This clip is from an episode of the Ted Radio Hour podcast, which takes a more in depth look at topics and issues discussed in Ted Talks. This clip is from a very interesting recent episode about time.
For context, the speaker is talking about how, at various stages as he has got older, he has felt like he has finally become an adult.
…and the amazing thing is that…
Variations of this structure (the weird thing is…the funny thing was…the strangest part is…) are a great way to add emotional emphasis to a specific part of a story or explanation.
…despite the fact that…
A common error that students make when writing is incorrect use of despite.
Remember that despite can be followed by a noun (e.g. despite the rain, we decided to go for a walk), a gerund (e.g. despite arriving late, we didn’t miss the start of the film) or the fact that + clause (e.g. despite the fact that I was very tired, I couldn’t get to sleep).