man and his experiences being asexual and finding his place in a seemingly sex-obsessed culture. Continue reading