30 July 2013

Inspired by TEDtalks

Have you discovered TED?  Experts in their field present their latest research, inventions, human behavior.  According to TED: "TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design -- three broad subject areas that are, collectively, shaping our future. And in fact, the event is broader still, showcasing ideas that matter in any discipline." (more herehttp://www.ted.com/pages/about)  It's like going to excellent university guest speaker events, right from your living room couch.  Every time I watch a TEDtalk I learn something new from people who are incredibly passionate about their field.

Here's a list of the HUNDREDS of topics TED has covered.... so far

Luis von Ahn is one of the key inventors of Captcha.  I'm a lot less annoyed by Captcha now that I've learned that it not only provides security, it has a secondary purpose that is tremendously helpful to the collective body of human knowledge.  Watch and see how. 

Now he has set a goal to translate the web.  Yep, the whole thing.  Talk about a big project.  So, he's found a really amazing way to crowd-source the project.  Interested in learning another language?  FOR FREE?  Check this out.  Yes, it really is free.  I'm the queen of a good deal.  So I'm doing it.... 

Move over, pricey language-learning software.
This is fun, and I'm really learning!

DuoLingo users get to learn a new language, and in the meantime, they are contributing to algorithms that translate content on the web.  I feel like that's a fair trade!

I'm fortunate to have a natural aptitude for languages (math, not so much ;-) and I've got basic French and a little Spanish under my belt.  I've decided to learn German.  

As of this writing, I'm up to Level 6, which means I can tell you things like "the men are walking", "the dog is a pet", "her skirt is white", "you drink water", "the wine is good" (um, yeah!) "the children are reading the newspaper", etc - I have a very long way to go (right now I'm getting tripped up by trying to remember which nouns are masculine, feminine, or neutral.  Yikes.  Practice makes perfect).

My son is learning French.  Up to Level 4 right now!  Whoo hoo!

My goal is to find out: if I complete the entire DuoLingo program, will I be able to carry on a conversation in German?  More to come.

Ellen, Carsten, I expect you to hold me to it! 

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