Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Bran Ferren: To create for the ages, let's combine art and engineering

By on Tue, Mar 25, 2014 at 9:24 AM

TED2014 · 20:12 · Filmed Mar 2014

Bran Ferren: To create for the ages, let's combine art and engineering

When Bran Ferren was just 9, his parents took him to see the Pantheon in Rome — and it changed everything. In that moment, he began to understand how the tools of science and engineering become more powerful when combined with art, with design and beauty. Ever since, he's been searching for a convincing modern-day equivalent to Rome's masterpiece. Stay tuned to the end of the talk for his unexpected suggestion.

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Monday, March 24, 2014

Ziauddin Yousafzai: My daughter, Malala

By on Mon, Mar 24, 2014 at 9:13 AM

TED2014 · 16:36 · Filmed Mar 2014

Ziauddin Yousafzai: My daughter, Malala

Pakistani educator Ziauddin Yousafzai reminds the world of a simple truth that many don’t want to hear: Women and men deserve equal opportunities for education, autonomy, an independent identity. He tells stories from his own life and the life of his daughter, Malala, who was shot by the Taliban in 2012 simply for daring to go to school. "Why is my daughter so strong?” Yousafzai asks. “Because I didn’t clip her wings."

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Friday, March 21, 2014

Last morning at TEDActive

By on Fri, Mar 21, 2014 at 10:30 PM


“Parent as a verb only entered common use in 1970.”

- author Jennifer Senior, talking about the relationship between middle-class parents and their children.

I was five in 1970, so I guess I was on the front line of that one.

There are plenty of nuggets like this on the last morning of the gigantic brain trust that is TEDActive 2014 in Whistler.

Senior is discussing the fears of parents who are trying to teach and over teach their children in order to prepare them for an uncertain future – eco-friendly, gluten free and learning Mandarin.

The new rules as mothers and fathers, husbands and wives are written on new scripts that people contend with. Women still do twice as much work as their husbands as parents, but fathers report the greatest work-life conflict.

“All I want is for my children to be happy.” Senior says it is a wonderful goal but elusive and cannot be goals unto themselves, an unfair burden on parents.

She says that in our quest to create happy kids we should be instead trying to create productive kids and moral kids. Decency, a work ethic, love – and happiness and self-esteem will take care of themselves.

Sounds like a good plan.

And that’s a good way to think of TED, it is a series of “good plans” brought by a variety of people who share the best experiences and most positive hopes of their lives. That doesn’t mean they gloss over the problems, they share the very human ingenuity they are trying to apply in order to work these problems out.

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Larry Page: Where’s Google going next?

By on Fri, Mar 21, 2014 at 8:58 PM

TED2014 · 23:30 · Filmed Mar 2014

Larry Page: Where’s Google going next?

Onstage at TED2014, Charlie Rose interviews Google CEO Larry Page about his far-off vision for the company. It includes aerial bikeways and internet balloons … and then it gets even more interesting, as Page talks through the company’s recent acquisition of Deep Mind, an AI that is learning some surprising things.

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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Yogurt spheres, 3D holograms, and the subtle charms of TEDActive

By on Thu, Mar 20, 2014 at 1:18 PM

A group of TEDActive attendees during a brainstorming session March 19 at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler. - PHOTO BY SARAH NICKERSON
  • Photo by Sarah Nickerson
  • A group of TEDActive attendees during a brainstorming session March 19 at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler.

It’s no secret that the most direct way to a journalist’s heart is through the stomach. We’re a simple folk, us reporters, and we enjoy our simple pleasures, which consist mostly of free food. 

So it was much to my delight and surprise that I walked into TedActive’s Community Meals room at the Fairmont Thursday, with its promise of “epic noms ahead,” to find a spread of delicious treats. After gorging on my third gelatinous sphere of yogourt and granola clusters (“Even the food is innovative at TED!” I exclaimed to no one in particular), I realized: You don’t need to work so hard to impress me TED, but I certainly appreciate the effort.

You see, for journalists, the prospect of a free muffin or two can make even the most mind-numbingly dull municipal budget meeting seem tolerable. Give us a full-on meal and we’ll be like putty in your hands. But when you’re armed with a media pass to one of the most engaging meetings of the minds in the Western World, well, free eats are not necessarily the primary motivating factor to attend.

But the charms of TEDActive don’t end with the multiple Hydration Stations dotting the hotel, where you can grab a frosty soda or have one of the conference’s many peppy volunteers whip you up the perfect latte, or the snack bar stocked with organic banana chips and chewy cookies.

Of course, if you were, unlike me, one of the guests who forked out nearly $4,000 to attend the five-day conference, you’d probably expect to have a few perks thrown in along the way. But what I loved most about my brief sojourn at the Whistler conference wasn’t the swag, or even the flaky spinach and feta pinwheels, but the atmosphere cultivated by organizers that underlined TED’s philosophy of creativity, collaboration and innovation.

Shortly after my arrival, my diligent media liaison gave me the full tour of the grounds. This fact alone took me slightly off-guard: It’s not often that a reporter from a small-town paper attending a global conference gets the same personalized treatment as the 60 Minutes camera crew that was on-hand filming the proceedings.

He took me to the Time Travel Studio sprawled over one wall, where attendees could scribble down their predictions for what the future holds until 2044. The forecasts ranged from the wishful, like 2027 marking the last war ever fought on Earth, to the science fictional, like 3D holography replacing verbal communication by 2034.

This wasn’t the only place at TEDActive where guests were given free range to let their creativity roam. In one room, a simple question was posed: How do we create college success? The result was white board after white board crammed, Good Will Hunting style, with the scribblings of leading designers, writers, scientists, philosophers, entrepreneurs and mathematicians that make up TED’s eclectic guestlist, a rare opportunity for seemingly divergent sectors to join forces.

This is the collaborative vision underpinning TEDActive, the laidback little brother to Vancouver’s glitzier gathering. Here, the crowd skews a bit younger that the main conference, as I was told by one staffer who said Whistler’s powwow was split fairly evenly between newcomers and returnees.

“These are the people that will be speaking on the mainstage in five years,” he explained proudly, and, as my whirlwind tour was coming to a close, I was obliged to believe him.

Because as much as TED organizers have done everything in their power to pamper guests and give them as enjoyable an experience as possible, there’s an unspoken expectation that you will do your part to give back, contributing to the conference’s spirit of ingenuity in any way possible. 

It’s kind of like TED’s complimentary gift table that was tucked away near the Fairmont lobby. You’re free to take any gift you want, just as long as you make sure to leave one of your own behind.   

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Charmian Gooch: My wish: To launch a new era of openness in business

By on Thu, Mar 20, 2014 at 9:39 AM

TED2014 · 16:11 · Filmed Mar 2014

Charmian Gooch: My wish: To launch a new era of openness in business

Anonymous companies protect corrupt individuals – from notorious drug cartel leaders to nefarious arms dealers – behind a shroud of mystery that makes it almost impossible to find and hold them responsible. But anti-corruption activist Charmian Gooch hopes to change all that. At TED2014, she shares her brave TED Prize wish: to know who owns and controls companies, to change the law, and to launch a new era of openness in business.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Chris Hadfield: What I learned from going blind in space

By on Wed, Mar 19, 2014 at 9:24 AM

TED2014 · 18:22 · Filmed Mar 2014

Chris Hadfield: What I learned from going blind in space

There's an astronaut saying: In space, “there is no problem so bad that you can’t make it worse.” So how do you deal with the complexity, the sheer pressure, of dealing with dangerous and scary situations? Retired colonel Chris Hadfield paints a vivid portrait of how to be prepared for the worst in space (and life) — and it starts with walking into a spider’s web. Watch for a special space-y performance.

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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Edward Snowden: Here's how we take back the Internet

By on Tue, Mar 18, 2014 at 7:39 PM

Filmed March 2014 at TED2014

Edward Snowden: Here's how we take back the Internet

Appearing by telepresence robot, Edward Snowden speaks at TED2014 about surveillance and Internet freedom. The right to data privacy, he suggests, is not a partisan issue, but requires a fundamental rethink of the role of the internet in our lives — and the laws that protect it. "Your rights matter,” he say, "because you never know when you're going to need them." Chris Anderson interviews, with special guest Tim Berners-Lee.

Visit on ted.com

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