TEDGlobal Day 2: Professors wrap up and speakers take stage

Day 2 kicked off in full throttle at 7:30AM , as a bunch of TEDx organizers convened in the social spaces 2 levels below in the EICC. As part of our schedule, all of the TEDx team along with the attending TEDx organizers will be convening to meet for brainstorming sessions  with respect to each of the official TEDx events that have been announced: TEDxYouth, TEDxWomen, TEDxChange, and last but not the least TEDxWWW.


First up was brainstorming for TEDxWWW. Plenty of people were bitten by the early bird bug, as TEDx organizers and the TEDx team were present at Club TEDx. Bruno Giussani was on hand for a while before he had to head up to prepare for the conference opening with Chris Anderson. As the meeting began, plenty of questions were thrown around regarding how TEDxWWW will be structured as it will be taking place in Qatar on April 2012. Confusion did ensue from one question to another, but it was clear that this is a TEDx event for TEDx organizers. Amanda Palmer helped to dispel any misconceptions revolving around TEDxWWW. Topics regarding content, curation, and more were being thrown around by other TEDx organizers. One thing to highlight is that the attendees have a good amount of input towards TEDxDoha – this will be happening on the very next day when TEDxWWW ends. TED is even getting involved with the workshop, and playing a smaller role in TEDxDoha as they see the community taking the lead towards helping to curate the talks.

Some even claimed that the whole purpose of TEDxWWW was miscommunicated, and still confused many people. Even the TEDx team have taken it upon themselves to workout as much as possible before registration begins in October 2011.


It was after all this frantic discussion that many of us hustled to the Royal Lyceum Theatre to attend TED U Session 2. Since many of us were held back, we were fortunate enough to get seats on the upper level. Call it coincidence, but I was wanting to be seated higher up so that I have the chance to capture good moments from the talks. Good thing my camera and camcorder were charged up to capture some of the action.

Session kicked off with a focus on prototyping by Jeremy Moon, CEO of Icebreaker. He talked about the power of design thinking and how everyone in an organization regardless of department has a role to play. 
Much later, a presentation of the ‘Water Canary’ by Sonaar Luthra. In the old days, miners used canaries as an indication if hazardous gases were present at the expense of the canary’s life. This device aims to solve water contamination by crowdsourcing it. Rather than using chemicals, just putting a small amount into the ‘canary’ and a couple of seconds will inform you whether the water sample taken is contaminated. This makes it inexpensive and much quicker. Guess what? It even uses telecommunications to mark the spot where the water is contaminated.
What followed after his presentation was beyond ‘music to my ears’. I would speak for everyone when songwriter Imogen Heap demonstrated something new and novel for music composition. Let me say this: you haven’t seen something like this, and we were the first to see a live demo. The beats she generated and mixed as she used her body gestures for composing the music showed that we need to elevate beyond the usual percussion musical instruments.
Dr. Naif Al-Mutawa, a TEDGlobal 2010 speaker, came backt o share his updates on The 99 and the public criticisms that have followed since its introduction to the U.S market. Even though the Justice League & The 99 crossover succeeded, it had its share of critics who viewed it as a ‘radicalized’ and ‘indoctrination’ tool. He even shared another funny story that ended quoting his son “OOOO, scary!” *hands high and straight*; the audience erupted in laughter. I had the chance of meeting him in March 2011 when he spoke at Tasmeem 2011. Call it coincidence or not, I’m glad I got to have met him again.
Serge Mouangue, an African and a TED Fellow, showed his fusion of Africa with one of Japan’s symbols that is the kimono. You can see that the fusion of the Far East along with the Saharan vibe of Africa really give it a new distinct look.
Though there were many more TED U speakers, these were some of them that I could remember. That brought TED U to a close, which then lead me back to the EICC for the kickoff to TEDGlobal 2011. Knowing that I wouldn’t make it in time, I decided to make my way back to the social spaces to watch the event.


Chris Anderson and Bruno Giussani kick off TEDGlobal 2011 with Session 1: Beginnings. Since I anticipated that there wouldn’t be any seating left in the main auditorium after the meeting, I stayed in the social spaces to watch it onscreen. I had a nice social company and unlimited amounts of coffee, tea, snacks and more to accompany my brain’s hunger pangs.

Annie Murphy Paul shed light on when humans begin learning, as we are never too young for it. It’s a cyclical process. Rebecca MacKinnon shared the autocratic takeover of the Internet by countries who censor to the limits, even mention China. The Internet belongs to everyone and not one government. I guess it’s time that we ‘take back’ what belongs to the people so that those in power do not abuse it to their advantage. Richard Wilkinson projected a very good perspective of how the social inequality can affect trust among people within their communities.
Danielle De Niese gave a riveting opera performance, and almost reminded me of Luciano Pavarotti when he was on his farewell tour that culminated in Dubai years ago. A moment of nostalgia that was likened to The Three Tenors when they were at their prime.


During lunch, another TEDx brainstorming session took place and this time it was TEDxChange. From the Gates Foundation, we have Corrie Frasier and Lacey Price who were at hand to share details for the second iteration of the event. What TEDx organizers now know is that the it will be taking place in Beijing, China on March 2012. As the first one focused on the Millenium Development Goals as they aligned with education and health, the second one hopes to keep that momentum alive with the focus being on Asia.

Following our TEDxChange meet, it was back to the usual as I grabbed my seat infront of the screens. It seemed futile for me to waste 5 minutes running up to the theatre to see if any seating was available. I had my good friend Matej Golob keep me company in the ‘Bloggers Alley’, as we blogged and tweet while watching the talks unfold.


Session 2: Everyday Rebellions had a modern twist to the tale of Robin Hood. Hasan Elahi shared his transparency project where he literally put himself out there after he was accidentally flagged by the FBI as a case of mistaken identity. He thought it best that ‘he would help make the FBI’s job easier’, but I guess they gave up. When 9/11 happened, he even put up his calendar foer the world to see.

He even shared data logs showing that they still visit his site, assuming that they have gone through 43,000+ worth of pictures. Did I mention that he must have taken a picture of every different type of toilet chair? I’m sure he could set a new Guinness World record on that.

Maajid Nawaz was someone whom I wanted to hear. He’s had a rough patch, being blacklisted and banned from some countries. He shared his insights as to why democratic movements are so slow to catch up yet extremist views spear like wildfire. Quite an eyeopener, when there might be modern rebels who oppose the sort of colonialism of being imposed ‘Western’ values.

Yves Rossy was one guy who literally took everyone higher than Cloud 9. Being the real ‘Birdman’ as he literally flew across the English Channel on a jetpack-like contraption. He shar
ed his challenges on his death-defying feat of soaring high with the birds, yet he had no mechanism to steer and only relied on shifting his body weight. He even stated that he almost felt like a bid excluding the wing flapping. They said that they would put up that jetpack up for display int eh social space & that meant seeing how big it would be.

Jeremy Gilley was going to be up next, but Bruno announced that he was swapped with a speaker from the last day. Thus, we welcomed Justin Hall-Tipping, who put the question out there about the solutions to our biggest problems being closer to us than we expect. Asaf Avidan took to his guitar as he enthralled the audience with his voice. Julia Bacha told her story of how she filmed Palestinians resorting to non-violent methods. You should have heard of her movie Budrus.


To end Day 2, Session 3: Coded Patterns showed us how the ordinary can even hide the most ingenious solutions. Physicist Geoffrey West elaborated on the practical laws for life as a way to quantify and predict with mathematics being the sole base. Organisms have it, so can the same be said for humans in urban settings? That’s a mind-bending question worth answering. Just relating how cities and corporations function as a simple math problem shows that mathematical laws do really help to explain and elaborate their daily functions and the correlations that they exhibit. There’s even quite a dark truth that our urbanized living is the source of many of the world’s problems.

Architect Shohei Shigematsu wanted to give the ordinary box a place in  the urban infrastructure. He even shed light on how he plans to channel his efforts to help rebuild Japan post Fukushima. By fluke, he even put into perspective how the worst things around the world coincided with his own life.
Kevin Slavin showed us how algorithms have caused people to confront monumental amount of data that we may never comprehend. Talk about insurmountable odds, as even the code we write is beyond comprehension. Allan Jones put his thoughts on studying the gray matter in our brains, as he seeks to unlock the very important genes for mapping out our brain after death.

May have sounded like lot of information overload, but music proved to be the biggest soothing medicine. Balasz Havasi, a Guinness World Record holder in hitting the most piano keys in a minute, really sent everyone into an euphoria with his performance. Next thing, he was joined on stage by a drummer, and that’s how the classic fused with the present which took the performance to new heights. People in the social spaces were trying to keep their brains in sync to the notes, as it just proved too addictive.
Wrapping it up, here is TED’s overview of Session 3: http://blog.ted.com/2011/07/12/coded-patterns-images-and-notes-from-session-3…


That was as much as my brain could recall from Sessions 1 – 3, and then it was off to the National Museum of Scotland for the opening party. Bus shuttles lined up outside the EICC as each one disembarked when it reached capacity. It was an opportunity to mingle and meet other 100s of attendees, while we indulge in the mood and atmosphere of what the museum has to offer.
Even managed to snag a picture of myself with Chris Anderson.
Catch the tweet-citement as it unfolded on Day 2:
*UPDATE* Even TED has uploaded photos to their Flickr stream: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tedconference/sets/72157627037507865/

Watch for Day 3 as the full day session takes us for a ride into the deeper subconscious of our membrane.

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