Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘TED’

25 JULY, 2009

TEDGlobal Highlights: Day 4


Solid sand, the art of curation, why doing nothing matters, and how to get 700 of the world’s smartest people singing.

The final day of TEDGlobal in images and soundbites — the closing of a truly phenomenal experience.

For full blow-by-blow coverage, skim our live Twitter feed from the event.

Bjarke Ingels at TEDGlobal in Oxford

Danish architect Bjarke Ingels, who has the highest ration of architecture awards to age in the world, showcases some of his stride-stopping work.

Magnus Larsson at TEDGlobal in Oxford

Magnus Larsson proposes a visionary project to stop desertification -- using bacteria to solidify sand dunes into stone and build a 6000km-long desert-break stretching across Africa.

The Sahara desert expands by nearly one meter per day, literally driving people out of their homes. ~ Magnus Larsson

Dan Pink at TEDGlobal in Oxford

Dan Pink says extrinsic incentives, a.k.a. 'carrots and sticks,' dull creativity. The key to economic success is in intrinsic motivations -- autonomy, mastery and purpose.

Science confirms what we know in our hearts. ~ Dan Pink

Itay Talgam at TEDGlobal in Oxford

Maestro Itay Talgam on the intricate role of the conductor in creating not only the process of performance, but also the conditions in which this process occurs.

Interpretation is the real story of the performance. ~ Itay Talgam

Daniel Birnbaum on the art of curating -- something we can really relate to here -- as an unseen force that shapes the art experience beyond the individual objects.

It’s the gallery itself, the institution, that becomes the frame. ~ Daniel Birnbaum

Brother Paulus Terwitte at TEDGlobal

German friar Brother Paulus Terwitte contests we've become primitive hunters and gatherers, preoccupied with collecting information, instead of taking in less and deepening our life. He advocates the 'organized doing of nothing' -- meditation, prayer, contemplation -- as a way to find 'the inner voices of things.'

The most important question is, ‘Where are you in your thoughts?’ ~ Brother Paulus Terwitte

Chris Anderson at TEDGlobal, forewarning about the infamous TED crash.

Chris Anderson forewarns about the dreaded TED crash following the end of the 4-day idea binge, when sleep deprivation kicks in and dopamine plummets. We can already feel it.

Tom Rielly's satire at TEDGlobal

The wonderful Tom Reilly's (in)famous satire of the conference. Here, impersonating TED Europe's charmingly stern director, Bruno Giussani.

Parodying the Lifesaver filtration bottle, Tom mock(?)-relieves in a glass, runs it through the Lifesaver bottle, and hands it to Chris to drink. Upon chugging it, Chris proclaims: 'Trust.'

Imogen Heap's surprise performance wrapping up TEDGlobal

The phenomenal Imogen Heap takes the stage for one last surprise performance after the fantastic audience response to her scheduled act. She plays the hang, a mysterious gong-like instrument, and asks us to be her live looping device, dividing the audience into a 3-part chorus. The collective experience is utterly magnetic, and you can just see the music running through her entire body as she performs. Magic, personified.

On a personal note, the TED experience has been every bit as invigorating, inspiring and incredible as expected, and then some. Exhausting as it may have been, reporting is has been a modest effort to help extend TED’s fundamental mission — “ideas worth spreading.”

And before we return to our regular “programming” next week, a big “THANK YOU” for following and sharing in this utterly lifechanging experience.

24 JULY, 2009

TEDGlobal Highlights: Day 3


Hip hop for peace, hot air balloons, and stereotypes.

Day 3 of TEDGlobal in images and soundbites, plus a glimpse of an electrifying surprise performance at the afterparty. For full blow-by-blow coverage, skim our live Twitter feed from the event.

Photographer Taryn Simon probes the frightening side of the unseen in her fascinating book, An American Index of The Hidden and Unfamiliar.

The phenomenal Emmanuel Jal, a hip-hop artist with a message of peace, who raised the TED audience to its feet for a dance and a standing ovation. Later that day, a handful of TEDsters won €10,000 from the Dutch Postal Lottery and decided to donate it to Jal's education initiative -- the TED touch in action.

The importance of education for me is what I’m willing to die for, because I know what it can do for my people. You’re killing a whole generation by just giving aid. If you want to help, give education. ~ Emmanuel Jal

Emmanuel Jal, paying tribute to Emma McCue -- the courageous aid worker who saved hundreds of child soldiers, including Emmanuel himself, and started an ambitious education initiative.

Lydia Kavina with the Radio Science Orchestra.

Virtuosa Lydia Kavina playing the theremin, a magnificent but little-understood instrument.

Iconic designer Ross Lovegrove shows some of his work, which he calls ruthlessly economic.

Nick Veasey's stunning X-ray photography

Eric Giler showcases WiTricity, a technology that allows the wireless powering of devices. Here, Giler charges a smartphone simply through proximity to a TV.

Professional ballooner Bertrand Piccard urges us to throw environmental fundamentalism overboard. He took a hot air balloon trip around the world, which started with several tons of fuels and ended with nothing but 40 kilos left. Piccard is dreaming up his next trip, completely unreliant fossil fuel.

International relations expert Parag Khanna likens pipelines to silk roads in that they connote independence and trust.

Geoff Mulgan on social innovation and systemic change, asserting that times of crisis necessitate a reboot that sparks innovation.

Felix Thorn is a master of synesthesia. Under Felix's Machine, he performs on a fascinating instrument made from household objects like candle holders and a shower caddy. His experimental music plays with synchronized light and sound, aiming to remove the human performer.

James Balog shows images from his incredible time-lapse record of climate change, Extreme Ice Survey. Here, the retraction and deflation of polar ice over just a short period of time.

I hope we have the angels of our better nature rise to the occasion and do the right thing. ~James Balog

Nigerian storyteller Chimamanda Adichie on stereotypes and how Western literature creates a flat, narrow view of Africa as one catastrophe-plagued country.

The problem with stereotypes isn’t that they’re untrue, it’s that they are incomplete and make one story the only story. ~Chimamanda Adichie

In a surprising impromptu performance, crowd favorite Emmanuel Jal kicked up the afterparty with an electrifying act that transformed TEDsters into a mosh pit of dancers doing Jal's signature dance in sync and singing his chorus for a phenomenal collective experience.

...and again...

...and again. The energy in the room could've powered a hot air balloon.

Stay tuned for highlights from the final day of TED, coming sometime between the sleep deprivation therapy and the infamous TED crash.

22 JULY, 2009

TEDGlobal Highlights: Day 2


Optical illusions, aquatic apes, and the sweat of genius.

The second day of TEDGlobal offered an endless flurry of brilliance, and we have the photos to prove it.

Stefana Broadbent on how modern technology affects connections and the overlapping relationship between the public and the private spheres. The peak for private email is actually 11AM in all countries.

Designer Aza Raskin on the importance of seamless, user-centric interface, stressing that your train of thought is sacred and you should never disturb it.

The amazingly innovative and talented Imogen Heap.

...and more

One of the incredible, techie instruments Imogen Heap plays.

Imogen Heap playing 5 instruments while singing. Phenomenal.

Biomimicry expert Janine Benyus shows some incredible applications of principles from nature to the design and engineering of technology.

French designer Matthieu Lehanneur on the theme of invisible design, as if an object's function exists implicitly and invisibly around it.

Matthieu Lehanneur showcases his living air filtration system, Andrea.

Interaction designer Beau Lotto demonstrates some incredible -- literally, as in hard to believe -- optical illusions.

Beau Lotto plays with the relationship between colors and lighting conditions to trick perception.

Henry Markram talks about the brain and the beauty of its diversity.

Chris Anderson asks follow-up questions after David Deutsch's tremendously fascinating, so-smart-most-of-it-is-probably-over-our-head talk about the nature of scientific explanation.

Public space designer Candy Chang shows some of her playful, engaging work.

90-year-old scientist Elaine Morgan, the oldest speaker to have spoken at TED, is tremendously charming and animated as she talks about the controversial Aquatic Ape Hypothesis

Breakthrough Swiss act Sophie Hunger.

The devastatingly talented Eric Lewis, whose piano play is the work of pure, raw, mad genius.

Eric Lewis, in the zone.

...and some more.

The sweat of genius, glistening on the floor below Lewis' piano -- the performance was a magnificent force to watch.

For a full blow-by-blow verbal recap, be sure to skim our live Twitter feed — and stay tuned for more coverage tomorrow.