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:

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

Regina Saphier TED Long Beach 2011 Day 4

Cover of "Being Wrong: Adventures in the ...

Cover via Amazon

So, this is the final day. I hope you find some interesting ideas below about TED talks to look for during the following year (major, multi-day TED conferences and TEDx events are the sources of the hundreds of free TED talks on MyTEDblog (my live conference blog) aims to inform those who do not have the opportunity to watch live (especially for 4 days) and for those who have to wait months to start watching archived and edited talks one by one, and for those who need to wait for the complete subtitle translations of the talks. I have written short intros or one line tweet like key sentences, so even people with basic English knowledge could grasp what is coming up on the TED site. Have a nice read. 🙂 I highlighted my favorite talks (or the most important ones).

TED photo stream slide show (opens in new window) Day 4

Friday, March 4, 2011

8:30 AM – 10:15 AM Session 11: The Echo of Time

He is making “chicken-saur soup” genetically speaking in my humble opinion. Well, he is trying to create atavistic features in chicken, for example regrowing the tail, by turning on sleeping genes, so that the new chicken would satisfy sixth graders’ need for a modern day dinosaur. Imagine asking for “fried chicken tail” for lunch… In fact a good way to show how evolution works: reverse it. According to Jack, he will be able to show the end product in a few years time. Bring it on TED! I am so glad that he did not say that he is making a dinosaur. I am so bored with dinosaurs.

Reading ancient signs with a diligent computer.

There is no going back… we are going to individually determine out own genetic evolution.

A new kind of leadership in the military.

11:00 AM – 12:45 PM Session 12: Only If. If Only.

Get out of your bubble of being right. Realize, that we are all wrong about a lot of things. Even TED as a conference, over ten years ago predicted things that did not happen. But there is the opportunity of revisiting an issue when you realize that you are wrong. Being wrong feels bad, but realizing that you are wrong might just save you and lead you into the right direction.

He shows how children solve the world’s problems in class. He is a wonderful, humble teacher, who does not want to control every answer and uses serious play to teach. And he is able to learn from his pupils. By the way he also apologizes to them for leaving such chaotic world to them with so many problems. On the other hand, he is trying to prepare them for their roles as excellent future leaders.

A truly moving performance, where his wife, computer and friends give him a voice on stage.