Regina Saphier TED Global 2011 Day 2

Cover of "The Rational Optimist: How Pros...

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Wednesday, July 13, 2011 8:30 – 10:15
Session 4: Future Billions

Niall Ferguson


Niall says: “Killer apps” of wealthy nations are: Work Ethic; Competition; Scientific revolution; Property rights; Medicine; Consumerism. Any society could adopt these and now, instead of the US, it is China that uses these as a world leader while also using the IT killer apps downloadable by millions globally.

Yasheng Huang

Political economist

Yasheng says China develops faster than India, because the Chinese government does not have to take into consideration the public opinion. Also the literacy rate and education is much better in China. Chinese women are approximately twice as literate as Indian women, and while in China you are literate if you are able to read and write hundreds of characters, in India you are called literate if you are able to write your name.

Tim Harford

Undercover economist

Tim says: move away from the God Complex and try: trial and error. People find it hard to be challenged, they like to be in their little “know it all” bubble and they must be shocked out of that bubble. It is very difficult to make good mistakes. I really like his way of presenting this idea.

Robin Ince


Robin is making fun of life and science and I know this kind of twisted and funny thinking, because we make jokes like his with my best friend all the time.

JR is back to give us an update on his TED wish.

John Danner speaks about Robert Owen’s New Harmony, Indiana plans… His socially innovative business thinking was remarkable.

Josette Sheeran

Anti-hunger leader

Josette shows us what kind of damage hunger causes in the brain. She says we have enough food to feed all people in the world and tells us about the tools of eliminating hunger in the world. School feeding raises girls’ and boys’ school attendance by 50%. Brazil is the most skilled at eliminating hunger.

11:00 – 12:45
Session 5: Emerging Order

Matt Ridley

Rational optimist

He is now the curator of this session, he is not presenting a TED talk today.

Svante Paabo


We are all recent emigrants of Africa… Right, I knew that. Our differences come from genetic variations of a very similar genetic set.

Mark Pagel

Evolutionary biologist

Mark says: words are sometimes dangerous, you can be killed for saying the wrong one. Now words are also the basis of social learning, the skill that made humans so successful. Social learning is visual theft. Language was developed to manage human cooperation. Languages also isolate from other groups. Can we afford so many languages in our interconnected global and virtual 21st century? We have to confront the idea that we have to become one world with one language. (Are you sure?)

Elizabeth Murchison

Cancer researcher

Elisabeth talks about the Tasmania Devil‘s contagious cancer, that threatens the entire Tas population. This population is the ultimate cancer. All cancers on Tasmanian Devils’ faces have the same DNA… Sexually transmitted dog cancer is similar all over the world. Tens of thousands of years old, coming form wolfs. There was a research involving humans and human cancer cells (they were injected into humans), and in a few cases it can spread…

Cynthia Kenyon

Biochemist, geneticist

Cynthia says: DAF-2 gene mutation not only makes the C. elegans live longer, but also live better and look younger. It acts via hormones, similar to insulin, promoting nutrient uptake by cells and IGF-1, promoting growth. Genes are instructions to make proteins that do something and the DAF-2 gene encodes cellular DAF-2 hormone receptors. When the DAF-2 gene is normal, it contains the instructions for normal receptors, and normal, faster aging. It is speeding up aging. When this gene actually is less active (because it is damaged), the individual has a better and longer life… Aging is controlled by hormones. This has now also been tested in flies and mice and they also live longer. It might also work in people. Studies show, that Ashkenazi Jews who live until 90 or 100, they also have a mutated DAF-2 gene, as do some other populations in the world. Why do they live longer and better? Because in such mutant individuals many protective genes are switched on (antioxidant, caregiver, DNA repair, immune system related genes, encoding relevant proteins) that repair the cells and extend the lifespan. The FOXO protein turns on longevity genes. These people are less likely to have cancer or Alzheimers and might live beyond 100. When the DAF-2 gene functions normally (encoding a normal DAF-2 hormone receptor), it prevents the FOXO protein from entering the cell and so the individual lives a shorter life, because the FOXO protein is unable to turn on many protective genes (that encode protective proteins) and the cells store more “food” (we all know that too much food is bad for you). It is actually stress that might damage the DAF-2 gene, and so it turns on the FOXO protein and that turns on the longevity genes (and so the longevity proteins). FOXO has variations. She is trying to come up with a human FOXO related medication to make people healthier and live longer, but this medication would not change the genes, it would only bind to the proteins and change their activity. If you stop taking the drug, the protein returns to its normal activity. Actually changing these genes at birth might make you very ill, because these genes are key to your energy production and normal development. So fine tuning is a better option. This process is really a form of youth extension, it won’t make you live forever, but imagine the possibilities! Cynthia is a really sweet, smart, and excellent speaker. She has humor, she is scientifically brilliant, and her parallel examples were very clear.

Joe Castillo

Sand artist

As Joe says, there are more talented Sand Artists in the World, like this Hungarian man:ó

Vivaldi Four Seasons Autumn Sand Animation Ferenc Cakó:

Karol Boudreaux

Poverty economist

Karol talks about community based national resource management in Namibia.

2:15 – 4:00
Session 6: The Dark Side

Misha Glenny

Underworld investigator

Misha introduces young cyber criminals with Aspergers (high functioning autism) and other disabilities who learnt their hacking skills early and lost their ways in the real world. They are brilliant minds who should not be in prisons he says. It is due to their extreme IT abilities and also extreme social disabilities that they ended up convicted.

Mikko Hypponen

Cybersecurity expert

Mikko shows us the 25 year history of PC viruses and how we went from the harmless first Pakistani virus to organized crime and dangerous viruses. He says it is important to create the InternetPol. Really good talk!

Eddi Reader


It is always nice to listen to Eddi. 🙂

Pamela Meyer
Lie detector

We all lie, Pamela says and she is right. Go from lie detecting to truth seeking. She gives some useful examples.

Ben Goldacre


Well, pharmaceutical companies also lie… But we knew that already.

TEDx update.

Karen Tse

Anti-torture activist

Torture in countries happens because of broken down legal systems. Karen developed a program to make sure, people get to see a lawyer to be defended.

5:00 – 6:15
Session 7: Bodies

Daniel Wolpert

Movement expert

I spent the time trying to convince the TED tech team that we can not hear the talks properly and the central volume should be turned UP! Could not hear the talk, sorry.

Sheril Kirshenbaum

Biologist and writer

Dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin rises while kissing and most people tilt their heads to the right. Women kiss to test the men. Women, as it is well known, prefer men with more diverse and different genetic makeup, to have healthier offspring, BUT women on the pill prefer the opposite. (Is it not possible that many illnesses are caused by this latter issue?)

Péter Fankhauser


Nice robo-dance. 🙂

Marco Tempest


Some graphic trick on stage…

Jae Rhim Lee

Jae says we should accept death, stop embalming with toxic materials and use special mushrooms to decompose our dead bodies to reusable compost. Become a decompinaut.

Alice Russell

Good music on stage. 🙂

6:30 – 7:30 Live recording of BBC World Service‘s “The Forum”