TED U Session One highlights

22 Feb

When I was at TED last week I was surprised by the quantity, quality and variety of presenters in the TED U sessions. TED U has a much shorter talk time than normal TED talks. Between 1 to 10 minutes. Most of them are around 3 minutes. The interesting bit is that you end up seeing 14 talks in about an hour and a half. Many times, the talkers are not even talking in their main area of expertise, so they discuss more personal hobbies and interests. It is very intense.

I am trying to recall some of the best moments. I’ll start with Session One and I won’t go over all of them, just the one that caught my attention and still lingers in my mind.

Michael Martin had a very interesting talk about driving into a Tornado and he compared it with driving into this economic crisis. To sum it up: stay positive, provide leadership, look for a safe place, hang in there, it will pass. The photos of tornados were cool.

Catherine Mohr was a delight and did a wonderful talk called “Adventures in Green Housebuilding for Nerds”. She is the one that made the comment about walking back from TED to avoid the incredibly costly carbon footprint of airplane travel that inspired my other post. Her analisis on how insulation, material choice and other elements affect carbon emissions and energy comsumption were just excellent.

Felix Kramer told us to start running barefoot. It makes a lot of sense because it is less trouble for your knees and, this is added by me, it improves your perception of your foot and how you connect to the world. If people in Kenya do it….

Daniel Kraft was a doctor from the future. He not only invented this bone marrow extraction machine, but used a shock and awe technique of showing a dazzling display of nano-machines that will co-exist with us, cleaning arteries, and sending signals to the outside world about our internal state. I really wish he will prepare a full TED talk about this fascinating subject (for me anyway). We met at night and had a small chat over some drinks and music by Ethel, a great guy.

Kevin Stone presented a new way to fix ankles, knees and other body parts using animal joints from horses, pigs, etc. For a soccer player and skier like me, this is great news. I imagine a knee from a horse must be really hard to break. Check out more here.

David Bolinsky from Xvivo presented dazzling images from inside our body done with CGI. A must see TEDtalk was followed with more footage that I hope they make available soon. There are more samples at his company web site. How enlightening to actually “see” what is going on inside our bodies.

Frederik Balaggade showed us how diagnostics can be done in third world countries with a simple, inexpensive method and procedures. I think we can learn some things in southamerica from the africans, instead of looking at resource wasteful solutions from Europe/US.

Jessica Green explored the invisible in her talk. She thinks that exploring the biodiversity and biogeography in our homes and workspaces will give us very important information for our own health. In essence, we spend 90% of our lives indoors, what we are living with might be quite important. Fantastic pictures.

Jonathan Drori, which gave this tedtalk in 2007, explained us the incredible characteristic of pollen which is tiny, has promiscuous sex, is biologically active and extremely diverse. Whem blow-up by electronic microscopes it’s just stunningly beautiful. It also shows that C.S.I. has new tools because it can be used to track forensic evidence in a very accurate way.

Juliana Machado Ferreira, a native of Sao Paulo, works in restoring rescued birds to their habitats. Surprinsingly, that is not always what happens once the birds are rescued, most of them are euthanized. She was very passionate and convincing. I am never buying a parrot for myself!

Phil Zimbardo, the great Stanford professor with a very prolific life started a new venture to help train and find heroes. He thinks we need a lot more heroes in the world and it’s very hard to disagree with him. Check out more about his Hero Construction Company.

The last talk was from Cindy Gallop called If I ran the world presented a web site that can playfully set on to generate concrete action to change the world in a collaborative way. Very interesting stuff indeed.

As you can see the TED U session are as enganging (or even more) than the main stage TED talks. I hope you have a feel for them now.

Let me know what you think.


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