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What if Being Safe is Overrated?: Deidra Riggs at TEDxLincoln

Deidra Riggs is a freelance writer and managing editor of TheHighCalling, an online network that encourages everyday conversations about work, life, and God. She is also a contributor to incourage.me, social media consultant to the American Baptist Churches of Nebraska, and owner of the blog JumpingTandem, where she writes about faith, grace, and saving a place at the table for you. Deidra thinks she too often plays it way too safe in the things that matter most, and she doubts that she's alone in this. In all things, she tries to remember the advice of her grandmother, who reminded her often to "Keep looking up." 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 regulations)
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Time, Intensity, and Patience: Tiffany Verzal at TEDxLincoln

In 2008, Tiffany Verzal's daughter, 14-month old Alexis, was the victim of abusive head trauma at the hands of her daycare provider in Texas. Tiffany and husband Brandon were not willing to accept the outcome that the medical professionals were bracing them for, so they found the only rehabilitation hospital in the nation willing to take her, Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital in Lincoln, Nebraska. What has happened from that day is the ultimate testament to the result of intense, specialized rehabilitation and a family's dedication and love. 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 regulations)
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A life of panhandling on the streets of Denver is brutal, boring and soul-crushing. Many of those who do it are long-time substance abusers, caught in a vicious cycle: You wouldn’t stand out there 12 hours a day unless you desperately needed heroin, and then only another dose of heroin would get you through another [...]

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At the suggestion of her 8-year-old daughter, who was watching a weather show on TV, Camille Seaman took to the Great Plains, photographing supercell storms - the type that begets tornadoes.

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The western United States continues to battle a ferocious wildfire season that has seen record-breaking fires in several states. The worst of the blazes is the Waldo Canyon fire in Colorado, blamed for two deaths, for forcing 35,000 residents to evacuate, and for the destruction of at lest 346 homes. The area around Colorado Springs has been declared a federal disaster area after the most destructive fire in state history. Wildfires have also destroyed property and forced evacuations in California, Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, and New Mexico. [Editors' note: There will be no Big Picture on the Wednesday, July 4 holiday.] -- Lane Turner (38 photos total)
The Waldo Canyon fire burns an entire neighborhood near the foothills of Colorado Springs, Colo. on June 26, 2012. Colorado endured nearly a week of 100-plus-degree days and low humidity, sapping moisture from timber and grass, creating a devastating formula for volatile wildfires across the state and punishing conditions for firefighters. (Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post/Associated Press)

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It's time once more for a look into the animal kingdom and our interactions with the countless other species that share our planet. Today's photos include researchers dressed in panda costumes, a massage given by an African snail, a 39-pound cat named Meow, a Japanese macaque with hay fever, and orangutans having a playdate using FaceTime on an iPad. These images and many others are part of this roundup of animals in the news from recent weeks, seen from the perspectives of their human observers, companions, captors, and caretakers, part of an ongoing series on animals in the news. [41 photos]

Polar bear cub Anori explores the outdoor enclosure at the zoo in Wuppertal, Germany, on Monday, April 23, 2012. Anori was born on January 4 and is becoming a visitor's highlight. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

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