action, community, courage, media, writing

This Just In: Revisiting my writing on India and thinking of Charlie Hebdo in Paris

Demonstrators in Amsterdam on Wednesday evening. Photo: Novum
Demonstrators in Amsterdam on Wednesday evening. Photo: Novum

“Everything exposed to the light becomes the light.” ~St. Paul

Yesterday I revisited the writing I did on my trip to India in 2012 to prepare some of my essays for magazine submissions. In my re-reading I found this quote by St. Paul that is especially poignant in the wake of the events in Paris this week at Charlie Hebdo.

People all over the world have come together to stand up against the violence and intolerance of the attackers, and stand for freedom of expression, especially in the face of fear and grieving. With enough time, light always wins and that truth helps me to keep looking up. I hope it helps you, too, and those around the world who need this message now more than ever. Je suis Charlie. We are all Charlie. We are all light.

career, education, media, movie, story, technology

Inspired: Big Hero 6 will motivate you to take up computer science and become a maker

Big Hero 6I saw the movie Big Hero 6 yesterday. The powerful storyline is an incredible motivator for kids and adults to go into computer science and get involved in the making community. While many of the tech stories we hear today involve pricey acquisitions and the latest greatest photo sharing app, the movie shows that a career (or even just a hobby) in technology can and does yield incredible results.

We are standing on the precipice of many difficult decisions as a society—health and wellness, climate change, energy consumption, food distribution, and the list goes on. Technology won’t solve them all, but it can certainly put a hefty dent in any of them. While we can throw stats and doomsday scenarios at people in an attempt to get them to care about these issues, storytelling like that in Big Hero 6 may be the most powerful weapon we have to scare up the resource we need in greatest abundance—human care and concern for the future.

blogging, communication, creative, creativity, design, health, innovation, media, product development, stress, technology, work, writer, writing

Inspired: Check out my magazines on Flipboard for travel, stress-busting, product design, and office design

Check out my Flipboard profile:’m now on Flipboard as @christanyc and created 4 magazines to curate content in travel, product design, workspace design, and stress reduction. I hope you’ll stop by and check them out:
Travel on Purpose – use your travels and vacations to build a better world

Insanely Cool New Products – the coolest new product innovations and the awesome people who make them

Crazy Creative Workspaces – interior design inspirations for the places where we work

Stress Sucks – the science of stress and how to bust it

hope, learning, media

Inspired: Falling in love with knowledge

From Pinterest
From Pinterest

Smithsonian Magazine is one of my favorite publications. Every page is filled with some new and exciting piece of research. I read it cover to cover every month and feel better for having done so. It transports me to far-off lands and lets me dive deep into areas I’ve never heard of. It gets my curiosity motor running and reminds me just how much there is to learn in the world. And that gives me hope.

childhood, media, television

Inspired: Thank God for Television

The Cosby Show – one of my favorites, then and now

There are a lot of people who bemoan TV as wasting the minds of America. I’ve never understood that mindset because TV literally saved me. As a kid, it taught me to dream. It taught me about relationships, friendship, and the many options that were available in the world of work. It showed me that I could live my life differently than those around me. It gave me a very small window into a very big world.

As a child of the 80’s, I looked up to and learned from characters in The Cosby Show, Family Ties, Growing Pains, The Facts of Life, Different Strokes, Cheers, Who’s the Boss?, and The Muppet Show. I loved reruns of The HoneymoonersI Love Lucy, Laverne & Shirley, Happy Days, M*A*S*H, All in the Family, The Jeffersons, and Mork & Mindy. I remember seeing the very first episode of The Simpsons and deciding to play the saxophone so I could be like Lisa. Saturday morning cartoons were my favorite event of the week. I watched the news morning and night to learn about far-flung places around the globe. From my tiny little town that didn’t hold much hope for me, TV gave me the idea that there was a lot more to the world than what I was experiencing. It made me laugh and it gave me an escape.

Somewhere inside me, that little girl is still there, her eyes glued to that small shiny box, her smile wide, and her face lit up by the light of pictures that showed her she could carve her own path. TV didn’t waste my mind. Quite the contrary – it bolstered me up. I wouldn’t be who I am without it.

business, film, marketing, media

Beautiful: Giving Without Asking For Anything In Return. Now That’s Advertising.

Have you seen “Giving”, a short 3-minute film created by TrueMove, a Thai mobile telecommunications company? It tells the story of two families – one facing extreme hardship and the other in a position to help. It showcases the beauty of giving without expecting anything in return. I saw it during a digital storytelling session at Advertising Week. This might just be the best 3 minutes of your day. And who knows – maybe it will inspire you to take action in your own community.

business, creativity, marketing, media, new media, news

Beautiful: I’m at Advertising Week This Week

imagesToday I’m off to start a week-long journalism stint covering Advertising Week, the largest annual advertising industry event. As pre-conference coverage, I’ve written pieces about Google Glass as the next best personal assistant, voice-controlled photo and video editing, drones in the field of journalism, and blended learning’s promise to revolutionize education through technology.

I’ll be writing 3 features per day on cool finds, interesting people, provocative ideas, and leading edge innovations in media, marketing, and technology. You can see all of my posts on the conference at On this blog, I’ll draft a more personal piece each day on this experience chasing down my stories. Comments, feedback, and questions are welcomed and appreciated on both sites.

children, education, media, video games

Beautiful: Short Film I Worked on For National STEM Video Game Challenge

Hi all – fun video post today. This is the short film I worked on for the National STEM Video Game Challenge. It highlights the incredible work of kids in New York City who attended our fantastic workshops on video game design. It clocks in at just under 5 minutes and the insights from these kids will leave you hopeful about our future. Let me know what you think!

magazine, media

I Hope Everyone Boycotts The Economist

The Economist’s Deplorable Cover

Yesterday I opened my mailbox and found intolerance, insensitivity, and disrespect. Despite the usually high journalistic standards, The Economist has failed us. This week’s cover depicts President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping as the two main characters of the film Brokeback Mountain. For those who didn’t see the movie, one of the characters is murdered at the end of the film for being gay.

In their infinite wisdom, The Economist thought this was a good backdrop for mocking these two world leaders. I understand that The Economist is a historically conservative publication, though the last time I checked conservative did not equal bigotry. For the gay and gay-supportive community, this week’s issue is a travesty. It makes light of bullying and hate crimes. The editor(s) who approved this cover should be ashamed and issue a public apology.

My mantra for 2013 is “make something beautiful”. Sometimes in this quest it’s important to point out things that aren’t beautiful, things that are insidious, unacceptable, and rude. Such is the case with this cover of The Economist. I am sickened and saddened by the fact that in 2013 we still can’t celebrate love in all its forms and that a global publication that is held is such high regard feels empowered to ridicule the basic human right to love whomever we want to love.

I can see only one clear and swift way to rise up against this kind of intolerance: don’t buy The Economist and if, like me, you are a subscriber, cancel your subscription. Let them know that this behavior is inexcusable and will have consequences. We vote with our spending. Let the editors know that this type of act has no place in our society.

education, media, science

Beautiful: My Review of the 2013 White House Science Fair

Wilfried Hounyo (left) and Golden Rockefeller pictured with Charles Bolden, Administrator of NASA, a retired US Marine Corps General, and former NASA astronaut

From a water filtration system powered by a stationary bike to a writing system that aids those afflicted by neurological hand tremors, the White House was brimming with the creations of young innovators at the third annual White House Science Fair. One hundred students from 40 different states attended the event, proudly accompanied by their teachers, parents, and mentors. It’s hard to overestimate the excitement of being invited to the White House by President Obama. I’m not sure who was more thrilled – the students or the adults – to be in those hallowed halls, sharing our passion for STEM education and careers.

Why would the White House host a science fair? President Obama plainly and earnestly made the case for this event, which he refers to as one of his favorite events of the year.

“If you win the NCAA championship, you come to the White House. Well, if you’re a young person and you produce the best experiment or design, the best hardware or software, you ought to be recognized for that achievement, too.”

Three of the 2012 National STEM Video Game Challenge winners attended the event. Gustavo Zacarias, a middle school student from San Antonio, Texas, built The Dark Labyrinth on Kodu and was invited to exhibit his video game at the fair. The Dark Labyrinth is a 3-D maze that players navigate by solving math challenges. Gustavo began playing video games at age 4, and plans to build a career as a video game designer.

“I never thought I would be exhibiting my game at the White House,” said Gustavo. “I worked very hard during the making of the game and was very happy about winning a national competition, so I’m very excited and thankful for the opportunity to be part of this great event.”

Gustavo was joined by two students from the D.C.-area, Golden Rockefeller and Wilfried Hounyo, who won the Open Platform high school category of the National STEM Video Game Challenge. Golden is now a 16-year old freshman at University of Delaware studying mechanical engineering. Wilfried, a junior in high school, is currently looking at Berkeley, Stanford, and Penn State, where he plans to study computer science as a path to eventually work for NASA. Their game, Electrobob, teaches players about the nature of electrons by combining subject matter from physics, chemistry, and robotics.

Halfway through the fair, all attendees were escorted into the East Room to hear President Obama speak about the importance of STEM education and his continued financial and program support for it. Wilfried and Golden joined President Obama on stage as he repeatedly stated how amazed and inspired he was by all of the students at the fair.

“Young people like this have to make you hopeful about the future,” he said.

The President made several significant announcements during his speech:

  • A new AmeriCorps program focused on STEM education.
  •  The launch of US2020—a campaign by ten leading education nonprofits and U.S. technology companies to encourage companies to commit 20 percent of their STEM employees to 20 hours per year of mentoring or teaching by the year 2020.
  • The Summer of Making and Connecting program will encompass more than 1,000 summer learning events hosted by leading education-based organizations; the Joan Ganz Cooney Center of Sesame Workshop is one of the organizations involved.

The President concluded the event with a simple, powerful statement that resonated with teachers, parents, and mentors all around the country.

“We’ve got to do everything we can to make sure that we are giving these young people opportunity to pursue their studies and discover new ways of doing things. And we’ve got to make sure that we’re also leaving behind a world that is safer and cleaner and healthier than the one we found. That’s our obligation…students, we could not be prouder of all of you.”

Check out my collection of my photos from the 2013 White House Science Fair