I don’t watch much television, usually just while I’m at the gym on a treadmill, but at night as I fall asleep I often watch videos on the TED app on my iPad. For those who are uninitiated in the world of TED, these are “Ideas Worth Sharing” videos. TED stands for Technology Entertainment and Design and the talks are limited to 17 minutes. Topics of TED talks range from molecular biology to what happens when you follow up with a Nigerian prince who wants to send you $45 million.

The talks are usually very informative, fun and inspiring. My favorites are by Benjamin Zander who teaches why classical music is important, and Brene Brown who expands on the topic of guilt and shame and how they impact our lives. I’ve watched videos on ocean cleanup efforts and brain neurobiology.

In Santa Monica we have a local TED chapter that is called TEDxSantaMonica. I am working with them on sponsorship for the events they put on. Over the past year there have been salons — essentially, they are viewing parties where 100-150 people gather at a location, in Santa Monica it is Cross Campus, and watch a set of curated videos. These events are a great way to find like-minded people and have a nice evening.

There is a bigger event being planned by TEDxSantaMonica for late in 2016 where live speakers will be presenting and it will be a full day event versus a few hours. We are in the planning stage for this and as I can release more information I will.

The really big TED conference in Vancouver, Canada, happening this week. There are live viewing parties across the globe for those who cannot afford or wrangle a ticket. We have a local viewing possibility this week.

If you’ve never seen a TED talk, and want to experience what they are like and the type of people and community it attracts you have a wonderful opportunity to do so for free. Three local TEDx chapters, TEDxLA, TEDxVenice and TEDxSantaMonica  are hosting a three-day free viewing event at the co-working space on the Venice circle today, tomorrow and Thursday. The address for NextSpace is 1600 Main St., in Venice.

If you want to check out what TED talks are like before making the schlep to Venice I’d like to suggest you watch a talk given by Nonny de la Peña. She is a journalist / new media visionary. Her Santa Monica based company is taking journalism and virtual reality to new places. In the world of virtual reality she is recreating experiences for people to “see” an event such as a man having a diabetic seizure due to low blood sugar, or a crime scene or what life in Syria is really like for a refugee whose country is at war.

By experiencing a scene in this new virtual reality manner a person has the opportunity to see different aspects of a story, that neither the written word nor video can convey.

The possibilities of this technology, and the mind expanding potential is astounding. Imagine being able to actually “go into” a scene and experience the sights and sounds of a war zone, or a jungle. The Holodeck of Star Trek imagination is closer than we think.

David Pisarra is a Los Angeles divorce and child custody lawyer specializing in fathers’ and men’s rights with the Santa Monica firm of Pisarra & Grist. He welcomes your questions and comments. He can be reached at dpisarra@pisarra.com or 310-664-9969. Follow him on Twitter @davidpisarra.