Could a blue whale meet an oak tree? (one of the many questions that came up at Terry Tales)

Warning. Attending Terry Tales is hazardous to your health. At least that’s been my experience. I walk out of each session in such an absentminded happy cloud, that I’m sure one of these days I’ll fall into the pond outside the Global Lounge on my way out.

So far so good though, and we had another magical night on March 1st. Here are some of my favourite take aways from the evening (Or as its classified on Facebook: the latest Listening Party).

TEDactive: Dave recently attended TEDactive (do check out his awesome post about how the conference went) and had great stories about the incredible talks (some of which are already available and posted on Terry), the participants who were always game to chat and share ideas, the vibe and size of the conference (~400 participants), and how they all really helped to facilitate conversation. Some participants actually preferred TEDactive to the main TED conference because of its more intimate setting. (Plus, I guess it could get a bit awkward doing icebreakers with Bill Gates and asking him what it is he does exactly). We also heard many stories about the Phylomon Project, (more details here) a project that sounds genuinely amazing. From what I understood, it’s an online initiative aimed at engaging people with the biodiversity of Planet Earth, and like all things wonderful, combines many interdisciplinary things: art, game cards, community, imagination, experimentation, open source awesomeness and so much more! Keep this project on your radar; it’s doing very cool things. (And if you’re an artist, they’re in need of pictures of trees in particular (and microbes too).

Bridging the Gap: This is the Engineers Without Borders annual conference in Vancouver, and this year Hans Rosling is speaking! His 2006 TED Talk “Hans Rosling shows the best stats you’ve ever seen”, is one of the Top 10 talks on TED. The conference is on March 27th, and tickets can be found here.

Vancouver 2010 Winter Games: Naturally, lots to say on the Winter Games. From Tent Village, to the vibe in different parts of the city over the past few weeks, to participating in the Closing Ceremonies, to thoughts on the ‘tongue in cheek’ description of Canada (what did you think of it Terry* friends?), to the intricate rules of curling (and how the rules of physics relate to strategy), to the figure skating events (What should a quad be worth?), to the social issues around the Games and how different people in the region experienced the Olympics in widely differing ways, to how many businesses outside the downtown core suffered seriously during the 17 days, the list goes on.  I think this will be a period in Vancouver’s history that we’ll be talking about for a long long time to come. It actually warrants a post of its own..

Norwegian-Tanzanian Dairy Goats: Ok, this is a very very cool story about going on exchange in Tanzania and doing independent research about goats that were bred with Norwegian dairy goats in a small village. The number that surprised me?  20. It’s taken ~20 years to get high quality goats that are used to the climate and produce good milk.  You can here more about this project at MURC (Major Undergraduate Research Conference on Saturday March 6th. Registration closes on Wednesday March 3rd. My main question: do the other animals ask the goats lots of questions about where their parents were born?

Community: We talked about building community and sharing ideas, and what constitutes an incredible learning experience. Case competitions are definitely one way, what are others? Thoughts?

And finally (not that the above is an exhaustive list of course: the night included stories about the comedy of twitter, the magic of K’naan and much more) we talked about what Terry Tales is exactly. It is a question that I certainly hear a lot. And the answer is that in its current form (which I love), Terry Tales is a night of awesome people and wonderful conversations. We bring cookies, you bring yourself, we meet and the conversation develops from there.  You might not know anyone at first, but it’s not awkward networking; it’s a circle of terrific interesting people who love Terry.

Questions are asked, ideas are explored, friendships are formed, and you walk away excited and happy, and with a few questions and ideas to reflect on further. So far, we don’t have a pre scripted set of questions that we want to discuss or a project plan that needs to be formulated, it’s solely an open space where you can drop by every two weeks, chat, tell stories, get inspired and meet cool people. And those who are brave, we have the mic and recording equipment for you to become famous by telling a story a bit more formally (like the Moth).

Having said that, I throw the question back to you Terry* readers: what do you want Terry Tales to be? Have you thought about coming? What are you interested in seeing? We definitely want to hear your thoughts and questions.

The next Terry Tales event will be held on March 15th at 5:30 PM in the Global Lounge.

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Shagufta is a UBC Political Science graduate with a passion for interdisciplinary thinking, writing, travel, reading, tea, and interesting conversations. She hopes to combine all of these things in her life work someday. For now though, she studies social policy and planning at the University of Toronto and shares her adventures in and out of the classroom at