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Posts Tagged ‘ted talk’

Not everyone can be an inventor, but inventors can be found everywhere.

“Richard Turere, 13, doesn’t like lions. In fact, he hates them. Yet this bright Maasai boy has devised an innovative solution that’s helping the survival of these magnificent beasts — by keeping them away from humans.

“Living on the edge of Nairobi National Park, in Kenya, Turere first became responsible for herding and safeguarding his family’s cattle when he was just nine. But often, his valuable livestock would be raided by the lions roaming the park’s sweet savannah grasses, leaving him to count the losses. …

“So, at the age of 11, Turere decided it was time to find a way of protecting his family’s cows, goats and sheep from falling prey to hungry lions …

” ‘One day, when I was walking around,’ he says, ‘I discovered that the lions were scared of the moving light.’

“Turere realized that lions were afraid of venturing near the farm’s stockade when someone was walking around with a flashlight. He put his young mind to work and a few weeks later he’d come up with an innovative, simple and low-cost system to scare the predators away.

“He fitted a series of flashing LED bulbs onto poles around the livestock enclosure, facing outward. The lights were wired to a box with switches and to an old car battery powered by a solar panel.

“They were designed to flicker on and off intermittently, thus tricking the lions into believing that someone was moving around carrying a flashlight.

“And it worked. Since Turere rigged up his ‘Lion Lights,’ his family has not lost any livestock to the wild beasts, to the great delight of his father and astonishment of his neighbors.

“What’s even more impressive is that Turere devised and installed the whole system by himself, without ever receiving any training in electronics or engineering. …

Paula Kahumbu, executive director of the Kenya Land Conservation Trust …  helped him get a scholarship at Brookhouse International School, one of Kenya’s top educational institutions, where he started last April. …

” ‘One thing that’s unique about Richard is that if you give him a problem, he’ll keep working at it until he can fix it. [He] doesn’t give up; he doesn’t find things too difficult; he’s not afraid of being unable to do something and I think this is why he is such a good innovator — because he’s not worried that it might not work, he’s going to try and do it anyway.’ ”

More here. And you can catch Richard’s TED Talk here. (Yes, he got on TED Talk!)

Photo: CNN

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At Pamela’s party Sunday, I was talking to Jean and Dorothy, who had seen the theater production of War Horse and were enthusiastic about everything — the story, the performances, and the puppets.

Jean sent me to an online TED talk in which the puppet masters explain how they create animals that seem real to audiences even when the puppeteers are visible.

Check the website: ” ‘Puppets always have to try to be alive,’ says Adrian Kohler of the Handspring Puppet Company, a gloriously ambitious troupe of human and wooden actors. Beginning with the tale of a hyena’s subtle paw, puppeteers Kohler and Basil Jones build to the story of their latest astonishment: the wonderfully life-like Joey, the War Horse, who trots (and gallops) convincingly onto the TED stage.”

 

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Photograph: South End Knitters

Today I am thinking about the South End Knitters, the stealth street artists who wrap their knitting around parking meters and fire hydrants and telephone poles.

Writes Linda Matchan in the Boston Globe, “The South End Knitters’ weekly meetings at a Washington Street café seem innocuous, but don’t be fooled. Over knitting needles and yarn at the long table they’ve commandeered, they are contemplating something far more mischievous than a sweater. They’re graffiti knitters, and they’re plotting their next target. …

“As with graffiti, no two tags in the yarn-bomber subculture are alike. They range from sleeves on parking meters to tubes on tree limbs to sweaters on statues: A recent high-profile example is the neon pink sweater that the New York street knitter Olek crocheted in December for the 16-foot ‘Charging Bull’ statue on Wall Street.”

What put me in mind of the South End Knitters was an extraordinary post at the WordPress blog Pickled Hedgehog Dilemma, which describes a crochet effort that is drawing a lot of attention to the plight of vanishing corals.

Concerned about the effect of global warming on reefs, Margaret Wertheim and her twin sister got an idea that involved “crocheting corals. They used a crocheting technique invented by mathematicians in 1997 to model hyperbolic shapes called hyperbolic crocheting. … This ended up being a perfect technique for producing coral reproductions. …

“They crocheted a lot of corals,” continues Pickled Hedgehog, ” then they did something to change the world. They shared their corals with art museums. They got a community in Chicago to crochet with them. Then the crafting became a movement and groups all over the world started to crochet corals.”

Read Pickled Hedgehog Dilemma’s illustrated summary here. And if you have the time, this TED talk is super.

Pickled Hedgehog Dilemma

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