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Save the Whales

Save the Whales

How can Sir Patrick Stewart, some snot, and a drone help save the whales?

The beloved actor is backing a kickstarter project for the Snotbot, a drone designed to collect snot samples from wild whales. Snot may seem like a weird thing to be collecting, but from the samples, scientists will be able to learn a litany of things about each whale’s respiratory tract. They can track environmental toxins, test hormone levels (which can give more insight into their reproductive health and stress), analyze DNA, and even look to see whether the animal has a cold!

Using the Snotbot drone is a revolutionary to collect this important information. The Snotbot simply flies over the whale, hovers, and waits for the whale to exhale. Previous collection methods involved chasing the animal and collecting a biopsy with a dart. The Snotbot is a non-invasive way to learn about and protect these animals.

You can help the project and stay up to date with info about SnotBot by donating directly to Ocean Alliance:

2013 TEDxPeachtree speaker Aurora Robinson has her own innovative way of saving the ocean. Click here to learn more:

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Rachel Pendergrass is a writer, performer and science communicator in Atlanta, Georgia. She is Screen Shot 2015-08-26 at 3.36.24 PMthe assistant director of the Dragon Con Science Track, a program contributor for the Atlanta Science Festival, and producer/host of a monthly science variety show called Solve for X. Find her on Twitter at @sharkespearean.


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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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The Ripple Effect of Violence

The Ripple Effect of Violence

Gary Haugen has seen poverty- from investigating the Rwandan genocide to working with widows in Zambia, he has seen and heard countless stories of poverty and compassion.

In the past 35 years, the number of people in the world living in extreme poverty has decreased from 50% to 15%. But what seems to be an extreme amount of success has not had the effect that we might hope.

According to Haugen, the way to create a massive ripple effect that will eventually shatter the cause of global poverty can happen by addressing one thing: violence.

Watch Gary’s talk below and see how we can move from creating anti-poverty programs to actually ending poverty worldwide.


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Where Are They Now? Kerry Ressler Is a Fear Chaser.

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Kerry Ressler graced the TEDxPeachtree stage in 2012. You may remember his illuminating talk on the neuroscience of emotions, particularly fear, and the possibilities of transcending into new possibilities.

Where is Kerry now? According to a recent article by the Emory Medicine Magazine, Kerry continues on the front lines of fear-disorder research. In his work at Grady Hospital, he is surveying the problem of inner city intergenerational violence. This endeavor, called the Grady Trauma Project, will bring new light to resiliency found in trauma survivors and potentially the means to serve those who have developed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

We know almost 1/3 of people will at some point in their life have an anxiety disorder which includes PTSD. Kerry’s work may illuminate why some people naturally seem to cope with disaster, while others are overwhelmed with fear. Genes on the neurobiological level could have everything to do with resiliency and could then be passed on generationally. That would mean that fear is inheritable, and that may shed a new light on how we approach it. Kerry is passionate about helping cure and illuminate hope for those suffering now, so that their children won’t have to.

At TEDxPeachtree, we are grateful to have featured speakers like Kerry that continue to illuminate the possibilities for a better world. Watch his 2012 talk below to learn more about his work and stay tuned for more updates on past speakers throughout the summer.

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 Nia Baker has lived in Atlanta almost ten years, the longest she’s lived anywhere, and has worked in the nonprofit sector for the last five years, focusing on effective systems and creative communication. Nia enjoys Atlanta street art, french press coffee, and a really good adjective.

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