[tedx talk] heroic by nature, cowardly by convenience

This is the 2013 TEDx Virginia Tech talk by Principal Investigator (PI) Marc Edwards.

Drawing on the history of the DC Lead Crisis, this talk looks at the paradoxical treatment to which our society often subjects workplace whistleblowers, which leaves such individuals routinely ostracized rather than celebrated. Marc suggests that one of the reasons for this paradox is the human tendency to inflate our virtues and downplay our weaknesses, which can foster in us moral blindness and inertia.

In the world of engineering and science, the talk suggests that this tendency is reinforced through training that conditions practitioners to be “cowards of convenience.” It concludes with a call to engineers and scientists for learning to see, when they would have been willfully blind, and to act, when they would have allowed fear to paralyze them.¬†

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