TEDxNewYork is held at GreyNY, 200 Fifth Avenue. We meet every week (mostly) on Fridays now and (mostly) from 1-2pm. We are open to the public. If you want to attend, send a note to admin@tedxnewyork.com (that's Don McKinney & Chel O'Reilly) with your vitals. Our biggest limitation is space so give us plenty of notice and we'll do our best to accommodate. Hope to see you at one of our events soon.

Saturday, February 7, 2009


The last session of TED was called ENGAGE.

I hearken back to the parting words I learned when I was young:

"Go in peace to love and serve."

Session 12: Engage- Liz Coleman

Liberal Arts: An education designed to foster a student's broadest intellectual and deepest ethical potential.

Liberal Arts no longer exists.

Technical skills are celebrated but these are viewed warily:

What kind of a world...
are we making?
should we be making?
can we be making?

Civic mindedness is treated as outside, not the core.

This nation with all its resources seems utterly helpless to stop the fall of all the major problems of society.

How is it that so many

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free in a state of civilization it expects what never was and never will be." Thomas Jefferson

[Note how many people here at TED have quoted good ole TJ... I think I need to re-read everything I ever read of his and kick myself for not reading all of it. Are these books at the TED bookstore? They need to be!]

The Reality:
None as the answers
Everyone has the responsibility.

The new cirriculum- my favorite, Venn diagram (!) to show that all of these things must be seen in combination of each other.
*the environment
*the uses of force

History provides a laboratory in which we see the actual and as well as the intended consequences of our actions.

The NEW liberal arts:
quantitative reasoning
technology (which merges from these in concert)

"This new wine needs a new bottle."
Freshman Course Schedule becomes A Medieval Fair

The challenge for Bennington is to execute these values she's outlined here.

"We intend to turn the intellectual and imaginative power, passion and boldness of our students, faculty, and stoff on the developing strategies for acting on the most critical challenges of our time."

"We cannot have a viable democracy made up of experts, zealots, politicians and spectators."

"Being overwhelmed is the first step if you are serious about trying to get at things that really matter on a scale that makes a difference." [thank you Anonymous for helping complete that quote]

I'm going to write her an email and request a full transcription now...

interstitial - Darius from Darius Goes West

* I’m not a disabled person, I’m a person with a disability.
* I’m not suffering.
But you’re going to die. So is everyone else!
* It’s not a rare disease. It’s the number one genetic killer of children in the world

What stereotype are you comfortable with? Well it’s a Sony…

Session 12: Engage- Barry Schwartz

Title Slide: a collaboration with Ken Sharp for a book that someday... he hopes to finish

Obama appealed to each of us at his inauguration:
"The time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation..."

Barry's goals of this talk:
• Why Obama was right about virtue
• Practical wisdom (Aristotle) is the key virtue
• Nonetheless, we're making a war on wisdom (in the US and it's unwittingly
• But there are sources of hope

Example: the long list of a janitor's duties. Nothing on it involves other human beings. BUT janitors reported that their attitudes and actions in their jobs were purposefully a result of their relationships and respect for people at the hospital.

Practical wisdom is Moral Skill plus Moral Wisdom: A wise person knows when and how to improvise, a moral jazz to accommodate situations and this person is made, not born. you need to have/be mentors.

"Rules and procedures may be done, but they prevent you from having to think" -Scott Simon

Rules: we need better ones if we're going to use them. But they don't make things better in the long run. Moral skill is chipped away as the effects come down the line. They don't allow the wisdom of the people trying to convey the

Incentives the war on moral will: motivational competition. they don't promote peoples interest in doing the "right thing", but a moral drive alone causes people to

people lose morale and morality.

Good news: You don't need to be brilliant to be wise
Bad news: But brilliance doesn't mean you are wise

"We must ask, not just is it profitable, but is it right?" -Obama 12/18/08
people become addicted to and focused on the wrong thing.

We must re-moralize work: it's not about teaching ethics courses. it's about celebrating moral heroes. acknowledge and be proud of these people.

Aaron Feurrstein and Malden Mills had a devistating fire but he kept all employees at a profit loss because it was right. Ray Anderson turned his "evil empire" into a green company AND learned it made a greater profit too! Morality should be "ordinary" if not "extraordinary" so that when we do right it shouldn't be against the tide.

Ethics as lived, not as taught [KIPP]

As teachers must remember we're always teaching, the camera is always on. And we must always be an example of morality.

Kids need to respect themselves, their teachers, others and to respect learning. Teachers must always embody it. Kipp is great as a teacher because of it.

Honesty, kindness and courage are a natural follow to morality.
And hope is wanting to do the right thing in the right way for the right reasons. We must pay attention to what we do, how we do it, why we do it.

Standing O.

interstitial- Gever Tulley

If you haven't seen it- there was a TED talk online that became a surprise hit last year and it was Gever Tulley's


Now, carefully read that link...

quotable: "decoration of an unfinished project is sort of a gestational incubation"

He showed many things his kids did as a team and individuals... For the finale of this show of kids' works: "The things that kids build amaze even themselves, like a roller coaster by 7-year-olds."

Session 12: Engage- Jamie Cullum

Here he comes...

I Get A Kick Out Of You (yes we get the same out of you Jamie)... started out a capella with the mic so far away he was just a lonely voice in a large hall. The best way to get people's attention isn't to shout, it's to whisper. Did anyone notice if he made a little sneeze when he sang the line about getting a kick out of cocaine? Annie Hall, anyone?

I've Got A Woman (could probably have them all I'm guessing, you wild (piano) player)... he even makes a kick drum out of the leg of the piano and pounds out percussion barehanded on all parts of the grand piano.

Gene Kelly's Singing In The Rain as a segue into Rihanna's Umbrella was cute, clever and brought the house to its feet

All At Sea is an original he wrote when he broke up with his gf, skipped the commencement of his college graduation to work on a cruise ship. He changed on lyric in the sad song for the humor of it: "I gave away my iPhone..."

And again, to our feet! ...while he was going about the stage gathering the blazer and button down he managed to through off during the show...

Chris says we're going to try and squeeze an encore at the end!

Jamie Cullum has a website too of course, but I'm just going to link to his (disappointingly sparse) tour schedule....

interstitial - Jay Walker

"Let's talk about manias!"

Religious, sports, deadly, entertainment, age--

There's a new mania: learning English.

China will be the biggest English speaking country of the world.

80 million hs students in China take a test that determines the outcome of the direction of their lives and 25% of the grade depends on great English skills.

Is this good?

English is the language of problem solving. Not because we push, but because the world pulls. It is the world looking for a way to join together to solve its common problems.

Session 11: Predict- Dan Ariely

His massive burn injuries changed the ways he viewed predictability and irrationality.

He wasn't allowed to interfere with his treatments as they were "experts".

After 3 years he went home from the hospital, went home and started experimenting with other people and their reactions to pain. The result:

We don't encode duration as we encode intensity. If you get a break from what hurts, it makes pain more endurable.

One example: cheating. The experiment: if a simple test was given where people were able to cheat would they?

Did they do it less if big punishment for cheating was there? It didn't. If the probability of being caught cheating was up, it didn't color the amount of cheating. The thing that made them cheat less was their ability to look themselves in the mirror.

Decreasing the fudge factor: a moral sense and a value of the reward (money versus representative money).

Cheating was also affected by their belief that their honesty could be challenged by perceived equals.

The greater the distance from cheating the greater it is.

How does this affect behavioral economics?

When he was at the hospital his favorite nurse explained that his treatment wasn't just painful from him but also for her having to inflict it on him who she liked so much. However since she believed what she was doing was right so it made her not challenge her own behavior towards him in treatment.

The challenging of one's beliefs to improve a situation is so very important in all aspects of life, especially in behavior economics.

interstitial: Nicholas Negroponte

The OLPC is so usable in Africa it puts our own to shame.
Kids are teaching their parents.
The future? The world will move from the concept of OLPC to the reality of olpc wildly in the next 3 years.

And he got a standing O for his 3 minute talk.

Session 11: Predict- Bruce Bueno de Mesquita

He called Tienamen Square before it happened. He sees a bigger picture with great clarity. Prediction of the future affect our ability to change it.

There are many ways of predicting but they are all mumbo jumbo (horoscopes, casting bones etc). We need to use and believe the wisdom of science. (That’s what Nate Silver did!)

We can scientifically engineer the future!

Who is rational? (Do what they think is in their best interest.) Most people are.

Who are influencers? Exhort them to be better. But we can’t look only to the leaders. We can look to their advisors. And the people who influence them. With 5 decision makers you get 120 interactions. The matrix of learning and influence 10 decision makers means 3.6 million interactions. We need the help of computers to examine such a great number.

What percent of the time is the model right when even the experts are wrong?: 90%!

What must we know in order to predict? Not much:
Who has a stake in the dcision
What they say they want
How focused are the issue- their priorities?
How much clout do they have with their opionions?

We all care about two things: outcome and credit.

We can get the information we need from the experts.

Now, Iran’s nuclear policy… what’s likely? Their ability to build is lower than their clout among their own people is. If we left them alone, their need for machismo among their people. Of course the world can’t/won’t do it. If Iran made enough weapons grade fuel they could get the clout they want without having enough to build the bombs. They gain power in their people when pushing towards building but drop entirely radically if they test.

Say to others: “If you say that’s impossible you’re confused with I don’t know how to do it.

Chris asks if saying these predictions out loud will this discourage action against what we fear?

The short answer? No. With good reasons [I need help quote them here fellow bloggers/TEDsters.]

Session 11: Predict- Peter Alcorn

Session 11: Predict- Alex Tabarrok

Alex acknowledges that the economy now is a mess but the
With the radical changes and challenges (war etc) we built walls.
Only later in the last century did we begin to pull the walls down: political alliances, trade laws, communication, social walls
With the second half of the last century we have grown radically in gdp and population, especially in India and China. Sub-Saharan Africa however has declined.
New ideas drive growth.
Ideas have an amazing property. "One apples feeds one man, one idea can feed the world."

Incentives and Ideas:
consider two diseases: one rare, the other common, but of equal severity if not treated.
Which disease would you rather have?
The latter because larger markets save lives as the desire for greater effectiveness among drug producers.
Larger markets increase the incentive to produce new ideas.
So how do we maximize the incentive to produce new ideas?
There are few scientists and engineers in the world, but the good news is that the USA's proportion has been shrinking- we are sharing the shouldering with a great variety of minds.
If the world were as wealthy as the US, the number of idea-makers would multiply by five.
The US and the world at large benefits with the wealth of others.

What about the increasing cost of oil? Growth increases the demand/need and therefore costs. Of course that means the push for alternative energies. We are better equipped to create those now as well.

Globalize world markets yes- but GLOBALIZE EDUCATION. The USA needs to learn this because we have global leadership.

To paraphrase Thomas Jefferson: When someone else lights their candle from ours, there is twice as much light.

Session 11: Predict - Nate Silver

Friday, February 6, 2009

Session 10: Dare- Lena Maria Klingvall

Born without arms, and with one (and a half) legs, she was the first child of her parents. They were told she could be institutionalized. This was Switzerland in 1968. Three days later her parents were able to meet her and her mother found out that no one told her how beautiful a baby Lena was. They kept her, and had another child. Lena's brother had no handicaps "that's what they think," she said with a smile. Being a little brother can be a handicap. Everyone has them, most are not obvious.

She was a championship swimmer in the para-Olympics. Her swimming style looks like peristalsis. (I was really wondering how that works, but when you see it, it makes more sense.)

The list of things she can do is long: sing, use chopsticks, sew, and... calligraphy. She wrote a note in calligraphy with her foot. "Hello everyone!" Then she wrote another with the pen in her mouth, as perfect and beautiful a scrawl. "Beat that!"

One of the hardest things was getting dressed. She needs a stick as a tool. One day she was in a jam and needed to use a hanger and learned that she could improvise almost anything.

Adapting to a society that doesn't adapt to you makes you grow.

There's one thing left she wants to do: be a truck driver.

What has made everything possible? Love. Isn't anything difficult? Lots of things are, but no more so than anyone else. Being different has put her in a different category than anyone else so in some ways it has made her blessed.

Session 10: Dare- Willie Smits

From Indonesia, Borneo, he is microbiologist and forester. Married a local girl who was from a tribe that required a dowry of 6 palms. This brought him to thoughts on orangutans.

Deforestation releases so much co2 that his home is the third worst country in the world (China’s in the lead). Except his country has NO INDUSTRY.

He developed compassion for the orangutans and was upset that we applauded his saving more than a thousand of them because the need for saving meant we were full of failures to begin with.

He works to re-forest the wiped out areas, massive changes that aerial photos show dramatically. Breaking the cycle of destruction starts with fires. Fires destroy the area like none other, then the fires live underground and flare up again. These continue to destroy once the major fire is over. In the last fire season, no child gained ANY weight and IQs dropped an average of 12 points.

Sugar palms are fire resistant and create a strong buffer. They can be tapped on a daily basis with cuts instead of cutting down so there’s no reason to re-plant. They can lay out in a plan to border the growth. The important step is to make sure there will be useful crops at every stage of development of the area. They are changing the way that they can hold on to cloud cover and prevent drought.

They engage the locals at EVERY step from fires to crops for re-developing.

He goes to that point many, many times. Local involvement at every step. Save the forests. With the people. For the people. For the orangutans.

He says it comes down to one word: INTEGRATION.

To this I say: Note my “what are three things to ask me about” nametag. You want your human ecology, baby? I got your human ecology, right here!

Session 10: Dare- Ueli Gegenschatz

Surprise guest! Ueli Gegenschatz flew in from Switzerland to give a quick presentation. He says he got infected with a virus... called AIR.

From skydiving to wingsuit flying to B.A.S.E. jumping.

Wingsuit flying is all the rage to watch on youtube these days. You can go 45 mph with a forward speed of 110mph. And by "you" I mean YOU CRAZY KIDS.

BASEjumping stunts he's tried include slide down to fall off the top of a hot air balloon or jumping from a moving 18-wheeler off a bridge.

He's training to set a new record for the longest distance ever flown in a wingsuit, and one other surprise. Then a video to "show you I am better at flying than speaking English."


Session 10: Dare- Where The Wild Things Are

Surprise! We just got a sneak peak at Where The Wild Things Are, the full length feature movie. It's AWESOME.

Session 10: Dare- Capacitor

I frickin' MISSED it.

BUT you can learn more about this amazing dance troupe here:


interstitial- Joel Fried

Joel Fried read from his book (?) about the end of his marriage. It was obviously very hard on him, and I wish him the best.

interstitial (how many of these are we gonna have in Session 9?!) Kristin _____ (last name please?)

Kristin ____ from Palm Springs gave us a brief on the rules of improv.

Say yes. Never deny. Always go forward.

AND. Use AND. Follow the idea.

Eye contact. It’s engaging. Also, polite.

Also, it ain’t lying, it’s just choosing to know. You can act a little like you know (or don't know) certain things. Enough to make the scene work.

Stop judging, it’s sharing.

We can take these things into performance, but we can also take these things into life, and into the world after TED where we spread the ideas worth spreading...

interstitial David Merrill

Gave a demonstration of his new project, Siftables:



interstitial Evan Williams

Chris Anderson suspended the moratorium on texting in the front rows at Long Beach for this Evan. (Up front the light is too distracting, elsewhere it’s politely forgiven. Obviously Cameron’s not sitting up front this year.)

Four years ago at TED, this man, the founder of Twitter announced the desire to create ODEO. Off that began Twitter was a side project. But then so was Blogger for him too, and I know that you and I like Blogger.

Twitter is to keep people in touch despite distances and real time.

Twitter during real time: Sharing San Diego’s wildfires INFORMATION, like, um, wildfire. Helps us share info about solutions during times of crisis, helps us share information about politics and each other. And tagging tweets with #’s does wonders for driving information.

At the end of Evan presentation we’re invited to follow him on twitter (his handle is EV). Then Chris asked him to come allow him to do a real-time online view of his feed. All of the #TED tweets were just about him, saying how cool he was except for one… from Chris… saying that he was bombing his presentation. Ha!

Session 9: Grow- Dickson Despommier

The rise of vertical farming. Pun quasi-intended.

We came from a biosphere. We’ve added the word “bio” to “geochemical”. We have a technosphere too. The world, life, it’s all cyclical.

Biosphere + technopshere = best of both worlds
His metaphor: that’s little getting your peanut butter in my chocolate…

All people are born entitled to these:
2.3 liters of drinking water
2000 calories of safe food

How do we do this?

The challenges are great. Population is growing wildly and he has NO problem with that, we just need to make sure we can all live healthily ever after…

We’re using too much of our resources to make food—herbicides, fossil fuels to transport food and food materials, fresh water run off… Then we don’t even use all of the food. Agricultural runoff is responsible for destroying estuaries and the oceans.

How can we make the world support the world? We’ve done so many things already, let’s grow food in another way. What if we did it without soil? 8,000 tons of produce in the South Pacific during WWII to support the troups. And then we forgot about that. But we have the technology to raise food in urban settings. Vertical Farming.

Advantages of Vertical Farm
1. no agricultural run off (all water used to farm is recycled)
2. year round crop production (no off-season)
3. no crop loss due to severe weather [how does he avoid that? Aren’t cities affected by weather?]
4. uses 70% less water. no use of fossil fuels b/c of no ploughing
5. restoration of damaged ecosystems

[chel’s big question: plants need air, plants get all sorts of things from the air. What about the plants “breathing in” smog?]

then the slide show of a kazillion beautiful ways to implement these. I hope NYC gets that kinda architectural jewelry, I’m a fan.

interstitial- AnnMarie Thomas

Teaching to engage: using the circus to explain physics and engineering. She showed a little video about the way they taught and learned while swinging, flipping and jumping. Looking for video... fingers crossed this is a permalink
from the Shttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.giftar Tribune

Session 9: Grow- Rosamund Zander

“Reframe upsetting experiences… as memories”

“We grow old, do we grow up?”

What are the rules? Can someone help?

She starts with a story of when she was auditioning for violin chair. The man stopped her half way in and offered to re-teach her entirely, starting with scales only for 2 hours a day. She was offended when she should have realized that he was doing for her something that we all need: to undo bad ways and re-do good ways of being.

She speaks of the Human Viruosi.

We need to take the graciously offered opportunities to be asked to be better than we were by ceasing to do the things we shouldn’t and learn to embrace what we can be.

There are beautiful helpful rules that she gave but she was quotable from a-z so all I can say it want to what looks like will be her next book? (I’ve read The Art of Possibility, which she wrote with her amazing husband.)

A few important points:

End the campaign for approval safety and control.
Be led by love.
Stay present.
Stay curious and walk in possibility.

Session 9: Grow- Natasha Tsakos

Swiss woman with a Greek name asked to put on her show at TED, but the format was wrong, so she's speaking here in her own way... wrapped head to toe in a heavy winter coat. She she performs she often does so in silence and wild costume. Now she feels naked.

"Our ability to imagine makes us real."

She describes Up Wake, her new story about a person named Zero. A 9-5-er who lives a life flipping and slipping between awake and asleep.

The stage goes black. She shows us a small example of what she does... where Zero doesn't speak but moves in sync with projected sounds and projected images. She's in concert with herself on stage, or rather Zero is.

At the convergence of technology and art is her show.

"Being human is an artform."

She's amazingly interesting, she's worked as a doctor clown in hospital for years. She explains that wearing a mask makes people let their own down.

Zero is willing to do many things. MY favorite is this-
React with zero: turn off electricity for 7 minutes every Sunday.

And I can't wait to see her show in full.

We are not here to question the possible, we are here to challenge the impossible.

Session 8: Discover - Nathan Wolfe

Starts by admitting intimidation of TED, since he’s a lowly virus hunter. So he pulled a Bill Gates and unleashed a glass of viruses on the audience.

He’s looking for viruses in the world.

HIV: arrived 1929 but discovered in 1984. This is the history of viruses, that they arrive but aren’t discovered for decades. He’s looking for them NOW to avoid epidemics. How do we learn to find and forecast?

He’s looking for when viruses jump species and that occurs at points of intimate contact. Think of remote areas and hunters, blood contact between people and animals.

They went to rural Africa to follow viruses. In the past, what happens in Africa doesn’t stay there anymore thanks to logging roads and more. What could have died off in a village now goes to cities. They have to monitor people who are sick and get villagers to collect samples from animals. And it’s not just in Africa. They need to catch things before they get to airplanes and go world-wide.

Viruses can help create or destroy cancers. They can help us

We suffer from surface parochialism. We now know there is life below us and that there is life in very high temperatures. Perhaps life bubbled up from below, not washed up from the shore. Is there alien life (non-RNA, non-DNA) beneath us, or beneath the surface of another planet?

He used the phrase “the antropic (sp?) niche problem”. Need to research, flesh out, link up. (Sorry folks. Feel free to help me out there.)

Thought experiment: can we determine the possibility of life in a drop of water. [Again: need to flesh out and link up too.]

He’s busy trying to prevent pandemics in vertebrates but encourages others to look wider in the world.

In response to what the high school student asked of Jill Tarter yesterday: What should I study if I want to find aliens? Maybe microbiology. We might find them here.

Session 8: Discover- Bonnie Bassler

Her goal is to convince us that bacteria can talk to each other:

They are the oldest living organisms on the earth
The are single cell
They have limited genes
They grow and divide and grow and divide

We are covered in bacteria and minimally our own genes. We’re about 99% bacteria. They keep us alive by fighting attackers, they break down our foods etc. They get bad press for the few that make us sick.

But how do they do ANY of this?

The clue to explain this is a bioluminescent marine bacterium. When they are alone they make no light, but when in a community they light up.

They speak in a chemical language. They emit a molecule (imagine a hormone), a sort of radio call into the air waiting for a response. Then they get ping back and when there are enough pings they cacophony alerts them to turn on.

Since a squid hunts at night it uses the moonlight in shallow water, but to avoid a shadow they need light to shine below them—the bioluminescent bacterium. Then during the day the squid goes down below, hides and releases the bacterium

Signal producing/receptor proteins make bacterial quorum sensing. The must work in concert to be effective. The molecules of communication are similar but specific so they speak only to each other.

They must also be able to communicate interspecies as well. Bacteria are multi-lingual with a second language molecule, a generic kind.

Now, what if we made bacteria that couldn’t speak? Then we wouldn’t need antibiotics to wipe out bacteria en masse, but just made certain bacterium deaf and dumb to each other with an anti-quorum sensing molecule.

Remember these things into quorum sensing in bacteria:
Talk to each other
Can distinguish self from other
Develop strategies to impede/improve quorum sensing

ALSO we can help beef up conversation in quorum sensing amoung good bacteria.

Ends with a plug for the students. The engine of learning and understanding is done by young people between 20-30 years old. Remember that!

interstitial - Karey Mullis

Altermune linker - the possibility of taking a pre-existing molecule that can fight an attacking bacteria instantly.

I'm going to have to link back when I read more so I can explain more.

Though his metaphor was effective: how do we get attacking bacteria off the street really fast? When you stop a speeding car on the road, don't just pull it over, toss a dime bag in the back seat and arrest the mother.

It's how we can keep a rat infected with anthrax alive.

Chris Anderson was trying to wrap him up because of time and asked him if it was his last slide? Yes. "But it's a long and boring slide." "It wouldn't be boring if you were a rat with anthrax."


Session 8: Discover - Nalini Nadkarni

Studying forests... from above. Canopies have more diversity than below. Epiphytes don't set their roots in the ground, they set them above. Under they die and decompose they leave a soil of a sort, moss and connections of canopy roots, not epiphyte roots but the trees they are no connecting. Moss recolonization is VERY slow. If moss is damaged it takes decades to recover, since if the top is lost, it still has to grow again from the bottom.

The canopy does: foster biodiversity and help keep the ecosystem stable. We are so removed from trees how do we reconnect? Today she's unveiling the International Canopy Network evergreen.edu/ican to connect the ivory tower and the tree tops. They've even made Tree Top Barbie. They've connected with artists, musicians, dancers (Capacitor created "Biome" for her). What can we do about florists harvesting unsustainable mosses for floral arrangements? Learn to grow it ourselves, using the Green Prison Reform Project which also changes the environment of prison inmates to one of help and growth.

There are trees in our hearts. Trees are not a compartment of our lives. We can connect, from above and below to each other and to nature.

And the audience jumped to their feet, standing together, clapping from above. And Chris Anderson confessed that he is, in a completely appropriate way, that he's in love with her.

Session 8: Discover - Jennifer Mather

Non-terrestrial Intelligence: Sylvia Earle & Jill Tarter both addressed Jennifer Mather's search. An octopus is so far apart from us on the tree of life. We can learn their intelligence

Cephalopods: lost the shell of the mollusk so they are very good at camouflage. They have incredible abilities of manipulation. (And, dude, with suckers, who needs thumbs, right?)

How do you find intelligence in an octopus then? What indicate it? Personalities, play & problem solving?

How do they decide they are doing this? [chel's note: they DECIDE? 'cause that's something too]

She gives a shout out to Roland Anderson in the Seattle Aquarium. They had several in captivity, who had nicknames. That's an indicator of personality right there. Definitions of personalities (don't use Freud)- you can't do an experiment (no variables), just observe. Expose animals to common situations and see what they do. They react as they see fit.

What is play? out of context, fragmentary and/or repetitious, simple, not immediately adaptive... You don't play unless you are well taken care of and bored. They put an empty pill bottle. After examining it, they did the marine equivalent of "bouncing the ball".

Problem solving. There is an arms race between clams and their predators. Clams resistant to opening? Octopus have their own built in swiss army knives of themselves. They can beat clams.

BUT do they consciousness? We're working on it. Baars' Attentional Spotlight. How do we show intelligence, and is it the same way they do? No. So we are not in competition with them because their brains are distributed in their body. We have a different kind of intelligence but perhaps just as valid.

Session 8: Discover - Thelma Golden

We can learn about cultures far and near through art and museums and that can help us find ourselves.

The game Masterpiece was inspirational in helping her learn her love of art directly. The game wasn’t fun, but the cards were replications of art so she curated her bedroom as a child.

She has followed artists all her life, but studying art in school was insufficient because it wasn't keeping up with the continuing growing history of art. Why or how could Thelma help convey the history that was going on all around her. Make the exhibition the ultimate white paper, the museum as a think tank.

Her first exhibition was Black Male. The work was by people of varied colors and ages
but the focus was on the identity of the black male. The goal was to encourage dialogue. Now curating in Harlem she refers to that place as a unique intersection of the past, present & future simultaneously.

Think of artists not only as content providers but also as catalysts.

What does it mean right now to be African American here? The art can create a community and an excitement. Artists push us to understand. She is working to create a network of artists around the world, not just Harlem. We learn the world and we learn ourselves.

Evan Schwartz!!!! Live from Palm Springs

Evan is a pro on something we theoretically could all be a pro on, but we're not. He is.

The Wizard of Oz is the most watched movie in history. We've collectively spent lifetimes watching the movie, memorizing the songs, daydreaming about the characters. What's the power of The Wizard of Oz? Who IS the wizard? So Evan Schwartz became a pro on Oz, and wrote a book called Finding Oz.

Evan spoke on finding the wizard, specifically.

The wizard is clever. Digging through the life of Baum, who was journalist, Schwartz found that Baum covered an event hosted by the wizard of Menlo Park (Thomas Edison).

The wizard is mean. And Baum's father was in oil and suffered under John D. Rockefeller.

The wizard is a fraud. Who was the deceiver of the age? PT Barnum. Then the wizard confesses Dorothy and Friends they CAN be their own heroes.

The wizard is wise: Swami Vivekananda upstaged all (including Edison) at the World's Fair with that very kind of wisdom.

The wizard is a shape-shifter. He is all things we love, good and bad.

I spent some time with Evan over the past few days and went running with him the other morning (he's great at helping keeping me going :) I got the first 45 seconds of his talk on that run and I've been biting my lips (hard!) ever since. I heart Evan.

And I'm off to the bookstore to find the wizard...

TED moment

Okay, here's a TED moment for you: At the break I just spoke with Lisa from Soaring Words who just presented at TED DIY because I am, with my co-workers, training for a marathon for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society and would like to be able to write on a quilt "I am running for you." She said we could work something out that we can all decorate some quilts together and present them as a team. At which point I burst into tears. We're gonna work something out when she and I are both in NYC. Composed now and tear-free, and now I'm composing the blog again.



TED DIY is Palm Springs own awesomeness. Rives & Kelly have set up a series of presenters. In rapid-fire (and by this I mean machine-gun-automatic-rapid-fire) the presenters jump up on stage, show us what they've got and get out of the way for the next one up. They show us their new idea, their current project, their contributions to challenge the dominant paradigms.

First up: Aaron Didgnan runs a digital think tank in SoHo NYC but was a rock star five years ago. Guitar Hero is his new musical rock star outlet. The general populace seems to say "it's okay... because it leads kids to "real" music". He believes Guitar Hero guitars are REAL instruments. Not only is it a device that creates sound, but you can even compose on it. And now for the demonstrations... First his own: Beat It of Michael Jackson fame. Now, video of a nine-year-old kid from Denver. What if he decided to pass on other instruments? Imagine a future where we've revamped our concept of music and notation.

Next: Al Myers, from Saisei Consulting . "I believe a man does what he can, until his destiny is revealed." (from The Last Samurai) His slide show: we live in a digital world, but our old model of education is still 'dictative.' (I can't really use the editor's term sic here. I think we make new words to get an idea across quickly. It'll do.) Now, what if our classrooms were this? Virtual worlds, where they get to experience an interactive environment. He digs into his ideas for changing the model of education using the new tools of technology.

Jim Fallon. His talk has several titles including: Physician heal thyself. People who live in glass houses... Murder she wrote. He's a neuroscientist who studies genes for behavior, addiction, gender differences, creativity in the brain. He wants to know a way to mobilize adult stem cells in your own brain to arrive at 100% recovery for stroke victims. The NEW study for him is
pyschopathic killers, genes, brain damage, environment, free will, timing (developmental age). With studies of 70 approx examples-- TIME is very important. ALL of these murders have oribal cortex and anterior temporal contex damage. The high risk gene is MAOA: too much in-utero serotonin. Serotonin is supposed to be calming, but in-utero over stimulous makes one, in essence, immune to it. The genes of alarm here are sex-linked genes are handed from mother to son. Now, what's "required" for killers? Experience overwhelming violence in 3d. In areas of the world that are violent, women mate with "safe" people, those who are violently protective, thus perpetuating violence as a means of survival. Then one day... his mother tells him the history of murder that is in his family: his cousin is Lizzi Borden. Also, the book Killed Strangely about the first case of matricide in the USA 1660, is about a relative of his. Seven more paternal Cornell family line were murderers. Thankfully, all his fathers brothers & his father were conscious objectors so they avoided the war/violence exposure which seems integral to the violent tendencies. After all this mind-blowing news, he concluded with this sentiment by Ashleigh Brilliant: "I don't care what the world knows about me but I hope my mother never finds out."

Mattias Ask. Competative and greed based on the bragging rights of effectiveness.
opencauses.org: representative money based on donations. You get "paid" for donations, leveraging greed through philanthropy. I must read more, his talk was a little lost on me, but it sounded good?

Linda Avey. Genomics from 23 & Me using saliva. Unveiling of a Genetic TRibe. Seth says a Tribe requires upsetting people. They've done this with a: Cease and Desist letter from CA public health. Doctors orders are a MUST. Must be CLIA licesnsed. No spitting in NY & MD. Now, we have 23 sets of genes and she's showing us how they look. Unveil your genes, your canvas awaits!

M. A. Greenstein www.bodiesinspace.com.  The evolution of mobility- a product to show!
she explains:
movement- changes in position
mobility creates access
access creates thinking
When we moved from the water, we have created ways to move. The hallmark of this is speed. 300 mil in poverty, 20 mil need wheelchairs, etc. How do we help the disabled so they can progress in society and wealth? Design and engineering: we need mobility soluions at IMI and Cal Tech. They are working on mobility, access and infrastructures. Take 2 bikes and make them to a wheelchair!

Next up: Dean from SMU- ____? greatest innovation of all time. In 1946, a 27-ton computer took many people to operate with less computing power than a standard remote. Now we have laptops. Today's computers is 100 thousand million times more powerful. The power of innovation with the power of imagination can create Ski Dubai etc. What are the other possibilties? Look at a slum. Construction has advanced very little in 500 years. We're getting more expensive and less service with time. From one-ff to one billion. "Global Open Source Home" or "GOSH!"  Let's leverage our computer brilliance into physical brilliance.

Jenny Morel. Life on the Edge. Alarm Clock Blog: Venture capitalists tend to be fairly conservative peope... they wouldn't invest in a jet pack." Yes we would. Roll footage (replete with dramatic music). The Martin JetPack. It's big. But it WORKS.

Jill Sobule: a song about jetpacks.

Yaacov Mutnikas was a sailor & deep sea diver. Now a technologist, still loves the water. rowing specifically. 2nd atlantic ocean trade windws expedition. to break record of 33 hours to row from barbados to canary islands. rowing oceans is ultimate raw wo/man v. nature. it's hard to even get enough calories. 2 hrs on 2 hrs off as pattern of rowing. testing, team work, sleep deprivation, extensive training. on jan 4th they left on the artemis fortune hunter? they lost their rutter on the 10th day and had to withdrawn from challenge. were saved by a russian ship and taken to Gibralter. they were making such good time they'd've broken the record by several days. they are working on trying again.

Seth Aylmer and Jose Serano-Reyes, in orange prison jumpsuits that say Trust Art. Trust Art is a stock market for cultura renewal. unveiling today. example sculputor Michael Rothschild from western maine: take the 17 figures in the ocean floor carved ages ago, make them into sculpture. now, invest your social capital into social art. loan your good name to propel the art market. "Art is a game played between all people of all times." -Marcel Duchamp. the correlation is between the amount of money assigned to the work spreads. dream to beat the DOW. hey it could happen. go to trustart online

Sebastian Wernicke.  He's here to relieve you of a fear of having to come up with an original story. buffalo is animal, city and verb ("to buffalo"). you can say buffalo continuously and have a correct english sentence. this has been known for 40 years. several language rules: 1) english is so rich it can be abused in so many ways. 2? 3? also, a number of stories on a chart against number of buffalo in a sentence. exponential curve, he shows the equation. if someone needs a story, just say that so many times- "let the buffalo roam." standing ovation. i spent some time talking with sebastion (he cracks me up! he's got the energy of say, not a nearly 30-year-old but almost 6 five-year-olds instead.)

Announcement: Geraldine Carter invites open conversation about climate change- meeting after grow session at 4pm. If you know someone at Al Gore's breakfast, she's not well-connected, please help her connect.

Lisa Buksbaum. 10 years ago at 4am she got a call that her younger brother died suddenly. then her father beat lymphoma a few months later. then her mother & she pushed to create a loving environment and getting people at the hospital to make a quote of the day to encourage people. then her son got sick. now she makes quilts with inspirational sayings for kids to feel loved and make them laugh.

Elaine Parker. success skills? all of them total up to self sufficientcy. how are our children learning them? we forgot where kids can learn these things... in the kitchen! make spells in the kitchen so they prefer the magic room to the vending machine. in a sort of harry potter story where the kitchen ingredients are renamed and the travel of our hero goes on is available in his translated journal (cookbook). cooking illiteracy is on the rise and so is unhealth. this can change!

Tony O'Driscoll (who i had dinner with last night). saw him this morning and he said he had an elizabeth gilbert moment that woke him up early today. a muse ran a poem through him. it was about making the future better and the gratefulness he has for the inspiring people around him who are working on that, especially for his kids. it was an awesome way to cap off this section of TEDDIY.

PS Jim Fallon's talk is online now too:

How this works.

They warned me it would happen. TED exhaustion. It overcomes you. You become mentally tired. You can't think anymore. Your brain gets blown away by awesomeness so many times in a row that at some point you cannot catch the pieces and reassemble them quickly enough. That was yesterday. I wound up missing a session and of course the news of all that happened made me want to cry. I got it together and went to the next session and rocked it old school: I took notes by hand.

I have nearly adjusted to California time now, but on a normal day I don't usually sleep late anyhow (on a very sleepy weekend I max out around 9am) so getting up any time after 6am here is a blessing, which I've almost managed once... but no, not really. Staying up late is an art and a skill and a necessary non-evil. The TED experience requires engagement in all ways: the talking. There's a lot of talking AT you (the lectures) but there's a lot of talking WITH each other that is very, very necessary. The opportunity to exchange ideas with people who are a lot smarter than me isn't uncommon in my normal daily life, but the opportunity to do so with people who are also of amazingly varied in life experiences and their areas of expertise here IS common and you want to soak it up as much as possible. Sleep flies out the window. Sleep is for later. "Later" is TBD because once TED is over there are re-writes and revisions here.

"Later": the layout/format of this blog is based on the simple premise of one post per speaker. Because anyone can see/read about all the speakers on ted.com (except for the surprise interstitial ones), we're not re-inventing that wheel. And you've figured out by now that each post on the blog is titled by the speakers name so you can scan and find whomever you're looking for.

And of course as previously mention, the posts are a combination of transcriptions and a few thoughts of my own thrown in. Trying to get this up in "real time" so that at the very least what is unveiled at this, The Great Unveiling, is revealed here at TED is also unveiled to you outside of TED as soon as possible. There are many hyperlinks to be added and very importantly, there are many, many edits of text to come. The schedule here is back to back with speakers and when there's a break it's back to back with important conversations.

I'm taking my first "real vacation" in eight and a half years next week, which will give me the time to re-write pretty much everything you see here. TEDsters of old recommend the mental vacation, readers here recommend the revisions asap, so I hope to converge all of the above.

Last night: third night of less than four hours sleep and the ones before that, not a lot more. But it was filled with conversations about musician families, changing the educational systems of the US, how the TED prizes of the year can be executed and who can contribute, "green" art, creating a web site with Chris Hughes (who seems to have read all the same wikipedia entries as me), visiting Israel, (allaying) the fears of SCUBA diving, marathon training, violence and children... while talking with a programmer, a web-developer, a producer, a curator, a maker/designer of children's toys, a professor, a non-profit executive director... some of whom are well known, and others that are not yet. Name dropping will come later as mentioned before in the form of those ever-useful hyperlinks.

TEDDIY is starting in a few minutes and I am writing this from under the covers. Oh, coffee! COFFEE!

More in a very few minutes.


Thursday, February 5, 2009

interstitial: Nigel Holmes

Given an introduction that included "if you want to know anything about anything, have him on speed dial"

He's talking about national debt.

He gives a scale of 10 trillion verses a billion. The width of the large screen versus the thickness of our name badges.

He ends with this idea:

Let's be optimistic. Let's think of the number of ideas we can have to solve all sorts of problems. If we can have that many dollars, you can have that many solutions. Or very easily more.

interstitial: Hans Rosling

Yay! Hans is speaking too now. Awesome!

Now: 6 mins on AIDS epidemics.

With gapminder he shows the spread of HIV. And he's using the new version of a laser pointer. It's a 10ft metal pole.

It took 25 years to get a steady state of the epidemic. It's not getting better but it's not getting worse.

He shows that African countries are very different in their percentage of infection. To lump together all of Africa, "is disrespectful".

So what do the numbers show us? Is the epidemic worse where there is war, rape, poverty? Circumcision is VERY helpful in safety.

The bookstore has chart free on the HIV information. IF YOU'RE IN LONG BEACH it seems. I just checked.

interstitial from Palm Springs: mathemagics

The man who brought us the fun of mental calculation:

Calculus is very important and should be learned... later.

Statistics are so important that it should be a Big Priority.

Calling for a new priority:

"You should know what "two standard deviations from the mean" means. And I mean it."

interstitial: Ray Zahab

Set world record to reach the south pole, and did it on feet, not skiing.
Also ran across the Saharan desert, which taught him about the water crisis and the need for education.
The entire South Pole adventure was digitally interactive and online. Students were asking them questions and they were answering. I'd give you a list of his examples but I bet I can find that website for y'all later.
"What I take from these journeys is that everything is possible. I only learned this from the past 5 years of experiences and I'm forty. Can you imagine hearing this at 13 and believing it."

"You're crazy. In a really beautiful way." -Chris Anderson

interstitial: Renny Gleeson

"culture of availability"

We expect that information is very availabile, then we expect it to be. here. now.

How to check your phone texts:
The Lean l
The Stretch
Love you, mean it (hold your hand and check with the other)

All this tells people is that the reality right now is less interesting than the story I will tell

"let's use technologies to make us more human, not less"

Session 4: interstitial

Stuart Little the animation was debuted at TED years ago, but the process of rendering live action photography has grown wildly and we're getting a tour of light improvements.

"Cloudy with a chance of Meat Balls" 60 seconds. Here's a sneak peak: it's about food falling from the sky.

Session 6 interstitial: Dale Chihuly

His personal journey was varied and he was a little lost in the world. He's showing many images of his work, and I've seen in museums, they are amazing (and glass work is SCARY- I've known a few glassblowers, they say it's not IF you get burned, it's when).

Process video is great to watch and now we have a dvd :)

Session 4 intestitial: JoAnn Kuchera-Morin

Place holder post!

The Allosphere:

The AlloBrain: medical applications; diagnostics & analysis. The brain is a world we can fly through. It's a 3 story way of modeling and standing in the middle of it.

Artifial Nature: research in self-assembly

Multi-Center Hydrogen Bond: applications in new materials for clean tech and information technology- watching electrons flow, things binding, and more...

Hydrogen with Election Flow: applications leading to quantum information technologies

Electron Spin: applications leading to quantum information processing

Please come visit in Santa Barbara and help us make this work for you and for us.

Session 7: Dream (TED Prize)- Jill Tarter

Session 7: Dream (TED Prize)- Jose Antonio Abreu

Session 7: Dream (TED Prize)- Sylvia Earle

Session 6: Invent- Sarah Jones

Session 6: Invent- Robert Full

Session 6: Invent- Shai Agassi

Session 6: Invent- Catherine Mohr

Session 6: Invent- Daniel Libeskind

Session 5: Understand- Margaret Wertheim

A little summary of her talk. Gotta get links up soon--

Margaret Wertheim and her twin sister are crocheting a coral reef, it is an intersection of marine biology, feminine handicraft, art, math....

99% of the work is done by women. They have put together thousands of hours of work to create installations of crocheted reef.

Their Institute for Figuring put the call out on their website. Suddenly she was getting calls from many galleries because they were all doing exhibits on ecological issues.

Hyperbolic geometry: crochet is very like coral. Dr. Daina Taimina in the late 1990’s

Before hyperbolic geometry we had these two choices: Euclidean space & Spherical space. Euclidean geometry is drawing on a flat plane (like paper). Spherical space is like the lines of longitude and latitude. So the possibility for parallel lines in the Euclidean model is just one, in Spherical it is none. So the next answer must be infinity. That’s hyperbolic. And that’s crochet. And coral. It took us forever to figure out but it’s been in oceans forever. “No mathematicians were looking at sea slugs. Or kale.”

The amazing thing they discovered in their creations that when they diverged from the perfect patterns they developed beautiful organic shapes, more real, more beautiful.

The importance of this the embodiment of abstract concepts. It’s kindergarten for grownups. We learn through play and physical contact.

"Not think tanks. Play tanks. Let’s physically play with our ideas."

Session 5: Understand- Nina Jablonski

The history of skin: pigmentation and evolution. Nina starts with comments on Darwinism and evolution.

Darwin said, "Light would be thrown on the origin of man and his history"

Charles Darwin knew skin color was one of the most important ways people varied. He wasn’t understanding of the relationship of skin pigmentation to locality.

We developed a wonderful protective covering of melanin AND were dosing ourselves with the light to develop vitamin d. Then we moved to northern hemispheres so we lost the vitamin d and then the melanin.

The movement of people across time caused us to develop different skin colors which has social and health consequences. The social ones are very, very obvious. The health ones, like burns to pale skin and vitamin d deficiency.

"Skin color is the most visible product of evolution by natural selection on the human body. Teach it. Celebrate it."

Nina loves that we are the products of evolution so much, that we are carry history on ourselves that her passion is intense, her happiness about it is contagious, and it is an obsessive love.

Seesion 5: Understand- Jacek Utko

What can make a newspaper survive?

Jacek designs them. He saw Circe de Soliel and realized that the mundane was made magical. So he took the front page as a chance to make visual magic. The whole piece is like music, a unified experience with a rhythm and flow.

This won many awards. That's nothing. Increase in circulation is where you can measure the greatness.

Design wasn't the only thing that changed. Function and form became content and design. Strategy plus content plus design is the Big Idea

rule 1: design can change ____ (insert every word here)
rule 2: put your work to the highest possible level
rule 3: to be good is not enough

did anyone else think that he may have just made magazines for fast publication?

Session 5: Understand- Louise Fresco

A story told in bread.

Louise starts with taking a poll on who wants Wonderbread "I did not know this name before this week?" versus whole grain bread.... "Ah I see two tentative male hands."

We have a mythical past. It is picturesque. The industrial revolution brought much progress, however made mass production of foods that come from all around the world. Don't despise the white bread. It is symbolic of the changes in the world and the availability of a variety of things.

Our food consumption per person has sky rocketed. As food became plentiful, we were able to decrease the number of people working to make food. The responsibility of feeding the world has fallen to few people. As this has happened, bread has garnered more and more unnecessary things, migrating from wheat as a main source of health to something associated with obesity.

We need to go back to understanding what our food is about. How many people can make bread from scratch? Do you know how much it costs or what time it takes?

Bread wasn't European, but from Iraq & Syria.

Now there's a movement to go back to "traditionally" made breads, but we mistake the past history of bread as being from a farm in Tuscany, go back to places like Africa. Taking this another step is to say we could ONLY eat local, ie "Hans couldn't have an orange in his home country". She dismisses off-hand the idea of

She's making a plea: to feed the world, we can't do it through small farmers markets. But we can think differently. As your govt for a integrated food policy. We can put small pockets of many kinds of food sources in many places: "fish ponds in parking lots and gardens on the roof".

Talk about food. Ask people about foods. Food is about respect. Honesty, responsibility, identity. Gandhi said "To those who have to go without two meals a day, God can only appear as bread." She then shared a loaf of bread she made and encouraged everyone to eat it and feel privileged.