Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Haunting Photos of Polar Ice

A photographer Camille Seaman (2011) in her talk shows the beauty of icebergs through different interesting and attractive pictures.She interested me a lot and I decided to search and get some information about her. 

 Camille Seaman is a photographer and she takes photographs all over the world using digital and film cameras. She started to photograph icebergs in Polar Regions almost 10 years ago. She was honored with a one-person exhibition “The Last Iceberg” at the National Academy of Sciences in 2008.

 She is trying to show that people are not separate from nature and everything in the world is interconnected. In the Antarctica she saw different icebergs that were almost 200 feet above water.When the ice is cut or breaks off from glaciers, that ice becomes iceberg. Camille Seaman states that each iceberg has its own personality.  They have a separate way of interacting with the environment. Some icebergs stand above the water and continue fight, some others cannot stay longer and they give up. By showing different pictures she is showing that those icebergs are suffering alone like people. When the ice, or as the iceberg melts, it is relisting the mineral rich fresh water, that nourishes many forms of life.

She is telling that she started to take pictures of icebergs as she understood that  in that particular moment, they exist in that way and will never exist in the same way again. When the icebergs melt, it is not the end. It is the continuation of their road through the life cycle. There are icebergs of different ages. Some icebergs are very young: a couple thousand years old and some icebergs are over hundred thousand years old.

By showing one video of rolling iceberg in Greenland, which is about 120 feet or 40 meters above water, she is trying to present how the iceberg shows both sides of its personality.

The author precisely defines the purpose of her talk and shares with her experience by using different pictures of icebergs. She talks clearly and accurate. She uses with very deep meaning ideas and concepts during her talk, provides evidence and clear interpretations. I liked it a lot. 

Source: Seaman Camille (2011) "Haunting Photos of Polar ice" TEDTalk videos art Retrieved from:

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Building a Museum of Museums on the Web

 In his talk Amit Sood (2011) represents website through which people can have easy access to different museums from all over the world. The idea of making such type of website came from the problem of having difficulties to access to different museums and artworks. The aim of the website is to make this accessible by using the advanced technology.

 The steps of using the website: go to, choose any museum which is available through this website. There are 2 ways of entering to museum, click at any of them and you are in the museum. You can easily move around. If you want to go to the other part of the museum, you open the floor plan, and by one click you can be exactly to that place of the museum. Besides all these, near each painting, which the museums allow us to see, there is “+” sign, by clicking that sign we can see the picture. In the right side of the picture the important information is available for every available painting. You can zoom the paintings and do any research on them by examining from very close. But the greatest advantage of this website is giving an opportunity to anyone to create his or her own collection of different masterpieces.

 He started to show the advantages of this website and available actions on one painting from museum. The painting is “The harvesters” by Pieter Bruegel. By clicking at the “+”sign he gets access to painting itself. By zooming the painting he goes deep, and he found something interesting which is unnoticeable from the first look. In very deep part of the painting an interesting action is noticeable: children are playing a game, which includes beating the goose with sticks.

 I was very interested in this website, as I am great fan of art; especially I like the works of Francisc Goya. I liked it a lot, because it gave me opportunity to watch my favorite paintings from very close. But with all really good advantages and features, this website still has some omissions. First of all there are available only 17 museums from 9 countries. Second, when we go to the floor plan, there are only several rooms available to enter. Third, not all paintings are allowed to see in zoom and in a clear way.

 I hope they will enlarge the number of available museums, because it is really a very good opportunity for those who really value art and cannot pay for travelling to particular country and enjoy those artworks, by using technology get access to different museums. 
This topic was the best topic I have heard till now. The author talks clearly by explaining every simple detail. He clearly states the problem, and gives the solution. He provides his point of view, clearly identifies his assumptions. The topic is clear and accurate. 

Source: Amit Sood (2011) "Building a museum of museums on the web", TEDTalks Art Retrieved from:

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Impossible Photography

 I was assigned to work on the design of catalogue for the consulting company during my summer internship. While I was doing Google search and was trying to examine other similar catalogue designs, I suddenly saw one picture which I couldn’t understand in any way. It was some physical material made of three similar cubes, which were imaginable. But they were combined in a way, that I couldn’t understand and see there any “connection line”. By looking to that photograph I see that it could exist, but at the same time I know it cannot. I have spent hours to understand that picture, but it was useless.

 For my blog post I was searching any interesting topic, and I read the title “Impossible Photography”. This podcast finally gave answers to my questions.

 In the podcast young photographer Erik Johannson shows different interesting, impossible and extraordinary photographs which are unrealistic but at the same time look like realistic. This video also attracted me because my father had professional camera and was taking different pictures. Therefore from childhood I used to see how photos come out. I was familiar with the process started from pressing the trigger till taking already paper photo in hand.

 Erik Johannson (2011) starts his talk by telling how the idea of making unrealistic images came in his mind. These images are images which can’t be taken by camera. When he was 15, he got his first digital camera and by using camera, he understood that the process is very simple: one click and the process ends. It is very simple, it is about being in the right place at the right time and anyone can do that. His desire was to create something different, where the process starts after pressing the trigger. In all impossible photos he is putting photorealism, which means that those photos cannot be captured really, but those could have been captured as pictures. All these are about capturing ideas not the moment really.

 But what’s the trick that makes it look realistic? Is it anything about the details, the colors, and the light? 
The perspective is the illusion. It’s not about what is realistic, it’s about what we think looks realistic really. Erik looks at the photos as a puzzle of reality, where he takes different pieces of reality and puts them together.

There are 3 simple rules to follow to get realistic results: 1. Photos combined should have the same perspective, 2. Photos combined should have the same type of lights, 3. To make impossible to distinguish where the different images begin and end.

Match color, contrast and brightness in the borders between the different images, add photographic elements, erase the borders between the different images; make it look like a single image. Getting realistic results starts with planning, with the sketching an idea, then combining to different photographs. The process results into beautiful and realistic images. "Tools are available; the only thing that has limits is imagination". Erik Johannson

The author precisely defines the main idea, purpose, settles several important questions and gives answers to those. He clearly identifies his assumptions, shows his point of view concerning to photography, how he understands it. He uses logical explanations while answering to settled questions. He talks clearly, the topic is accurate and the talk is well organized. I really enjoyed it :).

Source: Erik Johannson (2011) TEDTalk videos "Impossible Photography" Retrieved from:

Saturday, February 11, 2012

We Can Recycle Plastic!!!

 It’s well known that over 90% of the metals are being recovered and reused for different purposes. What about the plastics? Why these materials are not recovered? And are there any ways to recycle the plastics?

 In his talk Mike Biddle (2011) presents the way of recycling the plastics. Mike Biddle is a plastics engineer. Discarded plastic ends up buried and burned, not recycled. Mike Biddle has found a way to close the loop. He says: "I consider myself an environmentalist. I hate to see plastics wasted. I hate to see any natural resource – even human time – wasted.” (

 He starts his talk from times of childhood, how people look at stuff in their life. It was like Toddler rules. “It’s my stuff, if I saw it first”, “The entire pile is my stuff, if I am building something”, “The more stuff I have, the better” and of course “It’s your stuff, if it’s broken”. Actually, people don’t leave these Toddler rules behind. This is the way how we've developed into adult people. 

 Every day over 1 million pounds are handled from people’s thrown stuff. The United Nations estimates that there is over 85 billion pounds per year of electronic waste that gets discarded around the world every year and that is one of the most rapidly growing parts of that stream. The more developed the country, the bigger are the mounts of discarded durable goods. People call those mounts “garbage” but those who work in recycling processes they call it “above-ground mines”, because those are valuable raw-materials. It becomes very important to figure out how to extract these raw-materials from waste streams. 

People want more goods, but let’s think: what goes in the making those goods that we use every day? Most of them are many types of plastics and metals. The metals are coming from ore through mining process from all over the world. The plastics are coming from oil. Both processes have huge economic and environmental implications. Anyway, people start to recover and recycle those materials. Metals are very easy to recycle from one another and from other materials. They have very different densities, different electric and magnetic properties, and they have different colors. That’s why it’s very easy for either humans or machines to separate these metals. The majority of people think that plastics are thrown away materials, have very little value, but actually plastics are more valuable than steel or any type of metal. Plastics have overlapping densities over very narrow range, they have either identical or very similar electric and magnetic properties, and any plastic can be in any colors. The traditional ways of separating materials don’t work for plastics. Besides, metals are easy to recycle by humans because many goods from the developed countries are being transformed into the developing countries for law cost recycling. People earn a dollar per day by extracting the metals, but again they can’t recover the plastics. The other way is just burning the plastics to get the metals; also they extract the metals by hand. This is called a low economic cost solution. But this is not the low environmental or human health and safety solution. Mike Biddle calls this process an environmental arbitrage, because it’s not fair, it’s not safe and it’s not sustainable. People try to recycle the plastics also. In Mumbai city of India, people try very hard to separate the plastics by color, by shape, by any technique they can. Sometimes they burn the plastics, and smell, trying to understand the plastic type. But none of these techniques is efficient way of recycling.

 The traditional way to make plastics is with oil. Mike Biddle states that there is more sustainable way to make plastics: not just sustainable from the environmental standpoint, but also sustainable from an economic standpoint. This doesn’t cost as much as oil and it’s plentiful. They were using the mining approach to extract the materials during breaking dawn the plastics into molecules and recombining them. In this way they have significantly lower capital costs and have huge energy savings (80-90%). The consumers enjoy huge CO2 savings; they have more sustainable products. 
 The recycling process starts with metal recyclers; they recover the metals, and leave behind the waste. They receive materials, use magnets, use air classification, and its look like working factory. At the end of this process there are different types of plastics and different grades of plastics. This goes into the multistep separation process. They use the automatic process to sort those plastics by type and by grade. The result is the same material that we get from oil. And those are produced from old stuff, which is going right back into new stuff.
  So now you can find your old stuff back in new products. Companies, by buying those plastics, replace virgin plastic to make new products.  Now the last Toddler rule is a little changed: “If it’s broken, it’s Mike’s stuff”.

The topic is very interesting. The author clearly defines and solves the problem. He uses many examples, logical interpretations during his talk. The topic is accurate and trustworthy, as the author is the specialist in the same industry and shows his own experience during talk. He clearly explains the process of recycling by providing different concepts and ideas related to plastics. In the end he provides his assumptions, perspectives. The author talks clearly, discusses different questions, he shows good sides of this recycling process, but I would like to know also whether there are any bad consequences of this process. 

Source: Biddle, M. (2011) TEDTalks: "We can recycle plastic" Retrieved from:

Friday, February 3, 2012

Are The United Kingdom, Great Britain and England the same places?

 The topic of my today’s blog is whether The United Kingdom, Great Britain and England are the same place. Many people confuse these three places. Some of them think that England and Great Britain are the same countries; the others by saying Great Britain simply understand The United Kingdom. And here the question arises: “Are The United Kingdom, Great Britain and England the same places?” The answer is of course NO, without any doubts. But let’s see how it comes.

 In the north part of the European continent is situated the United Kingdom (UK). The UK is not a single country: it is “A Country of Countries”, which consists of four equal and sovereign nations. The first of these is England shown in orange. England is always confused with the UK because England is the largest among all 4 countries and it is the most famous of the nations. The capital city is London and is situated in England. To the north is Scotland colored in dark green, to the west is Wales shown in red and the forth country in the UK is Northern Ireland, shown in light green. Each country has a local term for population, they have their developed parliament and they all have their own British laws. Usually no one calls those nations, people living in these four countries British, because these four countries actually don’t like each other. They are Northern Irish, Scottish, Welsh and English. Though as the four countries don’t have their own passports, they are all the British citizens of the UK: no matter they like it or not.

 The United Kingdom is called The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Great Britain is shown in purple color, it contains Scotland, Wales and England. It is the greatest island among the British Isles. Great Britain is geographical term. The term Great Britain within the UK is often used for England, Wales and Scotland, with the exclusion of Northern Ireland. Actually England, Wales and Scotland have islands which are not included in Great Britain. For example, the Isle of Wight part of England, the Walsh Isle of Anglesey, the Scottish Hebrides, Shetland Islands, Orkney Islands and the Islands of Clyde. Ireland is the second biggest island in the British Isles. The Island of Ireland consists of two countries: Northern Ireland, which is included in the UK, and Republic of Ireland. Many times when people say that they are Irish, they mean that they are from Republic of Ireland, which is separate country from the UK. However, Republic of Ireland and the UK are members of the European Union.

 But again there are left several questions. For example, “when anyone travels to Canada, why on their money is the Queen of Great Britain?” For answering to this question, we need to know about the British Empire. The British Empire was governing 1/4th of the world’s people. Most of those nations get their independence violently. It’s hard to mention how many nations get independence through diplomacy. However, there are countries that continue to recognize the monarchy. To understand how those countries are connected, we need to understand the Crown. The Crown is a legal entity:“One-Man Corporation”. The physical Crown is in London Tower. According to the British traditions, the corporation is created by God. God accredits its power to the entity called Crown. It is developed, legal corporation, which is able to be controlled by ruling monarch.

  The countries which get their independence through diplomacy such as Canada, Australia, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, etc., still recognize the monarchy as the head of state, even though that has a little real power within their borders.
  There are three further entities that belong to the Crown and these are called the Crown Dependencies (Isle of Man, Guernsey, and Jersey). They are not considered as independent nations but they have local autonomy by the Crown and also they own British citizenship.
  And the third group of countries is called British Overseas Territories. The former name of these countries was “Crown Colonies”; this term shows the origin of these countries. The Crown Colonies are Gibraltar, the Falkland Irelands, British Virgin Islands; Saint Helena, etc. They are not independent nations; they continue to confide the UK for military and sometimes economic assistance. Everyone born in the border of British Overseas Territories is a British citizen.

I liked this video, this theme, as England is one of my favorite countries in the world and this talk was very informative for me. As this video is from "the best Youtube videos" the name of author is mentioned as a firm, not any individual person. I had to listen this talk several times, as the author was talking very fast and unclear. He states the problem, settles questions, provides the answers to all of them and talks logically. The problem is relevant nowadays as many people confuse it.

Source: Plankton productions (January 30, 2011). United Kingdom, Great Britain, England explained. podcast from Best of YouTube videos.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Less Stuff, More Happiness

 I was searching for an interesting topic for my blog and finally one nice title attracted my attention: “Less stuff, more happiness”. The first thought and question that came to my mind was “Is this any direct way to get happiness?” So, let’s see what I have “discovered”.

 First of all, like in my previous blog cases, I have searched to find out about the author. Graham Hill studied design and architecture. His company, ExceptionLab, is about creating sustainable prototypes. Graham Hill is the founder of, and is the author of Weekday Vegetarian.

 In his talk Graham Hill (2011) states his point of view that with less stuff people can obtain more happiness. The purpose of this talk is to consider the benefits of the edited life

 He starts his talk by comparing nowadays American’s space use with an American living 50 years ago. Now Americans use 3 times more space than they did 50 years ago. But to what does it lead? It results to lot of debts, environmental footprints, and stress. Hill states that less may equal more. This means that less stuff and less space are equal to less environmental footprints, save more money and more ease in life J. For finding some solutions in this area, he used project called Life Edited

 For this project he used example of his apartment. Like all other people he also needs convenient flat with all necessary rooms like home office, room for guests, bedroom, etc. For that is needed approximately 600 square feet space, but he has bought 420 square feet space apartment instead of 600 square feet space by saving approximately 200 square feet space. This is smaller space and it results to smaller utilities, which leads to save more money, also smaller footprint. Besides all these, it was designed in a proper way and fitted the needs of the author.

 Graham Hill offers the main 3 approaches that lead to get “less, small, little”. The first approach is “Edit ruthlessly”, which means to clear life from secondary products and think before buying, by asking ourselves a question “is that really going make me happier?” The second approach is “Think small”, as we want space efficiency, we should buy those things which we will be able to use for several years. The third approach is “Make multifunctional”, use multifunctional housewares, one such example of multifunctional housewares is a dining table which becomes a bed.

 What I liked in this talk is that the author states his main idea, point of view, and explains, presents by his own life examples. He talks about the positive effects of editing, also provides 3 ways which will help people to get the things smaller.

 Actually this talk wasn’t about any direct way to happiness, as I was thinking from the beginning, but it made me to think about such questions: “Could I do a little life editing? Would I change anything in my room, and change the stuff that I use? And would that life editing give me a little more freedom and more time?”
  And I have found the answers to these questions. So, when you enter to your room, take a second and think about these questions. 
 “Maybe less might equal more. So let’s make room for the good stuff…” Graham Hill

Source: Hill, G. (2011). Less Stuff, More Happiness. TEDTalks (Video podcast). Retrieved from:

Friday, January 20, 2012

1000 TEDTalks, 6 Words

 I was searching for a podcast which would be related to my previous blog posts concerning to the production, education or economics, but suddenly one title attracted my attention: “1000 TEDTalks, 6 words”.  I have heard it and decided to make this blog and I think it relates to all themes because it is about all TEDTalks taken altogether.
 After listening to this talk, I was very interested in the author and his work experience because I liked a lot his talk, his clear explanations and his great aspiration to get the desired result. That’s why I have decided to search about him in Google.

 Sebastian Wernicke is a manager at Oliver Wyman. He studied bioinformatics; he processed an algorithm to analyze biological networks. He worked as a filmmaker, and then started his career in statistics. He is mostly famous by being the author of TEDPad app.
 In his talk Sebastian Wernicke (2011) states that there are some ways to summarize all TEDTalks in 6 words. He explains his point of view very clearly. There are thousands of TEDTalks which express 1000 different ideas. The average length of TEDTalks is approximately 2300 words.  For watching and getting all those 1000 ideas, each person has to spend nearly 250 hours. By doing some calculations, the author gets 2.3 million words for 1000 TEDTalks, and he discusses a question: 
 “Isn’t there any way to have the TEDTalks shorter and what is the minimum amount of the words which are needed to have a TEDTalk?”

  During discussion of this issue, Sebastian Wernicke faced the case of Ernest Hemingway. The writer summed his novel into 6 words which became his best novel: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn”. 
 Sebastian Wernicke also takes into account one project which is called “Six words memoir”. According to that project people were asked to sum their life into 6 words and one result of such summary was: “Found true love, married someone else”. After all these Sebastian came to one conclusion that as the novel and the whole memoir can be put into 6 words, then only 6 words are needed for making a TEDTalk. 
 One way of getting the summaries for all TEDTalks was through website where is possible to post tasks like “please summarize this text for me in 6 words”, and the task is done for 10 cents. As it would be very costly to summarize all TEDTalks individually, it is more appropriate to do 6 words summary for 10 TEDTalks at the same time. It will result to 600 summaries for 1000 TEDTalks. Some good examples of such summaries that Sebastian Wernicke mentioned and I also liked are: “Striving toward happiness=moving toward unhappiness”, “Food shaping body, brains, and environment”.

 But all these 6 words 600 summaries are a huge list, and there should be another way of summaries. That’s why Sebastian Wernicke divided those 600 summaries into 9 groups (Courageous, persuasive, informative, fascinating, inspiring, beautiful, ingenious, funny, jaw-dropping), and asked people to summarize groups. Here are two interesting results: for courageous group People dying with easy solutions around”, for funny group “English is not good of author”. So, the cost also reduced to $95.50, which is less than $100.
 From all those mess-up summaries, Sebastian Wernicke got one 6 words summary for 1000 TEDTalks at the value of $95.50 by playing with different words in totally different summaries. That summary is: 
“Why the worry, I’d rather wonder”.

I liked this TEDTalk a lot. Sebastian Wernicke clearly defines and solves the problem. He uses some other similar ideas and concepts, provides explanations and finally states the concluded 6 word sentence. He talks clearly by providing logical interpretations.

Source: Wernicke, S. (2011) 1000 TEDTalks, 6 words TEDtalks (Video podcast). Retrieved from:

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Does democracy help or hinder the economic growth?

 In his talk Yasheng Huang (2011) is speaking about the economic growth in China and India. I was interested in this topic because he raised a question which is very interesting for economists, as for me. The key question of the talk is “whether democracy has helped or has hindered the economic growth?”
  First of all as this question was very interesting for me, especially I wanted to understand why and how China grows so fast, I have decided to search also about Yasheng Huang for understanding whether it is a trustworthy source or not, and I have found out some details about the author. 
 Yasheng Huang is a professor of political economy and international management at MIT Sloan School of Management. His previous appointments include faculty positions at the University of Michigan and at Harvard Business School. He was also a consultant to the World Bank.

The key question in this topic, which also includes the main idea, is “why has China grown so much faster than India?” For answering to this question Huang uses many statistical data and historic evidences of China and India by making several comparisons mainly in terms of GDP growth rates. According to those statistical data China has grown twice the rate of India during the last 3 decades. For explaining such kind of result Huang uses “The Shanghai model of economic growth”, which consists of several characteristics that foster the economic growth:

  •   Infrastructures
  •         Strong government 
  •         State capitalism and government ownership
 The main point of this model is that the democracy is the hindrance for economic growth rather than a facilitator of economic growth. Another important question comes up here:how important are infrastructures for economic growth? By using two examples (the first example is that Soviet Union had more telephones than China, and the second is that India had longer system of railways than China till 1990s) Huang came to conclusion that infrastructure doesn’t explain why China has grown faster than India. Even if Soviet Union had more telephones, the country collapsed, that means that infrastructure doesn’t help to economic growth. India being a smaller country than China had longer railways, but again China today has great economic advantage over India. If we look at the evidence worldwide, we can say that infrastructures are the result of economic growth rather than the cause for economic growth.

 The important question is also: “Is democracy bad for growth?” The author compared the GDP rates per capita for India and Pakistan. India is democratic country, Pakistan is a non-democratic country. The comparison of these 2 countries is more convenient and acceptable than India and China, because India and Pakistan are similar from the geographic point of view; also they have somehow common history and culture. The only common thing among India and China is the highest population. Again when we look at the statistical evidence worldwide, there is no support for the idea that authoritarian governments hold a systematic advantage over democracies in terms of economic growth.
So, for answering to the main question let’s compare China during Cultural Revolution with India during the times of Indira Gandhi. During Cultural Revolution China’s GDP rate was by average about 2.2% larger than India’s GDP rate. This means that China had one important and advantageous resource which helped the country to overcome the worst effects of Cultural Revolution and that resource was human capital. At the same time the adult literacy rate in China is 77%, the same rate in India is 48%. Here the key issue is to understand how the literacy rate is defined in both countries. In China literacy is defined as the ability to read and write 1500 characters. In India literacy is defined the ability to read your own name in the language you happen to speak. The reason of this advantage is discrimination.

 The important issue is also the political system of China. Let’s consider statics of the political system and the dynamics of the political system of China. Statically China is a one party system, authoritarian. Dynamically, it has changed over time to become less authoritarian and more democratic. In terms of the political changes they have introduced village elections, they have increased the security of proprietors and the security with the long-term land leases, and there are also financial reforms and rural entrepreneurial revolution in China. In the case of India the country has undertaken not only economic reforms, but also political reform by introducing village self-rule, privatization of media, and introducing freedom of information acts.

  By summarizing the main perspectives of this topic, let’s compare dragon and elephant: Which country has the growth momentum?” China has some of the excellent raw fundamentals (mostly the social capital, the public health), that we cannot find in India. But from the other side India has the momentum; it has solid institutional conditions for growth. India has the right institutional conditions for economic growth whereas china is still struggling with political reforms. The main idea that Huang states here is that for keeping the economic growth, political reforms should happen in China.

 Overall the topic is very interesting. The author clearly defines the issue and uses many statistical data and examples for his explanations. He uses question-answer type of presentation by which he presents several questions in the same talk. At the end of his talk Huang states his assumption and point of view. Logical explanations are provided in this talk. The author talks clearly, and precisely presents the evidence and perspectives. 
Source: Huang, Y. (2011). Does democracy stifle economic growth? TEDTalks (video podcast). Retrieved from: