Regina Saphier TED Global 2012 Day 3

English: Portrait of Jane McGonigal

Portrait of Jane McGonigal (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thursday, June 28, 2012

12:00 – 13:45

Session 8:

Talk to Strangers

There was a major technical issue in Edinburgh. We had no idea at the time if the power comes back or not until the next session. We sure hoped so.

Update: the power is back and session 9 starts at 3:15 Budapest time. Jane got to complete her fun and empowering talk in session 9.

After Session 10. update: Jane had to do a retake of her talk’s first part, because the power outage destroyed the first part of her original talk… High drama… we felt the stress… we were with her as she walked on stage at the end of the day and re-recorded her first few minutes… and the stream was cut suddenly again and we were in the dark… for a while we had no idea if she was ok and if it was only us being cut off, or if the power was gone again in the building of the TED conference… I kept asking and we were informed that she was ok, and she was able to record her talk just fine finally… My sympathy for this pro speaker! Jane is a warrior! Hope to see her talk online soon.

Rachel Botsman

Sharing Innovator

I know Rachel from the RSA lectures. She talks about the age of online trust between strangers. Collaborative consumption on a global scale, using technology. Your reputation in this age is key. Service networking… outsourcing your tasks: taskrabbit… assembling IKEA furniture and earning 5000 dollars a month… Facebook users trust each other, she says, so they have the potential for trust based online collaboration. How do you ensure safety, how do you handle real and online identity? Should your reputation travel with you from one site to another? Manage your reputation capital! It is very valuable. Because would it not be wonderful if the truly trustworthy would run the world?

She also mentioned:

Robin Chase

Transport Networker

Robin’s story: from Zipcar, to Buzzcar… from uniform cars that you can use in the US, to people’s cars that you can share in Paris. She calls this phenomenon: Peers Incorporated. It is a world of innovation, personalization, collaboration, and economies of scale. It is not self evident how such a system is built, but she now knows how it works. The peer production community needs quick feedback tools that are in place. Supercharging Individuals.

Amy Cuddy

Social Psychologist

High testosterone and low cortisol are the key to top leadership… Be powerful, but do not get nervous … Role change can change your hormone level. Fake it until you become it! Amy becomes truly vulnerable when she is telling us that her career was broken by a car accident and it took her 4 years longer to get her college degree, but more importantly it took a lot of faking until she made it back on track as a gifted academic. She needed her wonderful mentor to push her to stay in the game and when she had the chance as a mentor to do the same for a discouraged young woman in her class, she told her the same: you have a place here, and you should fake it until you become it.

So, the practical take home parts of this talk: before you enter a judgment situation, like a job interview, in the elevator or in the bathroom, stand up, spread your arms high in a V, smile, imagine you are strong, and tell yourself you will be successful. Smile! And this helps you to do better or even give your best, because your posture, your facial expression, your words go deep in your brain and change the outcome of your efforts. Take the power pose! This was a truly moving TED talk with very important content.

Jason McCue


People who were hurt by terrorist attacks, should be better supported to live a more normal life. I really do not understand why this talk had to be placed into this session. Terribly out of place among so many positive messages. It is important, yes, it has a place in the conference, just not in this session. Especially after Amy’s brilliant, vulnerable and uplifting talk. A very bad curatorial decision, after a really good one… actually a lot of very good ones.

Marco Tempest


Jane McGonigal

Game Designer

As our old friend Jane tells her story of a head injury and promises us 7 extra minutes of life, the power goes out in Edinburgh, but we have no clue what happened, and the live TED conference chat goes wild trying to figure out why the stream is gone… and I am thinking, this reminds me of the power outage in Oxford a few years back.. and sure enough, it is a major power outage, but in the city of Edinburgh. We hope Jane gets to finish her talk, and we get our 7 extra minutes of a gamer’s life. 🙂

Here is Jane’s first TED talk with my Hungarian subtitle:

Jane finishes her talk at the beginning of Session 9. so I continue my blog note:

Priorities change when you make a comeback from a trauma or illness.

I do what makes me happy, I know who I am, get a new sense of me, better able to focus on what is important. Trauma helps you live a more authentic life, and have fewer regrets at the end of your life. Jane playfully teaches us to work on our physical, mental, emotional and social resilience and live 10 years longer. She in fact developed a game, called SuperBetter to help herself get better and here she is, giving us this inspiring TED talk. She is always creative, even when she is ill and her brain tells her to kill herself. I know how it feels to be so ill… feeling desperate.

Why is this talk so meaningful to me? Well… during the second part of my thirties I have been severely ill and the illness demolished my career as an NGO founder and director. I suffered from chronic fatigue syndrome and it took three years of my life. I have become completely isolated, because people did not understand what happened to me, including my doctors. The person working 18 hours a day and enjoying her work, turned into a recluse in pain, unable to do much. That person was me. So, I set out online to find the cause of my illness and read thousands of medical articles in English (on pubmed, etc.). I did finally manage to find the cause of my illness (a major part: severe lack of “vitamin” D due to too much work and lack of sun). I recovered, but for a long time I felt this deep fear that I might get sick again. The TED talks, the TED conferences, my own TED translations and my own TED blogs were my hope giving tasks. The TED phenomenon helped me to keep up my mental, emotional and social resilience. (“Vitamin” D gave me my physical resilience and strengths back. And so much more… read about this “vitamin”! It is not even a vitamin!) Therefore I am completely able to understand and feel why Jane’s game for recovery is so helpful. And I am glad we both recovered! 🙂

Note: if you did not read the into of this day: Jane had to do a retake of her talk’s first part, because the power outage destroyed the first part of her original talk… High drama…

3:15 – 5:00

Session 9:

The Upside of Transparency

Parag Khanna

Global Theorist; Guest Host at TEDGlobal 2012

Sanjay Pradhan

Development Leader

I am still under the influence of Jane’s talk, so I am sorry, I am unable to pay attention to Sanjay’s emotional talk…

Beth Noveck

Open-Government Expert

How to use technology and data to get things done… Delivering better information… US patent applications will be totally open to all of us to influence them, globally… Demand this revolution!

Heather Brooke

Investigative Journalist

Grow up society, and demand secret documents now. Heather did that and heads fell in the British Parliament, by the dozen! Lets make officials accountable for not revealing public interest information. Iceland is becoming a safe and open place for data publication for all of us.

She suggested these sites for good use by citizens (the first one had Hungary listed on the left side):


Marc Goodman

Global Security Futurist

Marc shows us how useful everyday technology is used by criminals too. Like 3D printing… or what about DNA… personalized attacks… Our security system is outdated. Open source global security… I really like Marc.

Deyan Sudjic


Talking about transparency and opacity in design, city planing, architecture and every day life.

6:00 – 7:45

Session 10:


Sarah Slean


Singing her song: Lucky me! … about living today and being ready for science. 🙂

Laura Snyder

Science Historian

Darwin started his discovery journey as a natural philosopher and came back as a scientist, because the word was born around his time… As women got admitted into science circles in the past… today: people must be incorporated into the field of science.

John Maeda


Funny play with letters, sound, typeface, movement… Art is enigmatic… “You do not get it? Good.” – he says. It is what it is all about. Also, leadership is about connecting unlikely entities and see what happens… and you can use visual network analysis technology to understand your system, connections, groups and people in the system. Interesting talk.

Michael Hansmeyer

Computational Architect

Folding simple shapes into intricate, beautiful forms never seen before by using simple algorithms and 3D printing them. Awesome! 🙂 WOW! I believe the people there in the room do not grasp what they have seen now. My best friend is an architect and an artist… I have been “trained” in this field… I know that this was fantastic!

Ramesh Raskar


Taking pictures of light at really high speed and sensing light reflections for… safety for example… this talk was fantastic too.

Boaz Almog

Quantum Researcher

Quantum “levitation”… quantum locking with magnetic field and super conductors… not levitation… and of course Sapphire is also part of the phenomenon… 😉


Keith Chen

Behavioral Economist

Chinese language does not divide tenses… it rained yesterday, it rained today, it rained tomorrow… so, if present and future are the same for you, it is easier to save. At least this is Keith’s theory and the numbers and data analysis suggest: he might be right. Future-less language speakers are the best savers. They have a continuous existence.

Hungarian is a “futured” language, unfortunately, so perception of time is divided. Hungary’s savings are just under 25%.

Future-less “nations” and their people are more likely to be healthy, play it safe and save. Do I feel so out of place in Hungary, because I started to adopt German at 17 and English since 24? No… I just simply feel out of place here since… since I was born…

And when I assumed my day was over, I find this article on BigThink with a funny Hungarian stamp as an illustration:

Obese? Smoker? No Retirement Savings? Perhaps It’s Because of the Language You Speak

“No Retirement Savings? Perhaps It’s Because of the Language You Speak”  – “Illustration: 1958 Hungarian postage stamp of a (perhaps strong-FTR speaking) grasshopper partying away for the summer while the (maybe weak-FTR-speaking) ants prepare for winter. Hungarian, by the way, is a strong-FTR language.”

And here is the working paper under review:

The Effect of Language on Economic Behavior: Evidence from
Savings Rates, Health Behaviors, and Retirement Assets
M. Keith Chen∗
Yale University, School of Management and Cowles Foundation

Hungarians are bad at saving... are they cut off from their future due to language?

Figure 2 shows average total savings rates, accounting for both private and government consumption. Data
from before 1985 are included in the regressions below but excluded here to normalize time periods across
countries. Both Switzerland and Belgium have significant within-country FTR variation; for simplicity they
are shaded according to their majority-FTR status. Difference in means are computed using a OLS regression
where observations are clustered at the country level.

Hannah Brock

Guzheng Virtuoso

TEDx Danubia March 2011 by Regina Saphier

The foundation's logo.

Image via Wikipedia

Yesterday I looked at my facebook news stream and I got curious about the latest TEDx Danubia program. I had a quick look and suddenly decided to set up my latest live blog, but for the first time to blog about a TEDx event in Hungary (I regularly blog about the main live TED events, but not about TEDx events). It looked like the organizers have finally overcome the provincial curatorial style of the previous TEDx Danubia events and for the first time the program looked world class. I had everything set up and was looking forward to blogging the entire show when right at the beginning: on the official site the stream link was nowhere to see (and trust me, I knew what I was doing, I am a regular live conference streamer and it was not going to be my first TEDx Danubia live stream either), no stream started, and by the time I figured out that the free webcast was supposed to be on ustream, there was still no live stream… I posted quick notes to the organizers after I established that other people had the same stream error…

For hours the stream did not work so I decided to spend my day with different tasks, e.g.: reading the English letters of a wonderful female painter (while sunbathing on my balcony), who lived a short life and painted some remarkable pictures mainly in Hungary and in India. I was rather frustrated that I did not get to see some of the excellent morning TEDx D. speakers… so I kept returning to my computer and suddenly the steam went live.

So, I have seen some of the speakers… well… it was rather hard to see them, because the stream quality was miserable (on the organizers’ side). It was nowhere near the TED Long Beach quality. But still after the many technical problems, I have to say: there were some really interesting talks, good speakers and I especially appreciated the English speaking talks, because they have a better chance of making it onto the TED.COM site’s talk archive list for everyone to see. (There were some boring speakers too, but I am not here to write about the negative aspect of speakers.)

The event was also special because Bruno Giussani TED’s EU director attended in person and also spoke at this TEDx conference. I am hoping to see his talk soon on TEDx Danubia’s official site, along with Tamás Freund’s talk (I have no idea why he did not speak in English, I know for a fact that he is able to speak in English, because we were featured in the same BBC World News report a few years ago).

So, below is the program that I did not get to see in its entirety, but whatever I managed to see during the day, most were interesting, well delivered and TED-worthy. I congratulate the curators of the sessions. They have done a really good job and set a new standard for Hungarian TEDx events. I even played with the idea of attending the next one in person and even suggesting speakers.

But please, pay much more attention to the online stream. It is after all the future… The online experience in the world of social media is a key aspect. Also, while I am glad that last year’s idiotic toilet paper stage design was nowhere to be seen (I mean, really? is this how you want to be seen in the world? toilet paper behind the speakers?), still the boring boxes only overcrowded the stage and were lacking fantasy. Also, the member profiles on the tedxdanubia site are unavailable (I used to brows them last year but now there is no link to them.). Plus, for the next event, please find a host with real charisma, stage presence and well timed humor or some other deep intellectual substance.

Finally, the most exquisite performance happened right at the end of the day. I am sure the Moholy-Nagy light play will soon be on the TED.COM site. It was wonderfully directed and performed. A true creative delight for the international connoisseur’s mind. Excellent curatorial decision. Thank you! (Especially because I could see it twice: the webcam was on even during the rehearsal…)

Here is the performance:


8:50-10:40 Exploring Within

Tamás Freund – neuroscientist: Brain Waves and Creativity

• Julian Treasure – sound designer: Conscious Listening (in English)

• Keren Hanan – pianist, painter: Music in Colours (in English)

• Péter Csermely – biochemist, network researcher: The Tao of Talent (in English)

Bruno GiussaniTED’s European Director and Curator for TEDGlobal (in English)

• Lakshmi Pratury – host of TEDIndia 2009 and INK: What the West Can Learn from the East (in English)

11:40-13:20 Connecting the Dots

• Vilmos Csányi – ethologist: The Nature of Beliefs

• Carolyn Steel – food urbanist: Sitopia – how we can think through food (in English)

• Antal Kelle – creative artist: ArtFormer

• Zsuzsa Szvetelszky – social psychologist: The Art and Science of Gossip

• Péter Papp – programmer mathematician: What a Software Designer Dreams Of…

• Tomicah Tillemann – international relations expert: Creating Change in a Changing World (in English)

14:20-16:10 Extraordinary Journeys

• László Kiss – physicist, astronomer: Almost Nothing

• Zoltán Galántai – futures scientist: The Glasses of Time

• Gábor Korom – instinct management researcher: Ariadne’s Thread

• Carin King – fashion consultant: Style Without Mirrors (in English)

• Róbert Mandel – musician, organologist: Instruments Ago…

• Stuart Schulzke – new media entrepreneur: Detrivializing a Twitterized World (in English)

17:10-19:00 A New Beginning

• Gábor George Burt – strategist, innovation/creativity expert: Re-engaging Your Childhood Creativity (in English)

• Gábor Karsai – philosopher, spiritual diplomat: The Origin of the Beginning

• Nic Marks – statistician: The Happiness Manifesto (in English)

• John Foppe – motivation expert: Within Reach (in English)

• Balázs Havasi – pianist, composer

20:10-20:30 Special Evening Session: Dream Bubbles

Viktória Szépvölgyi – director, producer: Negative Varieté

My TED Live Conference Blog Dilemma

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I am still not sure… should I write my usual speaker by speaker TED blog live during the conference? Or should I just go completely ignorant about others who are unable to see the live stream and will have to wait for videos months and months and even then still more waiting for translations… But do those thousands of ignorant people in Hungary deserve my altruistic effort to educate them? Am I doing this only for fun or am I now doing this as a duty? There is no one forcing me… I am still thinking about this… I also feel that writing in Hungarian is very limiting… Perhaps there are more people who would appreciate my efforts in English… definitely more exposure in English… by now I have two of my live TED conference texts in Hungarian and one in English… I might just write this one in English now… but the live TED blog in Hungarian based on live English talks is much more challenging and I like that. I am going to have to make up my mind real soon about this.

I made up my mind, and I am writing my future TED blogs in English.