How Dive Bars Can Change Your Life – Ellen Goodwin at TEDxSanDiego 2016

“Most people think that the only thing that you can learn in a dive bar is that the more stickers on the wall, means the more surly the regular clientele is going to be. But this is where I think you are wrong,” said Ellen Goodwin to start her talk at TEDxSanDiego 2016.

And when it comes to knowing about dive bars, Goodwin, who by trade is the CEO and procrastination expert. Back in 2010 she and a neighbor started a “dive bar of the month” club, and have since visited more than 60 in the San Diego area. In the process she discovered some interesting truths about human nature that we could all adopt as life lessons.

According to Goodwin, dive bars are teaming with life lessons. Among the 10.5 life lessons she has learned:

1. Be kind to everyone.
2. You’re never to old to make new friends.
3. The camera never lies.

And for the rest, well, you’ll just have to see for yourself.

Ellen Goodwin Website

Ellen Goodwin on Twitter

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Why Eyewitnesses Fail – Thomas Albright at TEDxSanDiego 2016

From NPR’s “Serial” podcast to the Netflix series “Making a Murderer,” faulty eyewitness testimony has become a recent hot topic in pop culture chatter. While this issue has been around for a long time, recent advances in technology – especially DNA evidence – have resulted in more convictions being overturned.

Along with these shows, which are based on actual cases and include examples of eyewitness testimonies being called into question, the Innocence Project has reported nearly 350 DNA-based exonerations, with 3/4 of those cases counting on eyewitness identification for significant evidence that lead to a conviction.

So why do eyewitnesses identify the wrong people?

“There are insurmountable limits to visual perception and memory that are imposed by our biological nature and the properties of the world that we inhabit,” said Thomas Albright, professor and Conrad T. Prebys chair at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies.

According to Albright, and various research studies conducted over the past few decades, there are three factors that affect the usefulness of reported experience:

  • Uncertainty
  • Bias
  • Confidence

“Vision in general is far from perfect,” he said.

So, are eyewitnesses who testify in court not telling the truth? Not necessarily, according to Albright. In fact, when witnesses testify in court with confidence their description of the event – which they believe to be true – it’s difficult for the jury to discount their version of what happened.

Organizations, such as the National Academy of Sciences, are starting to take note of the limitations of human perceptions and memories, especially in the area of eyewitness accounts.

As the old saying goes, “Seeing is believing, but neither seeing nor believing is equivalent to truth.”

Thomas Albright Profile

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Wings Are Just a Detail – Lex Gillette at TEDxSanDiego 2016

With your eyes closed, imagine your highest potential. What does that look like? But more importantly, how do you get there?

“Sometimes in life, we’re afraid to take that shot in the dark,” says Lex Gillette.

For Gillette, dark has a different meaning than most. As a young boy he began losing his eyesight at the age of eight, which he eventually lost completely.

Despite this lack of sight, Gillette imagines himself “running, jumping, flying.” He’s holding an American flag on a medal stand where he’s winning gold, silver and bronze medals. He imagines himself “flying as far as (his) mind would carry (him).”

And that’s just what he has done. Gillette is now a four-time Paralympian and medalist who has four silver medals for the long jump, and is the only totally blind athlete to soar more than 22 feet in the long jump.

Gillette regaled the audience with stories of his triumphs at both the Paralympics and World Championships, which he said were a direct result of taking shots in the dark.

“Even in the blackest of blackest nights … never be afraid to take a shot in the dark.”

Lex Gillette Website

Lex Gillette on Twitter

Lex Gillette on Facebook

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