Tuesday, September 17, 2013

My Personal Great TED Talks

I was talking to someone about a recent TED talk, and we thought I might put some of my favourite TED talks of all time. Here's part 1 of my list.

I have to start with one of the most challenging talks ever:

Other talks of interest cover a wide range of topics.

Our Loss of Wisdom - Barry Schwartz


 A Defence of idealism by Viktor Frankl


Gamification - how it can benefit. - Jane McGonical


A very different take on the voices in our head - Eleanor Longden


Of course I love Steven Pinker - he has several talks but this one explores our language.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Getting a Life - Getting ourselves up and out

Healthy striving goes along with healthy self-esteem. And when your self-esteem is alive and well, you tend to live from the inside out. I came across this interesting article about how to stop being so hard on yourself. Why is this important? Because being hard on ourselves stop us exploring and living.
Treatment: The Get a Life Game
Now it's time to kick off your Perfectionitis treatment plan.
Pick one or two of the the following items. Do it for three days and watch yourPerfectionitis. subside.

Please don't try to do this perfectly ... small steps are the surest way to succeed.

1. Center Yourself. Take in three deep breaths of tenderness. Let out three deep breaths of fatigue. Brava! You just took a step toward replenishing yourself. Way to go!

2. Ask for the Greater Good. As Mayor, take a moment and claim your office, and ask that your choices that are aligned with the highest good for all concerned.

3. Set Your Intention. Set the intention to be gentle with yourself and to honor all of you.

4. Just Say No. Take a look at what's on your schedule. Write down what you plan to get done today. How much time have you marked out for each item? Double it. Stuff takes longer than you think. What items on your list need to be removed? Say no to those tasks and renegotiate their timeline. Dr. Andrew Jacobs, one of the country's top sports psychologists, has helped many champions cultivate the mental attitudes that make them winners. He suggests to clients, "Learn to say no. Learn to let go."

5. Get Real. That's not all. Where is your You Time? If you don't schedule in time for yourself, who will? As Mayor, plan a recess break of at least 15 minutes. And make sure you keep it.

6. Get Really Real. Take a peep at your To Do List. Are your goals realistic? Or would you need to clone yourself to get everything done? Take a tip from my friend David Allen. Make a Maybe Someday List of those items you'd like to get to but can't at the moment. Check your Maybe Someday List weekly to see if the status has changed.

7. Get Really, Really Real. Stop being the Lone Ranger. Pick up the phone. Ask for help or advice. You probably have a pal who excels in an area that isn't your best.

8. Keep It Real. Sharing support is a sure sign of being in Perfectionitis recovery. There is nothing like pairing up with somebody to help you get real. Check in with each other. Having a buddy will help you to keep your commitment to take care of you while setting more realistic goals.

9. Praise and Prize. Congratulate yourself often. Even for the silly little things. " Boy, what a good job of flossing I did today." "Bravo, that was a superb meal I prepared for the cat." The more you praise yourself, the less you will be driven to seek praise from others.

10. Thank Yourself. Thank yourself for making any fabulous choice to take back your life.

Eli Davidson: How to Stop Being So Hard on Yourself
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Sustained weight loss - is Gym a false Trail?

A low impact discipline like Yoga or Chi Gung can be better for long-term health gains than just attending the Gym. The mix of stress lowering mindfullness and improved cardio-vascular circulation is a big part of the difference. Another point that's often overlooked though, is that 2 or three times during the working day, we can take time out to do a quick, calming sub-routine from Chi-Gung or Tai Chi. The moves lower stress, and restore better breathing. There is no need for equipment, and we can go into the stairwell, or the printer area if we need a quiet moment to ourselves. Tara Stiles has written more about this and attached a video:
People need and want to lose weight, and being drawn into the practice of yoga by the lure of a tight tummy is often stronger than the lure of being more in touch with yourself. The big secret in my message is: there is no difference between being in touch with yourself, living a healthy life, and maintaining a healthy weight. If "Tone my butt" gets you on the mat, then I'm fully prepared to tone my butt right along with you.

Yoga brings you back to you. It is entirely experiential. People wonder how can a bunch of low impact activity lead to weight loss? Well, for starters attending a yoga class, or carving out a home practice that brings you to your edge and challenges you physically, will burn calories, blast fat, and tone everything up without harming your joints. But that's only part of the equation. I've gone through piles of modern research that is starting to catch up with what has always been true. In short, yoga works.

A regular yoga practice leads to a healthy body and mind. You will lose the weight, keep it off, and not feel like you are punishing yourself. We've been brainwashed that poisonous foods are fun to eat. When you have a regular yoga practice you'll be drawn to eat foods that are healthy and promote a healthy lifestyle. And the best part ... you'll actually enjoy them without feeling deprived. By contrast, a good gym workout might do very little for weight loss, instead leading us to eat more (often unhealthy) food. A recent New York TImes Magazine article titled "Weighing the Evidence on Exercise" points out that exercise alone is "especially useless because people often end up consuming more calories when they exercise." So we need something more than the gym. Maintaining a healthy weight isn't a vanity issue, it's a health issue. And your health should be a priority.

Tara Stiles: The Real Deal Weight Loss Plan (VIDEO)
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Treating Depression without Drugs

Dr Mark Hyman keeps coming up with some interesting claims. There's a new study in The New England Journal of Medicine that suggests that our huge consumption of antidepressants might just be based on misleading claims. I'm not so sure, because I've seen interesting changes in people on antidepressants. However, Dr Hyman has some really useful tips on treating depression without drugs.:
7 Steps to Treat Depression without Drugs

1. Try an anti-inflammatory elimination diet that gets rid of common food allergens. As I mentioned above, food allergies and the resultant inflammation have been connected with depression and other mood disorders.

2. Check for hypothyroidism. This unrecognized epidemic is a leading cause of depression. Make sure to have thorough thyroid exam if you are depressed.

3. Take vitamin D. Deficiency in this essential vitamin can lead to depression. Supplement with at least 2,000 to 5,000 IU of vitamin D3 a day.

4. Take omega-3 fats. Your brain is made of up this fat, and deficiency can lead to a host of problems. Supplement with 1,000 to 2,000 mg of purified fish oil a day.

5. Take adequate B12 (1,000 micrograms, or mcg, a day), B6 (25 mg) and folic acid (800 mcg). These vitamins are critical for metabolizing homocysteine, which can play a factor in depression.

6. Get checked for mercury. Heavy metal toxicity has been correlated with depression and other mood and neurological problems.

7. Exercise vigorously five times a week for 30 minutes. This increases levels of BDNF, a natural antidepressant in your brain.

Overcoming depression is an important step toward lifelong vibrant health. These are just of few of the easiest and most effective things you can do to treat depression. But there are even more, which you can address by simply working through the 7 Keys to UltraWellness.

Mark Hyman, MD: Why Antidepressants Don't Work for Treating Depression

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Alistair's 10 Best of the Best Food Blogs

Forget lists like "top 100" where you have to sort through them all - this is the list of the best of the best - plus my bonus quirk list.

Cannelle et Vanille

This visually stunning site was started by Spanish pastry chef Aran Goyoaga in January last year to satisfy her career-break cravings. Aran says "Why the name Cannelle Et Vanille? Because those are the smells and tastes of my childhood and this blog is very much filled with nostalgia." This is a blog in the 'looks good, tastes good' school of writing - something to indulge on a quiet afternoon, or after a stressful event where one needs to escape into a wonderful warm world of sweets and pastry.

The New York Times Community

The Wednesday Chef New York-based Luisa Weiss started this blog as a way of documenting her trawl through clippings of recipes from the New York and LA Times. A mix of recipes and humorous anecdotes - her boyfriend thinks he is pre-hypertensive so she reduces the salt to avoid confronting the issue of male hypochrondria - it's a charming blog packed with information (indeed, a whole 700 words about coleslaw).
8. Serious Eats Practially everything you need to know about food can be found on this multi-contributor food website, started by New York Times journalist Ed Levine. The focus is on American foods such as hot dogs, there are restaurant and gadget reviews, food videos and recipes, including an easy recipe every afternoon to inspire that evening’s dinner.

4. Delicious Days Authored by Munich-based Nicky Stich, this blog has a huge following, currently at number 127 in Technorati’s Top 100 blogs (the highest ranking food blog.) Well-conceived, with an international flavour but healthy dose of German influence and easy to navigate sections including a food news feed. DD features the author’s own recipes, as well as adaptations from other cookbooks. An invaluable article offers tips for budding food bloggers.

9. 101 Cookbooks One of the most established food blogs, five years old and counting; this is the chronicle of a blogger with an overindulged habit of buying cookbooks. This Californian blog is primarily a conduit for savoury recipes, mostly vegetarian, and using natural foods - the most popular include caramelised tofu, black bean brownies and lemon-scented quinoa salad. It's technologically literate, too, with i-Phone compatible recipes, and there is a convenient index of recipes by ingredient, and by category (ie gluten-free, cookies, drinks etc).

10. Smitten Kitchen A combination of writing/photographer skills add up to culinary excellence in this well-established blog, covering recipes cooked in author Deb Perelman’s tiny New York kitchen. A Facebook group, Flickr photo pool, and Twitter following – this is a slick operation.

11. Chubby Hubby Everything you need to know about Asian food can be found on this blog, where Singaporean-based author Aun Koh writes about street food, restaurants and recipes, with charming references to his partner in kitchen crime, his wife S.

17. Eating Asia A bog-standard visit to Chinatown will never suffice after you have started reading this collaboration between seasoned writer Robyn Eckhardt and photographer David Hagerman. This is one of the most colourful blogs and its photos of ageing street vendors and vibrant street markets from all over Asia are inspiring.

21. Simply Recipes - superb range of personal recipes

Café Fernando - Turkish delights from Istanbul

36. Lucullian Delights - appetising Italian recipes from a Tuscan-based Swede

27. Gluten Free Girl - wheat-free wonders and tips for celiacs

41. Amateur Gourmet - funny writing with a useful "how to" section

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Music to work to - World

I've just been rediscovering the importance of music when working. It keeps us upbeat, focused and happy. It's also a great way of eliminating distractions. Recently I'm sometimes sitting in a new hot-swap desk location where the people sandwiched in on either side have to make phones calls. They are courteous and as quiet as they can be, but they are right beside me. Music is the answer (and active noise cancelling headphones). I've put some of the tracks that are really effective for me here.

The first collection is that dreaded catagory "World Music". Yes, I can hear the scorn now, but let me tell you, it's nothing to the scorn my Son can express (and has already). The fact remains that some of these beats are great for normal concentration.


Saturday, March 14, 2009

Bruce Wagner and Ed Live from NYC

"Broadcasting Live from New York". People like me (of a certain age) remember that cry as one of the most exciting things a person can hear - the show's about to begin. This is a discussion about Bruce and Ed setting up a broadcasting channel - vlogwrap. I've got one of their first shows here:

Bruce and Ed - Live from New York!

Who are they?

Bruce Wagner's Photo of US Air http://ping.fm/p/jb0Nd

I've been following Bruce Wagner for a while on Twitter now. He is a genuine, authentic person living in New York City that I encountered entirely by accident on Twitter. The odd thing about these silly little Twitter posts is that they build up into a picture of a person, and you get a sense of camaraderie (or not). I've met several people on Twitter that are progressing from acquaintance to friend. I've just got to show you this view from his window:

The view from Bruce's window - Liner arriving at NYC. http://ping.fm/p/O5HNK

Bruce and his partner, Ed, are now regularly live video casting from their apartment. During the set-up and planning phase we discussed some of the options. One inspirational example was the first live road trip broadcast by @stilgherrian. This just used basic gear and 3G network sponsored by a telco (Telstra) to prove that Telstra really did have remote coverage.


An interesting segment from the @stilgherrian Live Roadtrip video Stream

What Gear do you Need to do this?

What I find interesting about this is the way @stilgherrian uses more than one camera on some of his shows (stilgherrian Live). He uses the standard Ustream tools, yet this creates more than enough capability.

We discussed Leo Laporte and his Live Twit show. One of the things we like about Leo is that he shares info on how he does things and the equipment he uses. Twit is based in the Stickam service. Like Ustream, users can logon (ustream allows guests) and participate in the parallel discussion board used to provide questions (and other input) to the main actors.

Some of Leo's comments look important to add.

I'm shooting for a sound that's pretty close to having all of us in the same room. For five or fewer participants with sufficient upstream bandwidth on the host side (the Leoville Labs have a 5mbps down/768kbps up DSL line) Skype actually offers pretty darn good results - very little latency and surprisingly high vocal quality. Per Steve Gibson's suggestion I use a dedicated port for Skype (any port above 1024 will do), and open that port for UDP connections on my router. This eliminates the need for Skype Supernode support and seems to reduce latency.........

I also use the fantastic Heil PR-40 Dynamic Studio Recording Microphone
for all my podcasts and the radio show. This pro mic requires good technique, but it offers excellent sound at a very reasonable price.....

.... Our live setup for TWiT varies depending on the venue. Most of the time we use a Korg D3200 Digital Multitrack Recorder . The channels are recorded to the Korg's built-in hard drive then output to a Macintosh for mixing with Soundtrack Pro....

Now lets go back to Bruce and Ed. The first smart thing they did was start to draw out the way the system would work. The setup they have now looks like a lot of fun. It's not necessary to start this seriously, but there are some really good aspects of the setup. Note the large monitor on the bench behind them - this is picture-in-picture done physically - and why not? Nothing tricky, and it works well.

Looking at this setup, only one thing might be considered. It's obviously a nice home, but in the video the background (and participants) can look a little grey. The solution is why TV announcers don't wear pants if they can avoid it - heat from the lighting. On background light to light the wall behind them and one to light Bruce and Ed.


It's pretty easy for most people to do. Why not consider setting up a basic video broadcasting setup?