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Ted Talks Come to Culver

This year’s series of talks at the Robert Frost auditorium encompassed a wide variety of interesting topics, ranging from the possibility of alien life to the lasting cultural significance of Vine.

Aptitude vs. Grit — Lucky H.
Lucky compared people who are born with a natural advantage in life to ones who pursue success through persistent diligence. Aptitude is intrinsic and innate ability, but Grit, which Lucky characterized as something that can only be cultivated through perseverance and strength of character, is much more valuable.

Where Are The Aliens? — Jaden L.
In this talk, Jaden explained the Fermi paradox (the seeming contradiction between the lack of evidence regarding the existence of aliens and the high possibility of extraterrestrial life) and how it is essentially impossible to give a definitive answer to the titular question. He did, however, offer some interesting speculation on why we haven’t come into contact with any otherworldly life yet.

Overcoming Drug Abuse and Bereavement — Royce S.
CCHS teacher Royce Stuckey recounted a deeply-moving personal experience and described how his father’s substance abuse had affected him and his family. He concluded with this valuable insight: your parents are human and imperfect, just like you, and you should separate their love for you from whatever issues you may have with them.

Democracy Royal — Miles L.V.
Miles broke down the effectiveness of various political systems and went on to illustrate how his perceived ideal political system would work. He explained that a government similar to that of the United Kingdom’s – a figurehead monarchy – would be best, as it would enable the embodying of national identity while simultaneously avoiding the possibility of a dictatorship.

The Beauty of Improv — Andrew R.
Andrew demonstrated his passion for improvisation, or providing a performance unprepared and on the spot, by listing its benefits: improving public speaking and conversational skills, increased ability to express emotions, brightened awareness, becoming a better listener, etc. The emcee, Thistle, later revealed that she had prepared all the presentation slides for Andrew, meaning he basically improvised the whole talk.

The World’s Numbers — Mieke H.
Self-proclaimed “jock-athlete” Mieke explained what counting systems were and her fascination for some unique ones that differed greatly from what we are familiar with. For example, she described how the Oksapmin people of New Guinea use a base-27 counting system that involves the 27 body parts they use for counting.

The Legacy of Vine — Dexter H.
Dexter demonstrated what made Vine so appealing: the output was only six seconds long, which forced users to think creatively. Additionally, users could assess a Vine by looking at how many times it had been viewed/looped, subsequently producing a more authentic way of judging content. Dexter also described how quotes from popular Vines have since made their way into many people’s lexicons.

The Truth Behind Your Food — Celeste A.
Celeste explained how eating meat can be harmful and immoral. She argued that regular and organic meats are essentially the same, as they are processed the same way; she also drew attention to the mistreatment of animals that is often involved in meat processing.

All Eyes on Me, No Eyes Like Me — Heaven C.
Heaven detailed the problems she faces in the school environment as a black woman, which include being expected to accept passive-aggressive and belittling behavior, conforming to gender norms, and allowing your opinions to be invalidated. She concluded by saying that some people will always be unwilling to sacrifice privilege for equality.

The Simple Path to Wealth — Liam W.
Liam, who has been investing since 2017, delivered a talk on how to succeed in the stock market. He stated that while the stock market always goes up, most people will actually lose money over time. He also advised the audience to sell stocks when the economic situation is steady and buy stocks when the economy is unstable or experiencing a recession.

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