Rose George doesn’t seem like the kind of person who would be preoccupied with poop, and yet, she has made the discussion of human feces her life’s work. Her questions and subsequent research tell the tale of a subject that is so taboo that we would rather let millions of people die than to discuss it.
On a recent trip to Kenya, I was told that many of the people you see walking around every day, from educated professionals to the poorest of the poor, suffer from diarrhea every single day. As you can imagine, such a chronic intestinal issue not only causes major health problems, but also causes other issues like fatigue, loss of appetite and even psychological and emotional disorders – issues that immediately handicap developing nations as they struggle to compete in our global economy.
Yes, poop is an economic driver, a social driver and a killer. Fortunately, we can do something about it, if only we will become more willing to talk about it.
Another quick talk this week, which seems only fitting, since this one is about ways to save time. David Pogue is a well-known technology columnist and author who drops in here with some useful time-saving tech tips. You may be aware of some or most of these, but chances are you’ll learn something new. Go ahead and try them and save yourself a few seconds here or there. That time is sure to add up!
We sit more than we sleep. Nilofer Merchant calls sitting “the smoking of our generation.” So, how does she suggest we combat our sedentary ways? Well, if you have a lot of meetings, she’s got an answer in the form of a unique way of multi-tasking. In this short talk, Merchant reminds us that not only is movement good for our physical well-being, but it creates a spark in the mind as well.
[Due to technical difficulties yesterday (namely that I had no access to the back-end of my website) TED Talk Tuesday had to be delayed until Wednesday. However, to thumb my nose at the internet gremlins who attacked me, I refuse to change the name to TED Talk Wednesday. So there!]
When I began watching this talk, I fully expected to hear Lawrence Lessig tell us how our political system is broken. What I didn’t expect to hear was how we could fix it, let alone why we should fix it. Lessig’s story about his lecture at Dartmouth (15:24) and his response about love stirs me to the core – not because of my love for country, but because of his passion and his definition of a love that would do anything and everything.
It is my belief that love changes the world. In Lessig’s area of passion, that may be love of country. In mine, that may be love of God and his people. In yours, it may be love of something else. Whatever it is, love will do anything and everything and, just maybe, can bring hope to a hopeless situation.
Wherever I go and whoever I talk to about my relationship with Kenya, one point I always try to make is that the relationship between the “developed” world and the “developing” world (in my case, between Americans and Kenyans) doesn’t have to be a one-way relationship. There is a myth that has been advanced by both “first world” and “third world” people that says that those from developing nations must always be on the receiving end of the transaction and those from developed nations must always be on the giving end.
One of the most profound moments I’ve had in Kenya was on my first trip there when I made a simple statement to the church where I was speaking – a statement attached to a request. “I know you want me to pray for you,” I said, “but I think you have something to offer as well. I would like you to pray for me.” The people of that small church were shocked at the idea that they had anything to offer. They had been convinced that they were supposed to always be recipients. The pastor of that church, with whom I am now friends, was moved to tears (very unusual in Kenyan culture). “Who knew,” he said, “that Africans had anything to offer an American.”
With that backdrop, I present to you Richard Turere, a Kenyan boy whose ingenuity not only got outside the box of traditional thinking within one of Africa’s oldest tribes, but whose invention could become a game-changer all over the world. If he had any doubt before, Richard now knows that Africans have a lot to offer the rest of us!