I'm a little late with my weekly post, but my excuse is that I was busy all week having MY MIND BLOWN by this year's TED conference.
I did a round-up of last year's TED, which was pretty great (the conference, not the round-up - when you watch a bunch of teenage scientists talk about how they've come up with an answer to the global energy crisis, the complete mediocrity of your own life and accomplishments is swiftly brought home to you).
Most of these TED talks aren't up on the internets yet, but when they are, you should watch them and stuff. In the meantime, I'm linking to the TED blog, which has a write-up of each talk.
This year's highlights included:
When I donate to a non-profit, I always want the maximum amount of my dollar to go to the cause, not to the organization's overhead. Right? Well, maybe that's actually really not right. Dan Pallotta's talk: A New Way to Judge Non-Profits has completely shifted my point of view on this issue.
I LOVED Vancouver spoken word poet Shane Koyczan's performance at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Opening Ceremonies, so I was surprised to discover that now I love him EVEN MORE. He brought his To This Day project to TED and fucking brought the house down. I had a lot of feelings.
UPDATE: Shane Koyczan's performance is live on TED talks - definitely a must-see.
Radio DJ and total math nerd Adam Spencer's Hunt for Monster Primes actually made me laugh AND care about math. AMAZING.
Kate Stone does things with technology and paper. She was hilarious and her interactive posters were amazing.
Every year at TED, there's someone who makes you feel like maybe not everything is going to hell. John McWhorter's talk The Linguistic Miracle of Texting was about how texting is actually closer to speech than writing, which means that writing is NOT becoming obsolete. It made me feel smart about knowing what tl;dr means. Plus, funny.
Hyeonseo Lee escaped from North Korea and then helped her family get out. HOLY SHITBALLS.
In my dream last night, I told my elementary school friend about Allan Savory's talk about Fighting the Growing Deserts with Livestock. Basically, this guy has figured out that to bring back the grasslands (and save the whole fucking planet), we can use cows, sheep and other livestock in specific pasturing patterns. And it is WORKING. For me, this was the most exciting talk at TED this year.
Ron Finley builds community gardens in South Central Los Angeles, where fresh food is hard to come by. Favourite quote: “I am an artist. Gardening is my graffiti. A graffiti artist beautifies walls; I beautify parkways and yards. I treat the garden as a piece of cloth and the plants and the trees are the embellishment of that cloth. You’d be surprised what soil can do if you let it be your canvas.”
Jack Andraka is the kid who started working on a cheaper, more accurate, early detection test for pancreatic cancer when he was 15. AND HE FOUND ONE. Also, he is FABULOUS and a great speaker. I hate him so much.
I am not a fan of Amanda Palmer's music, personally, but after her talk, I respect the hell out of her as an artist. Her talk about building relationships with her fans and crowdfunding as a way to make a living at music was really good. It's up already and I've seen it posted twice on Facebook. Watch it now, before it becomes cool to hate on it!
Artist Phil Hansen caused himself nerve damage after years of practising pointilism as an art form. Faced with an inability to draw a straight line, he had to come up with other ways to create art. His talk, Embracing the Shake, featured some of his awesome projects. My favourite was a huge mural of Bruce Lee that Hansen created using only karate chops.
A lot of people here in town were all super hyped up about TED coming to Vancouver next year - like they were going to attend and rub shoulders with all of these luminaries. It costs $7500 and you have to apply to get in. HAHAHAHAHAAA NO. Having it here really just means that Ben Affleck might be in town.
Really, I feel bad for next year's TEDsters...in Long Beach right now, it's all sunny and shit. Here, it's raining so much everything makes a squishy noise - grass, dogs, pavement. Although if Mark Shaw, the inventor of Ultra-Ever Dry attends next year, there may be a fix for that rain problem!
Katr did her own TED round up of stuff she loved - and one thing that made her FURIOUS. As usual, she is far more erudite than I. Check it out!