B1 Intermediate US 11887 Folder Collection
After playing the video, you can click or select the word to look it up in the dictionary.
Report Subtitle Errors
Good afternoon. As you are all aware, we face difficult economic times.
I come to you with a modest proposal for easing the financial burden.
This idea came to me while talking to a physicist friend of mine at MIT.
He was struggling to explain something to me.
A beautiful experiment, that uses lasers to cool down matter.
He confused me from the very start,
because light does not cool things down.
It makes it hotter. It is happening right now.
The reason that you can see me standing here
is because this room is filled with more than one hundered quintillion photons.
And they are moving randomly through the space, near the speed of light.
All of them are different colours.
They are rippling with different frequencies.
And they are bouncing off every surface, including me.
Some of those are flying directly into your eyes,
and that is why your brain is forming an image of me standing here.
Now, laser is different.
It also uses photons,
but they are all synchronized.
If you focus them into a beam
what you have is an incredibly useful tool!
The control of the laser is so precise,
that you can peform surgery inside of an eye.
You can use it to store massive amounts of data,
and you can use it for this beautiful experiment,
that my friend was struggling to explain.
First, you trap atoms in a special bottle, that uses electromagnetic fields
to isolate the atoms from the noise of the environment.
And the atoms themselves are quite violent,
but if you fire lasers
that are precisely tuned to the right frequency,
an atom will briefly absorb those photons and tend to slow down.
Little by little it gets colder until eventually it approaches absolute zero.
Now, if you use the right kind of atoms and you get them cold enough,
something truly bizarre happens.
It's no longer a solid, a liquid or a gas,
it enters a new state of matter, called a superfluid.
The atoms lose their individual identity,
and the rules from the quantum world take over.
And that's what gives superfluid such spooky properties.
For example, if you shine light through a superfluid,
it is able to slow photons down to 60 km/h.
Another spooky property is that it flows with absolutely no viscosity or friction,
so if you were to take the lid of that bottle it won't stay inside.
A thin film will creep up the inside wall, flow over the top
and right out to the outside.
Now, of course, at the moment that it does at the outside environment
and its temperature rises by even a fraction of a degree,
it immediately turns back into normal matter.
Superfluids are one of the most fragile things we've ever discovered.
And this is the great pleasure of science,
the defeat of our intuition through experimentation.
But the experiment is not the end of the story,
because you still have to transmit that knowlege to other people.
I have a PhD in Molecular Biology.
I still barely understand what most scientists are talking about.
So, as my friend was trying to explain that experiment,
it seemed like, the more he said, the less I understood.
Because, if you're trying to give someone the big picture of a complex idea,
to really capture its essence, the fewer words you'd use, the better.
In fact the ideal may be to use no words at all.
I remember thinking
"My friend could have explained that entire experiment with a dance."
Of course, there never seem to be any dancers around when you need them.
Now, the idea is not as crazy as it sounds.
I started a contest four years ago called "Dance Your PhD".
Instead of explaining the research with words, scientists have to explain it with dance.
Suprisingly, it seems to work.
Dance really can make science easier to understand.
But don't take my word for it.
Go on the internet and search for "Dance Your PhD".
There are hundreds of dancing scientists waiting for you.
The most suprising thing that I 've learnt while running the contest,
is that some scientists are now working directly with dancers on their research.
For example, at the University of Minnesota there is a biomedical engineer
named David Odde, and he works with dancers to study how cells move.
They do it by changing their shape.
When a chemical signal washes up on one side
it triggers the cell to expand its shape on that side,
because the cell is constantly touching and tugging at the environment.
So, that allows cells to ooze along in the right directions.
But what seems so slow and graceful from the outside is really more like chaos inside.
Because cells control their shape with a skeleton of rigid protein fibres.
And those fibres are constantly falling apart.
But just as quickly as they explode, more proteins attach to their ends and grow them longer.
So it's constanlty changing, just to remain exactly the same.
David builds mathematical models of this, and then he tests those in a lab,
but before he does that, he works with dancers to figure out
what kinds of models to build in the first place.
It is basically efficient brainstorming.
And when I visited David to learn about his research,
he used dancers to explain it to me rather than the usual method, PowerPoint.
And this brings me to my modest proposal.
I think that bad PowerPoint presentations are a serious threat to the global economy.
It does depend on how you measure it, of course,
but one estimate has put the drain at 250 million dollars per day.
Now that assumes half hour presentation for an average audience of four people
with salaries of 35.000 dollars.
And it conservatively assumes that about a quarter of the presentations are complete waste of time.
And given that, there are some, apparently, 30 million PowerPoint presentations
created every day, that would indeed add up to an annual waste of a hundred billion dollars.
Of course that's just the time we're losing sitting through presentations.
There are other costs.
Because PowerPoint is a tool, and like any tool, it can and will be abused.
To borrow a concept from my country's CIA,
it helps you to soften up your audience,
it distracts them with pretty pictures, irrelevant data.
It allows you to create the illusion of competence,
the illusion of simplicity, and most destructively,
the illusion of understanding.
So now my country is 15 trillion dollars in debt.
Our leaders are working tirelessly to try and find ways to save money.
One idea is to drastically reduce public support for the Arts.
For example, our National Endowment for the Arts, with its 150 million dollar budget.
Slashing that programme would immediately reduce the national debt by about 0.011%.
One certainly cannot argue with those numbers.
However, once we eliminate public funding for the Arts, there will be some drawbacks.
The artists on the street will swell the ranks of the unemployed.
Many will turn to drug abuse and prostitution,
and that will inevitably lower propery values in urban neighbourhoods.
All of this could wipe out the savings we are hoping to make in the first place.
I shall now therefore humbly propose my own thoughts,
which I hope will not be liable to the least objection.
Once we eliminate public funding for the artists, let's put them back to work,
by using them instead of PowerPoint.
As a test case, I propose we start with American dancers.
After all, they are the most perishable of their kind,
prone to injury and very slow to heal due to our health care system.
Rather than dancing our PhDs,
we should use dance to explain all of our complex problems.
Imagine our politicians using dance to explain why we must invade a foreign country,
or bail out an investment bank.
It'd sure help.
Of course some day, in the deep future, a technology of persuasion,
even more powerful than PowerPoint may be invented,
rendering dancers unnecessary as tools of rhetoric.
However, I trust that by that day,
we shall have passed this present financial calamity.
Perhaps by then, we will be able to afford the luxury of just sitting in an audience,
with no other purpose than to witness the human form in motion.
    You must  Log in  to get the function.
Tip: Click on the article or the word in the subtitle to get translation quickly!



【TEDx】John Bohannon & Black Label Movement - Dance Your PhD

11887 Folder Collection
李應振 published on February 11, 2013
More Recommended Videos
  1. 1. Search word

    Select word on the caption to look it up in the dictionary!

  2. 2. Repeat single sentence

    Repeat the same sentence to enhance listening ability

  3. 3. Shortcut


  4. 4. Close caption

    Close the English caption

  5. 5. Embed

    Embed the video to your blog

  6. 6. Unfold

    Hide right panel

  1. Listening Quiz

    Listening Quiz!

  1. Click to open your notebook

  1. UrbanDictionary 俚語字典整合查詢。一般字典查詢不到你滿意的解譯,不妨使用「俚語字典」,或許會讓你有滿意的答案喔