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The Bear Over There: TEDx Event Comes To Utah State University

Jarod Rathiel
Utah State University, TEDx
Jarod Raithel is speaking Wednesday afternoon as part of USU's TEDx event. Tickets have been sold out since eight minutes after they went on sale.

They can be held on a stage, in box, or in a zoo next to a fox. Heard through an app, in person or in your home on your desktop. Each week they air here, on UPR through the radio in your car.

If he were living today, Dr. Suess would be on my wish list of speakers asked to present a short, powerful talk about technology, entertainment or design known as a TED talk.

"To be an official TEDx event, you have to register and apply to the TED organization," said Scott Bates, associate vice president for research and associate dean of graduate studies at Utah State University.

Bates is one of the organizers of USU's TEDx event, taking place Wednesday in Logan, where you won't hear from Dr. Seuss but you will hear from Utah author Orson Scott Card, selected community members and USU students and faculty.

"Video production alone, and lighting, that kind of event planning; how do you do tickets when you have a pretty high demand event? How can you make sure you have a diverse audience, how can you make sure you have the people who are really there to see it, and see the talks and engage with the speakers. It's a difficult task. Every one of those, to have them all come together on that one day, it's a fun for that reason. You have a feeling that showtime is coming," Bates said.

TED began in 1984 as a one-off event in the Silicon Valley. Twenty years later TED events are presented in more than 100 languages throughout North American, in Europe and Asia. As of January, the TEDx talk library contained some 30,000 films and presentations from over 130 countries.

USU's office of Research and Graduate Studies began organizing the Logan event in 2012. USU Natural Resources presidential doctorial research fellow Jarod Raithel has being preparing for his TEDxUSU talk since June.

"It's a pretty prestigious group, and I'm pretty stoked to be a part of it."

Raithel studyies the brown bear, its history, and ecology and how that relates to humans...in every aspect, including the food we eat.  Take for example, the asian apple- chosen there by black bear as a favorite food that then become a popular food among the people of Asia, Europe and then North America.

"You see this apple as a very independent object that's very separate from us, when in fact the reason why we have the domestic apple is because of bears. So yeah, there's all kinds of overlaps between bears and people. So I'm thinking about lessons learned from studying ecological systems and how those relate actually, to very old eastern philosophical ideas; 2500 year-old Buddhist ideas. At first blush, it may seem a little out there."

Raithel spent the last few hours before the TED talk relaxing with his wife and two children, eating well and imagining he is back in his classroom where he taught seventh-graders.

"So that's a really tough audience. Seventh-graders can be tough critics."

The TEDx USU event begins at 3 p.m. at Utah State University.


At 14-years-old, Kerry began working as a reporter for KVEL “The Hot One” in Vernal, Utah. Her radio news interests led her to Logan where she became news director for KBLQ while attending Utah State University. She graduated USU with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and spent the next few years working for Utah Public Radio. Leaving UPR in 1993 she spent the next 14 years as the full time mother of four boys before returning in 2007. Kerry and her husband Boyd reside in Nibley.