Friday, December 23, 2016

Flavours of greatness

Was invited to facilitate a session at a holiday camp for about 15 students, about 15 years old (+/- 4 years).
What would we do/talk about? 
Well, the theme was multiple intelligences, and the gig was called "Ignite Genius" so I dug up these excellent videos to watch with the group.

1. The first was shorter and was actually my first interaction with the group, our ice-breaker.   

Kendrick Lamar performs new "Untitled" song on The Colbert Report.
Fantastic stuff! Like I said/say, I'm a rockstar.
Kendrick is a genius, and this clip - from the interview to the performance - is so complete, so genuine, so gripping, and such a pure representation of an artiste, communicator, and leader at the height of his powers, that ... I dunno, I was thrilled to use it as a grooming tool for the fine leaders that we were raising at the camp?  It was my top music+video experience of the year 2015 (look out for my 2016 list in a couple of days)?   I thought it was great for them to see that authentic and book-smart and intelligent and humble and relevant and helpful could all come together in one person just like them.  We love you, Kendrick!

The other three videos were 'electives' so they could choose one to watch with friends based on their interests. 

2. A detailed documentary (by Alan Yentob: BBC UK) on the life and work of Zaha Hadid, one of the greatest architects ever.  She passed away a few months after the camp, as you know.  This was recommended for people with interests in design and such.
I recently watched it again and (aha!) I think I understand now a bit more...the evolution of ZHA.  From her early paintings and her vision (sort of things piercing out of the plane // sort of unruly, refusing-to-conform buildings) through repetition and rejection, and how in the search for implementation the problem was handed over to computers which likely presented curved solutions that normally would have been the more difficult solutions to manage but with software were now just accessible and malleable solutions.  I think.  And that became Zaha 2.0 - the curvy.  Evolved, forged, through blood, sweat and tears, from Zaha 1.0 

You have to watch this at least once.

3. Laura Cha gave a guest lecture to a class of Robert Schiller's at Princeton which was included in his fantastic Coursera class on Financial Markets.  I recommended this guest lecture for the students who hoped to do policy, government, business, banking, and such someday. 
Summary: "This is a guest lecture by Laura Cha, former vice chair of the China Securities Regulatory Commission and a member of the Executive Council of Hong Kong. In her introductory remarks, Ms. Cha emphasizes career opportunities in the private as well as the public sector of financial markets, and elaborates on her own career as a regulator in the Chinese market. In an ensuing discussion with Professor Shiller, she discusses motivations to work in the public sector, emphasizing the marketability of public sector skills in the private sector, but also a sense of mission to influence the creation and proper functioning of markets..."

4. You've seen this one here before:  "Grigori Perelman proved the Poincare conjecture and then refused a million dollar prize (the Millennium Prize). He is the only mathematician who has declined the Fields medal."
Guess what?  The kids found this guy Perelman entertaining.  They (some of them) seemed to understand why he might be inspiring and not just some sort of lunatic.  It's a colourful story, a different style to the Laura Cha discussion for instance, and I enjoyed presenting such unexpected locales - Russia/International, Iraq/UK/International, China/US, and Rap Performance, USA...

While I screwed up on the logistics a bit, the kids forgive easily, I think, and they really did focus for longer than I would have expected on these longish and deepish videos. 

The truth is that I've watched each of these over and over again before (the camp was in 2015) and since...I do like to teach that way...with material that is deep enough to interest the most motivated/advanced learner and that is not limited to what the teacher fully grasps at the time.  I love to learn along.  You?   

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1 comment:

  1. I just found out ZH actually explicitly studied math in uni (Beirut) before moving to study architecture at the AA (London). I like this article and the video, demonstrating the constraints/computation and mathematics in her design methodology, just like I described above. I find this story of innovation/discovery so delicious somehow.


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