TED/ The rediscovery of Wonder

Well once again it has been a privilege to attend the annual TED conference in Long Beach California.
I’ve returned energized and I feel as though my brain has been stretched and challenged. I witnessed amazing speakers with profound stories. Stories of courage against the odds and stories of people trying to help others less fortunate. Stories of scientific brilliance, technological genius and unwavering compassion. Some stories left me angry, some in tears and others gave me a call to action.

I’ll try and articulate some of the highlights for me:

Louie Schwartzberg showed us an exclusive preview of Wings of Life, an extraordinary movie preview of winged creatures….incredibly beautiful.
Camille Seaman showed us images from The Last Iceberg, chilling (literally and figuratively) scenes of polar bears and the destruction of their habitat.
Amit Sood developed the Google virtual Museum tours and showed us how it works. Each separate painting has 10 billion pixels!!
Isabel Behncke Izquierdo showed us what we can learn from bonobos!! (I loved this one)
Ric Elias was a passenger on the flight that went into the Hudson River…he told us minute by minute what happened in excruciating detail….and how it has affected him in positive ways.

That was just the beginning…

I attended a breakfast with Al Gore. He told us of a new campaign called “Reality: It’s not an opinion”. There’s a raging “debate” challenging the indisputable fact of climate change that’s based on an illusion created by massive spending by special interests. The argument is usually that climate scientists want to make money…when in fact the average pay for them is $80,000 per year, and for example climate change denier Glenn Beck makes $32 million per year. Fact after alarming fact was presented.

To the Main Stage:

I loved the Handspring Puppet company who have created life size puppets of horses which you would swear are the real thing…incredible emotional complexity.
Eric Whitacre is a conductor who has transformed 185 virtual voices into a gorgeous choir.
Neuroscientist Antonio Damasio explained how his research shows that emotions play a central role in social cognition and decision making.
Deb Roy has studied how children learn language. Fascinating!
Felisa Wolfe-Simon is seeking to uncover the sequence of events that shaped the basis for life itself, and has found a new form (in nature) of life that’s NON-DNA based.
Morgan Spurlock spoke about his new documentary about corporate branding…very funny.
I loved artists JR, Janet Echelman and Beatrice Coron, and director Julie Taymor.
Bill Gates once again spoke…he really is a visionary.
Al Jazeera director Wadah Khanfar described new democracies that are forming in the Middle East, and how Egyptian protesters begged the journalists to keep filming….”otherwise there will be genocide”
High functioning autistic savant Daniel Tammet showed us how he sees numbers as colors and patterns…very moving.
Anthony Atala grows organs in labs…the future of medicine.
Educators Salman Khan and John Hunter blew me away with their compassion for teaching.
Kathryn Schulz taught us about being wrong!
Twenty two year old slam poet Sarah Kay got a huge standing ovation.
And Roger Ebert showed us about he has changed his method of communicating since cancer claimed his lower jawbone. Magical!

My favorite of all was Shea Hembrey…he has curated and created his own art biennial…he was the funniest speaker of all for me…because his work is all about fine art…say no more, just watch the talk!!

And to top it all off, Macy Gray performed a concert in the hotel lobby!

Finally much love and respect to Chris Anderson, curator of TED who two months earlier had to face the unimaginable loss of his beautiful and brilliant daughter Zoe. Chris you are heroic.

And as always ALL stories can be watched and downloaded for free at TED.com

One Response to “TED/ The rediscovery of Wonder”

  1. Cathy Morrison Says:

    Thanks for the recap of TED conference Anita, it sounds amazing. I look forward to checking out these stories.

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