Archive for February, 2008

TED Briefly

image Day Two was just as I expected – inspirational, insightful, compelling, and at times disturbing. I’m reminded of that hokey line… “I laughed, I cried, it became a part of me.” Actually, it did.

With a jam packed schedule yesterday and today there is no time for a end of day summary (I do like to get some sleep.), but here are a few items.

Alisa Miller gave a great 3 minute short talk that visually depicted the aggregation of news reports across the world – content from the talk is also available here. This presentation showed how some stories, or even countries, are just not covered. Additionally, she described how our news feeds are quite redundant and we actually receive very little unique news stories, e.g. at one time there were 14,000 news items on Google News, but upon further study, these thousands of stories were only related to 24 unique news events.

Other TED Talks, have also used this unique view of the world with countries sized based on a variety of data. The maps come from a company called WorldMapper. I find these views of our world very compelling and an excellent way to visually depict worldwide data sets. WorldMapper currently has 366 of these maps available from their website.

Even on Day Two, I am still thinking about Jill Bolte Taylor’s talk on the stroke she experienced. If you can’t wait for the TED Talk, you may want to purchase her book, My Stroke of Insight, A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey available on the self-publishing site Lulu.

NOTE: eman’s views has now moved to I hope you’ll stop by. 


February 29, 2008 at 8:57 am Leave a comment

TED – My brain after day one

brain First let me start by saying if you want to read a detailed description of today’s events, please take a look at Ethan Zuckerman’s Blog and Bruno Giussani’s Blog. These two are the masters of real time blogging. They even wrote the book on conference blogging! At this site you’ll find my random thoughts regarding my first TED experience.

One question I had coming to TED is would it live up to my expectations. I’ve watched many of the TED Talks online, and read as much as I could about the conference. I was concerned that my expectations were just too high. Well I was wrong. The TED Talks are great, but wow, there is so much more to the conference experience – and I’m in Aspen, not even the main site. First the attendees are exceptional and I have met several inspirational people with their own fascinating stories to tell. Furthermore, TED isn’t just the published agenda of ~50 talks. There are about that same number of shorter presentations interspersed between the main talks. For example, Rives gave yet another stellar performance today. (Not to mention he walked up and shook my hand welcoming me to TED as I entered the main hall – very cool.) And finally, there is just the opportunity to share this wonderful experience with other attendees and discuss our reactions to the presentations. Here are a few things that I found most interesting today…

The start – from the blackness of the stage, the light is brought up on Michael Stuhlbarg who provides a moving interpretation of Hamlet’s soliloquy.

Louise Leakey – “men and women walk very slowly over vast areas in Africa looking for fossils”. After hearing about the painstaking work that is done to find, uncover, and identify these artifacts, I’m very grateful to her and other paleoanthropologists for reconstructing our heritage.

Wade Davis – his description of the Polynesian navigators was striking – sailors who can name 250 stars in the sky, who understand and describe several variations of the wave/swells of the sea, and who can discern the direction to a given island by the reflections, from miles away, of the waves hitting the island.

Chris Jordan – providing photographs that help translate enormous statistics regarding various social issues into images we can start to feel and relate to… 1 million plastic cups used in the airline industry every six hours – a photograph of one million plastic cups that looks like a series of intertwining tubes from a great distance; one out of every 4 incarcerated individuals are Americans for a total of 2.3 million people – a series of photographs of 2.3 million folded prison uniforms; 1100 Americans die each day from smoking; 32,000 breast augmentation surgeries per month – these surgeries are becoming a new trend in high school graduation gifts for women – arranging 32,000 Barbie dolls into floral patterns. As you zoom out, they resolve into a picture of breasts.. These are difficult statistics to wrap your mind around but Jordan has found ways to make these numbers more interpretable, and meaningful. You can see a video of a recent presentation by Chris Jordan on Pop Tech! here.

Roy Gould and Curtis Wong from Microsoft announcing and demonstrating the Worldwide Telescope. This free application takes the best photographs of our night sky/universe and weaves them together seamlessly. Using this free download you’ll be able to tour the universe your own, follow a tour previously saved by astronomy experts, or create and share your own tour of the universe. At one point I started thinking we might see an Amazon-like message… people who have visited the Andromeda galaxy have also visited these three other celestial objects. This talk is already available online here.

Patricia Burchart – a particle physicist, who did a wonderful job explaining explaining ordinary matter, dark matter, and dark energy. I learned and understood more physics in this presentation than my years in college.

Jill Bolte Taylor – a neuroanatomist, pictured here describing the structure of a real human brain was the highlight of my day. After explaining the general functions of the brain she then proceeded to describe in exquisite detail her own experience of having a stroke. She explained how she moved between a feeling of nirvana (right brain hemispere) and times of clarity (left brain hemisphere). How she spent 45 minutes moving between these states as she struggled to understand which business card was her own so she could call someone at work for help. How she could no longer interpret numbers and had to match the “squiggles” of the characters on the business card to the “squiggles” on the phone pad. “So who are we? We are the life horsepower of the universe, and we have the power to choose moment by moment who we want to be in the world, we can choose the consciousness of our right hemisphere or that of our left hemisphere. These are the “we” inside of me. Which would you choose? Which do you choose? And when? I believe the more time we spend choosing the peace of our right hemisphere, the more peace we will project into the world and the more peaceful our planet will be. I believe that’s an idea worth sharing.” Her passionate and moving story clearly touched many of us – please read Bruno Giussani’s Blog and Ethan Zuckerman’s Blog for more detail on this remarkable presentation. I’m sure I’ll be watching this presentation over and over again.

NOTE: eman’s views has now moved to I hope you’ll stop by. 

Technorati Tags: , , ,

February 28, 2008 at 7:59 am Leave a comment

TED@Aspen Day One

A few photos……

onelaptop I showed up early to TED today and walked around the conference center. It was nice to see the One Laptop Per Child project up close and personal. This device is very intriguing, not only for its main mission for children in developing nations, but how it might be used in other situations, such as disaster relief. With an open source project such as this, it will be interesting to follow what developers come up with next. In the course of my discussion with a representative from AMD, I was fascinated to find out about AMD’s 50 by 15 project. This “bold and far-reaching effort, the 50×15 mission, is to enable affordable, accessible Internet connectivity and computing capabilities for 50 percent of the world’s population by the year 2015.” And to do so in a sustainable way.

waiting Waiting to get into the main conference area, and meeting a variety of fascinating people.

scar An Aspen-only event – giving each individual 30 seconds to share something about themselves. Here Rives is describing this part of the day to us. Today’s question was How’d you get that scar? We heard quite a few humorous stories about physical and emotional scars. Definitely a fun start to the days events.

NOTE: eman’s views has now moved to I hope you’ll stop by. 

Technorati Tags: , , ,

February 27, 2008 at 11:47 pm Leave a comment

TED Starts Today

stage My TED experience has begun with some great conversations over breakfast this morning with a couple of other TEDsters. It’s very inspiring just to hear other peoples stories on how they’ve become interested in TED. The official program is set to begin at 2pm local Aspen time with a “fun meet and greet” hosted by TED Content Producer Kelly Stoetzel and Rives. One of the emails to the Aspenites hinted at an opportunity of 30 seconds on stage during this session. Who will be bold enough to go on stage! It should be fun.

As a TED virgin, I’ve been cautioned to take my time and take in everything at a measured pace. Maybe I should be doing some kind of brain exercises before the talks begin today! And speaking of talks… Here’s today’s agenda.

Session 1: Who are we?
WADE DAVIS: Anthropologist
Wade Davis travels the globe to live alongside indigenous people
and document cultural practices throughout our “ethnosphere.”

LOUISE LEAKEY: Paleoanthropologist
Louise Leakey hunts for hominid fossils in East Africa, in the
family tradition. She and her mother, Meave, recently found
bones that may redraw our evolutionary tree.

Chris Jordan runs the numbers on modern life, making largeformat,
long-zoom artwork out of our most mindblowing stats.

JILL BOLTE TAYLOR: Neuroanatomist
Brain researcher Jill Bolte Taylor studied her own stroke as it
happened — and has become a passionate advocate for the
brain’s resilience.

Session 2: What is our place in the universe?
PATRICIA BURCHAT: Particle physicist
Patricia Burchat studies the structure and distribution of matter,
anti-matter, dark matter and dark energy.

John Hodgman is a writer, humorist, geek celebrity, former
professional literary agent and self-proclaimed expert on all
world knowledge.

PETER WARD: Paleontologist
Peter D. Ward studies mass extinctions, and is also co-author of
“Rare Earth,” arguing that perhaps no other planet has the
circumstances to permit intelligent life.

SRI SRI RAVI SHANKAR: Spiritual teacher
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has devoted his life to breath, meditation
and radiating love to his millions of followers.

KAKI KING: Guitarist
Kaki King combines jaw-dropping guitar technique with dreamy,
searching songwriting.

One final note, on Thursday the TED Prizes will be awarded. This event will be broadcast live on Thursday, 5:15pm Pacific time at this link.

Yet another final note, if you want to see more photos from TED, check out this link on Flickr.

NOTE: eman’s views has now moved to I hope you’ll stop by. 

February 27, 2008 at 12:32 pm Leave a comment

TED @ Aspen

I arrived in Aspen today and after a quick lunch proceeded to the registration desk. Here are some pictures of the TED @ Aspen venue.

sat_truck Video from Monterey is beamed back and forth via satellite to Aspen. It looks as though the video will be in high definition and broadcast to the many LDC screens within Doerr-Hosier Conference Center.

seats2 A main stage is set up in the center of the room with more video screens set up in more intimate smaller “nooks” seating about 20 people off to the sides of the central area.

stage View of the main stage.

seats One of the more intimate areas to the side of the main hall stage.

chat A computer/camera for chatting with the Monterey site.

blogger_view Spectacular view from “Blogger’s Alley” – conference room on the second floor of the conference center dedicated to bloggers.

NOTE: eman’s views has now moved to I hope you’ll stop by. 

Technorati Tags: , , ,

February 26, 2008 at 7:10 pm Leave a comment

T minus 1 Day for TED

image I’m sitting in the airport waiting for my flight to Chicago, then on to Aspen for TED. Thank goodness for air cards. Bruno Giussani, European Director of TED, is in Monterey and has posted on the preparations for TED here. Bruno will be conducting “live blogging” from TED. Something I will NOT attempt – rather I’ll give my full attention to the talks and provide daily (hopefully) TED updates. I don’t want to attempt too much – I’m a TED newbie you know!

NOTE: eman’s views has now moved to I hope you’ll stop by. 

Technorati Tags: , , ,

February 26, 2008 at 5:58 am Leave a comment

TED 2008 : Pre-meeting Prep

I just got done printing out the TED 2008 schedule and pasting it into a new Moleskine notebook for the conference. Here’s some other items as folks prepare for TED…

Chris Anderson – curator of TED appeared on Charlie Rose this week. See the video here.

Thomas Dolby – musical director of TED has a great blog, and is talking about getting ready for TED.

Tomtalks about the TED Buzz on his TrueTalk Blog.

The CBC has a nice article about TED here.

Conde Nast – sponsor of TED, is devoting parts of their web site to all things TED.

Kluster – a web based collaboration and decision making platform will be launching at TED. From kluster’s site… “kluster is a place to harness the power of community collaboration to get things done. everyone has ideas, we provide the platform to get them out of heads and into the world… where they belong.”

NOTE: eman’s views has now moved to I hope you’ll stop by. 

Encyclopedia of Life – part E.O.Wilson’s TED wish is set to launch during TED. See more about EOL in the video below.

Rickshaw Bagworks – a new company, founded by Mark Dwight the former CEO of Timbuk2, will be launching their bag line at TED. Below is a video of Mark, his Moleskines, and the new bag.

February 24, 2008 at 11:23 am Leave a comment

Older Posts


Site Visitors