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What Are You Waiting For? | Keith Harmon Snow at TEDxShelburneFalls

3 November 2012 | Sharing insightful personal experiences and stunning photographs from near and far, Keith Harmon Snow explores a few pressing questions about consciousness, life purpose and the personal and societal changes that are required from all of us in service to building a better world. A former aerospace & defense professional who later worked as a genocide investigator for the United Nations, Keith is a local small farmer from Williamsburg, Massachusetts, USA, a war correspondent and photographer. He was the 2009 Regent's Lecturer in Law and Society at the University of California Santa Barbara. He has worked in 44 countries, he is 'persona non grata' in Rwanda and Ethiopia, and he is also banned (for life) from Hampshire, Smith and Mt. Holyoke Colleges in Western Massachusetts. A facilitator of consciousness workshops, he describes himself as "... a spiritual seeker learning to breathe and feel fine while preparing for the end of the world as we know it." In thespirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and <b>...</b>
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northernboy writes "Today's LA Times has an article describing how a Wikileaks data dump from Afghanistan plus some advanced algorithms are allowing accurate predictions about the behavior of large groups of people. From the article: 'The programmers used simple code to extract dates and locations from about 77,000 incident reports that detailed everything from simple stop-and-search operations to full-fledged battles. The resulting map revealed the outlines of the country's ongoing violence: hot spots near the Pakistani border but not near the Iranian border, and extensive bloodshed along the country's main highway. They did it all in just one night. Now one member of that group has teamed up with mathematicians and computer scientists and taken the project one major step further: They have used the WikiLeaks data to predict the future.' Considering they did not discriminate between types of skirmish, but only when and where there was violence, this seems like an amazing result. It looks like our robotic overlords will have even less trouble controlling us than I previously thought."


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From the magazine's three-part, nearly 80-page story about the Tour of Rwanda.

Photo: Ben Ingham

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Rouleur is to bike magazines what National Geographic is to nature photography. Instead of glossy, well-lit portraits and fancy racing shots, its pages are filled with long, thoughtful photo spreads that drive deep narratives.

“We want to tell stories, we don’t do just want to do winners and podiums,” says Guy Andrews, the magazine’s editor and founder.

This makes the London mag an anomaly among the typical bike magazines, or most any sport magazine these days. They don’t exist to pimp the newest product or tout the coolest new protégé, but to capture all the moments that happen around the sport. Like the old photojournalism adage: The photos don’t happen at the event, they happen in the parking lot.

“We don’t have pictures of riders crossing finish lines,” he says. “We tend to concentrate on what happens to support that.”

One example of the magazine’s storytelling is the enormous and beautiful three-part, nearly 80-page story the magazine ran about the Tour of Rwanda. The piece, loosely based around the race, also delved into the history and politics of this once-war-torn country, providing a dynamic and in-depth look at a place that many Western readers know nothing about.

The production quality is another aspect that sets Rouleur apart. Printed on thick, rich paper, it feels more like a book than a magazine. It only comes out eight times a year and each of the recent issues has been 162 pages and cost $20.

“Some magazines will give three pages to a story and we’ll give 20,” Andrews says.

The secret to keeping the quality up, says Andrews, has been building a healthy pool of freelancers who are constantly pitching ideas. Andrews say he would much rather send photographers to produce work they came up with and care about than make assignments.

Rouleur‘s success has also about giving the photographers as much time as they need to tell the story right.

“There has been a death in [the U.K.] of good photojournalism, but not just photojournalism, there’s been a death of any kind of story that takes more than five minutes,” he says. “To get quality you need to give photographers time to explore their craft.”

The magazine’s audience has responded in kind by growing every year. A majority of its 10,000 readers are located in the U.K., but Rouleur also has a healthy audience in the rest of Europe and the United States. It’s a modest readership for a cycling magazine, but it has become a must-read for both fans of the sport and fans of photography.

The magazine has benefited lately from an upswing in the popularity of road bikes among the kind of middle-class professionals who might otherwise play golf. In addition to the racing aficionados, it’s the dentists, lawyers and doctors who are now subscribing, says Andrews.

For Rouleur, there’s no race to push for online content until things settle down in the digital world. The plan for now is to keep producing quality magazines that tell interesting stories and highlight good photography.

“It’s like the wild wild West out there,” says Andrews. “I think we just need to stay creative.”

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TEDxTeen - Natalie Warne: A Story Never Stands Alone

Born in an underserved part of Chicago, Natalie was raised in a loving, hard-working family. In her teens, her family of five was forced to move from city to city to find work. Attending four high schools in four years, Natalie was no stranger to challenge, and was determined to make something great out of her life. At 17, Natalie saw the documentary Invisible Children, a film exposing Africa's longest running war. Compelled by this story, she became a volunteer with Invisible Children, and quickly stood out among the other interns being asked to help lead their event, "The Rescue," in 100 cities worldwide. Through Natalie's determination tens of thousands of people came out to the event. Her efforts paid off when Oprah Winfrey invited Invisible Children and Natalie onto her show. The event was then highlighted on CNN, and countless other news outlets. Natalie's natural charisma and astounding leadership qualities did not stop there. Following The Rescue, Natalie went to Rwanda as a production assistant where she realized her passion for filmmaking. In returning to the States, she worked with Invisible Children in its film department, and moved to Los Angeles to continue pursuing film. Natalie was asked to share her story at TEDxTeen in 2011. Her story had an incredible response and was featured on TED.com. Her Talk has received over 400000 views from around the world. While still pursuing her dreams of filmmaking, Natalie uses her story to inspire and challenge youth in <b>...</b>
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It’s not unusual for photojournalists to travel to places that have been scarred by genocide, accident and natural disaster. But photographer Ambroise Tézenas has spent the last few years turning that norm on its head to capture what happens to those sites after the journalists leave, when they become tourist destinations.

In 2008, Tézenas was looking for his next photographic project when he read that a train, swept into the Sri Lankan jungle by a tsunami, was still there four years after the fact. Tézenas happened to have been in Sri Lanka at the time of the storm—on a vacation that became a job—and was fascinated to learn that the train had become a place of pilgrimage.

“Some tourists were coming to have their pictures taken there,” the photographer says. “I thought about what the victims and the survivors would think.”

That question became the seed of a long-term project, Dark Tourism, now on view at Galerie Mélanie Rio in Nantes, France. Tézenas immersed himself in the tourist experience: he always traveled with a tour group, always paid for the experience and only took pictures of things any tourist could see. Sometimes that ethos meant his pictures were restrained—he only had the time allotted by the tourism groups, so he was unable to wait for ideal light—but it also allowed the photographer to comment on more than the scenery.

“It wasn’t just to find new places nobody had seen,” says Tézenas, “but to link these places and to have a portrait of a new tendency of tourism.”

Not that so-called “dark tourism” is new. Professor John Lennon of Glasgow Caledonian University, who coined the term in 1996 and whose work influenced Tézenas’ project, says that the urge to turn the tourist’s gaze on horror—what Lennon calls the “pull factor” of the macabre—dates back to the spectators at the Battle of Waterloo, and further than that, to the first people who watched crucifixions as spectacle.

“It’s a human fascination with our ability to do evil, a human fascination with death,” he explains. “It’s so unimaginably terrible but it exerts this fascination.” Survey data has shown him that the impulse comes from a cross between genuine interest in history, voyeurism and, especially in recent years, commoditization, the kind of pre-packaged deals of which Tézenas availed himself. That ease of access is, according to Lennon, the new factor in the equation.

Tézenas saw that commercialization in action at a Latvian jail where tourists could pay to play prisoner and be terrorized by guards in the middle of the night, on a guided visit to Chernobyl and on a “genocide tour” of Rwanda. Lennon points out that “visiting sites of genocide doesn’t prevent genocide from happening again” and that certain gift shops can make visitors queasy, but tourism can benefit economies that are still recovering from disaster.

And, for Tézenas, it was a subject that was ripe for exploration. “In our time, we are so close to death through news and cinema and video games, but at the same time death is so removed from our contemporary society,” he says, explaining that he hoped to use photography to get to the root of the sociological phenomenon. “I want to raise the point, very humbly, because there are so many questions.”

Dark Tourism will be on view at Galerie Mélanie Rio in Nantes, France, through May 12. Ambroise Tézenas is a French photographer. See more of his work here.

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