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.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

TEDxNewYork 4/16/09 Bonnie Bassler


  1. "I love the fact that human genomes can be found in only about 10 percent of all the cells that occupy the mundane space I call my body; the other 90 percent of the cells are filled with the genomes of bacteria, fungi, protists, and such, some of which play in a symphony necessary to my being alive at all, and some of which are hitching a ride and doing the rest of me,of us,no harm. I am vastly outnumbered by my tiny companions; better put, I become an adult human being in company with these tiny messmates. To be one is always to be one with many. Some of these personal microscopic biota are dangerous to the me who is writing this sentence; they are held in check for now by the measures of the coordinated symphony of all the others, human cells and not, that make the conscious me possible. I love that when “I” die, all these benign and dangerous symbionts will take over and use whatever is left of 'my'body, if only for a while, since 'we' are necessary to one another in real time."

    from Donna Haraway's When Species Meet

  2. Greg Bear's novel Blood Music bears a lot of striking similarities to Bassler's speech. Written first as a short story in 1983, Blood Music focuses on sapient bacteria and nano-machines basically consuming the whole of planet earth in a massive, connected super intelligent organism. Bear touched on a lot of Bassler's themes.

  3. Discover Magazine has a short article about new antibiotics (bacteriophages) can help accelerate the evolution of bacteria. Seriously bad unintended consequence--the bacteria could eveolve in one generation as would naturally take 1 BILLION years. Yikes. http://discovermagazine.com/2009/apr/28-next-miracle-antibiotic-could-spawn-next-superbug

  4. I met Bonnie two nights before she gave her talk. She was extremely nervous about speaking at TED. She even mentioned "I don't get out of the lab much." Knowing this makes her talk all the more inspiring.