Regina Saphier TED Global 2010 Day 1-4

Important: This post is a transferred version of my blog (my first independent blog where I published many essays between 2005-2010 and also my first three TED blogs, TED Long Beach, TED Global and TED Women in 2010). The reason for this transfer: the companies that own (Cg.01-09-728809 Magyar Vendor Informatikai Szolgáltató Kft., Cg.01-09-885471 EMG Médiacsoport Kft. “csődeljárás alatt”, Cg.01-10-043483 EST MEDIA Vagyonkezelő NyRt. “A végrehajtás elrendelésének időpontja: 2012. augusztus 16.”) are involved in “bankruptcy” and “tax debt” procedures and is now out of service (cloud services are often unreliable)It says on their front page that they are “waiting for equipment”, but I did some company data mining and it is now clear to me that the truth is, the owners are in huge financial trouble. The users were not properly notified to the best of my knowledge (I did not get any e-mails warning me that 5 years of my data will be “off the air” in no time) and members are still kept in the dark (unless they are as curious as I am…). I am recovering my old posts from google’s archives to save the latest texts and make the old TED posts available on my new TED blog. This one is all 4 days of TED Global 2010. Initially I wrote two of my three TED conference blogs in Hungarian in 2010, but this one is in English (I tested my ability to write the live blog in English immediately, and it worked, so later I have decided to forget about Hungarian on my TED blogs and also on my Coursera blog).

TED Global 2010 Oxford Saphier Regina First Day


TED Global 2010 Oxford

Regina Saphier

Speaker by speaker blog, First day

(TED Global 2010, Előadónkénti Blog, Első nap)


OK, people, I was going to write my blog in Hungarian, but I changed my mind. I am going to do it in English, in a kind of telegram style. If a note I wrote is long, it got me in a flow, but short notes do not represent bad speakers, only I was less interested in that topic or the content was less blog friendly, more visual, artistic or the stream was gone… All sorts of things happen during an online conference. Sometimes I am chatting with other viewers when it is more interesting. And if you want me to translate some of the notes into Hungarian, let me know via TED.

A major audio issue destroyed the flow and element possibility for the online viewers on the first day.

I write this TED blog for the very reason that most TED conference talks which I am able to see live, are posted slowly during the next few months for the average viewer. I will see what gets posted during the next week or so from the first day (in an effort on TEDs part to correct the mistake with which they upset us) and will write blogs only about the talks that won’t get posted fast (but only if TED really lets us, translators, viewing the webcast for free, see the first day’s full archive soon). Update from July 17.: I received the TED Archive link today for session 1 and 2. I am now working on the blogs for the day (now that I am able to hear what they have to say). Update from July 18.: Yesterday I completed the first day too.

One talk below has a talk link and some blog lines already. And one talk has a blog note now. Go see it. 🙂

3:00 PM – 4:45 PM      Session 1: Global Century

Joseph Nye, diplomat

Power is changing. Power is moving from west to east. Power is getting diffused. Instead of the rise of Asia, it is the recovery of Asia. Industrial revolution caused shift to the US, and now a new balance follows by the rise of China.

Power diffusion is key… computing costs have fallen… capabilities are available to everyone… well… not yet I would say, Mr. Nye… and not everywhere… yet…

What is power? It is a way of influencing the outcome, influencing others. Three ways: 1. force, 2. payment, or 3. generating the want from others to be part of the new outcome you intended to introduce, that is: soft power. Use more soft power, and save “carrots” and “sticks”. A new narrative to understand power: Who’s story wins? Who’s narrative is going to be influenced by the winning story. The narrative of “the end of America” keeps returning, but it did not happen. Also Asia is not one thing… Manage the fear, and avoid over reaction. 3D Chess game… Layers: “US/China”, “Economic power of the nations”, “Transnational relations” (climate change, pandemics, outside the control of governments). Cooperation is the key. Soft power is the tool of the 21st century. Empowering China to deal with carbon emission. Move away from “I win you loose”. Hard power will remain, but you must mix it with soft power and it becomes: smart power. Organize in networks. We can use soft power to live better in the 21st century.

Sheryl WuDunn, women’s rights advocate

Turning oppression into opportunity

She tells a story of a girl in China, called Dai Manju, who got pulled out of her class by her parents, because, as they told her, she would be anyway only work on the rise field, and the 13 dollar school fee is too much. This happens to many women in the world. She still went to the school, to listen to whatever she could hear from the outside during lectures. She was actually a very good student. Well, Sheryl says, they wrote an article about her in The New York Times (in 1990), and lots of 13 dollar donations arrived, and finally a 10 000 USD donation arrived too. This exogenous investment made it possible to renovate the school, give scholarships to all the girls, and Dai Manju got to finish her school. Later she graduated from vocational school too and she has become an accountant and got a job. In turn she sent money to her parents and they built a new house, with running water.

After slavery in the nineteenths century, and totalitarianism in the twentieth century, our greatest challenge, in the twenty fist century is: gender inequity. In the developed world there are more females, but in the developing world, there are more males.

Today, 60 – 100 million females are missing in the world in the current population, for several reasons. More girls were discriminated to death than all people killed in all of the battle fields in the world in the 20th century. Girls get aborted, before they are born, because of ultrasound.

A mere skin and bone girl in Ethiopia in a feeding center is shown. Her brothers were fine. In India, between age 1 and 5, as much as 50% of the girls die. When you educate a man, he will have somewhat fewer kids, but if you educate a woman, she will have significantly less children.

Practically, one of the best ways to fight poverty and terrorism, is bringing girls into the labor force, by educating them. Women are not the problem, they are part of the solution, together with men. She tells another story of a girl (I think her name is Beatrice), in Uganda. An American charity sent them a goat, the goat had twins, the goat milk got sold, the girl went to school because her family could pay, she was diligent and later ended up graduating from an American university.

The speaker’s book, Half the Sky inspired a movement. She says: join the movement  and help save the world by saving and educating women. And watch her talk .

Naif Al-Mutawa, creator of The 99

All superheros’ parents are missing and all get their mission from above… Very much biblical archetypes… If you want kids to live in a better world, link positive messages, instead of negative to heroes. Even is you are an atheist, you do not teach your kid to tell three lies every day. Right?

Use your powers for others. Naif introduced a few heroes of the 99 at TED, to my surprise, one of them is Hungarian. JAMI is shown during Naif’s talk in a film excerpt, and his real life name is supposed to be Miklós Székelyhidi, which made me laugh because I am a Hungarian and this name is really a funny choice, but a good one… and of course I am sure Teller, Neumann, Denise Gabor and other Hungarians known in the US might have been part of this character description here , as was the fact that scientific genius often comes with Aspergers syndrome, that makes it hard for those people to interact with others. Naif created a few super heroes to give culture appropriate international positive role models to kids in the Arab world. First he got little attention, but when the Danish caricature scandal hit the news, his work has become an instant hit.

In my opinion it is the positive version of brain washing. If this can prevent children from learning hate and teach them to embrace other cultures, Naif did 99 super hero’s job globally.

Here is Naif’s TED Global talk. 

Nic Marks, happiness researcher

He says we focused on the worst case scenario, and any psychologist will tell you that this is linked to the flight mechanism in people. Not a good idea to use feat to get people’s attention about the future, because they will run away… Start thinking about progress. Other mistake: the financial markets project that things go well if indexes go up. “The GNP measure measures everything except that which makes life worthwhile.” (Robert Kennedy, 18th March 1968) What makes life worthwhile? People want happiness, wealth, love and health. How successful is a nation at making its citizens happy and healthy.

He shows a chart, where nation on the top right are producing a lot of wellbeing, but use a lot of the Planet. Nations at the bottom left use very little of the Planet, but also produce very little happiness. He say, there is the good news, and he is smiling, that there are nations at the top left, using optimum amount of the Planet and producing lots of happiness, like Costa Rica, and Latin nations. Life expectancy: 78,5 years. The happiest place, on the quarter of the resources. 99% of electricity from renewable sources. In 1949 they abolished the army. They invested in social programs. They have the Latin vibe, the social connectedness. The future might be Latin American. We need to get others into the chart’s top left section.

National account of wellbeing. Company happiness indexes. 5 positive actions to make yourself happier: connect, be active, take notice, keep learning, give. Happiness does not cost the Earth. Leaders should have the right vision for wellbeing, not in terms of material goods, and so we can create a happier Planet. Here is the talk .

Patrick Chappatte, editorial cartoonist

He, the political cartoonist, starts with things like: What’s going on, cartoonist are taking over TED 2010…? I don’t know if you heard about it…  “newspapers”… it’s a sort of paper based reader… it’s lighter than an iPOD, it’s a bit cheaper… – audience laughing. Patrick showed us many revealing cartoons about regimes, conflicts, or just plain fact of everyday life. He says, cartoonists have the responsibility to shut up when they are supposed to draw cartoons against people. Cartoons should be positive thing, using smart humor, for people.

4:45 PM – 5:45 PM      Coffee break, Playhouse, Randolph

5:45 PM – 7:30 PM     Session 2: Human Systems

Matt Ridley, Rational optimist

After the first day was spent with an error on TEDs part (many people could not hear the speakers well due to an annoying echo), Matt Ridley’s talk was posted  the very next day on TED.COM. So, no need for me to post a blog note on this one, but his key line was about human brains being neurons in a larger collective brain. Also he pointed out that most things we manufacture (like a mass-produced pencil or computer mouse) are so complex, that no single person can make them. This collective, theoretical brain makes everything, in a kind of hard to grasp synergy, and so individual IQ has no meaning for this speaker. And the terrible things that were predicted in the news 20 years ago, did not happen, while many positive changes happened, like average lifespan is up, child mortality is down, per capita income adjusted for inflation is up and the like, so we should be a little more optimistic about out future. Good points.

Steven Johnson, Writer

Where do new ideas come from?

He starts with the Grand Café in Oxford. Opened in 1650. He says the enlightenment happened in England, because people stopped drinking alcohol, the antidepressant, and switched to stimulants, like tea and coffee, and were all sitting in one space, no matter what field they were in professionally. Flash, Stroke, Epiphany, Eureka, Light bulb… An idea is a new network of neurons. New ideas form in a social network.

He shows an example of a really good new idea, an incubator, that is built for the third world, where people are able to keep cars going, they have that sort of expertise, but no parts for incubators, so the incubator was built of car parts only.

Research shows that good ideas in science happen at the weekly lab meetings. He also points out that good ideas have a very long incubation period. He introduces the term: slow hunch. Darwin’s October 1838 epiphany is only a scenario written in his autobiography, but research shows that he had the theory of natural selection described long before that. (I think, as a matter of fact, Darwin even kept his discoveries secret for a long time until the time was right to publish them.)

He finally tells us the story how the Sputnik event triggered the development of GPS in the US as a side project, and he closes with the remarks that for sure some in the audience used a GPS to find a Café House in Oxford. Excellent speaker, excellent talk, high entertainment and learning value.

Chris Wild, Retronaut

Would you like to see my time machine?

Beaumont Street in archival pictures… (the street is displayed where I actually went to see my GP in Oxford when I lived there for a year…) Its time secrets shared in pictures… he shows the past in pictures… 1909… and even earlier… photographs and graphics… I like this speaker, he has an interesting, soft, kind presence. Sepia stained past… he says, we think of it as dusty… and even slightly sinister. But those were the present for people back in those times. He started looking at history as a time-scape. This is why he needed the retro scope.

The Dakota Building’s time-scape shows up in the retro scope now… James Joyce gives us the talks motto: I created nothing but I did not forget anything.

Peter Molyneux, Game changer

I want to recreate lost times with my father… AI technology is introduced on stage. New kind of storytelling. Real living being created, at least the character feels real. It works. Milo the young boy moved to a new place with his parents, he is lonely, and each player will create a new personality and a new story for him… Wonder…  WOW. It was amazing actually.

Annie Lennox, Activist, singer-songwriter

Annie Lennox performed live in the hot theater.

TED Global 2010 Oxford by Regina Saphier Second Day


TED Global 2010 Oxford

Regina Saphier

Speaker by speaker blog, Second day

(TED Global 2010, Előadónkénti Blog, Második nap)

Note repeated from first day (in case you start with the second day): I was going to write my blog in Hungarian, but I changed my mind. I am going to do it in English, in a kind of telegram style. If a note I wrote is long, it got me in a flow, but short notes do not represent bad speakers, only I was less interested in that topic or the content was less blog friendly, more visual, artistic or the stream was gone… All sorts of things happen during an online conference. Sometimes I am chatting with other viewers when it is more interesting. And if you want me to translate some of the notes into Hungarian, let me know via TED. (Times are all Budapest time.)

9:30 AM – 11:15 AM  Session 3: Found in Translation

Ethan Zuckerman, Blogger, digital visionary

New Media does not help us as long as it is biased. Eg.: Wiki bias! The US thinks it is the center of the world. Ethan thinks they are suffering from imaginary cosmopolitanism. The good news: Global Voices. Dark spots of the world must be brightened on the new media map. Hard to find media in some places and even if you do, you are mislead by the “wisdom” of the flock. You need a guide… Also lots of content has to be translated for the rest of the world to make them understand. I wonder why he did not mention the TED Open Translation Project. I am a TED translator, I am mentioning it. 🙂 We are thousands of volunteers, translating TED talks into different languages. Here is my TED translator profile:

Ethan’s talk

Elif Shafak, Novelist

She is a story teller, talking about the art of story telling. Borne in Strasbourg, later lived in Turkey, in Ankara. Her mother was a single mother… in a patriarchal society. A westernized, educated mother and an eastern grandmother who was much less educated. From her grandmother’s healing practice she knows: in closed circles you dry up. Elif talks about the dangers of the likeminded clusters and tells us how these build stereotypes. She thinks stories can punch mental holes in the walls around us so that we do not dry up behind the walls of stereotypes. She started writing at age 8. She was so introverted, she even apologized to objects. She was also bored. Started to write about herself first. She writes fiction. Her mother has become a diplomat, and she was suddenly part of a posh cosmopolitan circle. Stereotypes all around her. She thinks of her imagination as a suitcase that she takes with her. She later moved to Istambul. An earthquake hit. She remembers an old, conservative grocer sitting next to a crying transvestite, offering her a cigarette. Mundane differences evaporated and people have become one for a short time. She mentions latecomers to a language. The intimidating and stimulating frustration of not being fluent, not being a native. She married and went to Arizona, but her husband lived in Turkey. Her life was strongly influenced by travel and different cultures. “I like your book”, a reader told her, “but I wish you wrote it differently”. You are expected to write from a female point of view and Elif does not like that. Writers are seen as representatives of their communities, but they are creative people and should not been pigeonholed. Multicultural writers are grouped by passport. That is so wrong. Stories come from everywhere. She was put on trial for her word usage! She was prosecuted. But it was fiction, she explains. She loves fiction.

Note: This is the moment when I get into my TED Conference ZONE emotionally (yesterday, the webstream had a major technical error and many viewers’ experience was destroyed. Stream for the first day will be available later in an archival form we are told… it is when I will be able to write about the first day… until then, we have some more speakers to enjoy and write about.).

Stories transcend borders. Literature has to take us beyond our limitations. Do not fetishize books, she says. Knowledge that does not take you beyond yourselves, is worst than knowing nothing or very little. When I write fiction – she says – I cherish elusiveness. “I feel therefore I am free.” Write what you can feel. Draw circles beyond circles. Let us be friends. Excellent talk! 🙂

And it is already available for you to see ! 🙂

The Global Conversation Project

June Cohen’s short announcement:

TED: 300 million views

11 000 translations

Richer way of communication: The Global Conversation Project on TED

1. Parallel conversations in several languages

2. Start your own conversation about a topic, even in your language

3. Have a conversation profile


David McCandless, Data journalist

Designing information is his passion. Interesting fact in one picture: February is the peak month of breakups on Facebook.

Effortless intake of designed data. The language of the eye. (Writing is the language of the mind. – he says.) Relative figures and visual representation makes it much easier to absorb facts.

Let the data set change your mindset says his teacher, Hans Rosling, multiple times TED speaker and TED star. He shows the Snake Oil chart that I received many moths ago from a friend while trying to make sense of the food supplement world. He shows the balloon race chart in action. Size: popularity. The research was PUBMED based. Vitamin D shows up high and big! Take it! And take a test for it as well.

Here is the talk

Mor Karbasi, Singer-songwriter

Musical joy. 🙂

Iain Hutchison, Facial surgeon

He is repairing faces. How about operating on people’s minds…? Just some fMRI feedback by Christopher deCharms? Noninvasively. 🙂 Less bullying… Still disfigured people need help and Mr. Hutchinson does a wonderful job. People on the chat list are warned by TED, I thank him, because I know this doctor’s work, but some other viewers think they can handle it, and know, they are in surprise, how disfigured people can become. Also amazing how much even just one surgery can do for them.

12:15 AM – 14:00 PM  Session 4: Irrational Choices

Sheena Iyengar, Psycho-economist

A young blind female speaker was walked up the stage. She is working at my alma mater: Columbia University. Sugar and green tea she mentioned at the start… No sugar in Japan for green tea that is her experience. But there is sugar for coffee. In Japan employees protect customers who “do not know any better”. In their minds, they helped her save face she thinks. But she felt she could not make her choice. Choice in America is different from choice in Japan. It’s about freedom in the US and about saving your face in the larger community in Japan. Assumptions… Make your own choices. In the US the locus is the individual. Being true to yourself.

In a study kids were told that either they can make a choice, or Mrs. Smith made it for them, or in the third case their mothers… That was the prime impulse that influenced the outcome. Independent choice resulted in best performance by US kids. Asian kids performed best when mom was involved. Satisfying one’s own preferences is the key… By the way, because she is blind, she was reading her text by hand. It was very interesting to see, but I am not sure she wanted this to be revealed. Her hands were purposefully hidden behind the pulpit and as long as the special camera was not in action, I did not even think that she read. She was so fluent, it was amazing, and of course she did not have to look down on her notes. Therefore it looked like she was simply speaking her mind. I think her choice was to not show her Braille papers, but I might be wrong.

She also mentioned Eastern Europe: choice during hospitality… in Russia she was told that the seven different drinks she offered were not seven choices, but only one. All are just soda, only one choice – people told her. Seven sodas, seven juices, seven waters would only mean three choices to Russians, but 21 choices to Americans. Americans would be thinking that 7 sodas are seven choices. (28 degrees in my room right now… no other choices…) “I am used to no choice.” – one person among her study subjects told her. Eastern Europeans went from no choices to too many choices and they still remember when they had very little.

You become overwhelmed by choices if you are not prepared for them. They become constraints. They are suffocating. She shows us a cartoon, showing a typical US shopping mall, with this text: “Monstromart, where shopping is an ordeal.”

She talks about parents losing their babies or having crippled children for life. If you are American, the parents have to make the decision and are left with the “what if…” … it is torture having to make that decision. If you are French, the doctors make the decision… parents say they learned something from the short lived child…). French were more positive about the situation later on compared to Americans, but US parents wanted that choice. American parents had the assumption that they had to make that choice. US: The narrative of limitless choice. But no single narrative benefits all. Change your own narrative. She cites Frost: “Poetry is lost in translation”. Brodsky says: “Jewish Russian …” and I lost the web stream for a while here, therefore I am only guessing she cited him saying: “I am Jewish – a Russian poet and an English essayist”. People loved the talk. I did too. It was the right choice for me to watch this and share it with you via my blog.

Here is Sheena’s brilliant TED talk 

Laurie Santos, Cognitive psychologist

We make predictable mistakes and are resistant to feedback… Laurie works with primates to show this. Actually monkey experiments often make me very sad so I was simply uninterested in this talk. I love psychology, but don’t like monkey experiments. Make computer simulations and leave the animals alone.

Here is the talk  I really don’t care about

Mark Elliott, Pastor

Mark talks about miracles. According to NPR: 80% of Americans believe in miracles. He says, he is a pastor in the miracle believing business and tells us the story of the scarce blue lobster. Well, I still do not believe in miracles, only on days when I am very anxious and so become irrational and completely driven by my right brain to feel the hope for a better situation and my left brain unable to explain the sudden solution arising out of nowhere. Mark just got extremely lucky to see more than one blue lobster in his lifetime, I think.

Spaghetti archive film shown, no idea why:

Bertrand Piccard flying his special solar aircraft. Link was not posted for the particular video, but just go to google and you will find several short films of him.

Lewis Pugh, Coldwater swimmer

“I am never ever going to do a cold water swim.” His fingers were swollen after one of his major challenges. He still walked up to Mount Everest and did a symbolic swim in a new lake… It was too cold, he almost got killed with his fighter attitude. Drowning is terribly frightening – he says. Give up your assumptions and you can accomplish something that looks impossible even to you (with almost superhuman skills). He was advised to rest and walk up in two days to swim slowly in breast stroke, with humility, and no aggression. He felt really good. He made it. Just because something worked well in the past, won’t necessarily work in the present. Just because we lived like this, wasting the planet, for so long, it does not mean it works. A radical shift is needed, so make your own radical shift (at least in one area) and keep doing it.

Here is his talk  about the life changing swim…

Jamil Abu-Wardeh, Producer

A peacock sitting on its tail is just another turkey. – his mother told him. His job is to change the image of the middle East. He did a really good job. But you gonna have to watch the talk  to better understand. He says people in the middle East like to laugh. I never assumed otherwise. 🙂

Maz Jobrani, Comedian

He can now travel with his new US passport, no problem… – he so assumed. But it still says what country he was borne in… He is making jokes that I can understand as an ex-frequent traveler crossing borders and coming from Hungary. He is making jokes about the situation during his border crossings and the like.

He is really funny. 🙂 I too hate to be looked at like the woman from Eastern Europe – Soviet Block… the only Russian word I know is: sabaka…. (dog)  But now I am sorry that I am unable to speak Russian actually… wonderful books, films, in Russian. I am still identified even by my educated friend in the US as a writer who could tell Americans about a childhood in the Soviet Block. No I could not. I have no identification with the word: Soviet. Never had. Please move on to the next assumption and prejudice to be eliminated. Maz is really funny, but his jokes must be seen to be enjoyed to the fullest.

15:30 PM – 17:15 PM  Session 5: Healthier Together…

Inge Missmahl, Analytical psychologist

Psychotherapy in hell in Afghanistan… A traumatized local woman told her during a therapy session: because you have felt me, I can feel myself again. Empathy… People need to be able to learn from bad experience and move on. Culturally sensitive psycho social therapy is what she is doing. Retraining health workers as well. She is presenting her results at TED. You can treat trauma without medication. Another woman in therapy told her: we should have killed one another, but you are helping me.

Annie Lennox, Activist, singer-songwriter

Talking about her HIV AIDS campaign: SING. By 2015 mother-child transmission should be eliminated. She is wearing her HIV Positive T-shirt, to show support. It is a sign of her solidarity.

Mitchell Besser, HIV/AIDS fighter

Ashoka fellow

A key task is the Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission. 90% of babies born HIV negative in the developed world, while in the undeveloped world, 40%… 1000 babies with HIV per day born in Africa.

Mentoring mothers are employed to teach other mothers. They are paid. Experts of their own illness and also get trained and retrained. Patients teach the doctors. One to one help. Men are hard to engage. In Rwanda the father must come to testing and counseling. Disclosure in families is a problem in many African countries, because families often just send the sick person out onto the street. (Speakers look and sound very tired in the hot Theater in Oxford.)

The hardest part is stigma reduction. Breaking the silence. Task shifting: from doctors to patients, the mentor mothers are the solution. Mitchell had an idea in the shower and now there are 1600 mentor mothers in several African countries.

20% of the HIV world lives in Africa. Empowerment through employment is important. Transformational: mothers caring for mothers.

Karsu Dönmez, Singer-songwriter

Excellent entertainment. Listen to her songs. 🙂

Arthur Potts Dawson, Green chef

Sustainable restaurant. Arthur explains his restaurant from the floor to the cooling on the ceiling. People choosing portion sizes was my favorite part.

Social enterprise he is mentioning too in connection to a special people’s supermarket he started. Environmentally conscious business is important for the future.

John Hardy, Designer, educator

He is an undiagnosed dyslexic. (Just like me until about 10 years ago.) He is talking about the beautiful Green School in Bali, made of bamboo. School kids are smiling in the photos. Should I move to Bali, I am wondering, while watching him speak… At his school, when he was a child, the walls were the same material, as the insane asylum’s walls. Here the walls are open, with bamboo frames. When graffiti appears in the table, sanding, waxing is the task for kids and that teaches them about the value of the table and show it belongs to them. Solar and more is built in to be off the grid. Compost toilets…they work.

The Green School is in South Central Bali, surrounded by green houses, and green business. It is now a green community. Local women prepare the food. The bamboo building houses Bali’s next green leaders. He says pro-lexic instead of dyslexic. He explains that bamboo is tall grass growing really fast. The central building is called the hart of school. They needed models to build this, because local builders did not know how to read the printed plans.

It has become a bamboo cathedral to green culture and green education. The hart of school. The most beautiful bamboo building in the world. And indeed it is awesome.

18:00 PM – 19:45 PM  Session 6: Different by Design

Miwa Matreyek, Multimedia artist

Interesting, but only because she turned out to be really behind the screen. But it was otherwise full of visual clichés. I did not like this performance.

Neil Gershenfeld, Physicist, personal fabrication pioneer

John von Neumann, I so knew he would be blaming him as second… Neil is talking about the artificial separation of data and hardware. Programs can become things. And they will create other things. (But wait: programs were initially punch cards for looms, right?) Programs making things anywhere, for anyone, is his dream… I know, I have one of his books … The final goal, something like the Star Treck replicator. A Fab Lab in Afghanistan and knowledge shearing… Barcelona: house fabrication, prototyping with a Gaudi twist. Fab Academy. You are smart, you can go now… most schools say, so this is why Fab Academy is important. Bring the lab to the student. Accreditation for a place… Invent degrees for a planet? (I am not sure why Neil is unable to better structure his lectures, especially because he is becoming a regular at TED…) MIT and places will be obsolete he says, and I agree with him. TED is part of that trend. Carnegie and library founding… Now the future is lab literacy, he says. Interfacing between data and things. Manchester’s field fab lab… Anybody can make anything. With data: on demand local production. Cloud labs. Linking of community labs. Anybody will be able to make anything almost anywhere. His thinks the question is now: How do you do education and business in that world?

Ok, Neil, so when can I make my new car and new home? When? And how exactly? You really should be a bit more specific after so many years of talking about your vision. When can the average consumer go to a store and purchase the listed raw materials to print the bits for a family home? And for how much? And how long does it take? And how long will it last?

Tan Le, Entrepreneur

Measuring and utilizing brain waves with Emotiv. Interpreting the signals of the brain for technology. Cortical folding makes it difficult to interpret brain signals. Still they created a wireless and easy brain wave reader. Moving virtual objects with own mind via Emotiv. Absolutely brilliant mind reader that lets you move actual objects too! Move your wheel chairs, or turn on the light if you are just lazy.

And here is the phenomenal demonstration of Emotiv on the TED stage. 

Anne Quito

A Warhol she found… Always been there. Art all over the office building. She works with art, still did not notice for a while. Slow hunch… it was the wall paper with a cow. She organized walks with coworkers to see more of the things in the same building. Many things to discover when you look together.

Eben Bayer, Green designer

Mushrooms. Compostable things… Styrofoam: toxic white stuff. Get rid of it. Grow mycelium in a mold. (seed husk?) Self assembling materials. 5 days in 15 secs. Natural polymers. Our children will live happily in 10 000 years… he says…

David Bismark, Voting system designer

Power corrupts as we know. Elections are messy. Lots of mistakes are made. How do we make secret votes safe? You review your encrypted vote online. Only you can do that. David proposes a way for verifiable elections.

Emily Pilloton, Humanitarian design activist

She moved to a poor area and is reshaping the place.

I really like most of these talks, by all of these smart women; good to see these role models, good for young people. Mostly healthy, but always diligent, intelligent, creative people. Studio H. Developing skill in pubic education. Designing and building. Youth the biggest asset!

TED Global 2010 Oxford Saphier Regina Third Day


TED Global 2010 Oxford

Regina Saphier

Speaker by speaker blog, Third day

(TED Global 2010, Előadónkénti Blog, Harmadik nap)


Thursday, July 15, 2010

9:30 AM – 11:15 AM   Session 7: Creatures Great and Small

Again, I am writing this as it happens, in an impressionistic style, and it is 28 Celsius in here…

Adrian Dolby, Organic farmer

The soil is the source of our food. The ecstatic skin of the earth. 300 000 million backteria… 10 000 meters of fungus in a jar of soil. (I hope I am getting this right.) Other crops are planted before the soil is used to prepare it. Weed is just biodiversity – he is telling us. Ladybirds are used to control pests (I know that). Healthy clean crop is the goal.

At this point I have a question: if so many people are allergic to milk and gluten, is this really working? Are there perhaps more goals here? Like realizing that people are fed things that are not good for them, even if it is all super organic? Are organic farmers really always feeding us things that make us healthy? Or are we allergic because of intensive farming? I would like to know that…

So, can organic farming feed the world? We are unable to feed it today even with intensive farming – he says.

Well, TED had much better speakers on the topic, one of them being Den Barber. I suggest both of his talks. I am very intimate with his ideas, because I worked on both translating and reviewing his two available speeches on TED; here you will find both on my TED profile:

Funny video shown:

Migros: Fresh organic produce… a chicken laying an egg at the shop, after a long run into city…

Toni Frohoff, Wildlife biologist

Whales’ voices played. The wisdom and humanity of whales mentioned. Dolphins are not safe in Japanese waters, but still like humans. Research shows that dolphins have a para-limbic lobe, that we do not have. Are they much more skilled at empathy? Dolphins, elephants and other animals are wired for empathy, emotions and have psychological capacity (I always knew that). They like touch just like us. Self awareness is also there. A researcher using mirrors to study dolphins could no longer research them in captivity, after the dolphins died. She felt it was wrong to do so. I agree. A Beluga watching himself in a reflector glass is shown. Moving his lips, looks like a speaking Beluga… so funny. Killer whale giving a gift to a diver? Whales being touched by humans kindly. The new borne too… The mother was hurt by humans, but let her baby close to humans in Baha(????). Elephants showing empathy, highly developed community. Orcas are misnamed killer whales. Dolphins saving humans. Toni telling a story she witnessed: dolphins surrounded a woman who had become tired during a swim. Mischievous dolphins introduced, taking the camera of a swimmer. She returned it the next day! Humanity and Humility. Her new term: “Humality”. Animals have feelings and that is a fact. Psychological and cultural needs of animals should be high on our agenda. The Friendship Foundation… Some societies always had respectful connection to animals. Companionship of dolphins and dogs… Love animals, and have empathy for them.

And if you love animals, you might as well like to eat insects:

Marcel Dicke, Ecological entomologist

Why not eat insects? Lets do it! We have 6 million species of insects. 80% walk on 6 legs. I like the speaker’s T-shirt with colorful insects. Ladybirds controlling pests. 57 million dollar contribution to the US economy by insects. He is eating caterpillars. 1000 insects species are eaten around the globe, of the 6 million. All of us eat 500 grams per year in our average processed food. Red colored white fish is also colored with an insect (cochineal , bíbor tetű, 1 gram is 30 euros, just like one gram of gold). We eat too much meat. Insects: less viruses, more output with investment when bred, less waste (less green house gases), they even give you vitamin D, also give you high calories, etc. 80% of the world eats insects. They think it is a delicacy. Shrimp is very much like a grasshopper. A locust is a shrimp of the land. Just a matter of our mindset. Insects sustain us, and will feed us in the developed world. Dutch chocolate maker is shown using insects. Bruno eating insects like he was doing it all the time and tells the audience, lunch at TED today will be 50% insect based for all.

12:15 AM – 14:00 PM Session 8: Adventures in Fairness

Tim Jackson, Economist

Creative destruction. Expanding markets. We love new things. A life without shame… you buy to look good. That expansion sustains itself, and collapses when you no longer purchase. Debt went up because too many people tried to stay in the game. He says this: We spend money on things we do not need, money we do not have, to make impression that do not last, in order to impress people we do not care about. On the other hand, beyond vanity, we are busy doing small things, and we are keeping out the giraffes… (He explained that he insulated the windows together with his 5 year old, and the child suddenly asked him: “Is this really going to keep out the giraffes?” The child, I think, mixed up “the draught” with “giraffes” (correct me if I am wrong), but Tim took it as an example of how people keep trying to do the small things in life, and as I put it: have no capacity to grasp everything in depth wile most of them are in debt.) Are we the selfish people spending on un-necessities, or the caring people keeping out the giraffes? Open up to new things, he says, and have institutions to protect the vulnerable altruist within (I say, lets do it). Ecosia… Social enterprise. Investment has to be a different beast. Transition. Low carbon… Invest in the idea of the meaningful prosperity for people to flourish. Participating in the life of that society is key. So we can connect. Places of joy, celebration, contemplation. A shared present and a common future.

And here is a really good example of shared presence and common future:

Jessica Jackley, Microlender

Small ideas… Huge impact. She created Kiva. In Uganda people were paid via Kiva and they were able to start their small businesses. 5 years in, 150 million dollars of loan accumulated via the site. Wonderful. 🙂 Ongoing attention is provided to members. Community+Money is better then Money only. Profounder is a new site. You can see that Jessica loves her vision. She was tearful at the end, and we felt her deep motivation and love for the people behind the surface of that portal. More people like her and the world will be better for many other people.

At this point I got completely distracted by the forum, after TED WOMEN was introduced on stage. So, no idea what the last three speakers wanted to tell me… sorry. Will watch these talks later I promise (at least before I fill in the associate survey).

Last week I had this idea that I should organize a TEDx WOMEN in Budapest, and so you can imagine how happy I was to see the new two day event in Washington. I mean I am a TED translator constantly having trouble to keep my self introduced rule of translating an equal number of talks from men and women on TED. It is true. It is a problem. Much more men present at TED, and TEDx events (most of the time). This year I am very pleased with the TED Global gender balance. I still strongly wish for a 50-50 proportion, but we need to work on that even in the developed world! Governments are lead by men. Institutions are full of male leaders. Academia has more female students and less female professors… The higher you reach in a powerful and prestigious profession, the more men you will find. Women have to be encouraged to become leaders, and for that reason more women role models of the highest standards must be introduced via TED. TED WOMEN is a wonderful idea in my opinion. But I hope there will be a day, when this won’t be an issue any longer. For now, we need to work harder to make this happen.

15:30 PM – 17:15 PM   Session 9: The Unknown Brains

After one hour of power outage in Oxford, my internet was gone too… Well, the TED Global Experience is not perfect like this… The TED Long Beach stream was perfect for 4 days, only one talk was interrupted, all others were fine. When the stream was back again, Maz made us laugh. 🙂

I tweeted: #TED “The Jerry Seinfeld of TED”: Maz Jobrani. 🙂

My opinion: TED is a cloud gifted program.

Gero Miesenboeck, Optogeneticist

Now I reviewed the talks in this session, and immediately “Dr. Gero” was much more interesting. In fact his interest in finding and influencing the critic in the brain (that makes the decisions based on experience), is an extremely important brain research problem.

Heribert Watzke, Food scientist

Mr. Watzke told us that while the brain is only 2-3% of the total body mass, we use 25% of our bodily energy to run that expensive brain and cooking is an important part of our brain development, as a species. When humans started to cook food (and looking at our teeth he says, we were doing that for a very long time) we made energy more easily available to the human body and our brains. The more energy the more skilled and complex the brain can become. He points out that the gut has a neural management system of its own, and it is equivalent to a cat brain. So there is a reason why we say: I have this gut feeling… So, he say we should imagine having a cat in our guts. He closed his talk by saying: I cook therefore I am.

Gina Rudan (3 min. talk)

We have two G spots she says. She got rejected from a gifted program when she was a small girl on the upper west side of Manhattan. We have genius, she points out, and we made it to the gifted class of TED, either sitting in the audience or watching from home. Practical genius is in all of us she says and gives a few key words: Values, Creative Abilities, Passions, Strengths, Skills, Expertise. That is all you need to bring out your own practical genius. Get into the Genius Zone… Don’t let life de-genius you. Don’t compromise you genius. Share it and be part of the mindful foreplay at TED.

Stefano Mancuso, Plant neurobiologist

He gave a new perspective on plants. He even suggests to have plantoid robots instead of insectoids or androids… He speaks with a lovely Italian accent about lovely and exciting plants. He show how sun flower seedlings are playing (!) to be trained sun flowers when they grow up. He talks about Darwin’s science changing ideas in relation to the plant brain. Mancuso started his talk by showing how ignorant even the bible is about plans and he tells us that plants can sense, communicate, move and so on. He also compares plant roots’ networked complexity to the internet. And makes sure we know the snail in the animal eating plant remained alive. He also corrects David Attenborough’s mistake when he told us that a whale was the largest creature, when in fact the Mammoth Trees are much larger.

Here I remembered that some of us on the forum were thinking that a fungus was even larger, but of course fungus is a third category, beyond plants and animals. Still, it is much larger than a Mammoth Tree.


Sebastian Seung, Computational neuroscientist

Ok, the first really interesting speaker in this session. Wow… nice 3D images of neural sections. And branches on a neuron and synapses are shown. Vesicles  too. Neurotransmitter in it… spits it out if it wants to communicate. Connectomes are found if you color the 3D cube (nice colorful 3D image shown of a very small section of the brain). How are the brains of men and women different? Probably everyone’s’ brains are like spaghetti, everything is interconnected. The 3D section is by the way much smaller than a neuron. With a special microscope you can see details, and Sebastian hopes that in the future our entire connectome will be visible and researchable this way. I am not supposed to speak about feelings… right? – he says. But I sometimes feel wonder and despair he adds… He offers a metaphor for the connectome, it is like a stream bed. He also mentioned cryogenics, people who have their bodies frozen after death. He says, his approach to this is scientific, not judgmental. If connectomes, the stream beds of the human neural system are not destroyed while in a frozen state, those people might be able to see a future, that not many among the people watching this TED talk live will see…

Sebastian’s talk is extremely interesting and important. I believe the fact that we tend to live longer now, and with the development of medicine, and improvements in our environments and with the increase of global human collective consciousness, we have to understand that life extension is key. Why? Not only because of individual hopes. No. But because we invest in education and technology at never before seen levels, and we need to have longer lives to fully utilize our vast knowledge. I strongly believe this. I am curious about the future. About what we will be capable of, how we will change. I want to live to see scientific discoveries that we are not even thinking of as of yet. My motive for a long life is curiosity. What is your motive? Would you like to live a short life, with lots of fun, or a long curious one, with many types of mental fun?

His voice – one forum member commented, is like Tom Cruise’s voice. It is true. I do not like Tom Cruise however… but funny enough, there is a film, Vanilla Sky, with Tom Cruise, and it is relevant… extremely relevant to this talk. Now (as I just mentioned) I am no Tom Cruise fan, but one night I watched Vanilla Sky (I had no idea what it was, but the camera work and the interiors were really good so I got interested…) and actually it was a watchable movie, with an interesting twist at the end. And I feel Sebastian also put his movie-like interesting twists into his talk. He has a presence, a nice voice, I think he has the tool set of a movie or stage actor and the mind of a scientist. 🙂

Update (June, 2014): You can build the connectome as a citizen scientist with the Seung lab’s amazing science game: EyeWire. Even as a novice, I love it!


I think I had an especially low focus 90 minutes if I had to see all of these talks again to realize how brilliant they all were. I think I just did not pay attention for some odd reason for the first time. Especially shocking if we know that I love the brain as a topic. Thank god for the associate conference archive. 🙂


18:00 PM – 19:30 PM   Session 10: Who’s the Teacher?

Sugata Mitra, Education researcher

Self organized learning environment

The Hole in the Wall experiment, 1999-2001…

I love this idea already. He put in a screen into a wall for kids to play with it in slums in India. Kids recording and playing music in 4 days are shown. Kids downloading within 14 days. Groups of children can learn from each other to use computers (NO teacher involved). The Hyderabad Experiment 2002. Make yourself understood to the computer, it was the task. 2 months later: their accents changed and spoke like a Britt person (the software was set to pick up the British accent, but no other). If a teacher can be replaced by a machine, it should be…

If kids are interested, education happens… Kid saying: my e-mails hop across the ocean. Kids started to google their homework. Teachers noticed huge changes. I mean if the stuff is on google, why stuff it into your brain? 2006 he moved to Newcastle. The Kalikuppa Experiment 2007. Can Tamil speaking kids learn biotech on their own. 26 children… How long did you practice? Every day. 12 year old says: Apart from the fact that improper replication of genes causes genetic disease … we understood nothing. Method of “the grandmother”. Stand behind them. And admire them. Score up from 30 to 50. The Gateshead Experiment 2009. Each group of 4 gets a computer. You can change group. Like a lot of science is done, really, look at others, do something with it, and claim it is your idea. Task solved in 20 minutes, worst only 45 minutes. Score in two months still 76% average.

I completely believe him! I always felt I was prevented from learning in school. British grandmothers… granny cloud… mentor teaching via skype.

Turin… 2010? … 15 minutes later they had the answer even when he told them all the questions in a foreign language. 10 year olds. 30 minutes later: relativity was discovered. Self organizing systems. I cried and laughed during this talk. I feel that our education is about to finally change to the better, but my schooling was really bad. Every day I am trying to undo the damage that was done to me in Hungarian schools.

Here is the link to the talk:

By the way I wrote in April to Bruno Giussani that I would like to work on TED+Jane McGonigal’s idea+Ivy Leagues without walls. I suggested TED give degrees via Ivy Leagues to mentor-teachers who are experts in the TED experience. I would love to get a PhD for teaching via TED with the videos I translated, and the blogs I write. He wrote back saying that he forwarded my suggestions to the team. Later nothing happened. I inquired, but still nothing… Upsetting actually. Often nothing happens when you have an idea in the TED community… it is mostly just talking… too few actions…

Conrad Wolfram, Mathematician

Use computers for math learning and calculating. Teach students to ask the right questions. When people argue that kids should learn the basics of math before using computers to calculate, he says: do you force drivers to learn how to design a car before you let them drive? We need people who can feel math instinctively, and for that they need to be able to play with math problems on the computer. After all, when out of school they are going to work on computers and not on paper. We need real life examples that prepare students for the life after school. People need to learn to use math in a meaningful way and that today means that they use computers to calculate at work and at home. If you are an engineer who has a family, you will use your computer to design a car and examine your life insurance policy.

Ralph Simon

He told us how Bobby McFerrin’s song, Don’t Worry Be Happy was born…

Tom Chatfield, Gaming theorist

I will just suggest you watch this talk, that I translated into Hungarian after having seen it live during TED Long Beach:

Chris Anderson (TED), TED Curator

Chris was talking about cloud learning with online videos (like TED) around the globe. I am very exited about all this. I sent them several suggestions a few months back, but did not get any meaningful response. I hoped for some innovative, transformative project that he would announce tonight. I have so many ideas for this…

TED Global 2010 Oxford Regina Saphier Fourth Day


TED Global 2010 Oxford

Regina Saphier

Speaker by speaker blog, Fourth day

(TED Global 2010, Előadónkénti Blog, Negyedik nap)

I am writing this as it happens, in an impressionistic style, and it is 29 Celsius in here…

Friday, July 16, 2010

9:30 AM – 11:15 AM   Session 11: The Tiny Blue Dot

Johan Rockström, Sustainability expert

We are the first generation to receive information about what humanity is doing to the planet globally and scientifically, even in the popular media, so we can make a change based on that information and use it to our advantage even, in the long run. He is giving a graphic demo by literally sitting on an inflated plastic globe, and later demonstrated our fall, by actually falling of the stage. I followed some conversation on the chat wall and my eyes were not precisely on him, rather a bit to the right, and so I have no idea if he jumped deliberately, or accidentally. He just walked back up and continued as if nothing happened. He says our planetary temperature was never as balanced as recently (in planetary terms) and with our industrial impact after the Second World War we kicked it out of this unusual balance. Our Nitrogen use is extreme, for example. He proposes a new approach to climate change, a new way of thinking. Turn the crisis into opportunities, depending on what the local impact of the climate change. He showed examples that can be further studied via his website . And here is his TED talk .

Jason Clay, Market transformer

You can not wake up a person who is pretending to sleep… – he says… We are living on 1.3 Planet by now, if we consider the resources being used and wasted. The average American consumes 43 times more than and average African. But even an average cat in the developed world has a larger environmental impact than an African. Big issues!

Should we buy sustainable food, or should we have a choice between regular and sustainable? Definitely sustainable food is the target for all. Locally or globally… it must be sustainable. Leading businesses should start managing this Planet as if their life depended on it. Sustainability must become a precompetitive issue, not a consumer issue. Consumers should not be forced having to read micro print, research websites, and the like. All goods should be sustainable, so you can simply buy it. I so agree with this speaker!

He selected 35 places and 15 commodities to start with. He pinpointed key places and commodities to work with, and the attitude will spread from there he says. 100 companies control 25% of the key commodities in the world (which is shocking actually, to me…). We can work with them, he says. That 25% drives the future 45% of production and output that has to be sustainable as well…

Here is my take on this: make all packaging degradable (it is possible, if you have spent 4 days watching TED Global 2010, you should know…). In New York I used to recycle, it was easy. No problem. There was a man employed and paid who sorted after we also sorted the items. Also in Ann Arbor it was easy, as you walked out, you just dropped the entire bag of your plastic and paper with one move into a huge container. Manageable and economically acceptable proportion of labor on your part. (I still think it can not be the future. You have to make waste that does not take a lifetime to manage.) In Budapest, there are educational recycle boxes on streets for dummies, and you have to transport all your recyclable trash to those plastic giants with tiny holes in them. And now the bad joke: you have to put in each item one by one. I wanted to be a good citizen and tried to fit in at least with my trash handling (I might never be able to fit in any other way ever again I guess… even this was short lived). One day I announced to my friends and family that I refuse to take part in this idiocy. I told them: do you know that you are wasting hours of your life doing this, while policymakers think you are stupid, so they make small holes, square or circle shaped ones, where you are forced to drop in each plastic, glass, aluminum or paper item one by one, and in turn this free labor is utilized by Chinese polar outfit manufacturers (often sweatshops) to make your polar shirts that you will later purchase for a lot of money. You are pushing in the trash by hand, even if you are a degree holder, with valuable skills, and a Chinese billionaire’s new yacht is being built by your very hand on the other side of the box on my mind. Stop building luxury yachts for Chinese rich moguls. Companies: make all household packaging completely biodegradable if you want this Planet to survive and let us make good choices each time we have to purchase something. And people: purchase less, as if your life depended on it.

Ok, so back to this excellent talk, about good news: on salmon agriculture, new guidelines are introduced, based on his work. Reputational risk forced companies to work together. 40 of them signed already. Applause all over the theater. TEDsters love this good news. I wonder if the disappearing vitamin D will be put back into salmon… (Note: Research shows, that farm salmon has only 25% of the vitamin D compared to wild Alaska salmon, and that due to the conditions and the food they get. And our population in the developed world is vitamin D deficient in epidemic proportions, which is probably one reason behind the increase in cancer… So, better salmon, better food in general, higher vitamin D level, healthier people… and a more sustainable humanity.)

Mars is also mentioned: they improve chocolate production. Public domain chocolate developed to use less land. We have to think differently. Whatever was sustainable for 6 billion people is not going to be enough for 9 million. Lots if key companies, that you and I know, are involved in this. And they will be forced to participate in this project. This is his good news.

Loved this talk for the content and for the knowledge demonstrated by this speaker.

Rachel Sussman, Artist, photographer

I hope I got the names and the ages right below. 🙂 For pictures go to Rachel’s website.

Uareta plant… 3 000 years old, a relative of parsley.

Rachel is researching continuously living plants. She traveled the world for this. Once even was left to her own devices when a researcher did not turn up on the fjord where she was dropped of. Humbling experiences. Armillaria Death Rings… The humongous fungus or honey mushrooms (?). It is a 2 400 years old fungus. Brain coral, 2000 years old. Clonal Quaking (talán rezgő nyárfa liget lehet?) in Aspen, 80 000 years, male, and immortal. She mentioned the fact that animals never live that long… like a giant clam, 405 years old, and died in the lab while its age was determined. Supposedly immortal jelly fish that can reverse into the polyp form… she is not sure if it really is immortal… More wondrous plants displayed: Scotland trees in the cemeteries, older than the Church itself. Sagole Baobab … 2000 years old… so huge, sometimes it is a bar or a prison… Welwitschia Mirabilis 2 000 years. Has the longest leaves too. Underground forest: 13 000 years (clonal). Creosota Bush 12 000 ys, grows in a circle. Clonal Mojave Yocca, 12 000 + years old… 400 000 years old Siberia Actinobacteria, doing DNA repair in extreme cold, so it is not dormant, growing as long as 500 000 years probably. Map of the oldest living things…

Really good talk, interesting points, excellent pictures. High novelty rating on my scale. 🙂

Rachel Armstrong: Carbon Capture

We, TEDsters, know Rachel well. She is talking about her programmable chemical complexes and the carbon cycle. Links technology and nature. These technologies can have positive environmental impact. 1.5 % of the Earth’s surface: 40% of the carbon emission. We need to take larger steps, individual efforts are not going to work fast enough. Let’s create a positive 21st century.

Ze Frank, Humorist, web artist

He made up a scientific article about insignificance. He showed how easy it is to make people believe any rubbish they hear online or at a conference… He remembers the Earth Sandwich project, that TEDsters know well. Youngmenowme:… Anyway, he brought the good news… in his very Ze Frank way and we loved it:

Dimitar Sasselov, Astronomer

Copernicus reburial. Copernican revolution. He was buried with 14 others. And genetic testing helped to find his bodily remains. From Copernicus we jump to the NASA Kepler Launch in 2009. Finding New Earth… Transit method: dimming of the light is detected to detect smaller planets and we can tell how large, we can describe its orbit, period of its orbit, and so on.

What have we learned? –he asked. Now, for the first time, we can say that small planets are dominating the galaxy. We can study them now. Are they co-habitable? 100 million habitable planets are out there, and we soon discover at least 60 of them. Is there molecular diversity: life as a chemical phenomenon on those planets? Is it like gravity: same everywhere, or not? We can answer these on the Earth. He shows us an animation: cell-like bubbles form and divide and have a membrane. The Harvard Origins of Life Innovative Project… Life insignificant in terms of size. Life is significant in terms of time. New revolution, with synthetic biology… Another excellent talk, with high novelty rating from me, as a TED translator and blogger, having seen several hundred TED talks.

Here is his TED talk. 

12:15 AM – 14:00 PM Session 12: Waging Peace

Stefan Wolff, Ethnic conflicts scholar

I don’t like university type lectures like this one. I just don’t. One dimensional… no interaction between the viewer and the speaker. A good TED talk is spinning… a good TED talk engages. You just feel the difference. And after a good TED talk, you remember the speaker and the key ideas in the talk… I am a very interested viewer, still he can not keep my attention. He does not make me deeply engaged. The topic is still very important, but I don’t remember what he was talking about. A typical scholar who talks because he has to, and has zero passion, or is unable to show that passion. I am sure he could do better as a TED speaker. As Sir Ken Robinson would say: he is not in his element, and we can feel that. He does it, because he is ok at it, but he does not love this topic. It is not him.

William Perrin, Community activist

Enable your neighborhood via a blog. Move if the area is terrible… or, as he did, get involved in your local community and change it. Good talk about how to make the world a better place when you engage in local politics and enable online debate. Good speaker, excellent activist, exemplary citizen. High practicality rating from me. Actual ideas can be replicated that were mentioned in this talk.

Mallika Sarabhai, Dancer, actor, activist

Men defined women. Mallika telling the story of suppressed women in history who must rise. She is telling mini narratives of women rising and standing up for themselves.

After this performance, Chris makes men in the audience stand up to celebrate women. Men quickly stand up and clap. In turn, Chris also makes women stand up and celebrate the men who support them (if I got this right), which triggers a surprisingly slow reaction from the women in the TED audience… very telling actually… would be nice to know exactly what this means… Are they suspicious of men only pretending to support them? Are they used to being celebrated? Are they reluctant to trust and celebrate the men who suppressed and defined them for so long? Or are these women mostly unaware of being suppressed? Or are they women who are never suppressed? Those men still willingly do show support… only because it is fashionable to say there is change happening and more needed…? I do not think those women know that it is a huge thing historically that they sit there, with degrees and freedom. Often I think men and women have no idea about things going on in society, even when they are supposedly highly educated. A women who never faced discrimination, will never feel it. Chris made a good move, it made all this visible.

Zainab Salbi, Activist and social entrepreneur

She grew up with the colors of war. Sounds of sirens. Fear of dying during war. The fear of loosing loved ones. Fear of dying from inside out. I dye 10 times one day, a war victim told her. There should only be one death for one life. Inevitabilities… the word itself… cause her some trouble. Anyway, she wanted to say that those are not just inevitable casualties by number, they are individuals.

She says: 1 year of world military spending equals 2900 years of the UN budget allocated to women!

There are two wars. One side lead by men. Another side lead by women. Women keep schools, hospitals and factories open. One of them walked for 20 years. Her toe nails grew back: she says that means there is peace. Women who are not raping, not killing, not harming, and male students, and male doctors, who are not killing, but saving people and communities, are also excluded from discussion about economy and cultures. Women should be involved 50%. Investing in women and girls is a key issue. Reverse spending trends and lasting peace might result. Invest in women to ensure that there are no more wars. There is a field where many men and women meet. Let us all meet on that field.