Yesterday I attended the TEDx conference held in Baltimore. First of all, a HUGE round of applause for the army of volunteers that put the conference together. The organization of the conference was largely crowdsourced, and they did a fantastic job. A special "thank you" to Dave Troy for being the chief cat-herder, and more broadly for his overall contribution to connecting the creative community of Baltimore.
The conference was inspirational and thought-provoking, to say the least. Videos of the conference are available at http://tedxmidatlantic.com/live, and I understand they will be put onto the Global TED site eventually.
For those not familiar with TED:
TED conferences bring together the world’s leading thinkers and doers for a series of talks, presentations and performances. TED celebrates the convergence of Technology, Entertainment, and Design. TED events have been called “The ultimate brain spa,” “Davos for optimists” and “A journey into the future, in the company of those creating it.”
I felt honored to be there, and especially enjoyed the opportunity to meet a whole bunch of interesting and interested people. I look forward to keeping up with my new friends.
So, without further delay, and in no particular order, here is a quick summary of my seven favorite talks:
Tony GeraciLive Video Feed - http://tedxmidatlantic.com/live/#TonyGeraci
Tony is working to dramatically change the quality of food served in the Baltimore public schools. His passion was overflowing and his message important. He asked how we can expect our children to learn anything when they are bouncing out of their chairs high on sugar. He aims for this work to become a model the entire nation can learn from.
Roland GriffithsLive Video Feed - http://tedxmidatlantic.com/live/#RolandGriffiths
Roland spoke about his research into the effects of magic mushrooms on the brain. OK, not exactly - but he is researching the effects that the drug psilocybin has on peoples' experiences of the world. He has found that a single session with the drug can enormously enhance a person's well being, connectedness and spirituality, even more than a year later. I'm not advocating drug use, but this really was fascinating stuff.
Naomi NataleLive Video Feed - http://tedxmidatlantic.com/live/#NaomiNatale
Naomi is an installation artist, which basically means she's doing art projects on a huge scale. She has brought together huge numbers of volunteers to make this happen. Her Cradle Project was beautiful and her upcoming One Million Bones project has the potential to be super-powerful. Mostly, I just loved how passionate she was about her craft.
Will NoelLive Video Feed - http://tedxmidatlantic.com/live/#WillNoel
I had previously seen a shorter version of this talk at Ignite Baltimore, but it was great to get more details. Basically, Will and his team have spent the last decade or so figuring out how, using advanced scientific techniques, to extract the text of the only surviving book written by Archimedes. This book has been physically chopped up, overwritten, and attacked by mold and decay, and yet Will's team has managed to get access to this source material, changing our understanding of mathematical history.
Marcus RanumLive Video Feed - http://tedxmidatlantic.com/live/#MarcusRanum
Marcus' talk greatly spoke to the techie in me, but even more so to my role as system architect. Did you know that because of a single bug in the FTP protocol that could have been easily fixed in less than one day, hundreds of millions of dollars have been spend on firewall technologies over the years that could have been unnecessary in the first place? Tiny design flaws and installed bases can have an enormous financial and social impact downstream. Especially in software, everything is interrelated and what may seem like a simple fix in one place can have unintended consequences.
Live Video Feed - http://tedxmidatlantic.com/live/#JoelSalatin
The essence of the egg. Enough said.
Live Video Feed - http://tedxmidatlantic.com/live/#AnaVidovic
A virtuoso on the guitar and a fantastic way to end the conference.