Regina Saphier TED Global 2013 Day 3

Thursday, June 13, 2013

11:00 – 12:45pm Session 8: State of the Nations

The ideology of free individual choice is denying the massive social changes that have huge impact on our choices, freedoms and on individual lives in general. This leads to the feeling of failure on a massive scale by individuals (note: in turn a social influence in itself: you are surrounded by highly frustrated people). Paradoxically, in the age of abundant information, ignorance and denial is on the rise (I totally agree, I can see that in my own environment, and that again is a social influence, being surrounded by ignorant people when you seek out knowledge all the time and try to share it). Most people have passion for ignorance, not for knowledge, she says. People are living longer with ignorance…? It is what she stated, that research shows that people who seek out adequate health services live shorter… Why? Are you sure? Where is that research? Anyway, she decided not to take choices so seriously, because most of our choices are unconscious and irrational. She finished with: We have choices regarding the kinds of societies we want to live in… Not sure she managed to explain her point… So, do we have choices, or not? I think our individual choices are limited by our powerful, unacknowledged unconscious, by misleading social and personal narratives, and by ignorant and frustrated societies made of confused individuals (eg: researchers and TED speakers unable to make a coherent point on stage…).

  • Eric X. Li Investor and political scientist, Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute

I developed my notes of Eric X. Li’s talk into a full independent blog entry: The United States of China

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Excellent speaker. She spoke about sexuality wrapped into religion and influencing politics in the Arab world. The sexual revolution is still ahead in the Arab world. She is advocating freedom of choice, open debate, the refusal of double standards for men and women, for a healthier social climate, and in fact for physically and emotionally healthier societies.

Economy, society and environment must be considered as a coherent system.

He says, majors usually know what they are doing, because they are from the neighborhood. Ours is not the world of states and borders, our world is cities plus border-less issues, like illness, war, education, transportation and international travel. Nation states are unable to solve global problems democratically. Democracy (from the Greek word “demos”…) was born in the ancient Greek “Poleis”. (But tell me, does democracy work? And stop telling me that there is nothing better yet, rather start creating what is better.) “Thank you so much my fellow citizens”, – were his last words on stage. Well, the right last word indeed… “citizens”… Democratic people of cities need to make their own policies… instead of being lost in rotten party political narratives of nation states. He made his point, most definitely.

2:15 – 4:00pm Session 9: Forces of Change

She is from Zambia. A highly educated and elegant woman with a “China will solve Africa’s problems” narrative. (No, it won’t.) Your democracy will only go on forever if the per capita income is above 6,000 USD, she told us. A new kind of economic system is needed for many countries. No middle class, no democracy. Keep an open mind, different countries need different solutions.

Historically all of the global regions are growing, including Africa. Every poor country is struggling with corruption. Well to do countries have little corruption. Charles told us, that there is huge growth and democratization going on in Africa and he also showed us his optimistic predictions.

Africa is the cradle of innovation that grew out of necessity and scarcity. At this point my internet stopped working… I had to wait, and I was thinking, this is such an interesting talk… I am going to have to review it from the Archive in a few hours. At the end of the talk my internet came back. Did you know, Toby asked us, that even humanity was created in Africa? I am wondering, will I see an era when it won’t matter where you are from? Will we ever talk about our origins like this?: “I am from Earth.” I am sure we will…

After the music, between the two talks a really funny video was shown! Africans collecting radiators for freezing people in Norway. 😉 Excellent, well executed mirror, with humor and music to show how some of these campaigns must feel to people in African countries… Because lets face it, Aid Campaigns are framed as if people in Africa were helpless children… in other words, these are patronizing projects. Stop this patronizing narrative and start dealing with the capable adult humans of Africa. (Because yes, it is cold up north, but Norway has a lot of oil… obviously no need for radiators from Africa. Right? The same way, yes, African countries are often poor, but there are many human and natural resources there, those need to be used in a smart ways for them to prosper, instead of sending aid.)

Well, when he told the story of the really old lady voting and having no clue who she voted for… he did say this as a positive story of the spirit there… but come on, she has no idea? What is the point of having the power to vote if you have no knowledge of what you are voting for? Should the right of voting not come with the obligation to know what the hell you are doing????

He was an orphan on his own as a teenager. He had to escape North Korea because he was starving. First he went to China and stayed in an underground shelter for NK refugees. Later, in the US his foster father shared his food with him, and this gesture motivated him to start studying really hard. At the end of his talk the host told him he could send a message to his sister and mother (in case they are somehow watching his TED talk) and he did speak to them but he was shaken so badly at this point, he could hardly speak. I felt like my heart was breaking apart, it was so painful to watch. I was crying and crying, I could feel how hard this was on him. I wish a better life for people in North Korea. This suffering must be stopped!

This just can not be solved from the inside. North Korea is held hostage by its own leaders, who rule with terror. The only inside job: the collapse of the ruling class. Until that happens, people will suffer. And international sanctions will only cause more suffering to those who already suffer (hunger, brainwashing, fear of the other, trauma, lack of valid information, isolation, enormous vulnerability). Other nations must be involved. Understand: those people are held hostage by their own people in a highly homogeneous society, artificially divided into the “trusted” and the “untrusted”. So, therefore diplomacy with a totalitarian regime looks like ongoing (apparently endless) hostage and crisis negotiation. This must be sustained. The exhausted hostages, millions of fellow human beings: need help.

5:00 – 6:45pm Session 10: Imagined Beauty

This was fun. 🙂

I love clouds! 🙂 I am too a cloud spotter. I am going to send Gavin some of my cloud photos later (perhaps).

How to get from the known to the unknown in your research… talking about the process, creatively… using improvisational theater. Changing the frozen culture of science. Telling scientists to stop being cold and rational, and start feeling, use improvisation, intuition, music and at this point he starts singing. So funny, I am actually laughing as I am writing this. 🙂

Instead of painting on canvas in 2D, she started painting on people in 3D and took photos of the outcome. Very interesting actually. I could feel that she enjoys the process very much.

Well, you have to listen to this. This is like explaining music…

Forgács András (with his obviously Hungarian name and MIT background) growing meat and leather, making both processes more cultured (no need to kill any animals in the future). I think this is a good idea for the leather… not yet convinced of the meat… can you make sure that the meat has the biological properties of healthy meat?

Hmm, he is actually a good singer and musician, uninhibited on stage and also entertaining. Interesting voice. This is the first time at this TED conference that I like the music.

Where do you come from? This is a very complicated question to answer today. More important however: Where are you going? This is a talk about the home being inside of you. I think he was talking about something I wrote about a few days ago on my facebook page: “After a really hard and long day (stressful due to the lack of sensitivity, empathy and humanity in the community), I walked out onto my balcony into the cool and dark evening to relax and contemplate, and suddenly I see the International Space Station silently flying by like a bright star from right to left, right in front of my home, high up in the sky. And this brought a smile onto my face. The ISS for me is the technological symbol of human introspection. Looking back on humanity. Looking back into yourself. Exploring the landscapes. (Regina Saphier, June 06, 2013, Budapest, Hungary)”

This blog entry was last updated on June 19, 2013.

Regina Saphier TED Global 2013 Day 2

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

8:45 – 10:15am Session 4: Money Talks

Living during the time of a new economic revolution, we need a new: New Deal! She spoke about the problem that the rich are getting richer and the middle class is going down really… The industrial revolution showed us what it means to change a system, and she listed the wars, systems changes and financial crisis that societies and people had to suffer through to get to an era when we are healthier, living longer, and even are taller because of better nutrition, etc. Meanwhile today is the era of the plutocrats who are in fact not creating enough jobs, but are really professional when it comes to tax optimization, and this is why a New Deal is imminent, because we are already in a second revolution (also related to technology) and one financial crisis is already ruining our lives. This topic also came up at the TED Long Beach event earlier this year and it is a very important one. Governments are already contemplating giving basic income to every citizen who is not able to obtain work, because 1. There are not enough jobs, 2. People become desperate in such situation in masses, 3. That means upheaval, fighting, attacks, wars… and that needs to be prevented… At the same time educated citizens need to work out a New Deal so that people are not only silenced, but also get to live a normal, sustainable life with dignity.

Modeling economic crisis and predicting them by looking at natural or systemic signs of crisis, like a birth, a land slide, or a rocket engine starting. Economic and market crisis can be predicted scientifically. Didier told us how. He also told us how his valid predictions were initially not taken seriously by so called market experts. “Gouverner, c’est prevoir”. Governing is about the ability of foresight. I wrote many years ago on another blog of mine that the Hungarian government was asleep while the economic crisis was approaching… I could not understand how that bunch of people could be called “government” when those idiots (we learned yesterday that political idiots are the ones acting alone without any coordination) had no foresight of something so visible that even I could see it coming and overwhelming Hungary. It was all over the international news that something was wrong with the markets internationally, it was clear it will reach us, yet the Hungarian “government” was surprised, and the opposition was no more skilled, made no predictions, suggested no protective measures. It was shocking to me.

She says a new, independent, transparent, self sustaining and nonprofit rating agency needs to be created and she is of course right. Rating agencies of today are intentionally distorting the international markets based on invisible background economic interests. This must change for more realistic valuation.

Where are the European Googles? She shows an image, on the left: Zuckerberg, the US, on the right: Kafka (bureaucracy), the EU. The public sector suffocates the EU, we know this slogan. However, most of the key technology in a smart phone was funded by DARPA and other government agencies in the US. Just think about that! So the EU needs to become a better government-like investor in order for the European Google to be created. Mariana is a pleasantly crazy smart speaker, I hope to see more of her at TED.

It is all about attention… a very skilled performer picking a spectator’s pocket on stage. Really entertaining. 🙂 However, I do not think the credit card was meant to fly off from the performer’s hand behind the subjects back… that was a mistake right there. But still a very funny performance that should make you think: What would you do if you could control people’s attention to that extent?

Introducing the social impact bond. Invest in social programs to prevent re-offending by criminals. Save money for governments this way, and finally investors get their money back when offenders don’t relapse and become working citizens (less prisons are needed). Win-win-win.13 social interest bond programs in the UK already. Flexibility is needed too for these to work. Public, private, social, civic, all need to be involved in a partnership to bring on social change this way.

11:00 – 12:45pm Session 5: Listening to Nature

Measuring biodiversity by measuring how it sounds. Knowing that birds are gone by playing the sounds that were recorded in a park year by year…

Mono-cultures and pesticides are killing bees. Bees are flying greater distances to find diverse flowers, are hungry and when they finally find pollen, it is full of toxic pesticide and this complex situation kills them. You can help! Plant local bee friendly flowers everywhere and do not use pesticides. Flowering weeds are also very important to bees.

Why malaria nets are not used inside malaria societies where malaria is viewed as a fact of life (and the nets are also uncomfortable). And in other more developed countries there is no malaria because of better and healthier infrastructure… So, we need a new malaria attitude against this otherwise amazingly resilient and interesting parasite. Nets are not the long term solution against malaria. So, why is Bill Gates shipping nets to those people? It is true that Europeans are also not wearing masks during the influenza season… even if it is a good idea, people just don’t like to do that…

Introducing the robotic cockroach… or the robo roach… for teaching purposes and for brain simulation.

Real time composition on the TED stage. (I assumed this is what improvisation was about.) I think it is an intuitive ambiance and introspection based composing style, real time, based on solid performance skills and practice. It is what I used to do whenever I set down at a piano when I was younger, with the tiny difference that I had no clue about piano playing. 😉 Yaron says he turns off his conscious mind and lets his unconscious play in flow.

Suzana is a smart primate on Earth eating cooked food. Like all of us humans. It is basically what she was saying. She counted that the human brain has 86 billion neurons and our primate specific brains need the energy in “predigested” or cooked food. Raw food eating primates have less neurons and smaller brains. So, what made us so smart is: cooking!

Chris announced that TED Global goes to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in October 2014! We already knew that TED Long Beach becomes TED Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada in 2014. For me it only means that there will be two major TED events to blog about in the evening and by night… (not during the morning and the afternoon, like now, during TED Global… the really hard ones were/are TED events on the west coast of the US and Canada… that means 9 hours of time difference and writing until the morning each time…).

Hilarious examples of sexual (anatomical and behavioral) diversity in the animal kingdom. Very good talk.

2:15 – 4:00pm Session 6: World on Its Head

Talked about the crisis of institutions and how disadvantaged groups need to learn the code of these institutions to be able to successfully fight back for their own wellbeing.

She introduced us to the Babushkas (senior ladies who refused to move) still living in the dead zone of Chernobyl in Ukraine.

Telling us about the development of Latin America.

We learn about the Middle Eastern conflicts.

Making political art. Being critical about politics.

Humanizing Muhammad.

  • May El-Khalil Founder of the Beirut Marathon

    May El-Khalil

    May El-Khalil (TED Global 2013)

Peacemaking is a marathon… May told her story of training as an athlete, being hit by a bus, having had 36 surgeries to be able to walk again and meanwhile organizing the Beirut Marathon to unite people of her nation and to create leaders for the future.

5:00 – 6:45pm Session 7: Regeneration

Growing bone tissue in vivo (within the human body) and also using her special technique to regenerate heart tissue.

Regenerating the damaged brain. The brain has its own regenerative capacity even in MS (we see images about this). There are stem cells that are responsible for those slow and minor regenerative processes. This slow process needs to be promoted to make it more efficient. Healing and drug discovery… using brain stem cells of the patient.

  • Grégoire Courtine Spinal cord researcher

    Grégoire Courtine Spinal cord researcher

    Grégoire Courtine Spinal cord researcher (TED 2013)

On his way to heal spinal cord injury in people. He can do it in rats already. And he is sexy with this cute French accent in English. Especially like his upper lips. 😉 I love that he showed his team too and told us it was a community effort and he is “only” the maestro. (Still I am sorry for the rats…)

Introducing the Nanopatch for safer and pain free vaccination. Because it injects into the right skin surface (we see a brilliant microscopic image of the skin with the Nanopatch in it), the immune response is much better at much lower doses. Also, the vaccines used in the Nanopatch are dry, so no need for refrigeration.

Taking pictures of sound waves, magnetic fluids and burning whiskey in a bottle. Not exactly sure how this last talk fits in with this mega powerful session of game changing scientists. Nice images, but not scientific enough… so I take it as art. But for art it was not as powerful… Still an amazing session it was!

Bruno tells us: TEDx-ers are watching online from 53 countries. A truly global event.

Three brothers playing the same instrument at the same time… looks a bit bizarre on the TED stage… I mean, it really looks like a “foursome”… if you know what I mean… 😉

 

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Regina Saphier TED Global 2013 Day 1

Natasha Bedingfield

 

I am as usual in Hungary, more specifically in Budapest, and watching TED Global 2013 plus live blogging about it. Meanwhile in my district in Buda we have major flooding along the Danube, we also had several powerful storms like the one yesterday, we had two earthquakes during the last two months between 4.2 and 4.8, and Hungary is struggling economically (also in social terms and professionals are leaving by the thousands to find jobs abroad). My life too was full of hardship for the last few years. TED conferences gave me perspective, hope and intellectual resources. It was at a TED conference last year that I discovered Coursera and started another blog about it. Next year I am probably going to phase out my TED live conference blog after we celebrate 30 years of TED in 2014, and I am going to focus more on Coursera. I am still thinking about the future of my blogging… Let me know if you would like me to continue both blogs. By now I have solid experience in global blogging in English (as opposed to more limited local blogging in Hungarian) and I am thinking about new blog topics…

Coursera was anyway what I was really looking for in the first place when I stumbled upon TED many years ago… I had something to watch until Coursera finally manifested itself… Thank you Richard! Thank you Chris! Thank you TED speakers!

Lets see what is happening at TED Global this year. These are Edinburgh, Scotland times below, please look up your own local time relative to the program.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

11:00 – 12:45pm Session 1: Moments of Truth

Generally I detest when politicians speak at TED. Still, this appeared to be a humble talk about democracy in crisis internationally. There was even some review of democracy’s history. Papandreou envisions the EU as a citizens’ “Agora”. Give immigrants a European citizenship, he says. Lets not be “Idiots” standing on our own, lets examine our issues together.

Talked about the sustainability strategy of IKEA and other major corporations.

He asked during his passionate talk: Why shouldn’t we all have a Serengeti on our doorsteps? Well, I am thinking: I am ok with the lions in Africa… And yes, whales are important for the existence of planktons… not only the other way round… but as the speaker himself pointed out: who are we to decide what kinds of animals get to live in our neighborhoods… Why would I want to let him decide?

From a land where driving a car by a woman is punished by direct harassment to her family… It happened to her, she was sent to jail, therefore she became an activist for the right to drive. Saudi Arabia was the last place where women could not drive and were punished for even attempting to drive once. It turns our, there was no law, this was some unwritten custom. There was her land and there was the rest of the world. She succeeded because others joined her protest and women are now driving in Saudi Arabia.

Saying no to the old school feminist narrative of putting your job first. Bread-winning and care-giving are equally important and governments should invest in both like Sweden and Norway does. Make care-giving cool for men. She is basically talking about humanizing society, accepting differences, and let people be who they want to be, the way they want to live. Finally she pointed out that she grew up in a time when her parents were smoking, and when racial segregation was the norm. She pointed out that change is happening, but how fast, that depends on us.

2:15 – 4:00pm Session 2: Those Flying Things

Amazing demo of drones in flight indoors. Balancing a glass of water in the air by a drone? No problem.

Explaining the flexibility of conservation drones. Low cost tools to survey huge areas.

Using drones in logistics. Getting supplies, like medication to areas that are unreachable on roads. The cost is low, the speed is high. The beginning of a new paradigm in transportation? (Get your sushi by a drone in no time and make all delivery people jobless…hmm…? I always have this dilemma…) Engage in social fiction to make it happen: lift people out of poverty… (but do it so that you do not push others into poverty).

Weaponized drones are still controlled by humans but human control for them to work as tools of killing: no longer a technical requirement. Autonomous operation is part of them. The capability is there already. Drones today are able to make the decision to kill a human on their own! Is this the future we want? Robots killing people? Pushing responsibility away from humans…? Anonymous war? Will you know your enemy? How can you protect yourself from such faceless attackers hiding behind robotic weapons…? Advanced nations are data driven and opinion leaders are easily identified by their data and social network usage. Easy targets. This could suffocate free speech. We need a treaty on robotic weapons. No robot privacy in public places!

3D panorama imaging demonstrated by one of my favorite TED speakers, Blaise (such a nice man). As you walk your camera takes photos and stitches them into a flow of images.

Looking at  the forest and landscapes with bio sensors from the air. Greg shows us how he is able to deeply analyze the forest with his spectrometer, showing the biodiversity, living and dead trees, their growth rate, the impact of animals and human activity (like illegal gold-mining). Brilliant technology.

5:00 – 6:45pm Session 3: Exquisite Enigmatic Us

Sleep is vital! The quality of your sleep impacts your mental health.

Our minds are able to mislead us when it comes to memories. Memories can even be artificially planted into human minds.

Mixing culture, language and media heroes.

Speaking to us about the brain’s thermostat when it comes to weight gain or weight loss. It feels like Sandra experienced a lot of trauma and her anxiety level is very high to tolerate the stress of the TED stage. Remember, have compassion, do not judge, rather ask: What happened to her? And in her TED talk she talks about that… I feel how she is struggling. It took her a lot of courage to go on stage and speak about eating, culture, mind, body and anxiety.

Excellent speaker, just like Jane, her twin sister, who is now a regular TED speaker. Still, I am not entirely convinced Kelly… I think all this sounded way too idealistic: you now believe (after believing the opposite for 10 years) that stress is making us stronger… you are less likely to pass away from stress related causes and are more likely to become successful at the task that is stressful, if you think stress helps you do what you do. Why am I not convinced?

Kelly McGonigal

She told us, if you believe stress is bad for you, your blood vessels contract during stressful events, while if you believe that stress is good for you, your blood vessels relax. This could be, yes, but what if you were traumatized in the past, and no matter what you think, your blood vessels just keep contracting due to neurological or genetic damage? Also, she stated that while financial stress raises your risk factor by some 30%, taking care of someone removes that risk… due to the wonderful impact of a famous stress hormone: oxytocin. This contradicts Christakis’s findings regarding care taking, networks and stress (often killing the caretaker and stressing out friends and family in your network), and also contradicts the Columbia U. research regarding higher status and stress… the higher your status the better you handle stress… So, this new finding of yours needs more examination, perhaps another 10 years.

Still, I am sure what you think of stress and what your attitude is like, that does impact your body via your mind, definitely.

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Regina Saphier TED Long Beach 2013 Day 4

English: Portrait of Julia Sweeney

Julia Sweeney (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Friday, March 1, 2013

8:30 – 10:15

Session 11: Who Are We?

Are we getting smarter or are we just better trained to take those IQ tests? Moving from the concrete thinking to taking the hypothetical seriously. Our abstraction is now powerful. However people today also live in the bubble of the present. Still, educated masses posses advanced abilities today that the ruling class in the past could not imagine. This new level of mental ability gives him hope.

Thinking about death, natural duality of children’s thinking, the function of beliefs… At this point I would like to mention that this is the first time that I am TED live blogging without my maternal grandmother being alive. This was the first time I lost a closed loved one, me being over 40, and her passing at the age of 89. I am sure, in a more advanced and less stressful society my grandmother would have lived up to 99 or a 100. I miss her.

Psychopaths have underdeveloped amygdalas. Daniel suggests that the plasticity of the brain holds the opportunity for change in their behavior. He believes that human nature can change with practice in many cases. We need: Restorative Justice Programs. I agree.

Jared spoke about the value of elderly in traditional societies and how elderly are valuable in our modern society. One reason why Americans undervalue old people is due to literacy. Old people are no longer the only holders of unwritten experience, knowledge and stories. Also, in the US, young people leave their homes for college and the physical distance between child and parent is huge. In addition American society is emphasizing independence … therefore old people appear a burden when they are no longer able to care for themselves. However, old people still have value, knowledge, important life experiences, and can provide support to their families.

He told us his story of an accident changing his life and him years later facing the terribly limited and simple minded man who caused that traffic accident. He realized that the person who ruined his young life created a narrative within himself that protected him from having to face himself (him as a killer, him as a person who caused Joshua’s bodily pain, and so on). Joshua had to face a life so unexamined in that man that there was no point in expecting an apology. I think Joshua is a powerful speaker, an intelligent, successful, and strong person.

11:00 – 12:45

Session 12: A Ripple Effect?

Telling the story of effective altruism. He shows rich and not so rich people giving, and examples of charities that help you give better.

Acts of kindness cards… Kindness is accessible to everyone. Give  kindness and change the world around you.

Charity CEO’s earn low wages for their education level, and nonprofit market share is stuck at 2% of the US GDP. An extra 1% of the GDP would result in 150 billion dollars for social causes. Society has to invest more into nonprofits to be able to raise more funds for solving huge problems.

Look up her other talks on TED. She summed up the TED 2013 content in a funny way.

Global music on the TED stage, his famous virtual choir now partly performing live via skype. TED Long Beach is closing now, and next year TED 2014 will be happening in Vancouver Canada.

Regina Saphier TED Long Beach 2013 Day 3

Thursday, February 28, 2013

11:00 – 12:45

Session 8: Coded Meaning

Well, right in the middle of this Session the stream again started to break down… very very very annoying. It spoils your experience, it kicks you out of your flow.

TED2013_0057974_DSC_7265

TED2013 Saki Mafundikwa   (Photo credit: TED Conference)

We are introduced to written African languages and symbols. The first alphabet was created in Africa.

Texting is not writing, not formal. No. It is more like speaking. Speaking liberally with our hands.

Sign language in the age of computing and mobile technologies. Text can be translated into sign language animation… directions can be also displayed by sign language on a smart phone. It is very important to people who are deaf. The problem is not the disability, the problem is that many technologies are not yet accessible to people with disabilities.

How to teach autistic kids abstraction? Ajit tells us how he developed a visual educational tool for tablets. As an outcome, he arrived at free speech that is independent of language. He created a language engine, containing the possibility of universal translation… and language learning that is more like native language learning, not foreign language learning (these two happen in different parts of the brain, after I think age 12…).

TED2013_0058640_D41_0793

TED2013 Ajit Narayanan (Photo credit: TED Conference)

 

Raghava… promoting his liberal art…

Names of dolphins… sounds of dolphins… communicating with dolphins… The web stream is terrible… My computer has issues communicating with the TED technology… I am sure I would be more fluent with dolphins…

  • Adam Spencer
  • Science communicator

    Adam Spencer | Mathematics Enthusiast | TED@Sydney

    Adam Spencer | Mathematics Enthusiast | TED@Sydney (Photo credit: TED Conference)

This was a fantastic talk, by a geek wrapping prime numbers and his love for the Higgs boson into humor. Me too, I love the Higgs boson and science and technology (and art and writing), so I think I am a geek too who feels lucky to live during this era. I am not into math because I had terrible math teachers, but those teachers did not manage to destroy my interest in science, so I kind of understood what Adam was saying. However, I am not sure if I could talk about his topic the same way… he really has a skill that makes him perfect for communicating the story of mathematics and science.

And for some reason the stream was fine now… it fluctuates all the time.

2:15 – 4:00

Session 9: Indelicate Conversation

We hear all about human digestion, toilets, digestive illnesses, sanitation.

Nano coating, waterproofing.

Winner of the IG Nobel. This was the most creepy yet fascinating talk… about homosexual necrophilia among ducks and other animals. Who knew…

It is a Victorian, outdated idea that sex and economic power should go together (not sure why he says that… it originated from earlier cultures). He says we need to become more tolerant because everyone has a closet to come out of… due to the social stigma that is forced on people unnecessarily… think of cultures where people are not stigmatized for who they are. And men should stop trying to define women’s freedoms. In addition, men are not from Mars and women are not from Venus. Both are from Africa.

She had a hip replacement and after that decided to learn hip hop.

Demonstrated how cyber attacks impact people and asked everyone to use the basic security measures while using smart phones, tablets, other kinds of computers. He is a really good speaker.

He is definitely under cover, because he can not show his face while on stage… He has a very dangerous job in Africa… but he is very determined and also successful at what he is doing.

5:00 – 6:45

Session 10: Secret Voices

Surprise guest: Ben Géza Affleck talking about his work in the Congo… he introduces the Orchestra Symphony Kimbanguis from Congo. (The second one played was: Brahms: V. Magyar Tánc, V. Hungarian Dance… Did you know that Ben got his Hungarian middle name “Géza” because his parents really loved their Hungarian neighbor?)

Artistic camouflage. Blending in with the ruins of China’s planned market in transition to becoming a free market, or with party propaganda posters, with toxic supermarket food, with news rooms, with Venice, with lamps, with newsstands, with ruins of actual buildings. Very interesting images.

Dolphins playing with symbols in water, a Bonobo playing with a keyboard and making music. These four speakers pointing into a future where other species will be connected by the internet too. The most magical moment was when the Bonobo played musical notes on the keyboard… the fingers carefully touching and making sounds.

Talking about the power social media gives people when protest are really needed.

Mental health professional telling the story of the voices in her head and how she survived the mistreatment that followed when she mentioned the voice to others… She is a survivor of the narrow mindedness around her, and she is a powerful advocate for like-minded people. In fact when she was talking, several times I felt like: now this is the last sentence… now perhaps this one… because of the power and intonation… each line could have been a closing line… and I was thinking, perhaps a voice in her head is telling her what else she should say… and when she was really done, June asked her if she still hears voices… and she answered: yes, I do, like: this is what you forgot to say… That was interesting, that somehow I could tell that from the way she presented the last 6-10 sentences. Anyway, I am glad that she managed to come to the conclusion, that what matters is not the symptoms, but what happened to her, and that she needed compassion, acceptance and support to recover from the traumas before and after her first diagnosis of schizophrenia.

She escaped North Korea and she told her powerful story… I grew up in a communist country, we could not easily leave Hungary for decades. What she escaped is much more dramatic compared to my experiences of the seventies and eighties in Hungary. When we had the revolution in 1956, I am asking you, where were the powerful democracies? Why did those nations passively watch people in my country suffer? Why was the assumption of ignorant people in wealthy countries that we wanted or deserved the shit we had to put up with? So, again and again I am asking: How much longer are you going to passively watch the suffering of people in North Korea? Those people were brainwashed, emotionally tortured, physically hurt. Do you think it is what people want there? No! I know that the North Korean people want your help even without knowing. I know that the North Korean dictatorship will eventually fall apart, but the process could be expedited by creative diplomacy… Just go and stop that madness, because people there are hurting.

A powerful and poetic talk about a bullied child growing up to be a powerful poet.

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.

SMtalk_frame_smaller

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”