Regina Saphier TED Global 2011 Day 4

Friday, July 15, 2011 8:30 – 10:15
Session 11: Things We Make

Neil MacGregor

Director of The British Museum

We are introduced to an ancient piece of PR on clay from Babylon. And important object for Iran and also for Jews: the Cyrus Cylinder of Babylon.

A short talk follows by a TED Fellow, Genevieve von Petzinger about the geometrical shapes on cave walls and objects of the ice age.

Ben Kacyra

Digital preservationist

We see amazing 3D laser scanned virtual representations of our collective memory, buildings, statues and complete sites. CyArk 500 Challenge: to digitally preserve 500 world heritage sites in 5 years.

Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg

Artist, designer

Daisy talks about invented cultural life forms, that are part of the set: synthetica. Growing objects, instead of manufacturing them. Or make bacteria to produce different colors. It would be possible to harvest natural colors, and could also be used in laboratory diagnostics.

Robert Gupta


Touching violin tunes streaming from Edinburgh to Budapest. 🙂

Michael Biddle

Plastics recycler

While it is easy to recycle metal, it used to be hard to do the same with plastic. But Michael not only developed a way to selectively extract plastic precisely, but he also revolutionized the plastic industry: recycled plastic requires 10% of the energy to create recycled objects (no oil required), compared to using virgin plastic, made of oil.

In my opinion we should not be using plastic at all, instead we should use non-toxic, and completely degradable materials. And we have seen such materials in the making at TED in the past…

Anna Mracek Dietrich


Terrafugia: a flying car. Brilliant. I want one. 🙂

Joe, the sand artist comes back.. still not very impressive to me. Ferenc Cakó is much more creative, poetic and fluid…

Malcolm Gladwell


It was about war, and when this word comes up, I stop listening. Sorry. But the key message was: the more efficient the US got at bombing countries, the angrier the sufferers got and the more people were killed by terrorists attacks.

11:00 – 12:45
Session 12: Next Up

Harald Haas

Communications technology innovator

Well, the future is light transmitted data.

Markus Fischer


Breaking the code of bird flight. An artificial bird is flying over the heads of TEDsters in Edinburgh.

David Adjaye

David gave a really clear picture of regional differences in African architecture and I think it was a very good TED talk. It introduced me to something I did not yet know. I love architecture. And I have too little knowledge of today’s Africa.

Rory Stewart

Rory is the new kind of British politician and he loves to walk! 🙂 I am not terribly interested in politics. Sorry. By the way, excellent speaker. We need intelligent risk takers with humility who know the terrain and culture wherever you want to send aid, money and groups, locals or people with real local knowledge who help to rebuild and develop. Rory has first hand local experience with this, because he walked among real everyday people, in several regions of the world. Remarkably intelligent politician. Gives you hope!

Jo Hamilton


She plays the Air Piano (not to be confused with a theremin).

Jeremy Gilley

Peace activist

Completely adrenalin driven Jeremy talking fast and long about his brilliant idea: The Annual Peace Day, 21 September. Remarkable story. Amazing what we, dyslexics are capable of. 😉

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Regina Saphier TED Global 2011 Day 3

Thandie Newton at the 2007 BAFTAs

Image via Wikipedia

Thursday, July 14, 2011 11:00 – 12:45
Session 8: Embracing Otherness

Pat Mitchell

Media pioneer

She is the host of this session.

Thandie Newton


Thandie tells her own story of otherness and how dancing and acting helped her understand that oneness and suspended self is the key, and that she should respect her own self instead of being ashamed of it or changing it constantly… but not live in her self, rather aim to reach oneness. It was such a beautiful TED talk, that I will not attempt to retell it, rather ask you to please, listen to it as soon as it will be online. And I have the feeling that it will be up very soon.

Yang Lan

Media mogul, TV host

Yang introduces us to the hopes, problems and needs of Chinese youth.

Nadia al-Sakkaf

Nadia shows us pictures and tells the story of how people, especially women and girls in Yemen live today.

Jarreth Merz


Jarreth tells the story of Ghana living up to the expectations of democracy. He says, yes, we Africans can!


Dance company

Well, they dance…

Bunker Roy


Bunker, who had the best education and a privileged life in India, decided to go to a village 45 years ago and started the barefoot college for the poor a bit later, in 1972. He says: listen to people, to the poor people and for example train the grandmothers of poor communities to make fundamental changes. He spoke of women being trained via sign language to build solar tools and how these women went home and changed their villages in several countries. His talk included so much genius that I recommend you to definitely watch this talk on as soon as it becomes available. Wonderful story!

2:15 – 4:00
Session 9: Living Systems

Alain de Botton


Alain suggests atheism 2.0 🙂

We need help, guidance, assistance, because as religions say, people are children… while universities assume we are adults in need of information, and that is all. Well, I am sure you see the right way in the middle, and get a “church ceremony meets university lecture” kind of education for life: The School of Life. Religion: repetition, calendar, structure, rituals, oratory skills, branded multinational institutions… so: lone individuals of the mind, like poets and educators, must group together. Learn from religion. But NO leader needed, because it is a wiki kind of project. 🙂 I feel that Alain’s new TED talk is somehow unfinished…

Erik Hersman


Erik says, innovation is equally distributed in the world, and Africa is no different.

Paul Snelgrove

Marine biologist

Paul is cataloging marine life and he shows us some stunning images. My favorite was the Yeti Crab. 🙂

Pavan Sukhdev

Environmental economist

Pavan works to end the economic invisibility of nature. Recognize natural capital.

Pauline Chen

Surgeon, writer

Doctors can cure people and also help the dying and their relatives. Pauline advocates for empathy in medicine. Humanize the medical profession.

Charles Hazlewood


And finally music with explanation of the conductor’s job and that music should not be an elite phenomenon in the “West”. Charles says we should make music as freely as Africans do. 🙂 He is starting a para orchestra in the UK for disabled people. And finally he shows us how Haydn explained the importance of trust to one Prince Esterházy in Hungary (the particular Esterházy prince wanted the musicians to move out of his household, so to make his point, Haydn composed a piece during which the musicians leave the stage in pairs until the piece is played by only two people who also walk out finally while still playing).

5:00 – 6:45
Session 10: Feeling

Alison Gopnik

Child development psychologist

Alison says: to be a learning baby is like being in love in Paris after drinking three double espressos. Babies are super learners, they also run unconscious or conscious “statistical calculations” while learning. What they find hard is focusing.

Paul Bloom


Paul says we want to own original artworks because we need to believe that real, hard, skilled work, effort, creativity and history is behind that particular collectible or even music. This gives us deep pleasure. When we learn that the object of desire is not original, we lose interest, because we lose the history we assumed initially and we lose the feeling of pleasure.

Paul Zak


Poor countries are low oxytocin nations. This hormone is the trust molecule. It increases empathy and it makes us moral. It connects us. Dr. Love says: 8 hugs a days will make you happier. And the more people hug each other, the better place the world becomes.

Todd Kuiken

Biomedical engineer

Todd develops highly flexible and functional prosthetic arms with nerve connections and his patients surprised him saying that they have tactile input and so they feel different surfaces and textures.

Mr. Tempest, the magician performed again, and today he impressed me. 🙂

Abraham Verghese

Physician and author

Another medical doctor with empathy telling his story. Don’t just look at data, the computer, but listen to your patients, look at them, hear them and examine them directly. It is an important ritual that people need.

Regina Saphier TED Global 2011 Day 2

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

Cover via Amazon

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”

Regina Saphier TED Global 2011 Day 1

Regions of the brain affected by PTSD and stress.

Image via Wikipedia

I started my TED Global 2011: “The Stuff of Life” webcast day number one with a nice, self made breakfast, with my regular 15 minutes of sunbathing for vitamin D (D hormone) production at 11:00 am (NO sunscreen!) and with some flash non-fiction writing:

I have a spider in residence. It is living between two red shelves and rebuilds its external web weekly after I clean the apartment. It neatly places the dead leftovers in front of the two shelves, right outside the little gap where the spider lives, so that I can easily clean up the insect skeletons. We have a good cooperative relationship. It is a medium sized fat spider, very accurate indeed and has been my spider in residence for many months. We never bother one another. It lives in the niche of my home economy, since I never eat small insects.

I believe the above paragraph reflects a TEDster like attitude about living together with people, nature and our own self. Welcome to my regular TED live conference blog. I am going to be posting notes all day, until Friday as usual. I always edit my notes after sessions so there might be a slight delay in posting. Times in the program are all Edinburgh time (British Summer Time). TED Global takes place in Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland this year, instead of Oxford, England where facilities were not ideal for the event. Lets see what TED Global has in store for us this year.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011 11:00 – 12:45
Session 1: Beginnings

Lee Cronin

Lee is trying to create inorganic and non carbon based life. He might just succeed within two years.

Annie Murphy Paul

Science author

Annie explains the reason why I love cucumber salad with sour cream. Its because my mother had no choice but eat that while on holiday during her pregnancy in Poland. In Hungary we do not normally eat cucumbers with sour cream, but we all take it for granted in the family that her temporary diet change influenced my preference for this kind of salad. 🙂 Fetuses learn and prepare for their culture and environment specific lives while in the womb and their entire lives are influenced during the 9 months.

Researchers found the biological marker for PTSD susceptibility in babies of 1700 WTC pregnant women after 911. They passed on PTSD vulnerability to their kids.

Chris remarks that women who attend TED while pregnant give the best possible start for their to be born kids. He also says something like this: no extra charge for fetal attendance at TED. People laugh. 🙂

Rebecca MacKinnon

Media activist

Rebecca speaks of the complex question of balancing citizen voices, internet usage and government activity. How should we constrain the power on the internet. Or how can we hold power (people) accountable on the internet.

Danielle de Niese


Unfortunately Danielle’s performance is not enjoyable via the web cast. Not even via high speed… my laptop is too old.

Richard Wilkinson

Public health researcher

Richard says: If you Americans want to live the American dream, move to Denmark. Social evaluation threat raises cortisol permanently (a stress hormone) in people living in highly unequal societies. (Note: This stress hormone influences DNA expression and normal functioning of the body!) In other words it is judgment that ruins people’s health in unequal societies. Chronic stress from social sources is highly damaging. Make bosses accountable for employees. (And may I say: make parents accountable for their children, because constant emotional stress causes life long mental and physical illnesses when kids grow up…) Pay attention to the psychosocial health of societies. It is highly relevant in Hungary, a very ill and unequal society in huge economic trouble.

Phillip Blond

Political theorist

Philip says: we need to revive the culture of good groups that produce good people. In other words, lets move beyond extreme individualism and extreme collectivism. Move beyond leftism and rightism. Relationships are the basis of a healthy and normal existence. He says it is access inequality that causes the biggest problems. So money that goes to large corporations today should go to smaller local groups. He is talking about the UK…

It is time for me to make lunch.

2:15 – 4:00
Session 2: Everyday Rebellions

Hasan Elahi

Privacy artist

Hasan has a wonderful sense of humor to digest the century he is living in. He has been interrogated after 911, so he decided to post key info on a website about what he is eating, purchasing, when he is traveling, which airport he is at. He says: I am more able to watch myself that anyone else. And he also says, he is no longer special, because now everyone else is doing this with smart phones (if you have one… I don’t).

Maajid Nawaz

Anti-extremism activist

Maajid says evil, not only good, went global on the internet. He was a member of an extremist organization, so he should know. He says extremists are unfortunately more successful social media users than democratic groups. Extremists build on the grass roots opportunities, from the bottom up. So, advocate for democracy on the same grass roots level. Use counter-narratives in the relevant societies.

Justin Hall-Tipping
Science entrepreneur

Justin tells us about flexible and transparent carbon on the nano scale and how he will help us make clean and free self generated energy with nano carbon window shields and how this project will lead to the ability to beam energy with no grid (energy can be saved by making electrons inactive until the energy is needed), and in turn how it will solve the world’s lack of drinkable water by desalination…

Yves Rossy


Jetman is a phenomenon, you have to see him flying.

Asaf Avidan


Amazing voice on the TED Global 2011 stage! 🙂 You should listen to Asaf singing.

Julia Bacha


Julia is spreading the news about under reported non violent resistance in Budrus in the West Bank and in other places. It works if you give them attention in the media.

5:00 – 6:45
Session 3: Coded Patterns

Geoffrey West


Cities, according to Geoffrey, are networks of creative human interaction. Double the size of a city and you get a 15% increase of all specific indicators, like wealth, universities, income, crime, police, and so on. Cycles of innovation are necessary to avoid collapse of cities.

Shohei Shigematsu


Shohei says, sometimes think in the box.

Kevin Slavin

Algoworld expert

Kevin somehow mesmerized me as I was listening to him (I liked him even before I listened to him, by just looking at his face in the program guide… it is some subconscious thing), so I have to say, I do not know what exactly he was saying, but it was about a superb future for algorithms and the loser presence of slow algorithms. 🙂 Oh, and he mentioned a Hungarian scientist with whom he traveled and had a conversation about the many physicists in finance…

Allan Jones

Brain scientist

Allan is telling the story of human brain mapping.

Balazs Havasi

Pianist, composer

Balázs is Hungarian. And actually it is all I know about him. I have seen him at TEDx Danubia this year, but he did not make a huge impression on me. He is now doing the same “classical encounters rock” scenario… People at TED Global like it, so it is good PR for Hungary.

This is an interesting TED Global 2011 + TEDx Danubia related TED blog link, informing us about Csaba Manyai, TEDx Danubia host talking about Urania Scientific Theatre (where the Hungarian event normally takes place) at TED University: