October 22, 2009 – Hope for revival: Salvation at the edge of the precipice

1.      Anne-Marie Pipan
2.      Laura Dick

1.      Kevin Rinek
2.      Sean Dacey

McClurken’s Class

Kamal Meattle on how to grow fresh air

Alex Tabarrok on how ideas trump crises

Louise Fresco on Feeding the whole world


Please put your class in your comment!


  • O’Donnell

    This looks promising, surely, but a broad topic. There are very opposing ideas in the first and last talks. The first telling us that we should supply our own air, the second that self-supplication of anything is dangerous. There are clearly solutions to the apocalypse, if only in small doses, and they cannot come, as the middle video tells us, with0ut proper attentiveness to the whole spectrum of ideas in the world. This is the only place a unifying factor seems necessary. We survived before government, then we invented government to ensure the spread of ideas. It represents a culture, but it should not define one. Solving global crises will start with local ideas, spread through governments, and end with local solutions. We just need to be wary of bread: it makes you obese.

  • (mcclurken)
    I like the topic and the videos but I’m not sure how the discussion will go. Typically these turn into debates and I don’t know who will argue the side opposing ending world hunger. The first video was kinda cool because he showed that we can survive in a bubble with a good amount of those plants, but you needed a good amount of tall plants per person. I liked the second video too because I agree that if all countries were as rich as us scientists would have a lot more money to pend on finding cures for diseases. I wasn’t a fan of the third video or article because they didn’t grab my attention. That bread looked good though.

  • McClurken
    * The first video is really interesting. I think that its cool that you could be capped in a bottle with these plants and not need any fresh air because these plants produce it for you. I think that the plants per person ratio is really big though, that is a lot of plants for one building. Its a good start to reversing the bad we have done to our environment.
    * Alex Tabarrok is right, wealthy countries will breed innovative ideas. If we have all these brains going towards the creation of new ideas that can help the world, then the possibilities are endless. I am excited for the wealth of other countries. First of all, people wont be living in as much poverty, quality of life will improve, and secondly we will have many minds working to solve the issues of the world. The only issue I have is that the longer we keep ourselves alive, the more people we have living off of the resources of the world and we are really going to shorten our existence as a whole. Maybe that wont happen though- maybe these new ideas wont be to keep us alive longer, but to keep the world in good condition. One world is a good thing. Working together is better than competition.
    *First off, I prefer wonder bread 🙂 It is really hard to pay attention to her while she is making the bread…It is hard to understand her, but what I understand from this is that mass production of food is better for everyone in the long run because more people have work? I guess this is true, but this food is so unhealthy for you. Wonder bread isn’t as good for you, but it is cheaper so its good because at least these people are capable of paying for their bread. Honestly, I have no idea what she is trying to say.
    *With the reading…..what are the 10 ideas? I think since the article is so old they took the top 10 list off the website. http://www.care.org/newsroom/articles/2003/10/10092003_top10lists.asp

  • I think that salvation is a very broad topic, which the videos suggested. I’m not quite sure where the discussion will go tomorrow or how the leaders will approach the topic, but I am very interested in the belief of reaching salvation. I don’t really understand how these videos support salvation and the belief of receiving eternal life, but if the discussion tomorrow is at all related to achieving salvation and eternal life, I will be very passionate towards the talk. I strongly believe in salvation and that if you go through life striving to do the right things and make a difference by following God’s plan, that you will achieve salvation at the end of your life. I believe that if you go through like trying to do your best, that you can achieve life after death. I have no idea what will be talked about tomorrow, so I am very anxious to find out.

  • O’Donnell

    As with the past discussion, this one can go either way; it will either be really successful or really unsuccessful. This is not a generic topic, and I think it will take an extra effort from the discussion leaders to make it successful.

    None of the videos really stuck out for me, so I am hoping our discussion tomorrow will offer more. I agree with Alex Tabarrok because I do believe that wealthy nations have a greater advantage in productivity. I think more nations should have the opportunity to become wealthy. Therefore, citizens of those nations will have the opportunity to spend their money at universities and be able to share their ideas in an educational environment. The other two speakers just did not inspire me as much as Alex did.

    –Stacey Peros

  • McClurken
    Salvation is an interesting topic because there are so many aspects of it. If you go by Alex Tabarrok’s video salvation happens with ideas. Which I think is true. When good ideas are thought of and voiced things change. Growth happens with these ideas. An example would be if someone had the idea to take the plants from Meattle’s video and planted them all over eventually the CO2 in the air would reduce.
    I thought Louise Fresco’s video was interesting but it didn’t really grab my attention and neither did the article. I did like Meattle’s video. I think everyone should have those plants in their homes. Over all this was an interesting topic.

  • McClurken

    The first video was interesting how the plants would change the air quality and what that would do to the human society. I also like how he talked about the percentage levels of certain things that he talked about in his talk. The second video caught my attention when he talked about the countries growth, and as countries get richer it would help the world more. The demand for those medicines would increase, then would increase the process of new medicine, which would be great for the whole world. Another topic that he brought about was The Great Depression, how it tremendously increased during the second half of the 2oth century. The third video I did not really like, I did not think it was interesting at all. Except for the fact that we have more food than we have ever had, due to the tremendous amount of production. Tomorrows class is going to be a really interesting class, can’t wait to see what arguments are going to occur.

  • McClurken
    I agree with paul the bread looked awesome.
    Anyways like everyone else said the ifrst video was neat about being able to survive in a bottle but the number of plants per person is alittle high for an office building to handle. And its really cool how the plants can make a person 20 % more productive.
    The second video was ok.
    Obviously the wealthier other nations get the more they will want luxuries. I feel likeit is a very good thing that other countries are getting wealthier because there will be more consumers making the quality of our goods increase because of the more consumers.
    Then the third video was ok aswell. She wishes we could go back to local farming but not totally because its nice to have choices of many different types of food instead of just domestic types.

  • O’Donnell
    I think that this topic could provide an interesting discussion. The videos provide some insight to creative solutions to serious problems our world is facing today. My favorite video was the first one about the plants creating clean air, it was really cool to hear the story about how this is helping people. As others have said Alex Tabarrok’s talk was also really informative and inspiring. He made some great points about the certain advantages wealthier nations have, but it made me think that if we all work together as a race we could solve some of the worlds biggest problems.

  • O’Donnell

    I agree with KelseyWoehnker, the videos were not as explanatory, but I do believe that all humans must achieve or at least try to acieve salvation. We all must go through life doing good works because we want to, not for being credited. I believe that salvation and eternal life comes only through God and what he has planned. I’m interested in how our group leaders will tackle this tomorrow, it should be a good talk.

  • Donnelly Phillips
    October 21st, 2009 at 7:51 pm

    O’ to the Donnell

    Make our own air, bread, and ideas. Sounds like a good plan to me. It’s a start to solving the apocalypse that slowly approaches. While there could be more on solving different problems, it would take a lot of TED talks to fully talk about it all. TED is basically all about solving the world’s problems anyway, full of people coming up with new ideas, inventions, and ways of thinking.

    I would write more, but perhaps I should save some stuff up my sleeves for the discussion, eh?

  • In the case of a catastrophic event (apocalypse decline and fall) our survival may not be guaranteed by the advents of modern humanity. It is our job to predict and solve the problems that we may face in the future, before they come. Procrastination will most likely be a characteristic of this talk, as much as it was of the Apocalypse talk.

    Ideas are a great starting point, there are plenty of them, but ideas alone cannot be expected to save us. Salvation requires action and movement. Where does this action start? Bread I suppose, but food may not be the most logical starting point. I think more along the lines of Kamal’s TedTalk and wonder about ensuring our continual oxygen supply, we can go a week or two without food. Minutes without air.

  • McClurken

    Maybe I went into this talk with a pessimistic attitude, but for the first video I was just thinking throughout, “umm…all plants help you because that is their job to produce oxygen.” Going into the second video I felt a strong sense of pessimism because all I could think about was selfishness in our society and the dog-eat-dog world we live in. He said we need to embrace that China is the wealthiest country but I don’t think we do as Americans. Maybe I am just being opposed to the country or anything, I just don’t think as a whole we like it when other countries are more powerful than us. The third video was interesting, I wish we could live in a healthy environment where we make all our own food and use the sun as energy, but it just is not very realistic. Once again, I may be in a pessimistic mood tonight, I’m not sure, I just think that our society is going to be ruined much more quickly than it will get better.

    On a slightly different note, my teacher once showed me an article in the newspaper and I really wish I could have found it online, but it compared the Great Depression to our “great recession.” It was so hilarious because we think everything is soo terribly horrible now but, in reality, we are still so much better off than what people were during the Great Depression. Grr, I started this 10 minutes ago and now I am 2 minutes over the deadline :-/

  • I am interested to see where this goes; whether it be religious or another path. I agree with both Torrey and Kelsey. We all must go through life doing what we need to and doing good works. Salvation and the eternal life comes from God and his plan for us all. I do believe that everyone should try to achieve salvation; but what about those who do not believe in God? Do they reach salvation?

    The videos had some creative insight to the problems we face but really, I did not get much from any of them. Alex Tabborak was the only speaker I enjoyed listening to. I hope the leaders have a good discussion planned for us.

  • McClurken

    First off, i definitely need to go get some of those plants, it would be really nice to be more productive. It is also very interesting of the idea of everyone being able to all survive together like that. When it comes to the various countries becoming wealthier, i think this is an excellent thing. When the countries have more money, higher quality work can be paid for which in the end will provide more reliable and better quality products. Not only will this increase their economy, but also the rest of the world. Thus everyone benefits from this. Honestly, i think there is no way that society could ever change back to farming because people have so many different options currently when it comes to food and like we have discussed many times in class, people love their options. Agreeing with what most people said, I am very interested to see where this conversation will go. It always surprises me of some peoples opinions on the various subjects, and I am really looking forward to see if anyone really has varying opinions on this.

  • O’Donnell
    Ideas are great and can change the world but it doesn’t help when they fall on deaf ears. The idea about plants was strange. 60,000 plants in one building? What if you are alergic to them. It would defeat the pourpose of making air that’s easier to breath. The talk about bread had me daydreaming about walking through the North End of Boston where my family and I would go from bakery to bakery getting all kinds of bread. My family doesn’t own a bread maker so we make bread from scratch. When I make bread I don’t use anything electric. I love doing it by hand and having flour all over me and my hands smelling like olive oil. I think in class we should ask the question when was the last time we talked to a farmer. I’m interested in the results. My best friend raises meat cows and my great uncle had a dairy farm for a long time.

  • I am slightly confused in this topic. Are we talking about salvation through higher beings, such as god or alah? Or are we talking about how nations can become better? When I read the topic, I thought it would be one about religion and what it takes for people from different cultures to reach their salvation. But from the videos, I feel as though they are talking about poorer nations and how they can become better. I can maybe see how doing things for these poorer nations would make people feel as though they are reaching salvation. Also, I feel it could be looked at as if the people in the poorer nations were doing these good deeds and they were reaching salvation through the fact that they were helping their nation become better. I’m pretty confused on how this talk is going to go, but I guess we’ll see.

  • Pull over my argument about bees from the apocalypse page: using less insecticide and pesticide would be a form of salvation. Go bees!

    Louise Fresco really confused me. I couldn’t figure out what her mission statement was. I think education would be more beneficial to those impoverished farmers she spoke of. I believe in self-sufficiency and definitely promote local farms still.

    I talk to at least one farmer every day. Farming (or growing ones own crops) is central in my life.

  • Sorry this is so late! 🙁 But the first video definitely caught my attention. Everyone seems to have so many different theories about what “healthy” foods to eat, the right amount of meals in a day, the right amount of portions in a meal, while also throwing in the nutrients needed from fruit, veggies, protein, etc. It seems crazy to think that capped in that we can survive and receive nutrients from 3 different types of plants and to be able to be more productive from them! who wouldn’t love that? I liked how in the second video he mentioned how if all countries were as wealthy as the U.S. that there would be a higher rate of being able to find cures and provide medication that may be too expensive to research or provide for now. But how would that happen? I don’t think that it’s necessarily possible for other countries to gain the amount of wealth to actually be able to make that change. But what can we do to help? The third video actually really caught my attention. Wonder-bread is made for convenience and ease, not everyone is going to have time to make their own bread from scratch. I agree that it would be more beneficial to those producing the crops needed but I don’t think it’s very realistic. She brought up an interesting point though; that bread hundreds of years ago was fundamental for our nutrition and now it’s just filled with fats, and sugars and all these extra ingredients that in turn, we crave more of, but add nothing beneficial but extra weight to our bodies and who wants that???

  • Oh lord, this discussion was interesting to say the least. There are many sides you can take on how to bring about our salvation but is there a right answer? I wasn’t sure if we could keep up a discussion about this but when we weren’t talking about bubblebaths and my poptarts t-shirt we actually had a great discussion.

  • Todays discussion was definitely controversial. The leaders did an alright job; but truthfully no elading had to be done today. Everyone spoke about their opinions for the most part and a couple people really felt passionate about the subject. We did not talk about the videos at all, but I am pretty happy we didn’t considering they were boring in my opinion. Overall, I think we came to a conclusion that salvation can be both religious and not so. As for me, I still do not have much of a set belief on salvation. All I know is there is a God, and we live because of him.

    Haileys input today was by far the best out of the group. It really set everyone off and the questions she brought out of it helped the group as a whole with the discussion.

  • How I said in my last post, “I can’t wait to see how class is going to go tomorrow.” Well class was very interesting the topic was so broad, which lead to other conflicts and then those conflicts led to others. Talking about the plants and the energy in our society was interesting. While we are saying we should plant plants to fix the problem with the atmosphere, but not only should we just do that. What about all the factories and vehicles that pollute the air? We should took those into consideration too and that would also help the problem that is occurring. My opinion I think we should address the energy problem first, instead of the starvation problem. Because I think the starvation problem can fix itself, in a way. People can also contribute though with community service, but only if “Disney World” offers something. Class discussion was still helpful though, understanding this topic.

  • This discussion certainly didn’t go as I expected it to, but I thought it worked well nonetheless. I still believe that we have to focus on people rather than things, so I will always be more focused on problems like world hunger than on the environment, but I do see everyone’s point. I definitely don’t feel that leaving the planet is really a feasible option– there is no way that we could, as was suggested, bring an even proportion of each population, even if interplanetary colonization was an option.

    Here is the Girl Effect video I mentioned– It’s kind of cool:

  • O’Donnell

    I thought today was one of the best discussions, in spite of the fact we started late and it had nothing to do with the videos. This is a topic I am interested in, because it is not something people enjoy talking about in daily life; nobody wants to think about the possibility of death and the afterlife. I personally would like to believe in an afterlife and going to heaven, but even during today’s discussion, I was really concerned that after I die, nothing will happen. This thought really frightens me, and I hate thinking about it. A point was brought up that our bodies can be used for compost and to donate organs, but I believe that people want more than to just have their bodies make trees grow or to give up their organs; they still want to be able to live after death.

    We also discussed if things happen for a reason. Personally, I believe that things happen for a reason, yet we control the minor things in life. I think God has the main events of our life planned out, but I believe we control facts such as how much we study and how well we do in school.

    Most of our discussion was revolved around religion and respect for other religions. I know for a fact that I can respect other religions without actually practicing them. I know that for a fact because I have friends of different faiths, and I respect their religion just as they respect my faith and beliefs.

    On a side note, I would like to point out that I also agree that Hailey was a standout in today’s discussion. She brought up many interesting points and got everyone thinking.

    –Stacey Peros

  • I left this discussion with respect to both of the sides that appeared during the discussion. One side argued primarily that salvation lies in a focus on those around us (mainly the feeding of them) while the other side (with which I agree) decided on a focus of alternative energies and explorations.

    While I still think that taking care of our planet and finding new sources of energy are a primary concern, there is an extremely valid point to be made for curing world hunger, for how can we truly say that society is “saved” when such a large part starves, and wastes away?

  • I can see everyone’s points of view, except the negativity towards disney, and really wish there was something to be done for ALL of the worlds problems. I agree that we are all scattered in our attempts to solve the world’s issues- but is this such a bad thing? A divide and conquer sort of approach. The argument is that there isn’t enough money- but thats in the government. These are individual organizations and people trying to solve problems for the most part, so I suppose I don’t see where people are coming from with the argument to only focus on one problem at a time- how COULD you? There are so many problems, one at a time is ineffective almost. I think disney is doing a wonderful thing. If you do community service, its nice to be recognized, and honestly, who cares what your intentions are BEHIND doing the work, it needs to get done- by any means necessary I would say. Today’s discussion was a nice break from the usual. Sometimes a stray from topic is nice. Laughter is the best medicine and I wasn’t feeling well today so a few laughs really brought me to 100%.

  • I thought today’s discussion went well. I think that it’s good to provide people with motivation to do service work because it sometimes requires a lot of time and money that some of us just can’t squeeze in. We shouldn’t be ashamed of disney, if it helps I think that it’s okay to add that extra incentive. If the satisfaction and “good feeling” we get after helping out a cause isn’t enough for people (which it should be!) then why not throw in a free trip to disney in exchange! It gets more people involved and hopefully opens new opportunities for them to volunteer in the future. As for solving world issues, the more I thought about it after class the more I disagree with what was said about solving energy efficiency before world hunger. World hunger has been a prevalent issue for generations, and the problems with our “world energy” is just now set in front of us and becoming more of a problem. No matter what there is always going to be a “new issue” that we will be working to solve because apparently since world hunger doesn’t apply to us then it can be set on the back burner. When it’s not energy it will be something else. We won’t ever make it to solve hunger and disease in third world countries. I don’t know I’m a pretty strong believer in karma, what goes around comes around. If we were to help others before ourselves I think it’d definitely come back around.

  • I was not in class today but from talking to some people I have heard how the discussion went. Based on what I have heard their was a lot of talk about chairities and how disney offers a free day pass for people that work for these charities. I agree with this as even though it may seem like, “Why can’t they do this out of the goodness of their heart?” many people do not feel this way. The large masses of people also respond to incentives, which I knew from previous knowledge, but even more so now from taking an economics course. If people need incentives to do something, then those incentives should be provided if they will help out the cause to help the poor. Especially for a company such as Disney, where if they give away from free day passes will not hurt their profits.

    Also, there was talk about the environment. I feel as though we will always have a problem with the environment. The people that are trying their hardest to create change such are Green Peace will never be happy, because I feel as though there are not enough incentives to create this change. I believe that people also believe that they themselves will not make a difference by themselves. What’s going to happen is we are going to run out of these resources and we will cope with that when it hits us in the face instead of preparing for it. As for the pollution created for still using our resources we have now, I feel as though it’s going to counteract with our expansion of life span. We are going to start living longer as we learn to be more healthy in the future, but due to the pollution it will limit how far we go. I feel that starvation and protecting the environment are very important, but there needs to be a way to get everyone involved by letting them know that as an individual they can make a difference.

  • “O’ to the Donnell”, Oh Donnelly.


    Class was almost perfect. Nothing soothes the soul (or lack of) more than a nice conversation about religion. The conversation hinged on post-life salvation, mostly because Earthly salvation is boring, universal, and in a way heavier than heavenly salvation. After all, we have efficacy here, and no one wants to face that.
    Haley, as Ashlee said, was the contributor of the month this morning. Her stance on religion was almost as interesting as Donnelly, and more relevant. Ultimately, I think since God cannot be proven to exist or not, believing in Him is the only choice left to us. What does it hurt? And if aetheists are wrong, that isn’t too nice. Hope is hope and as the Swedes say (after stealing your music) better a life with no bread than one with no hope.
    James made an interesting point about accommodating those who have different beliefs. Get religion back in schools and teach respect! Even James agreed with respecting others at a passive level, give us the chance to do that.

  • Our discussion was very well done. I had a feeling that this would end up being more religious. It’s inevitable that we die here on earth, but after wards I believe there is a life after this, and we need salvation while we are here to get that afterlife.

    I also liked our discussion on religions in general and if we should respect them . I know my point on devil worshipper was at the extreme, I was trying to make a point that certain religions can’t have my respect.

  • Donnelly Phillips
    October 25th, 2009 at 12:13 am


    First and foremost, sorry for taking a while to respond. I came back to my home to be surprised with a lack of internet.

    Sorry if I sounded like I had all the answers to everything back there. I really don’t. Everything I know religion-wise is based on what I’m told and what I observe and like to imagine with no real foundry. Of course, if I had any more evidence than that, I would have a theory from opposed to a religion. And whatever happens in the afterlife will probably be a combination of everything and incredibly far off from what anyone expected anyway. And then there’ll be a life after the after life and a never ending line of lives and planes of existence and universes.

    Fun to think about, but not to worry about. Certainly MUCH more fun to think and discuss than figuring out how we’re going to get power and feed everyone. In spite of how important that is, it’s simply not as fun. I did indeed enjoy it.

    A note: friends, do not attempt to search Unificationist or Unificationism on the internet and expect to get an accurate description. Even on ted.com, the only thing you get even related to it is someone who was deprogrammed from it and has an incredibly negative view. We have an awful and inaccurate label on the internet.

  • McClurken
    Sorry this is late. I did type this earlier but for some reason it didn’t post.

    The discussion went differently than I expected. We focused a lot on charity, which I didn’t expect at all, but it turned out well. Charity takes a lot of time, effort and money and I think we should all help out in some way. We can’t just leave something for someone else to do because what if that someone else says the same thing and the next one and so on, then nothing gets done. I feel we should all help out in some way and not leave it to someone else.
    One thing brought up in class was should we focus more on world hunger or better energy sources. I think we should focus on the energy because if we solve the energy problem we will solve more in the long run. Not saying hunger isn’t an issue but I think we could benefit more people by fixing the energy problem first. Think about it, when helping a nation with hunger that one nation benefits but if we find more better energy sources the world can benefit.

  • I always forget to do this, thus why I do it in class. Anyways…

    I thought our discussion last week was…interesting. We focused a lot of charities and our morals vs. what we want. I am one who did only do as much community service in high school because for many of the programs I wanted to do I was forced to, although after being exposed to those programs I continued on with them for the rest of my high school career. Many people do need incentives and I think that Disney offering free passes for a day for someone who helps out is really great! Sure, some may be doing it only for the free ticket, but they are actually doing community service and may turn out like me and love what they did and may go back in the future to continue the charity work without an incentive.

    Energy vs. world hunger: I agree with whoever suggested it first that our energy crisis does indeed need to be fixed first. I am very cynical when saying this, but I think as a global race we are hugely overpopulated and something does need to occur to cut down our population, thus saving our earth. Adopt, don’t create! 😉

  • I do believe that the world would come together in a major time of crisis. It kind of brings out a natural human characteristic of fear that is comforted by others who are experiencing the same thing. I don’t think anything like that will ever happen so I guess we’ll never know. In speaking of life after death, I questioned that a lot when I was in like 6th grade and then I began questioning religion so I stopped. I cam to a conclusion that I don’t, at the moment, know what religion I am. Therefore I am Agnostic. When speaking of death in a broad manner and then it actually happening to someone close to you, it makes me think of it in a different way. I like to think that people’s souls continue on but after one my good friends passed away, I question everything. I like to think that reincarnation is more realistic than your soul going to heaven. I can grasp that concept better.

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