Regina Saphier TED Long Beach 2013 Day 2

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

8:30 – 10:15

Session 4: Disrupt!

Open source architecture… print your own wiki house. Democratization of production… a wikipedia for solutions…

Boosted Boards are really nice… for young  people.

He shows us a book listing all people who had an e-mail address at the beginning of the eighties. The internet was built for a different scale and it is too vulnerable for present day challenges. Nobody really knows what the internet is at the moment (size, connections, data), it is so complex. We should have a plan B, a secondary system for cases when the internet is down in some areas and when there is an attack carried out via the internet… people should be able to communicate if the internet is not able to function in a hospital, at an airport, or at the fire station.

Nice dramatic performance. He definitely has self-esteem now. 🙂

Using a dominating, useless and ugly tower to display public art and strengthen a community…

Surprise: Sergey Brin talks about the Google Glass. Sergey, the introverted genius awkwardly fighting his shyness again and again on stage.

She connected with people and managed to kickstart her music. Trust… She is a fantastic person. Instead of asking how to make people to pay for music, ask: how could we ask people to pay for music nicely. Her kickstarter project was phenomenally successful. 🙂

Small dollar funding of elections would eliminate the corruption of present day elections and lead to a better form of democracy and a better government. Even we liberals love this country… – he says.

11:00 – 12:45

Session 5: Dream!

This session starts with some creative dancing…

Elon Musk

Elon Musk (Photo credit: jdlasica)

Chris interviewing Elon about his electric car, solar energy, and reusable rockets… fascinating discussion. TEB (Technology Education Business) and confidence… Elon is another interesting person, really calm, intelligent, good to listen to. We see a rocket that takes off, hovers for a while and lands safely again… Wow!

He set out to solve the energy problem. Not fusion this time… ok, just a bit… just to understand that fusion reactors are terribly inefficient. So he is proposing small local underground reactors that would use up radioactive waste material that we need to store anyway. Running for decades with no need to refuel, it is also low pressure, the fuel is molten salt and so it won’t melt down obviously and it won’t explode. In the case of an accident it won’t contaminate large land areas. So, this is the offer of this 18 year old brilliant scientist, entrepreneur in the making: use decommissioned nuclear material to solve the energy crisis.

She had a brain surgery many years ago. A key part of her brain was removed and she had to experiment with some powerful chemicals, hormones, in really small doses, and she felt how just a small amount of change impacted how she felt, who she was, her temper, her self, her intellect. This talk reminds me of a radio show on This American Life about testosterone. She is actually showing us technology that can tell what you see in your head. I have heard about this before, but now I must really face it, because it is coming… And at the same time, the new player is so terrible, that I post on the TED conference tech chat: I never had such a terrible viewing experience during a TED conference. Never. The quality is constantly disturbing.

Planning to bring back extinct species using genetic material. Pluripotent stem cells can be turned into reproductive cells and so you can have chickens birthing falcons… Not the least disturbing, right?

She is from South Korea, where elite suicide is very common (I read articles about this issue). Why am I saying this? Because she spoke about her depression. It is a sickly competitive nation (sorry about stupidly generalizing). I love their history and culture, they are lovely and driven people. I am so sorry that their attitudes cause so much stress and depression. My post is not meant to offend anyone, I am sorry if it does. I can tell you, Hungary has also a lot of stress, and nowhere near as much competition and success as in S. Korea. Hungary is just simply a country overwhelmed by pessimism and depression. Sad place in many ways. Unfortunately Hungary has a pessimistic culture. Lots of depression, suicide, alcoholism, and other substance abuse, plus aggression and corruption. I think it has to do with the history. This country fell apart so many times… wars, communism, an ill fated superficial systems change for the last 20 years towards broken capitalism… and we still have some really toxic people of the past in power (left and right)… Those people hold a lot of power… still… their shortsighted mentality is killing the economy, the labor market, and people who lost hope. Back to South Korea: Congratulations upon electing your first female president! I posted about that on my facebook wall a few days ago. This would be impossible in Hungary, still a male dominated society.

2:15 – 4:00

Session 6: Create!

Stream issues…

So, the theory is that technology will permit people to work less… and do more… aha… keep telling the jobless all over the world that… in the short run lots of people will suffer because of joblessness IMHO… perhaps in the longer run it will get better… but not tomorrow…

Bowtopia… the fibers in the bow know their purpose… each person should be like those fibers. Dong Woo is from South Korea and he reinforced my feeling that schools there are overly and painfully competitive putting too much pressure on people.

He researched why sex is so good and he realized that the best things in life arouse all five senses in a major way.

I love UMAMI! And food. And that is her topic, so this can only be a good talk… but not really…

Wow, she was really talented as little girl! She is applying her sense of fashion and art to architecture and interior design… Not my kind of architectural thinking, but some things in her portfolio were interesting.

Telling the story how she developed the story telling tool “Snow Fall”… I hope I got that right…

We have our first visibly trans-gendered TED speaker I think. And yes, she transitioned to Kate in 2007, but did not mention that during her talk (I just looked her up online while she spoke). However, at the start of her talk I was looking at another tab in my browser and in my mind I was listening to a man… and when I went to the TED stream tab, there was a woman… wait a man… no, that is a transitioned woman, ok… this was my mindset (I expected a heterosexual female speaker based on the program and based on my ignorance), so I could hardly focus on her talk and went to google to explore my dilemma about the speaker. Well, I am sorry about this, I need to get used to openly trans people. It is a learning process that won’t happen overnight. Good for Kate that she can live the way she wishes and she contributed to my learning process. I hope you can also keep an open mind and accept her for who she is. All we people need is love, support and acceptance for who we are. And we are in fact all work in progress as long as we live… and some are work in progress even after that when other people remember them…

Here is a true hero of science and a superhero for cancer patients. He is 15. His super power is original thinking! He worked out a super cost-effective, sensitive and quick test for pancreatic cancer. He says: “Undeterred by my teenage optimism…” – quoting boring adults… the audience laughing… Add another superpower: humor! Anyway, he is now working on a 5 dollar home kit for a multitude of blood tests. Standing ovation! Of course! Me too right here in the middle of the night joining the celebrating global audience from Budapest, Hungary. Love his brain!

5:00 – 6:45

Session 7: Sustain!

Biodegradable trash becomes Methane on the landfill (no oxygen) versus Carbon-dioxide in a natural garden composter (oxygen)… Half of the food globally is wasted because of huge refrigerators. Also, lettuce is more wasteful than the badly insulated fridges all together. She goes on and on about surprising hidden facts and design opportunities to save energy. Excellent speaker.

“Food is the problem”, so he started to plant food in South LA to change the health situation. Funny thing about sustainability: you have to sustain it. Become gangster gardeners. “Come to my garden so that we can plant some shit.” “Kids who plant tomatoes, eat tomatoes.” Fresh, self made food is his solution.

The first metal instrument is called “doromb” in Hungary. It is interesting to note that the cat makes this noise here: “dorombol” (“purring”). The second was a Calabash instrument…

Discovered a local bio-degrading bacteria.

He is an energy geek. Only peer pressure helps save energy. When electricity is produced, 90% of the coal is wasted by the time you turn on the light in your home. So, coal that could give you electricity all year, only provides approximately 1 month of energy… Very inefficient. His goal is to make people ask the question: How could we save energy?

Music.

FFTT… 30 story wood buildings (and TED 2014) coming to Vancouver. Wood is safe, strong, environmentally friendly, and people hug wood parts of buildings, and that means something… 🙂

Using livestock to stop desertification and change micro-climate to the better. We see beautifully reforested areas.

Regina Saphier TED Long Beach 2013 Day 1

Let me start with the good news that Richard Saul Wurman is attending TED Long Beach this year. He wrote via facebook chat on February 13.: “surprise I’m going to TED”.  I am so glad that the differences between Chris and Richard are no longer dominating their professional relationship. I responded: “Go and enjoy. Its really your amazing kid all grown up and successful. Your gifted brainchild.” And indeed, we should keep in mind respectfully, that RSW is the father of TED.

Well, the stream during the first session was terrible. After we figured out via the stream chat that some have super quality, some have constant buffering, I wrote: “I know it is on auto, I am just imagining people in less developed countries… apparently TED tech people are now under the spell of the ‘progress enigma’ for every nation at the same time (not having diverse insight into global differences and not having an oversight of the spectrum of progress is a problem)…” Ironically, ‘progress enigma’ was the main topic of the first session. I also wrote on the chat: “I would be really angry now if I had to pay for this… the archive option also helps a lot to keep calm… but this buffering situation is destroying my live blogging process and timetable for the 4 days.” At this point I went to the tech chat and posted my issues with all other people with terrible streaming issues… there I was informed that this time, because of the new player the auto setting can not be changed to manual… so the tech people will lower the general speed for the next session… And now you can imagine why I could only take fragmented notes… Most of the time the stream was buffering… and no, it was not my computer. I give you what I can… hope to have more in the next session. (In the second session the stream was better but the picture was smaller. Most of the issues were fixed for day 4, but I am unable to say that it was perfect. In fact the stream quality was all too frustrating for days…)

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

11:00 – 12:45

Session 1: Progress Enigma

Her big idea is supposed to be an energy policy for the US. Right… what took you so long as a developed nation? And still just an idea?

There is growth… in the past… Robert is worried about joblessness in a robotic environment. He also says: let in people (stop the madness of visas in the US) and legalize drugs (to stop the drug war). So, from conservative he suddenly turns progressive liberal… (My live stream coming and going…)

Growth is not dead. Productivity in the US and globally is at an all time high. Lots of free stuff. Robots are taking over. The problem is  not with technology, the problem is that we are not sharing the outcome… the wealth… the knowledge… the opportunity…

We see an advanced factory robot that is supposed to help factory workers, not replace them. Similarly, caregiver robots are coming… Robots have no gender…

Robots should be personal. (Again my live stream is fragmented.)

I am going to have a look at the archive because the stream stopped all the time during this talk…

  • Bono
  • Musician, activist

Saving the world… one rock star at a time…

2:15 – 4:00

Session 2: Beautiful Imperfection

He decided to teach a course on ignorance. I know this is a favorite topic of Richard Saul Wurman. How can we distinguish the smell of a banana and a pear when the difference is only one carbon atom in a molecule that carries the odor … our brain is a brilliant chemical detector. Testing methods are bad at schools and you get what you test for. So if you are having a bulimic method of education feeding huge amounts of data to your students and testing it… that is not intellectual learning and not productive in scientific terms. Science changes with every funeral… (I add: as does society).

How to trick the giant squid … and make a photo of it. Really funny video follows showing the giant squid. We need a NASA like organization for marine research.

Camille Seaman gives a short audience talk about us being one with nature. She is a storm photographer and shows us marvelous images of clouds.

His photographs are epic. He shows how he reforested his family estate with 2.5 million trees.

Another speaker from my alma mater, Columbia University, speaking about cities that are living systems. Open source urbanism for the user living in the city… instead of engineered high tech cities that are alienating and sterile.

The Long Beach gift bag is introduced with a few words before the next TED attraction enters the TED stage… I feel: that is the ugliest bag I have ever seen. Brown. Boring.

He is playing with his own voice, with and without technology and making music.

He embraced his limitations (a nerve damage initially caused by his pointillist art and a creative block later when he had too many choices) and created: inside the box! He painted on his body layer by layer, he created art that he immediately destroyed, he created art influenced by others, he painted martial arts style… I have to say Phil was the most authentic, most down to earth, most relaxed person on the TED stage until this point. Good for him!

5:00 – 6:45

Session 3: The Spark

Let kids take ownership of their education. He knows how to do that as a successful educator. High expectation… if you are smart that is only a good start for hard work… Building community and groups… trust… how to explain concepts with clarity. It takes researchers to produce researchers. Let them learn in labs regularly… You need faculty to get involved with students. Connecting… Redesigning courses so that students are not bored in classes. Use technology… Freeman is a passionate educator. 🙂 Excellence is never an accident. Choice and not chance determines excellence.

She says: do focus on your twenties, the most defining years of your life. The most significant decisions are made by 35. Fertility peaks at 28. Get identity capital, do something … invest into the person you want to be. Explore work. Find like minded people. Reach out to your friends’ connections. Mindfully select your partner for life. (One way of living… but not for everyone.)

What a wonderful person she is!!!! 🙂 Lisa told us her inspirational story of redefining her dream by comparatively reading books.

How to invent a security system to save livestock by using materials at hand in your village in an African country… while still being a boy…

Sir Ken Robinson presenting this years TED Prize Winner. He says an awful amount of education is going on with a terribly low amount of learning and that has to change.

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The winner is: Sugata Mitra! I love his work!!!! He says the Victorian era education system is outdated (yes) and a new one is needed (yes). He now has one million dollars to realize his paradigm shifting plans for appropriate education. He says his rich friends kept saying that their kids are gifted because they can do wonderful things with their computers. So, he jokingly asked himself, how come all the rich kids are “gifted”… he decided to give computers to kids in slums and watched what happened (Hole in the wall experiment). And as we in education research know, the kids started to teach each other language and IT skills and even genetics. Encouragement is the key. Punishments and examinations shut down the brain! Educational self organization… let the learning happen. Self Organized Learning Environment: SOLE… His wish is to design the new future of learning together. The school in the cloud… (I am so glad that I see the change in education during my lifetime.)

I came back after two months, and the 26 children marched in looking very, very quiet. I said, “Well, did you look at any of the stuff?” They said, “Yes, we did.” “Did you understand anything?” “No, nothing.” So I said, “Well, how long did you practice on it before you decided you understood nothing?” They said, “We look at it every day.” So I said, “For two months, you were looking at stuff you didn’t understand?” So a 12 year-old girl raises her hand and says, literally, “Apart from the fact that improper replication of the DNA molecule causes genetic disease, we’ve understood nothing else.”” (Sugata Mitra at TED)

Here is an interesting and popular fact: “The Hole in the Wall experiment left a mark on popular culture. Indian diplomat Vikas Swarup read about Mitra’s experiment and was inspired to write his debut novel Q & A, which later became the movie Slumdog Millionaire.”(wikipedia)

Here is my relevant TED conversation comment from two years ago. (I really don’t understand where this previous line disappeared since I posted this blog after the first day… now I am posting it again without the comment hyper-link to TED and cut and paste my actual comment from two years ago…:)

“Feb 19 2011: Jane! Hi! I am not a gamer. I am an online idea generator. When I listened to your talk live last year, I knew that I should translate your talk into Hungarian and I am glad I did that (http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/hun/jane_mcgonigal_gaming_can_make_a_better_world.html). 🙂 Thank you for the inspiration! I had this idea: Why not create a game that makes people in the developed world responsible for the education of people in the less developed parts of the world. There is now so much content out there for online education for free… I was thinking: Ivy League development, education, etc… students should be inspired by online games … you know, somehow combining education, mentoring, research and gaming… Get your degree as an online gamer by teaching people skills, showing them the world, interacting with them online and seeing results as we play. Learn from each other. Get your university credits with meaningful online games. I even wrote e-mails about that to the TED management, because TED talks would be perfect for this new way ofonline global community graduation” with “gamer organized free educational content” from the web. I imagined getting an experimental PhD in such a way online (on top of my Columbia University MA) from my home in Budapest, Hungary while pulling someone else (living in a less fortunate environment) toward a BA or an MA degree. The game could have an academically meaningful impact beyond the epic win of teaching people skills, languages or science… I am sure many PhD students would be happier with this, instead of being the RA and TA slaves of tenured professors in the US… I could work with a post-doc who is in the US… so that person in the US, me in Hungary, and the person in the Third World: we would get to know each other’s needs and culture too and that with minimal carbon footprint. That could promote global power balance and understanding. This in my opinion would be a meaningful game project. 🙂 Best, Regina Saphier”

Regina’s other blog! NEW!: My Coursera Blog

While you are waiting for MY TED Long Beach 2013

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