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MIT student blogger Anastassia B. '16

TEDxCambridge! by Anastassia B. '16

1. How TED talks can improve your life 2. Recently hosted and filmed right here at MIT!

Dear EA applicant,

You’re almost there. It’s Friday/13/13, so if today is the ‘unluckiest day’, then maybe tomorrow is the luckiest? If not in the decision, then probably in something else, if you keep your mind open to it. It’s 11:44 am right now and there are 24 hours and 30 minutes left before EA decisions. Given that the average length of a TED talk is 17.5 minutes, and that you’re probably too excited to sleep tonight, that gives 84 TED talks you can watch in your rapidly diminishing waiting time. Not only will they keep your mind away from agonizing circular thoughts, you’ll become more illuminated in 84 topics. That can be useful no matter where you go.

Bon voyage! Your internet friend,


TED Talks

TED talks, for those unfamilar, are “riveting talks by remarkable people, free to the world.” I started watching them in high school, and learned a lot more about current research, global problems, and technological initiatives than I ever did in class. They really opened up my mind to not only ways I can cause change on a large scale, but also within myself.

Some of my favorites have been:

The game that can give you 10 extra years of life


How schools kill creativity

This video is a great followup: Changing Education Paradigms.

My stroke of insight

Have any of you guys watched these or other TED talks before?

Here you can find the videos with the most views. Also the TED youtube channel.



I watched so many of these inspiring talks that I created a goal to have my own one day. Hmm.. what’s a good first step but to watch them live? You can imagine my astonished elation when I learned that we were going to host a TED Conference right in our very own Kendall Square! Tickets were limited, so I had to fill out a short application asking who I was and why I wanted to attend. I ended up getting a discounted seat for only ~$20 in the outdoors section.

All photos courtesy of TEDxCambridge 2013 official photos page.

Psst: I’m in 3 of these photographs if you can find me. Yippee!

The outdoors section.

Where were the actual speakers? Inside the neighboring building, presenting and being filmed, while we got a live stream to the screen outside.

Afterwards, there was a reception of food, drink, and conversation with the speakers themselves!

Who were the speakers?

  • Ariel Diaz, Educational Entrepreneur. Inverting the Curriculum.
  • Manolis Kellis, Computational Biologist. Decoding a Genomic Revolution.
  • Zeynep Ton, Business Professor. The Good Jobs Strategy.
  • Deepak Jagdish and Daniel Smilkov, Data Scientists. The Power of Metadata.
  • Todd Rogers, Mobilization Expert. Turning Mass Intention into Mass Action.
  • Bruce Schneier, Security Technologist. The Battle for Power on the Internet.
  • Sara Seager, Galactic Explorer (what a cool title). A Real Search for Alien Life.

You can find all the videos from the TEDxCambridge event here.


Any feelings about TED talks, videos, learning, waiting, learning through video talks while waiting, any permutation thereof, or anything at all, please comment below! I read all of them. Feel free to post questions or email me at [email protected] (though I might be studying for finals). :) Bye for now and happy holidays!