Talk Nerdy To Me

In this Ted Talk, Melissa Marshall makes a plea to scientists and engineers to “talk nerdy.” She says, “we’re fascinated by what you’re doing. So tell us about it — in a way we can understand.” Use this video in the technical communication classroom to discuss definitions and descriptions. She nicely reinforces and can generate discussion about how to make complex ideas accessible and exciting to others.


It Is Expensive to Be Poor – Barbara Ehrenreich – The Atlantic

An article in the Atlantic Monthly by Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America, about how we definitions of poverty in America. In this article she discusses the tragectory from President Johnson’s “War on Poverty” to the idea that women on welfare are miscreants:

Instead of treating low-wage mothers as the struggling heroines they are, our political culture still tends to view them as miscreants and contributors to the “cycle of poverty.”

via It Is Expensive to Be Poor – Barbara Ehrenreich – The Atlantic.

In 260, have students read the article, identifying and evaluating these definitions of “poor.” What are the claims, reasons, and warrants that support these different definitions? How are these definitions used and why are they important to understand?

TED-Ed | What’s the definition of comedy? Banana. – Addison Anderson

From TED-Ed: What makes us giggle and guffaw? The inability to define comedy is its very appeal; it is defined by its defiance of definition. Addison Anderson riffs on the philosophy of Henri Bergson and Aristotle to elucidate how a definition draws borders while comedy breaks them down.

TED-Ed | What’s the definition of comedy? Banana. – Addison Anderson.

Watch this video in class to discuss the nature of definition and the need to draw borders around things and to create Truth. Anderson’s video explains just how shaky Truth can be, creating a space for endless redefinitions of the categories that hold us together.

Beat the Press Video: Elder Wisdom? | WGBH News

A 71-year-old objects after NPR refers to her as “elderly”. When did elderly become an objectionable term, and how should news organizations get around it? In this video, Emily Rooney’s panel on Beat the Press discusses the definition of elderly—a great resource for ENL260’s unit on argument by definition.

via Beat the Press Video: Elder Wisdom? | WGBH News.