Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘books

“Trip to the End of the Night” by Ferdinand Celine (Part 3)

This French book, published in the early 1930’s, is basically a collection of autobiographical stories of a freshly graduating physician in his mid thirties who established his “clinic” in a poor working neighborhood in the suburb of Paris.

Paying visit to patients after sundown and the medical tour lasting till dawn generate real life stories.

The followings are excerpts, not of the stories, but of the kind of statements that the living among miseries bring up in our mind and emotions.

We have no illusions: We know that the only story we care to communicate is the variety of our pains, aches and frustrations…We care less of what people tell us of their pains and frustrations…All that we do is transfer our aches…The irony is that our pains remain intact, whole, and never vanish…We are expert with grimaces, and with old age, making the face of pain becomes too heavy and complicated…

I am walking and got caught by a mass of people obstructing the street. They were standing in circles and big rosy pig grunting in pain in the middle. The masses were pretty happy and hysterically laughing: They had this golden urban opportunity to hurting the pig, twisting his ears, encouraging a little dog to mount the pig and bite it…And the pig was moaning, whining, and trying to flee from this crazy and hellish circle of insane people…The pig was tugging on the rope, urinating, and going nowhere…Nothing was working for the pig to feel freedom…The butcher was holding a large knife and making faces and wildly gesturing to make people laugh louder…The butcher has learned the best method to amuse the guests at the wedding of his daughter…

What of this famous author husband (Montaigne) who sent his wife a letter on the occasion of the death of her newborn: “Don’t worry dear woman…Things will work out in life, eventually…I just finished reading a letter that another famous author wrote to his wife on a similar occasion…Read this attached letter over and over, and disseminate the content to our friends and acquaintances… I feel pretty serene right now…”

Dr. Baryton stayed away from any physical health intervention. He used to tell me: “Science and life form a destructive mixture. Any question you formulate to the condition of your body is a sure gap that thickness will sneak in…Any beginning of worry, obsession… is ground to let sickness in…What is already known is way enough for me to handle…”

In my case, I longed for a severe flu, high enduring fever, anything that would force me to the quietude of a deep sleep…I have lost confidence of sleeping like normal people do…this state of indifference that neutralizes my worrying nature…to getting this stupid and divine tranquility of the living…

Misery for misery, I prefer the ones not displayed in newspapers…

What could we do if we refuse to go forward, leaded as we are with all the boredom we constantly carry in living…? Sticking to our regular habits is the least annoying to our eternal boredom

It is useless to comprehend what is it to come back to a life of miseries, and the waiting, until we observe all those little people hoping to get  the promised pension, before they pass away. Like those suffering from tuberculosis when there were no cure for it: They believe they will surely get well after they receive the pension, no doubt about it…Pension is a cure it all…There is no urgency to getting well before pension time: To do what? Get back to the harsh useless work?

There come a time we talk less and less about what we desired the most…and if we are nudged to talk, it is with great effort. We abridge the story of our desires and wants…We don’t care to insist on the right and wrong.  All that we need is a little food, plenty of heat, and sleeping as much as we can, on this long and rough road of nothingness.

We lack this desire to invent new stories…We keep the griefs of the departed people who had left a little sunshine in our heart in our childhood…

Come a time we feel that we got old all of a sudden: We no longer get excited or interested in people’s stories and their worries.  It doesn’t matter how hard we pretend, the world has already left us before we vanish in the great darkness...

“Trip to the End of the Night” by Ferdinand Celine (Part 2)

This French book, published in the early 1930’s, is basically a collection of autobiographical stories of a freshly graduating physician in his mid thirties who established his “clinic” in a poor working neighborhood in the suburb of Paris.

Celine (pen name) used to be called to pay visit to patients after sundown, and his medical tour will last till dawn, from a poor patient to another dying girl aborting in the room of her parents, because the parents refused to send her to the hospital for face-saving…

Celine volunteered  in WWI,  was caught in the machinery and couldn’t get out, and was able to flee to the USA and worked at the noisy and boring Ford factories in Detroit. He returned to France and studied medicine.

The followings are excerpts, not of the stories, but of the kind of statements that the living among miseries bring up in our mind and emotions.

The biggest tiredness of the living is this tremendous effort invested in looking “reasonable”, along the decades of our growth: Everything is justified as long as we never exhibit ourselves, as we are: vile, foul, atrocious, absurd…This long nightmare of presenting this little universal ideal, superman during the day, this sub-man that we inherited, handicapped from birth in so many ways…

It is a good feeling when we land in an unknown city: We can lure ourselves that the people are much nicer. It is good to dream that we can spare a few hours in the public park, ogling the young girls…

I noticed that people have a vast reserve for love, plenty of it in reserve, genuinely pitying the handicapped, the blind…

The trouble is that love in reserve is never invested, not early enough, not ever: It is blocked inside, serving nothing and nobody…This kind of love in reserve dies slowly, and is reduced to nothing: Inflation of hatred, contempt, self deprecation exhaust all the initial wealth in love, bottled up inside…

It’s astonishing how hard it is to figure out what may render a person, more or less, agreeable to others.  We really want to be of service, to be favorable, but we keep mumbling and blubbering…The first uttered words, and we are swimming in the vast sea, unable to swim. Al the unconscious distract you as you approach the topic of being friendly…

Detritus do not increase or last: They are decomposed one way or another.  It is mankind who keeps defecting, urinating through his half-decomposed body, and exacerbate this mess with conversations that are half-cooked and ill expressed

Our torture is imprisoned in a body, characterized by a specific foul nauseating odor, a particular trademark of every individual, his signature…And our molecules keep their unrelenting navigation, to getting out of our body and rejoin this universe of infinity…

What’s life after all, but a bit of light that ends in the dark? Most of our adventures and undertakings that counts to our heart are done mainly in the dark of the night: Shameful endeavors that we think the others don’t know or have the secret, and the details of our dark maneuvers…

Fear never does reply by a Yes or a No. All that fear does is to gather what we are thinking, all that we say, everything we do…Fear just control our emotions and our actions, unknown to our conscious mind…

Relocating your business has a single advantage: The time it takes for your clients to discover the best way to harm you, you are already enjoying a tranquil relative break from people’s harm.  It is this short period that is the most agreeable in relocating your living.  The best tactic is turning over from one side to the other in your bed…

The simple crazy and the one tortured by civilization (book review)

Dr. Baryton is confiding to Dr. Ferdinand about the case of their colleague Parapine:

“Parapine is an intelligent guy, though of a totally arbitrary kind of intelligence.  He refuses to adapt. He is not in his skin in his profession. He cannot suffer the current world civilization, and he is a highly tormented mind.

In my case, if earth starts to spin in the opposite direction tomorrow, all that I would do is sleep an additional 12 hours, and the day after will find me totally adapted to this new reality.

Not Parapine. He won’t accept this injustice: earth turning counter-clockwise! He will ruminate projects for ever and in bitterness and dejection. He will lose sleep, contemplating ways to return to the previous normal state of affairs.  One of his desperate alternatives would be to blow earth all together.

And the worst part of it is that Parapine will succeed in chattering earth to pieces…

There are simple crazies, and you have those crazies who are tortured by civilization.

Once, Parapine told me: “Between the penis and mathematics, nothing exists. It is the total void…” He is waiting impatiently for the advent of the”Age of Mathematics“.  A world of pure logic, completely governed and functioning by programmed logic…

I know Ferdinand that you are Not taking my story seriously, and you are damn wrong in your view of Parapine. I have already witnessed and treated the cold and hot delirium cases, and I know what I’m talking about…

I am someone largely uninhibited by words and sentences: Words don’t scare me.  In the case of Parapine, I am ready to be on my guard when he speaks.

Parapine extravagances are contagious and are terribly formidable in their originality. For the moment, Parapine case is an exaggerated conviction.

Particularly, those who speak of Justice are enraged people. Those “righters of wrong” are maniacal terrors. The same fatalist individuals who work on my nerves.

Last month, I received the case of an author who kept repeating “Liquidate…liquidate…” I told the family members that the problem is mainly physical in nature: there is a restriction in his bladder, and I had to empty his urine one drop at a time… The family insisted that his temporary insanity is due to his genius that hit him suddenly…

Go figure. Families refuse to pay for a condition related to rotting matters in suspension…The monetary reward must be linked to a genius condition…”

Baryton was no musician by any long shot: If he decides to quit his institution for the mentally sick and deranged, he will destroy everything in his path, like a bear, and vanish.  The requests of the rich families for Baryton to keep updated in modern technology, electrical, magnetic, resonance, lobotomy…any thing that fry the brain once for all…is driving his egoism for his liberty to desperation.

The families have dragged him deeper into the life of routine…

The end of the tragic story of mankind is a total lack of measure and moderation…

Note: Article onspired by a section in the French book “Trip to the end of the night” by Ferdinand Celine (a pen name)

The Ugliest period of involvement of France in Near East (1950-62): Dimona nuclear plant in Israel

The successive governments in France between 1950 to 62 established reduced “parallel governments” just to expedite transactions with the new State of Israel.  Most ministers, Parliament, and key institutions were kept in the dark of the decisions of the parallel governments, headed by the PM, the minister of Defense, the Chief of Staff of the army and aviation, and nuclear research institutions…

Whatever was the list for military hardware handed over by Israel to the French Defense Minister was approved with zeal and excitement. The new Myster IV fighter jet version were dispatched to Israel: The US had already contracted out 24 of this newest version of fighter jets for the NATO forces, and France worked diligently to appease the US into receiving only 12 fighter jets and deliver the remaining 12 to Israel, just before Israel preemptive war on Egypt in 1956…Israel withdrew from Sinai a year after France and England troops had vacated Egypt: Israel claimed Sinai as part of Greater Israel…

After the aborted invasion of Egypt in 1956 by France, England and Israel, which coincided with the invasion of Soviet troops of Hungary and pressured the US to offer a face lift to the western alliance and aborted the campaign on Egypt, following the nationalization of the Suez canal by Gamal Abdel Nasser, France zeal to providing Israel with weapons of mass destruction went unabated. Actually, the French people didn’t exercise enough pressures on the government to revise its foreign policies in the Middle East: The propaganda put forth Nasser as the main villain and public enemy number 1.

Worse, France in a frenzy volunteered to build the first nuclear power plant in the Middle-east, and specifically in the Negev desert in Israel. France military and research centers contributed whatever uranium and heavy water that was needed to make the plant operational. France detonated its first atomic bomb in 1960, and Israel was equipped of a bomb in 1968.

The plans for the plants and factory to extracting pure plutonium from the enriched uranium were started in 1958. The USA of Eisenhower got worried, and for some reasons, france decided to lie and claim that the plant was for peaceful reasons: generating electrical power! The US opted to take the assurances of France at face value… And later on, in 1962, what the factory for the extraction of plutonium was meant for?

Many Jewish nuclear scientists and pro Zionist physicists in Europe converged to Israel after WWII. The scientist and chemist Chaim Weizmann was the President of Israel and he encouraged that exodus. Mind you that the Jewish Oppenheimer was the lead theoretical scientist who detonated the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima in 1945.

In 1949, a year after the UN voted Israel in by a margin of a single vote, Israel defense ministry dispatched overseas (The Netherlands, Switzerland, England and the USA) groups of young researchers to specialize in nuclear fields. A research department was created under the Weismann Institute to study the know-how of extracting low-level of uranium in phosphate and how to distil heavy water for nuclear purposes…

Israel created in June 1952 the Commission for Atomic Energy under chairman Ernst David Bergmann, and it was kept a secret for two years. The USA had constructed a small nuclear reactor (5,000 KWatt) in Nahal Soreq for research purposes. Israel was to handover (restitute) to the US all the used up combustible of uranium.

In 1953, France concluded an accord of cooperation in the nuclear field with Israel. France was also in the process of acceding to the Club of nations possessing atomic bombs that can be delivered by missiles.

The chemist Israel Dostrovsky claimed that he developed a new procedure for producing heavy water not based on electrical energy, and France bought the patent. It turned out that this method was totally uneconomical! Israel PM, Moshe Sharett, informed the Knesset that researchers from Israel and France are closely collaborating in the production of atomic bombs…

Hence, France extended to the Israeli researchers the most modern scientific centers in France to swap technological know-how, particularly in Saclay. This atomic cooperation went hand-in-hand with military cooperation on the vastest of scales, never witnessed between a colonial power and a small emerging State…

In fact, Shimon Peres ratified an agreement in Sept. 1956 for the construction by France of a nuclear reactor of the Type 13 to be installed at Richon le Sion in Israel. In that period, Peres was literally parked in France, dealing, wheeling, and conspiring… France PM, Guy Mollet, kept repeating after the Suez fiasco: “I owe it to the Zionist State our atomic bomb. And I will give Israel its nuclear capability…”

In 1981, Francis Perrin, a high authority figure in France political circles, confirmed that france contributed to the construction of the installation that transformed combustible uranium into pure plutonium, ready to be used in atomic bombs. This declaration was supported a year later by Pierre Pean, another high official.

Mordecai Vannunu, Israel nuclear scientist, revealed this fact to the Sunday Times in 1986, and was kidnapped by Israel secret services and jailed for 18 years.  Vannunu is still under house arrest.

The French Jew Bertrand Goldschmidt had developed the plans for the construction of this plutonium factory.

Israel imported 20 tons of heavy water from Norway in 1959, and 4 tons from the USA in 1963, under the false pretence of peaceful usage…

Evidences point to the fact that the plutonium factory was designed to require 36 tons of heavy water (24 tons as refrigerator, and 12 tons as moderator) from its inception.

The financial transactions were done through Rivaud, as a smokescreen behind the company Saint-Gobain undertaking the vast project.

The irony is that, if all the ground work and planning were done under the 4th Republic, the execution phases were undertaken under de Gaulle 5th republic, even after the preemptive war of Israel against Egypt and Syria in 1967.

Between 1963-64, more than 700 Frenchmen were working in Dimona (2,500 French citizens, including wives and children).  French technicians stayed till 1969 at Dimona

Israel had produced enough plutonium by the end of 1966 to get an atomic bomb ready in 1968. Most probably, France delivered the first atomic bomb to Israel since Israel had not the means to test the bomb.  It is not sure that the 300 atomic bombs that Israel had put together are functional or will work:  They are mostly constituting a serious danger for their obsolescence and nuclear leaks…

It is rumored that Israel blackmailed the US with its atomic weapon to be dropped on Egypt in 1973, if the US fails to deliver all the necessary sophisticated conventional weapons via an aerial bridge, which the US did…

Note: Post inspired from chapters in the “Itineraires de Paris a Jerusalem” (Schedule from Paris to Jerusalem) by Samir Kassir and Farouk Mardam Bey (1992)

“Trip to the End of the Night” by Ferdinand Celine

This French book, published in the early 1930’s, is basically a collection of authobiographical stories of a freshly graduating physician who established his “clinic” in a poor working neighborhood in the suburb of Paris.

Celine (pen name) used to be called to pay visit to patients after sundown, and his medical tour will last till dawn, from a poor patient to another avorting dying girl because the parents refused to send her to the hospital for face saving…

Celine volunteered in WWI and was caught in the machinery and could no longer escape this infernal absurdity.  He was able to flee to the USA and worked at Ford factories in Detroit. He returned to France and studied medicine.

The followings are excerpts, not of the stories, but of the kind of statements that the living among miseries bring up in our mind and emotions.

It is imperative to comprehend why we are so stubborn to refuse a cure for our solitude…We keep hiding from acquaintances. I recall the words of this young corporal, hospitalized during the war. He confided: “Earth is sick and dead, and we are fat decaying worms…All rotten since birth…” He was good enough to be carried by two soldiers to be executed by a firing squad: He was an anarchist as the War council decided…I didn’t know better at the time to take time and listen to these soldiers: I wouldn’t know how to ask the right questions anyway…

The old patient was saying: “I can’t feel my feet, I feel cold up to my knees. I can’t drink anything…I want to touch my feet but I can’t…” He was kind of half out of life, he couldn’t get rid of his lungs…He exhaled but air would come in anyway. Kind of his lungs relentlessly making him suffer to the very end. That’s a harsh job staying alive…He struggled as harder to stay alive as to die

Life is a special class of boredom and annoyances, and they are the eternal pions. Boredom is here all the time, spying on you, and you have to frequently look occupied, at any price…Masturbating is an excellent pass time: You are occupied and getting some pleasure.  Mostly, we would like to have an endless series of pleasure-like activities to survive the long 24-hour day. A day is really very long to surmount and suffer the ever ready presence of boredom…Even in our continuous boredom, we refuse to reflect on ourselves…Nothing very pleasurable here, self-reflection.

It is impossible to swallow truth, like the death of your lover, or the death of your kid…The more distant the lover, literally, the more you cannot communicate face to face, and smell the rotten flesh…You keep adding and heaping values, good traits and lies to the reality of love…It’s natural and regular this tendency, loving from afar…

The little people can claim to have lived, only if the manage to overcome this habit of blind obedience, inculcated in the brain since childhood, and they should vomit obeying the rich and the authority figures once for al.

The balanced youth is who can respect everyone with no discrimination whatsoever…How come we cannot find these kind of youth?

It is not relentlessness that we ever lacked, but how to be on the proper road that lead to a tranquil death. The worst case scenario is when death takes us by surprise, in between two hesitations…

War is ever ready to wake up and grumble, due mainly to the criminal boredom that gets the little people out of their confined caves…How many of the poor people should be sacrificed before they comprehend the humour of it?

Note: Read part 2: https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2012/08/26/part-2-trip-to-the-end-of-the-night/

Cultural legacy matters. Cultural Difference exist: No connotation attached, except for safety of third-party…

Between 19760 and 70, the Dutch psychologist Geert Hofstedes worked for the human resources division at IBM Europe headquarters. Geert amassed plenty of data, questioning staff on matters related to:

1. How people solved problems

2. How they worked together

3. What are their attitude toward authority figures

4. How frequently employees felt afraid of expressing disagreement with managers

5. How the less powerful members in institutions and organization accepted and expected the unequal distribution in the hierarchy

6. How much are older people respected and feared

7. Should power holders be entitled to special privileges…

Geert analyzed the mass of data and published “Hofstede’s Dimensions”.  These discriminating attributes are used as paradigms in cross-cultural psychology. Among the dimensions in cultural differences:

1. Individualism/Collectivism scale

How much a culture expect the individual to look after himself? How many choices an individual expects to be enjoying and navigate around them before making a decision?

There are cultures where a person lives a lonely and very individual life style tending to herds in highlands, and yet be stuck with the heritage of family “blood for blood” legacy.  In the next article, I’ll describe the legacy of this nasty heritage, in the last three centuries, in the Cumberland Plateau of Kentucky and the southern States in general.

People in Guatemala scored the lowest in individualistic tendencies, and the US first in rank

2. Uncertainty/Avoidance scale

How well does a culture tolerate ambiguity? For example, does the individual rely on rules and regulation for his decisions and does he sticks to procedures regardless of circumstances?

The culture in Greece, Portugal, Guatemala, Uruguay, and Belgium expect plans and programs to be made for all the citizens and for all to abide by the rules…

Denmark is similar to Belgium in more attributes than any other country, except in this dimension: The Danes have a mind of their own and tolerate ambiguity and choices

3. Power Distance Index (PDI) scale

This dimension is concerned with attitudes toward hierarchy, how a culture values and respect “blindly” authority figures…

In culture of high PDI, it is not likely that subordinates would attempt to assert opinions in critical situations: They more often than not let calamity harvest innocent people instead of speaking up to the higher ranked authority…

Hofstede wrote in the classic “Culture’s Consequences“:

“In particular cultures, power holders are almost ashamed of their statue and they will try hard to underplay their power, like taking the streetcar to the ministerial office, or vacationing with his private motor home at a regular camping site…They try their best not to look or behave powerful…In many other cultures, it is unlikely that power is not displayed in all aspect of every day activities…”

I have this strong impression that the three dimensions are highly correlated: In the sense that you can pick up any one of the scale (without mentioning the other two dimensions) and rearrange the story of article consistent, convincing, and coherent…Telling the story from a dimension perspective might let you gain additional handles on cultural differences

Note: This article was inspired from a chapter in “Blink” by Malcolm Gladwell

International commercial air-flights fatal accidents are related to “Cultural Differences”?

Three decades ago, International commercial air-flights of a set of countries exhibited a dangerous trend of high fatal accident ratio compared to another set of countries.

Commercial air-flights of Brazil, South Korea, Morocco, Mexico, and the Philippines experienced each over 17 fatal accidents per 4 million departures, compared to countries such as the USA, Ireland, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. What were the problems?

Mind you that for a fatal accident to take place, at least more than 3 errors (technical and judgment) must occur in succession, each error in itself not being a potential fatal error. It is the combination of minor errors, minor technical malfunctions, bad weather, tired crew and pilot…that set the stage for a calamity.

In a chapter of “Blink” by Malcolm Gladwell, it transpires that 3 problems accounted for this increase in accidents:

1. Cultural communication transmission.  In the countries with the least accidents, the culture is “Transmitter Oriented”: The talker has the responsibility of  speaking up clearly and to the point, in critical moments so that the listener gets the message clear and loud. Many cultures are “Receiver oriented“: The subordinate talker has to convey the statements in hints, in indirect ways what he means to says. It is the responsibility of the listener, the boss, to filter out and attend to what the cultured statement is meant to convey.

In “Receiver oriented” culture, If the boss is tired or not focused on what is being said, the critical message is lost and not attended to.

In most accidents, flight crews, first officer and flight engineer spoke in deference statements to the higher in rank (Pilot Captain).  The errors and bad judgment of the captain were corrected in a polite manner (the danger was not stated unequivocally and bluntly), even when it was too late to respond and correct a fatal decision.

A Colombian plane crashed before landing in JFK simply because it ran out of fuel! The engines caught fire: The flight officer was very shy to tell the ATC that they are completely out of fuel and need to land in emergency. For example:

ATC: “…I’m gonna bring you about 15 miles northeast and then you turn back onto the approach. Is that okay with you? And your fuel?…”

First officer Klotz: “I guess so. Thank you very much. And ah, we’re running out of fuel, sir

Captain Caviedes: “Did you advise that we have no fuel?”

Klotz: “I did. The guy in ATC is angry”

All long-distance planes are running out of fuel before landing. After spending over an hour circling because of very bad weather, the flight officer must have said: “We are totally out of fuel. We request immediate landing…”

Airplanes were in perfect flight conditions, aircrew were without physical limitations, and considered above average in flight ability and practice, and still accidents happened…

A South Korea plane crashed because the flight officer and the crew failed to clearly and directly warn the Captain of the dangerous situation and that his intention of visual landing is not appropriate in the unstable weather condition.  The flight engineer said: “Captain, the weather radar has helped us a lot…” He meant: “This is not a night to rely on just your eyes for landing. Look at what the weather radar is telling: There’s trouble ahead…”

Several of these indirect statements of suggestion, hint, query, and preference statements were uttered with difficulty and hesitation in order to save the face for the higher up in ranking. After all, in the receiver oriented culture, the Captain is the sole responsible for landing the plane safety, and the fight crew are there to obey commands…

The work schedule was exhausting, and the captain was extremely tired and his cognitive mind was not attending properly to the statements that required analysis and consideration…Even “obligation statement” such as “I think we need to deviate right now…” was not in the repertoire of receiver oriented cultures…

2. The second cause is probably deficiency in speaking American English as ATC at JFK hear and understand…as the chapter in Blink want us to believe.

Do you know that the language of all international flights is English? All ATC in international airports should master English, as well as the pilots, flight officers, flight engineers, and flight crew…

The implicit cause is that foreign commercial flight-crew are not trained properly to be at the same wave length with communication culture and protocols as expected by ATC…

And why internal flights in vast countries such as Russia, China, India, Brazil…experience the same dangerous trend, even after decades of international safety regulations and rules? The language should not be the major cause, even though the US insist on giving priority to English as the first major step into training and practice…

3. The third main cause is most probably the exhausting schedule that flight-crew work under in order for commercial companies to generate the most profit… The flight-crews have to depart and land to several airports, and chain this process for several days before taking a deserving rest. Most fatal accidents are combinations of very tired crew, bad weather conditions, and crew well to apathetic to attend to minor errors or transmitting minor errors:  Silence in the cockpit is deafening in these situations

I contend that receiver oriented cultures train captains in separate training centers than the flight officers and flight engineer: These crews do not mingle naturally with Captain pilot and their training centers instill the hierarchy obligation privileges and deference…

I bet that international commercial flight improved their record simply because, in order to train flight-crew that they are all responsible for the safety of passengers and not just the captain, they must learn and train and practice in the same centers as the pilots and Captains…

Note: https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2011/02/18/the-peltzman-effects-what-is-human-factors-safety-in-aviation/

The most watched and most highly-rated TED talks at the moment

That is an eye opener: There got to be a difference between frequency of following a talk and how it is ranked by watchers. If you have no idea what is TED Talks (technology-education-and-development) you may first read https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2011/10/10/technology-education-and-development-ted-corporation-who-is-chris-anderson/

Maxim posted on June 29, 2011:

Recently the list of most watched TED talks appeared in TED blog.  
  1. Sir Ken Robinson says schools kill creativity (2006): 8,660,010 views
  2. Jill Bolte Taylor  stroke of insight (2008): 8,087,935 views
  3. Pranav Mistry on the thrilling potential of SixthSense (2009): 6,747,410 views
  4. Pattie Maes and Pranav Mistry demo SixthSense (2009): 6,731,153 views
  5. David Gallo  underwater astonishment (2007): 6,411,705 views
  6. Tony Robbins asks Why we do what we do (2006): 4,909,505 views
  7. Hans Rosling shows the best stats you’ve ever seen (2006): 3,954,776 views
  8. Arthur Benjamin does mathemagic (2005): 3,664,705 views
  9. Jeff Han demos his breakthrough multi-touchscreen (2006): 3,592,795 views
  10. Johnny Lee shows Wii Remote hacks for educators (2008): 3,225,864 views
  11. Blaise Aguera y Arcas runs through the Photosynth demo (2007): 3,007,440 views
  12. Elizabeth Gilbert on nurturing your genius (2009): 2,978,288 views
  13. Dan Gilbert asks: Why are we happy? (2004): 2,903,993 views
  14. Stephen Hawking asks big questions about the universe (2008): 2,629,230 views
  15. Daniel Pink on the surprising science of motivation (2009): 2,616,363 views
  16. Barry Schwartz on the paradox of choice (2005): 2,263,065 views
  17. Richard St. John shares 8 secrets of success (2005): 2,252,911 views
  18. Mary Roach on the 10 things you didn’t know about orgasm (2009): 2,223,822 views
  19. Simon Sinek on how great leaders inspire action (2010): 2,187,868 views
  20. Chimamanda Adichie shares the danger of a single story (2009): 2,143,763 views

But I decided to take it one step further and create a list of the most highly-rated TED talks.
Which is not hard to do using their Youtube channel statistics. The list of most highly rated TED talks:

  1. Marcin Jakubowski‘s open-sourced blueprints for civilization (2011): 71,943 views
  2. Mike Ebeling‘s invention that unlocked a locked-in artist (2011): 45,480 views
  3. Khan Salman‘s video to reinvent education (2011): 196,153 views
  4. Michael Pawlyn is using nature’s genius in architecture (2011): 63,910 views
  5. Sugata Mitra‘s new experiments in self-teaching (2010): 124,703 views
  6. Paul Nicklen‘s tales of ice-bound wonderland (2011): 19,945 views
  7. Dan Phillipscreative houses from reclaimed stuff (2010): 42,253 views
  8. Eli Pariser beware online “filter bubbles” (2011): 363,394 views
  9. Anders Ynnerman visualizes the medical data explosion (2011): 21,781 views
  10. Fiorenzo Omenetto talks about silk, the ancient material of the future (2011): 15,814 views
  11. William Li asks if we can eat to starve cancer (2010): 86,675 views
  12. Anthony Atala talks about printing a human kidney (2011): 69,525 views
  13. Benjamin Zander‘s classical music with shining eyes (2008): 399,387 views
  14. Sir Ken Robinson says schools kill creativity (2006): 8,660,010 views
  15. Charles Limb on how brain works during musical improvisation (2011): 36,419 views
  16. Jack Horner on building a dinosaur from a chicken (2011): 56,213 views
  17. Bart Weetjens on how he taught rats to sniff out land mines (2010): 27,730 views
  18. Sir Ken Robinson on the learning revolution (2010): 233,000 views

(I don’t know what was the combination and weight given to number of views and the corresponding rating, but these lists are great enough to start listening or reading the talks…

Looks like from the two lists that listeners prefer the hand-on materials delivered by the professional “technicians” rather than the professional holistic talkers. 

This might be due that people are no longer into reading serious stuff and prefer to bypass the trend that grabbed the 90’s with books proffering to preach the right way of going about doing business and life and…)


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

April 2021
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