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Get Ready for a Cool Rippling Wave of Inspiration…

Get Ready for a Cool Rippling Wave of Inspiration…

This Atlanta summer has been a scorcher with plentiful heat and humidity. As the temps continue to rise, our minds look ahead on the calendar forward to the return of cooler fall days and other perks that come with them –  Falling leaves, warm sweaters and 2015 TEDx Peachtree. This November the mental cardio session returns to the Buckhead Theatre to delight, educate and inspire attendees to think beyond the status quo. This year’s theme of “Ripple” is certain to cool you down and chill you out with speakers who focus on the effects we all have on the world around us. Year after year TEDs and TEDx’s gather people together to celebrate ideas, passions and success covering many topics all around the world. Year after year people who have spent their days at these events leave feeling recharged, motivated, inspired. With this year’s “Ripple” theme coming to the TEDxPeachtree stage, we are certain to hear about the effects of the ideas that are shared.
 If you are like the rest of us who find the heat laborious and are  looking to feel some cool TED air, check out the lineup from last year’s event. TEDxPeachtree 2014 and its presenters “Illuminate” themed talks had a glowing effect on audiences last fall and just may be what you need to make it until the 2015 gathering.
Melody Jackson wowed audiences with her work in giving canines the ability to communicate and save lives. Her research in Animal-Computer interaction has meant advances in the level of independence for people living with various chronic illnesses. Watch her talk and a demonstration featuring some four legged friends YouTube Preview Image
Genna Duberstein shed light on the brightest object around – the sun. Her presentation of data through video has culminated into the multimedia production Solarium. Her talk on the sun, its beauty and its ability to bring peace and calm can be found here YouTube Preview Image
Christopher Erk and HeaveN Beatbox blew the roof off of the Buckhead Theatre with their rhythms and dance.  Always a highlight of TEDx Peachtree, the presenters whose talks are actually moves and music bring joy to those in the audience. Perhaps these two can return for TEDxPeachtree 2015 as they definitely had a ripple effect on the audience. Catch their battle of taps and tones here YouTube Preview Image
If these examples of talent of the mind body and voice do get you reenergized get to know all of last year’s lineup of speakers at
Remember to visit the TEDxPeachtree website and follow us on Twitter for speaker updates and to purchase your tickets to the coolest most uplifting wave of the year.

M.PinkeltonPhotoMaria Pinkelton is the Senior Communication Specialist for Cox Media Group Technology. She lives in Decatur with her husband and son, along with a fine collection of books, craft beers and size 11 shoes.

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TED Gets Personal

TED Gets Personal

About a month ago, my boyfriend suffered a stroke. Strokes are normally caused by either clotting or hemorrhaging, but in his case, he had both. This complicated the decisions the doctors needed to make about how to help him, but in the end they removed the clot, and then removed more clots and even put in a stent, all the while monitoring the hemorrhage to make sure the blood thinners they gave him didn’t make it worse. And that was all on the first day.

All told, Lawrence spent over two weeks in the hospital including about a week in the ICU. He’s since been moved to a rehab center for about three weeks. He’s there now, as I write this.

In the days after he had his stroke, I recalled Jill Bolte Taylor’s powerful TED talk and rewatched it. She is a neuroscientist who viewed her own massive stroke as an opportunity to do research. I remembered that from when it was screened at a TEDxPeachtree a number of years ago. But what I had forgotten was that it took her eight years to recover. Eight.

Lawrence’s was called a moderate stroke. His damage was all on the right side of the brain, affecting the left side of his body to varying degrees. It also led to different cognitive issues than he would’ve experienced had the damage been on the left side of his brain. Lawrence’s speech was initially difficult to understand and he was very sleepy, but neither impacted his ability to connect meaning and language. In fact, when I pulled out a pad and pen and asked him – while still in the ICU – if he thought he could write, he did — “I haven’t had any problems organizing thoughts or writing messages.”

But at the same time, as I’ve alluded to in the daily blog I’ve been keeping on his progress, he’s had moments of confusion. Truth is, he is sometimes convinced he is at home, and when I show him he is not, he understands logically, but…

I wanted to find other TED or TEDx talks that could help explain. And what I found was interesting. But it also pointed out how much more there is to learn.

In Vilayanur Ramachandran’s talk on three clues on understanding your brain he gives examples of what we’ve learned from specific kinds of damage. What he found out about phantom limbs (that they’re actually learned paralysis following the period of time of non-movement before the limb is removed) and that visual input has a critical role, actually has an application for stroke, and I’m wondering how I can apply his findings to my boyfriend’s as yet unresponsive left arm, that magically moves whenever he yawns.

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In Iain McGilchrist’s presentation on the divided brain, (above) he dispels the myth of reason vs emotion residing in different halves of the brain, but makes the point that the left brain is more connected to the concrete and specific and the right to relationships and how we fit into the world. I am not clear on how what is happening to Lawrence works with this, but found it fascinating nonetheless.

I understand that the moments Lawrence is experiencing should go away within a few months as the brain “rewires” itself, but I had no idea how amazingly adaptable the brain is. Michael Merzenich’s talk on the growing evidence of brain plasticity spends most of the time explaining how the brain adapts for each of the specific skills we gain and how that makes us unique, but also shows how damage and natural age-related deterioration can be staved off by exercising our brain more. Hmmm…that got me thinking…just how much we could all gain by watching more TED talks and by attending this year’s TEDxPeachtree.


Wendy Kalman attended the 2009 TEDxPeachtree event and became hooked, volunteering each year ever since. By day, she works as a Proposal Manager, and by night, her alter ego as involved parent, engaged volunteer, music lover, and Facebook addict emerges.

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Everyday Leadership

Everyday Leadership

I was in a bookstore last week searching for a gift for a friend’s birthday when I wandered through the leadership and self help section. I walked past title after title touting leadership advice- all from great leaders who have certainly proven their expertise in the field. Looking at all of the authors and titles, I found myself conceptualizing leadership as a future state of being, as if I should be preparing myself for a time in my life, maybe 10 years down the road, when I would truly be considered a leader.

Then, I remembered the words of Drew Dudley- one of my favorite TED speakers:

“As long as we make leadership something bigger than us, we give ourselves an excuse not to expect it every day from ourselves and each other.”

In 2011 Dudley gave a talk called Everyday Leadership at TEDx Toronto, and his simple point has always stuck with me. We should expect great acts of leadership from ourselves every day. If we continually operate under the assumption that leadership is a future tense description, we can lull ourselves into being less than extraordinary.

Take a few moment (6 minutes to be exact) and watch the whole talk below. How can you practice and acknowledge everyday leadership this week?

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Buildings that Breathe in the Heat

Buildings that Breathe in the Heat

If you’ve been in Atlanta the last several days, you’ll “feel the heat” that’s been radiating through our streets as the temperature has risen to almost 100 degrees. This heat affects people in different ways. For some, it’s an opportunity to find a body of water or pool as we enter summer. For others, we crank up the air conditioning in our offices and homes. In buildings that use natural light, this requires a lot of energy and cost. As we think about the environment, we have questions about how to ethically and responsibly cool our buildings.

In this talk from TEDxUSC, Doris Kim Sung, a “biology student turned architect” explains how by engineering thermo-bimetal that functions like human skin, we can create structures that provide shade and self-ventilate, essentially creating a metal that “breathes.” Sung shares about the creative ways architects are thinking about modern buildings to more efficiently and effectively serve us.

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