"STANDING THERE on the dais, consider the world as a series of concentric rings of loyalty. The people in the nearest ring, those in the front row, are owed the most. You should speak first to them. And then, in the next measure, to the room itself, which is the next ring, and only then to the physical world outside, the neighborhood, the town, the place, and then, just maybe, to the machinations of life-muffling institutions." from How to Give a Eulogy. [more inside]
Ignite is an opportunity to pack into a theater and watch people geek out in 5-minute prepared talks (15 seconds per slide, auto-advance) on all kinds of topics. Maybe there's one coming up near you. [more inside]
Auctioneer + Political Wonk + Chess Club = The World of Competitive Policy Debate. This video of the national debate championships [realplayer, and many more here, including in other languages] is a real experience. This form of debate has evolved around a very specific set of rules with results that may seem strange to the uninitiated. Each year since 1921 there has been a single topic (take a look at 1939 for an example that reflects the times). Competitors learn to speak very fast, while elaborate strategies for winning have developed and massive amounts of information are presented in just a few minutes. If you like your debates witty and understandable, you may want to check out parliamentary debate instead (real format). I assume there are some other ex-debaters out there in MeFi land....
"A lot of you were jerks." It's one of those scenes that could've been lifted from a John Hughes teen coming-of-age movie. An unpopular kid gets the joke vote for class valedictorian, and he uses the opportunity provided by the valedictory speech to chastise them. Has this ever happened at your high school? If you had a chance to go back (or perhaps forward) in time and address your high school graduating class, what would you say?