Saturday, February 14, 2009

TED2009 (off topic)

This post is something of a sidebar, having nothing whatsoever to do with building our house. Please jump past this to the next post if you want to see the newest house progress.

So, it's been a while between posts. This last week was crazy at work, and the week before I was in Long Beach for TED2009. The TED gathering is a remarkable annual, 5-day gathering of 1200 or so overachievers from all over the world.

There's a speaker program of 50+ speakers (18 minute talks), plus 50 or so more short (3-9 minute) presentations/performances. TED officially stands for "Technology, Entertainment, Design" - but it's becoming much, much broader than those 3 narrow areas. The program covers everything from environmental issues (we've made a mind-boggling mess of our planet, in case you were wondering), alternative energy, genetics, human/computer interfaces, art, architecture, oceanography, bacteriology, writers, filmmakers, world hunger, re-forestation, endangered species, global warming, medicine, music, performance art, psychology, cognitive science, sculpture, internet, Web2.0, entrepreneurship, transportation, politics, war, economics. And that was just on Day 1 (I'm only slightly exaggerating).

While the presentations are the big draw - including the likes of Al Gore, Bill Gates, Nicholas Negroponte, Tim Berners-Lee, Oliver Sachs - half of the mindblowingness is hanging out with tons of fascinating people that you'd never meet in real life - some household names, most not. All intensely smart and passionate about whatever it is they do.

It is an intellectually stimulating and emotionally moving gathering that changes everyone lucky enough to attend. If you have some time to view some of the TED Talks that are up at, you won't be dissappointed. If you are new to TED, start here, with Jill Bolte-Taylor from last year.

Only a couple of talks from last week have been posted, but I'm happy to see that Elizabeth Gilbert's talk about creative genius (author of Eat, Pray, Love) is one of the first ones up.

And don't miss the one from Willie Smits when it gets posted, probably soon. Willie is a humble yet passionate ecological entrepreneur who has been working for years to sustainably reforest and rebuild ravaged Orangutan habitat (and local community, and eventually the planet) in Borneo in a stunning project called Samboja Lestari. Those two TED2009 talks were at the top of the list for everyone there.


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