University students explain why they’re organizing a TEDx on their campus in Syria — and why it’s so important

TED Blog

TEDxYPUBy the TEDxYPU team

In March, the ongoing conflict in Syria will enter its fourth year. Syrians have lost so much in that time — the Syrian who has not lost their life has lost several years of it because of a destroyed home, a faded business, or a family that has been torn apart by death or separation. But for many Syrians, what’s been lost most of all is any sense of hope.

We are a group of 25 ambitious students at Yarmouk Private University (YPU). We’re between the ages of 20 and 22, we live in Damascus, and we are organizing TEDxYPU for one simple reason: We want to bring a spark of hope to the sadness and difficulty in our country. We know that many Syrians will not be able to join us, and nothing makes us sadder than that, but we want to have a positive impact…

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The Survivor: Canada’s Wonderland Edition

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Gossip Girl here (jk it’s Kate),

Deep down I’m an adrenaline junkie. I mean who doesn’t like receiving nearly electrical jolts through your body and literally feeling the excitement flowing in your veins? It’s such an intense emotional state, and I love everything about it. Your senses are heightened to the max and your energy goes through the roof.

You must wonder why I brought adrenaline rush up (unless you took the time to read the title of this post but who the fuck has time for that?)and if you guessed Canada’s Wonderland congrats you get a cookie (siiiiike I have none). Today, me and a couple of my friends took a little road trip to Canada’s Wonderland, located in Vaughan, ON. It was pouring on the way there but as soon as we got to the park the sun decided to be a good sport and make this day as hot as possible. Luckily, it was a pretty slow day and the lines were fairly short (we didn’t wait longer than 5 min anywhere). I’ve never been to Canada’s Wonderland before and it’s freaking ginormous! I don’t think you have enough time in the day to try all the rides there.

Our group decided to check out the thrill rides of the park to get the most out of our visit! Below is the list of the rides we went on in order of their awesomeness (in my opinion):

1. Leviathan
Hands down best roller coaster in Canada’s Wonderland and definitely a must if you ever pay a visit. The ride starts with a huge (83 meters) drop and goes on forever with many loops and turns. It’s a smooth exhilarating ride and I’m totally in love with it. The feeling you get when you’re on the very top (right before the drop) is indescribable. I felt like I’m on cloud 9; the view is breathtaking and you can see for miles! Leviathan gave me one of the best adrenaline rush experiences I’ve ever had; the euphoria was so overwhelming I couldn’t even scream. If I don’t ride that roller coaster again I’m living my life wrong.

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2. Behemoth
Second best roller coaster in the park after Leviathan. It was short but fun. On the first drop you feel like you’re literally going to fly out of your seat! I don’t think I’ve ever been this scared on a roller coaster ride. I was holding onto the seat for my life but let’s be serious I was craving that feeling of utter excitement flowing through my veins.

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3. The Bat
One word: thrilling. The ride has a loop and nothing is more amazing than riding upside down. The speed is just perfect and it also goes backwards! I definitely recommend!

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4. Psyclone
It’s a quick ride but the amount of adrenaline rush you get on the drop down is worth it!

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5. Wild beast
Wild beast is one of the wooden roller coasters at Canadian Wonderland. I wasn’t expecting it to be exciting at all but it was so fast and BUMPY. My hair turned into a rat’s nest after this ride. I wouldn’t say it was my favourite but it was amusing. One last thing, it was so shaky that my tiny necklace ripped right off my neck! Fuck you Wild Beast! That necklace was one of my favorite pieces of jewelry.

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6. Orbiter
It’s was quite a relaxing ride. I actually felt like napping except that I was getting swirled around in the air (round and around and around and around we go part or Rihanna’s song Stay starts playing).

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7. Thunder Run
This is isn’t exactly a roller coaster but more of a train ride. It goes through the Wonder Mountain into the dark tunnels with strobe lights. Not scary at all but entertaining!

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I wish I would have experienced more rides at the park but unfortunately I get from them so easily (fuck you, vestibular system). At least now I have an excuse to come back sometime soon! I don’t know about you but amusement parks enthrall me. They make me feel like a kid again and who doesn’t like being crazy and carefree?! I might be growing old but I’m surely not growing up (or just not yet). I will always have a special place in my heart for all the wonderful childhood memories and I thank Canada’s Wonderland for all this nostalgia.

PS. The food sold at Canadian Wonderland is mostly junk and crazy expensive. The best thing for you to do is bring food along and leave it in the car (you can exit the park and come back easily). I didn’t buy anything there but heard that Funnel cake is really good (=really fattening).

Cheers,

Kate

Your summer reading list: Rashida Jones, Elizabeth Gilbert, Bill and Melinda Gates and many more share their book recommendations

YES YES YES!

I’m constantly looking for new interesting books to read and if you’re too check this out! It doesn’t hurt to grab a book and chill outside instead of watching Netflix in bed all day.

Cheers,

Kate

TED Blog

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Summer: the season for cracking open a good book under the shade of a tree. Below, we’ve compiled about 70 stellar book recommendations from members of the TED community. Warning: not all of these books can be classified as beach reads. And we think that is a good thing.

books-Elizabeth-GilbertPicks from Elizabeth Gilbert, author 

The Principles of Uncertainty by Maira Kalman. “The only book I have ever bought by the crate-load. I give copies of this sumptuous masterpiece to everyone I care about. I could try to describe it further, but … it would be more efficient if you just read it yourself. (Watch Maira Kalman’s TED Talk, “The illustrated woman.”)

Age of Wonder: The Romantic Generation and the Discovery of the Beauty and Terror in Science by Richard Holmes. “I just finished writing a novel about
18th- and 19th-century scientific exploration, and this engaging book was a…

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Nacho Average Love Story

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Hey everyone!

I’m sure you’re all aware of the recent obsession in the white girl world with the book by John Green, The Fault in Our Stars. I haven’t got a chance to read it but I have seen the movie (those of you who strongly believe that I HAVE TO read the book before watching the movie can screw off; I do what I please). In my opinion watching the movie before reading the book it is based on helps you to enjoy it more. You don’t sit there in the movie theater and notice every single thing the script writer didn’t include from the book, the actors didn’t say or judge the way the whole movie was directed. Nothing is more frustrating than getting beyond disappointed with the movie after you have already built this picture perfect world of the book you read in your head. On that note I would like to share my thoughts on The Fault in Our Stars. I’m going to try and not give away any spoilers but don’t get mad a me if I accidentally blurt out something you would prefer not to know (you’ve been warned).

First of all, I knew the movie was going to be sad and prepared to cry a lot. I also happened to be one of those people who can’t help but get teary eyes during any cute/sad/happy moment in the movie. The Fault in Our Stars focuses on an extraordinary breathtaking love story of two kids with cancer. It left me quite heartbroken but thankful at the same time. Thankful for everyone I’m lucky to have in my life.

Two main characters, Hazel Grace Lancaster and Augustus Waters, have been both struggling with cancer since they were in their early teens. They’re different; Hazel is quiet and likes to keep her world to herself where Augustus makes everyone around him happy by just being there and expressing whatever hullabaloo goes on in his head. He’s an open book and she’s a diary with a lock and a secret key to it. Augustus is open, straight forwarded and honest. He makes Hazel smile without really trying, and that’s when you know they’re meant to fall in love. And they do, slowly and then all at once. Their love story is short yet so passionate. It will leave you mad, crying and speechless. Most of all it will make you appreciate your life and the people you care for so deeply. It will make you think twice before you’re rude to to people you love even if they make you angry and realize how insignificant your argument is. It will remind you how beautiful the world we live in is yet how cruel it can be to those who don’t deserve any pain. The Fault in Our Stars in definitely a must watch. You might think it’s a cliche love story but it’s not. It has so much more meaning to it; it sends a message but you’d have to figure out for yourself what that message is.

Before I sign off I would like to share my favorite The Fault in Our Stars Quote quote:

“What else? She is so beautiful. You don’t get tired of looking at her. You never worry if she is smarter than you: You know she is. She is funny without ever being mean. I love her. I am so lucky to love her, Van Houten. You don’t get to choose if you get hurt in this world, old man, but you do have some say in who hurts you. I like my choices. I hope she likes hers.”
John Green, The Fault in Our Stars.

If you have seen the movie/read the book comment your thoughts about it on this post, okay? Okay.

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Cheers,

Kate

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Conquering the Art of Blogging

After about 2 years of procrastination I finally decided to make a blog. There’s no particular reason why I wanted one besides the fact that I enjoy writing and expressing my weird filled with wit and sass thoughts for everyone to know. Twitter was definitely helping but unfortunately my friends weren’t cutting it (sorry dolls). However, just an idea of strangers reading all the nonsense that goes through my head every day made me exhilarated. Let’s just say I talk a lot, as in I have a hard time keeping my mouth shut when I need too. I always have to put my 5 cents in and cross the line in attempt to annoy people. To be honest at this point I can’t help it so making a blog was definitely appropriate. What I didn’t realize is that coming up with an original blog name is a pain in the ass! I literally spent all day wandering World Wide Web and torturing my imagination, and here we are. You’re probably asking yourself what the fuck does hullabaloo mean? And nope it’s not affiliated with that old American musical TV series. Hullabaloo simply means great noise or excitement; uproar or chaos, which is exactly what my mind is 24/7.

You’re might be wondering what this blog is going to be about and I’m in the same boat. The only thing I can let you know for sure right now is get ready for a daily dose of sass! Honesty is the best policy, and I lost discretion somewhere on bitch island. My hobbies include chirping my friends, discovering new music and hopping on that booty. If you haven’t noticed yet sarcasm and sass are my two best friends and they’re stuck to me like glue. I’m someone who you’d call gourmet, epicure or simply food enthusiast. Nothing is finer than well made food. Also if I could marry chocolate cheesecake I would but unfortunately I usually eat it under 30 seconds or less (I’m head over heels for it). Fashion is captivating, and I have a habit of being fashionably (not) late. Fitness = euphoria; literally though you’ve got to get that serotonin! Red Hot Chili Peppers are the soundtrack to my life, and when I grow up I want to be a mix between Beyoncé, Audrey Hepburn and Jennifer Lawrence.

Was that an introduction? Don’t ask me but stick around for some quirky posts about all the hullabaloo happening in my life! If you love dessert, obsessed with fitness, have crazy music taste, consider yourself fluent in sarcasm and have anger management issues (just kitten!) I’m expecting you back.

PS. Almost forgot! My name is Kate, short for Yekaterina but people like to call me Kat, Katya, Katelicious, Katie or Kathryn (the last two are used to irritate me and are strongly discouraged to use).

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Cheers,

Kate