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Program Speakers A-Z

A
Leyla Acaroglu Leyla Acaroglu
Sustainability strategist

Leyla Acaroglu uses innovative design and systems thinking to create positive change.

Leyla Acaroglu breaks through our deeply entrenched environmental folklore in order to reveal the true impact of the products and materials we use every day. A designer and consultant, Acaroglu encourages both companies and individuals to look at the full life cycle of the things they create and use in order to understand their net effect on the environment. At Eco Innovators, an ecologically-minded Australian design studio, Acaroglu’s team makes award-winning designs and projects that tap into a sense of play in order to educate. From animations explaining the lifecycle of a cell phone to bookshelves made from construction scrap wood to workshops that help rebuild and repurpose broken everyday items, the goal is building savvy, science-based sustainability practices.

Session 7: Sustain!
Wed Feb 27, 2013
5:00 – 6:45
Anas Aremeyaw Anas Anas Aremeyaw Anas
Undercover journalist

Anas Aremeyaw Anas is a Ghanaian undercover journalist and private eye who gathers hard evidence of crime and corruption, putting the perpetrators behind bars.

Working in Ghana and across the African continent, Anas Aremeyaw Anas is an undercover journalist and private eye. In disguise, he finds his way into asylums, brothels and villages, where he methodically gathers evidence for hard-hitting stories -- then presents the evidence to authorities to see criminals prosecuted.

His work on human trafficking won him the US State Department Hero Award in 2008. In President Barack Obama's 2009 policy address in Ghana, he singled out Anas and commended him as "a courageous journalist who risked his life to report the truth.” His investigation in “Mad House” of a Ghanaian psychiatric ward led to a widespread awareness of mental health issues in Ghana and the passage of the 2012 Ghana Mental Health Act. His exposé of a trafficking ring in “Chinese Sex Mafia” led to three human traffickers receiving a 41-year jail sentence, while "Spell of the Albino," produced as part of Al-Jazeera's Africa Investigates series, led to widespread awareness of a sinister trade in body parts. “Enemies of the Nation,” which uncovered corruption at Ghana’s Tema Harbor, led to the recovery of $200 million in state funds.

Session 9: Indelicate Conversation
Thurs Feb 28, 2013
2:15 – 4:00
Jack Andraka Jack Andraka
Cancer detector inventor

A paper on carbon nanotubes, a biology lecture on antibodies and a flash of insight led 15-year-old Jack Andraka to design a cheaper, more sensitive cancer detector.

After Andraka’s proposal to build and test his idea for a pancreatic cancer detector was rejected from 199 labs, the teen landed at Johns Hopkins. There, he built his device using inexpensive strips of filter paper, carbon nanotubes and antibodies sensitive to mesothelin, a protein found in high levels in people with pancreatic cancer. When dipped in blood or urine, the mesothelin adheres to these antibodies and is detectable by predictable changes in the nanotubes’ electrical conductivity.

In preliminary tests, Andraka’s invention has shown 100 percent accuracy. It also finds cancers earlier than current methods, costs a mere 3 cents and earned the high schooler the 2012 Intel Science Fair grand prize.

Session 6: Create!
Wed Feb 27, 2013
2:15 – 4:00
B
BLACK BLACK
Yo-yo champion

Twice the world yo-yo champion, BLACK mixes dance, sport and performance to create unforgettable yo-yo moments.

At 14, BLACK picked up his first yo-yo. Initially he couldn't do even the easiest trick -- but after one week of practicing, he realized: I could be good at this. Very good. Four years later (and 10,000 hours of practicing), he took the title of 2001 world champion. And then ... he gave it up. Went to school, got a job. But he missed the passion of performing. He realized: "I want to do this: Entertain, and bring excitement and joy to people with the yo-yo."

Returning to competition after six years, he won the 2007 World Yo-Yo Contest in the artistic performance category. After that, he started dance and acrobatic training to create a new form of performing and art. Imagine a yo-yo performance graceful and thrilling enough to pass the audition for Cirque du Soleil ... while being fast and precise enough to pull a tablecloth out from under a stack of champagne glasses!

Session 4: Disrupt!
Wed Feb 27, 2013
8:30 – 10:15
Beardyman Beardyman
Beatboxer and inventor

Beardyman, “ruler of beats and destroyer of dance floors,” has developed a real-time music-production system that places live looping at the center of a new musical paradigm.

Beardyman, AKA Darren Foreman, was studying product design at Brighton University in the UK when he started beatboxing. After winning two consecutive UK Beatbox Championships, he turned to live looping (recording and playing back audio samples in real time) as a way to layer his vocal ablutions into dance-floor-rocking hour-long sets. He released his debut album in 2011 and has been rocking stages all over the world ever since.

Working with DMGAudio, Beardyman built what he calls the "Beardytron_5000 mkII," a real-time music-production system that could be the solution to the problem of how to smash a dance floor using only your voice -- and how to compose and produce complex and highly nuanced electronic dance music in real time. “There was nothing available that does what I need, so I was forced to make it myself," he says.

Session 2: Beautiful Imperfection
Tues Feb 26, 2013
2:15 – 4:00
Liu Bolin Liu Bolin
Artist

Beijing-based artist Liu Bolin silently comments on modern sociopolitical conditions by disappearing into his art.

Artist Liu Bolin began his "Hiding in the City" series in 2005, after Chinese police destroyed Suo Jia Cun, the Beijing artists' village in which he'd been working, because the government did not want artists working and living together. With the help of assistants, he painstakingly painted his clothes, face, and hair to blend into the background of a demolished studio.

Since then, the so-called "Invisible Man" has photographed himself fading into a variety of backgrounds all over Beijing. Spot him embedded in a Cultural Revolution slogan painted on a wall, or spy him within tiers of supermarket shelves stocked with soft drinks. Just as with Bolin himself, the contradictions and confusing narratives of China's post-Cultural Revolution society are often hiding in plain sight.

Session 10: Secret Voices
Thurs Feb 28, 2013
5:00 – 6:45
Bono Bono
Musician, activist

Bono, the lead singer of U2, uses his celebrity to fight for social justice worldwide: to end hunger, poverty and disease, especially in Africa. His nonprofit ONE raises awareness via media, policy and calls to action.

Irreverent, funny, iconoclastic and relentless, Bono has proven himself stunningly effective in encouraging and cajoling the world's most powerful leaders to take seriously the challenge of disease and hunger and seize the historic opportunity we now have to beat extreme poverty, especially in Africa, through technological innovation, smart aid, transparency and investments which put citizens in charge. 

As lead singer of U2, Bono performed at Live Aid in 1985, which inspired him to travel to Ethiopia with his wife, Ali. There they spent several weeks helping with a famine relief project. The experience shocked him and ignited a determination to work for change. In Bono's own words, "What are the blind spots of our age? It might be something as simple as our deep-down refusal to believe that every human life has equal worth". In 2005, the year of Make Poverty History, Bono became one of the inaugural winners of the TED Prize; he used his wish to raise awareness and inspire activism.

In 2002, he co-founded DATA (Debt, AIDS, Trade, Africa), which later became the advocacy and campaign organization, ONE. Today ONE has more than 3 million members who pressure politicians around the world to improve policies to empower the poorest. Thanks to these efforts, along with those of partners and grassroots leaders in Africa, these policies have delivered results. For example, eight million people are now on life preserving antiretoviral medications, malarial death rates have been halved in eight target countries, 50 million more children are in school and 5.4 million lives have been saved through vaccines.

In 2006, Bono and Bobby Shriver launched (RED) to engage the private sector in the fight against AIDS in Africa. (RED) Partners direct a portion of their profits from (RED)-branded products, services and events directly to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. In just six years, (RED) has contributed more than $200 million - every penny of which goes directly to HIV/AIDS programs with the goal of eliminating mother-to-child transmission of HIV. To date, (RED) dollars have helped the lives of more than 14 million people in Africa through education, testing, counseling, and treatment programs.

Bono also co-founded EDUN with his wife Ali. EDUN is a global fashion brand which does business in an number of countries in Africa and beyond, sourcing materials and manufacturing clothing. In Uganda, EDUN is supporting over 8,000 farmers in their move from subsistence to sustainable business practices.  

Granted knighthood in 2007 and dubbed a "Man of Peace" in 2008, Bono mobilized in 2010 following the devastating earthquake in Haiti, performing the song "Stranded" with bandmate The Edge -- and Rihanna and Jay-z -- during the for Hope for Haiti Now telethon. The event was watched by 83 million people in the United States alone and raised a reported $58 million for relief.

Bono’s journey in activism spans a generation and where he is coming from, and above all where he is going, is something we should all pay close attention to. 

Session 1: Progress Enigma
Tues Feb 26, 2013
11:00 – 12:45
Stewart Brand Stewart Brand
Environmentalist, futurist

Since the counterculture '60s, Stewart Brand has been creating our internet-worked world. Now, with biotech accelerating four times faster than digital technology, Stewart Brand has a bold new plan ...

With biotech accelerating four times faster than digital technology, the revival of extinct species is becoming possible. Stewart Brand plans to not only bring species back but restore them to the wild.

Brand is already a legend in the tech industry for things he’s created: the Whole Earth Catalog, The WELL, the Global Business Network, the Long Now Foundation, and the notion that “information wants to be free.” Now Brand, a lifelong environmentalist, wants to re-create -- or “de-extinct” -- a few animals that’ve disappeared from the planet.

Granted, resurrecting the woolly mammoth using ancient DNA may sound like mad science. But Brand’s Revive and Restore project has an entirely rational goal: to learn what causes extinctions so we can protect currently endangered species, preserve genetic and biological diversity, repair depleted ecosystems, and essentially “undo harm that humans have caused in the past.”

His newest book is Whole Earth Discipline: An Ecopragmatist Manifesto.

Session 5: Dream!
Wed Feb 27, 2013
11:00 – 12:45
Sergey Brin Sergey Brin
Google Co-founder

Sergey Brin is half of the team that founded Google. Now he's leading the development of special projects like Google Glass.

Sergey Brin and Larry Page met in grad school at Stanford in the mid-'90s, and in 1996 started working on a search technology based around a new idea: that relevant results come from context. Their technology analyzed the number of times a given website was linked to by other sites — assuming that the more links, the more relevant the site — and ranked sites accordingly. Despite being a late entrant to the search game, it now rules the web.

Brin and Page's innovation-friendly office culture has spun out lucrative new products including AdSense/AdWords, Google News, Google Maps, Google Earth, and Gmail, as well as the Android mobile operating system. Now, led by Brin, Google is pursuing problems beyond the page, like the driverless car and the digital eyewear known as Google Glass .

Session 4: Disrupt!
Wed Feb 27, 2013
8:30 – 10:15
Rodney Brooks Rodney Brooks
Roboticist

Rodney Brooks builds robots based on biological principles of movement and reasoning. The goal: a robot who can figure things out.

MIT professor Rodney Brooks studies and engineers robot intelligence, looking for the holy grail of robotics: the AGI, or artificial general intelligence. For decades, we've been building robots to do highly specific tasks -- welding, riveting, delivering interoffice mail -- but what we all want, really, is a robot that can figure things out on its own, the way we humans do.

Brooks realized that a top-down approach -- just building the biggest brain possible and teaching it everything we could think of -- would never work. What would work is a robot who learns like we do, by trial and error, and with many separate parts that learn separate jobs. The thesis of his work which was captured in Fast, Cheap and Out of Control,went on to become the title of the great Errol Morris documentary.

A founder of iRobot, makers of the Roomba vacuum, Brooks now heads Rethink Robotics, whose mission is to apply advanced robotic intelligence to manufacturing and physical labor. Its first robot: the versatile Baxter. Brooks is affiliated with CSAIL, MIT's Computers Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.

 
Session 1: Progress Enigma
Tues Feb 26, 2013
11:00 – 12:45
Erik Brynjolfsson Erik Brynjolfsson
Innovation researcher

Erik Brynjolfsson examines the effects of information technologies on business strategy, productivity and employment.

The director of the MIT Center for Digital Business and a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, Erik Brynjolfsson asks how IT affects organizations, markets and the economy. His recent work studies data-driven decision-making, management practices that drive productivity, the pricing implications of Internet commerce and the role of intangible assets.
 
Brynjolfsson was among the first researchers to measure the productivity contributions of information and community technology (ICT) and the complementary role of organizational capital and other intangibles. His research also provided the first quantification of the value of online product variety, often known as the “Long Tail,” and developed pricing and bundling models for information goods.

His books include Wired for Innovation: How IT Is Reshaping the Economy and Race Against the Machine: How the Digital Revolution Is Accelerating Innovation, Driving Productivity and Irreversibly Transforming Employment and the Economy (with Andrew McAfee); and the recent article "Big Data: The Management Revolution" (with Andrew McAfee).

Session 1: Progress Enigma
Tues Feb 26, 2013
11:00 – 12:45
Lisa Bu Lisa Bu
Passionate reader

Lisa Bu has built a career helping people find great stories to listen to. Now she tells her own story.

At TED's annual staff retreat, everyone has to get up and talk about something -- either about work, or about something interesting from their own lives. In fall 2012, our own Lisa Bu prepared a talk about her love of reading. And our quiet, funny and efficient Content Distribution Manager simply brought down the house, with a story that's too good not to share. We are thrilled and proud that Lisa is the first TED staffer ever to be invited to speak on the mainstage at the TED Conference.

Born and raised in Hunan, China, Lisa Bu has been with TED since 2011. Before that, she spent seven years as a talk show producer and a digital media content director at Wisconsin Public Radio. She's also a computer programmer, with a PhD in journalism and an MBA in information systems from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, as well as a BA in Chinese from Nanjing University in China.

Session 3: The Spark
Tues Feb 26, 2013
5:00 – 6:45
C
Vint Cerf Vint Cerf
Computer scientist

Vint Cerf, now the chief Internet evangelist at Google, helped lay the foundations for the internet as we know it more than 30 years ago.

TCP/IP. You may not know what it stands for, but you probably use it every day -- it's the set of communications protocols that allows data to flow from computer to computer across the internet. More than 30 years ago, while working at DARPA, Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn developed TCP/IP, and in so doing, they gave rise to the modern Internet. In 2004, Cerf was the recipient of the ACM Alan M. Turing award (sometimes called the “Nobel Prize of Computer Science”), and in 2005 he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Cerf is a vice president and chief Internet evangelist at Google, and chairman of the board of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), an organization he helped form; he was also recently elected president of the ACM Council. He served as founding president of the Internet Society from 1992 to 1995. He's an advocate for a truly free internet, speaking out in the face of increasing government demands to limit free speech and connection.

Session 10: Secret Voices
Thurs Feb 28, 2013
5:00 – 6:45
D
Sanjay Dastoor Sanjay Dastoor
Roboticist

Sanjay Dastoor is the co-founder of Boosted Boards, a startup that aims to build the world's lightest electric vehicles.

Sanjay Dastoor met pals John Ulmen and Matthew Tran while studying engineering at Stanford University, where the three often found themselves talking about the need for a better way to get around campus. So they created one -- an electric longboard which they call Boosted Boards. The CEO of this Silicon Valley startup, which raised nearly a half million in crowdsourced funding through Kickstarter, Dastoor hopes to provide a new way to commute for those who live within a six-mile radius of work.

With his co-founders at Boosted, Dastoor participated in the Y Combinator and StartX incubator programs. He is finishing his PhD on bio-inspired robotics at Stanford, and he holds a MS from Stanford and a BS from UC Berkeley. He has also worked at NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab and SRI International.

Session 4: Disrupt!
Wed Feb 27, 2013
8:30 – 10:15
Jared Diamond Jared Diamond
Civilization scholar

Jared Diamond investigates why cultures prosper or decline -- and what we can learn by taking a broad look across many kinds of societies.

In his books Guns, Germs and Steel and Collapse (and the popular PBS and National Geographic documentaries they inspired), big-picture scholar Jared Diamond explores civilizations and why they all seem to fall. Now in his latest book, The World Until Yesterday, Diamond examines small, traditional, tribal societies -- and suggests that modern civilization is only our latest solution to survival.
 
Diamond’s background in evolutionary biology, geography and physiology informs his integrated vision of human history. He posits that success -- and failure -- depends on how well societies adapt to their changing environment.

Session 11: Who Are We?
Fri Mar 1, 2013
8:30 – 10:15
F
Ron Finley Ron Finley
Gardener

Ron Finley grows a nourishing food culture in South Central L.A.’s food desert by planting the seeds and tools for healthy eating.

Artist and designer Ron Finley couldn’t help but notice what was going on in his backyard. “South Central Los Angeles,” he quips, “home of the drive-thru and the drive-by.” And it's the drive-thru fast-food stands that contribute more to the area’s poor health and high mortality rate, with one in two kids contracting a curable disease like Type 2 diabetes.

Finley’s vision for a healthy, accessible “food forest” started with the curbside veggie garden he planted in the strip of dirt in front of his own house. When the city tried to shut it down, Finley’s fight gave voice to a larger movement that provides nourishment, empowerment, education -- and healthy, hopeful futures -- one urban garden at a time.

Session 7: Sustain!
Wed Feb 27, 2013
5:00 – 6:45
Stuart Firestein Stuart Firestein
Neuroscientist

Stuart Firestein teaches students and “citizen scientists” that ignorance is far more important to discovery than knowledge.

You’d think that a scientist who studies how the human brain receives and perceives information would be inherently interested in what we know. But Stuart Firestein says he’s far more intrigued by what we don’t. “Answers create questions,” he says. “We may commonly think that we begin with ignorance and we gain knowledge [but] the more critical step in the process is the reverse of that.”

Firestein, who chairs the biological sciences department at Columbia University, teaches a course about how ignorance drives science. In it -- and in his 2012 book on the topic -- he challenges the idea that knowledge and the accumulation of data create certainty. Facts are fleeting, he says; their real purpose is to lead us to ask better questions.

Session 2: Beautiful Imperfection
Tues Feb 26, 2013
2:15 – 4:00
James Flynn James Flynn
Moral philosopher

James Flynn challenges our fundamental assumptions about intelligence.

Year over year, people fare better on standardized tests, a global phenomenon known as the Flynn Effect. James Flynn, the New Zealand-based researcher who discovered this, believes that environmental factors play a greater role in intelligence than genetics does.

His latest findings, discussed in his 2012 book Are We Getting Smarter?, also suggest that women are not only as intelligent as men, but superior when it comes to executive function. “Women, when exposed to modernity, do equal men for IQ,” Flynn said to TV ONE’s Greg Boyed. “But in the formal educational setting where they apply their intelligence, they’re outperforming men all hollow.”

Flynn, a retired university professor, has written extensively about the connection between ongoing equality and IQ gains, democracy and human rights. He also wrote a compelling book about books, The Torchlight List, in which he lists 200 must-reads.

Session 11: Who Are We?
Fri Mar 1, 2013
8:30 – 10:15
Yu Yu "Jordy" Fu
Multifaceted designer

Jordy Fu’s dream is to make this world a better place through art, design and architecture.

Jordy Fu has one goal: To create love through design. And it’s been her goal since she was six, when she had her first solo art exhibition at Beijing Capital Museum. When Fu was seven she published her first book. As a grownup, she trained as both an artist and an architect before working for the influential London designers Future Systems and later joining the London office of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. In 2005 Fu was chosen by the British Council as one of ten young designers to represent British creativity in China. She serves as the Creative Director of the world’s biggest fashion media company, FashionTV, and for the past four years has headed her own design company, Marques and Jordy, in London.

Session 6: Create!
Wed Feb 27, 2013
2:15 – 4:00
G
Peter Gabriel Peter Gabriel
Musician, activist

Peter Gabriel writes incredible songs but, as the co-founder of WITNESS and TheElders.org, is also a powerful human rights advocate.

Peter Gabriel was a founding member of the extraordinarily successful progressive rock band Genesis. He left the band in 1975 to go solo and, in 1980, set up the international arts festival WOMAD (which stands for World of Music, Arts and Dance) and the record label Real World, both to champion music and artistic innovation from all over the world. Gabriel's stop motion video for "Sledgehammer" has been named the most-played music video in the history of MTV.  

Gabriel is also very interested in human rights. In 1992, he co-founded WITNESS.org, an organization that helps human rights activists and citizen witnesses worldwide make change happen through the use of video. The organization not only distributes digital cameras to empower people to document human-rights abuses, but provides a platform for the spread of video that reveals what is really going on in places all over the globe.

In 2007, Gabriel also co-founded theElders.org with Richard Branson and Nelson Mandela, an independent group of global leaders working together for peace and human rights.

Session 10: Secret Voices
Thurs Feb 28, 2013
5:00 – 6:45
Rose George Rose George
Curious journalist

Rose George looks deeply into topics that are unseen but fundamental, whether that's sewers or latrines or massive container ships or pirate hostages or menstrual hygiene.

Rose George thinks, researches, writes and talks about the hidden, the undiscussed. Among the everyone-does-it-no-one-talks-about-it issues she's explored in books and articles: sanitation (and poop in general). Diarrhea is a weapon of mass destruction, says the UK-based journalist and author, and a lack of access to toilets is at the root of our biggest public health crisis. In 2012, two out of five of the world’s population had nowhere sanitary to go.

The key to turning around this problem, says George: Let’s drop the pretense of “water-related diseases” and call out the cause of myriad afflictions around the world as what they are -- “poop-related diseases” that are preventable with a basic toilet. George explores the problem in her book The Big Necessity: The Unmentionable World of Human Waste and Why It Matters and in a fabulous special issue of Colors magazine called "Shit: A Survival Guide." Read a sample chapter of The Big Necessity >>

Her latest book, on an equally hidden world that touches almost everything we do, is Ninety Percent of Everything: Inside Shipping, the Invisible Industry That Puts Clothes on Your Back, Gas in Your Car, Food on Your Plate. Read a review >> 

 In the UK and elsewhere, you'll find the book titled Deep Sea and Foreign Going: Inside Shipping, the Invisible Industry the Brings You 90% of Everything.

Session 9: Indelicate Conversation
Thurs Feb 28, 2013
2:15 – 4:00
Neil Gershenfeld Neil Gershenfeld
Physicist, personal fab pioneer

As Director of MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms, Neil Gershenfeld explores the boundaries between the digital and physical worlds.

MIT's Neil Gershenfeld is redefining the boundaries between the digital and analog worlds. The digital revolution is over, Gershenfeld says. We won. What comes next? His Center for Bits and Atoms has developed quite a few answers, including Internet 0, a tiny web server that fits into lightbulbs and doorknobs, networking the physical world in previously unimaginable ways.

But Gershenfeld is best known as a pioneer in personal fabrication -- small-scale manufacturing enabled by digital technologies, which gives people the tools to build literally anything they can imagine. His famous Fab Lab is immensely popular among students at MIT, who crowd Gershenfeld's classes. But the concept is potentially life-altering in the developing world, where a Fab Lab with just $20,000 worth of laser cutters, milling machines and soldering irons can transform a community, helping people harness their creativity to build tools, replacement parts and essential products unavailable in the local market. Read more in Fab: The Coming Revolution on Your Desktop.

Session 10: Secret Voices
Thurs Feb 28, 2013
5:00 – 6:45
Robert J. Gordon Robert J. Gordon
Economist

Robert J. Gordon is among the most influential macroeconomists in the world. And the big picture he sees is not altogether rosy.

Robert J. Gordon has written prolifically about the problems facing contemporary economic growth, casting a sobering doubt on the ability of our current innovations (what he calls the "third industrial revolution," including all our fancy gadgets) to power the economy the way previous waves of invention. In a recent paper, he suggests that the repeated doubling of economic growth that characterized the 20th century and was arguably the bedrock for modern society may be decelerating at an alarming rate -- especially for the bottom 99 percent of the income distribution. While innovation is continuing apace, he sees the economy buffeted by six headwinds, and a different mix of obstacles for the US economy than for Canada and Europe.

Over the past four decades, he's also done fascinating work on the economics of the airline industry. He's authored hundreds of scholarly articles and five books, including his most recent, Productivity Growth, Inflation, and Unemployment: The Collected Essays of Robert J. Gordon, as well as the textbook Macroeconomics, now in its 12th edition. Two key papers to start: "Is US economic growth over? Faltering innovation confronts the six headwinds," NBER Working Paper 18315; and “Why Innovation Won’t Save Us,” from the Wall Street Journal.

Session 1: Progress Enigma
Tues Feb 26, 2013
11:00 – 12:45
Jennifer Granholm Jennifer Granholm
Former governor of Michigan

A former two-term governor of Michigan, Jennifer M. Granholm makes the case for empowering states to create jobs through a Clean Energy Jobs Race to the Top.

Jennifer M. Granholm was elected governor of Michigan in 2002, and in 2006, she was re-elected with the largest number of votes ever cast for governor in Michigan. As governor, Granholm led the state through a brutal economic downturn that resulted from a meltdown in the automotive and manufacturing sectors. She worked relentlessly to diversify the state’s economy, strengthen its auto industry, preserve the advancedmanufacturing sector, and add new, emerging sectors, such as clean energy, to Michigan’s economic portfolio. 

During her tenure, she pioneered clean energy policies, working with business and labor, Republicans and Democrats to create new economic opportunities in Michigan. In 2005, the Granholm economic development team put together an aggressive strategy to make Michigan the hub of clean-energy development in North America by developing entire supply chains in Michigan, fostering critical partnerships between industry, government and researchers and by creating economic incentives that made Michigan the place to locate. Granholm’s plan included specific clustering strategies targeted at battery manufacturing, bio-energy, solar and wind power. Her leadership attracted to Michigan more than 89,000clean energy jobs and $9.4 billion in investments in that sector.  By the time she left office at the start of 2011, Michigan’s economy was rebounding and Gallup listed Michigan as state with the most improved jobs climate. 

Her book A Governor’s Story: The Fight for Jobs and America’s Economic Future tells how Michigan pioneered ways out of an economic storm and offers  advice for a nation desperate to create jobs.  

 

Session 1: Progress Enigma
Tues Feb 26, 2013
11:00 – 12:45
Michael Green Michael Green
Architect

Michael Green wants to solve architecture’s biggest challenge -- meeting worldwide housing demand without increasing carbon emissions -- by building with carbon-sequestering wood instead of concrete and steel.

Michael Green is calling for rapid systemic change in the way we build. To end the global housing and climate crises, we need to get past innovation-stifling regulations and well-meaning but misguided ideas popularized by mainstream media. His proposal: Forget steel, straw, concrete, shipping containers, and rammed earth. Use wood to erect urban skyscrapers. “When the Eiffel Tower was built, nobody thought it could be done. Now it’s a symbol of Paris,” Green told the Vancouver Sun. “Projects like it really triggered an innovation on how cities were built. Man moves by innovation and [by] aiming for the moon.”
 
Green, whose projects range from retail boutiques and housing in North America to a sustainable community in Asia, explores the plausibility of tall wood buildings -- the costs, benefits, and engineering challenges -- in an extensive 2012 white paper. The TED Talent Search winner also teaches and mentors at the University of British Columbia’s School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (SALA).
Session 7: Sustain!
Wed Feb 27, 2013
5:00 – 6:45
H
Phil Hansen Phil Hansen
Multimedia artist

Taking a cue from his own artistic journey, Phil Hansen challenges us to spark our creativity by thinking inside the box.

As an art student, Phil Hansen’s intense style of pointillism led to a tremor in his hand and a diagnosis of nerve damage. Devastated, he dropped out and lost his way ... until a neurologist suggested he “embrace the shake.” That piece of advice tweaked Hansen’s point of view and sent him on a quest to invent different approaches to making art by embracing personal and universal limitations.

Hansen challenged himself to create art using unconventional materials (dandelion puffs, matches, live worms, hamburger grease) and canvases (a stack of Satrbucks cups, his torso, bananas). The resulting time-lapse videos of his creative processes are his meta-art, showing that art is action, not just results. Through an integrated view of what sparks creativity, Hansen has devoted himself to teaching others the approaches to creativity that have changed both his outlook and his artistic endeavors. You can read more in his 2012 book, Tattoo a Banana.

Hansen has just started a new project via Kickstarter, inviting people to share their stories of overcoming limitations with him. Anyone who calls him at 651-321-4996 and tells him their story will become a part of the work, the creation of which is watchable on a live feed

Session 2: Beautiful Imperfection
Tues Feb 26, 2013
2:15 – 4:00
Denise Herzing Denise Herzing
Dolphin researcher

Denise Herzing has spent almost three decades researching and communicating with wild dolphins in their natural setting and on their own terms. The book "Dolphin Diaries" tells her remarkable story.

What better way to study an animal than in its natural habitat? Since 1985, Denise Herzing has been doing just that, spending each summer observing a pod of Atlantic spotted dolphins that live in the Bahamas as part of the Wild Dolphin Project. The work allows Herzing to better understand the pod's social structure, behavior, communication and habitat outside the confines of an aquarium or research facility.
 
Perhaps most remarkable is Herzing’s collaborative effort to design, build and use an interactive device to let humans communicate with the free-ranging dolphins. The 2011 book Dolphin Diaries tells her remarkable story.

Session 8: Coded Meaning
Thurs Feb 28, 2013
11:00 – 12:45
Danny Hillis Danny Hillis
Computer theorist

Inventor, scientist, author, engineer -- over his broad career, Danny Hillis has turned his ever-searching brain on an array of subjects, with surprising results.

Danny Hillis is an inventor, scientist, author and engineer. While completing his doctorate at MIT, he pioneered the concept of parallel computers that is now the basis for most supercomputers, as well as the RAID array. He holds over 100 US patents, covering parallel computers, disk arrays, forgery prevention methods, and various electronic and mechanical devices, and has recently been working on problems in medicine as well. He is also the designer of a 10,000-year mechanical clock, and he gave a TED Talk in 1994 that is practically prophetic. Throughout his career, Hillis has worked at places like Disney and now Applied Minds, always looking for the next fascinating problem.

Session 4: Disrupt!
Wed Feb 27, 2013
8:30 – 10:15
Freeman Hrabowski Freeman Hrabowski
Educator

During his 20-year tenure as president of UMBC, Freeman Hrabowski has helped students of all backgrounds pursue degrees in arts, humanities and the sciences.

During his 20-year run as president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), Freeman Hrabowski has transformed a young university into a research institution recognized as one of the most innovative in the country. His goal: continue building a campus that’s first-rate in research and instruction, and that prepares students of all backgrounds for success.
 
Hrabowski cofounded the Meyerhoff Scholars Program for high-achieving minority students in science and engineering; the program has become a national model. Hrabowski frequently writes about minority participation and performance in these areas. He advises President Obama on educational issues and consults for the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, and National Academies. A tireless educator, leader and mentor, Hrabowski was named one of world’s most influential people in 2012 by Time magazine.

Session 3: The Spark
Tues Feb 26, 2013
5:00 – 6:45
Allison Hunt Allison Hunt
Marketing expert

Allison Hunt has worked in advertising and marketing for 20 years, developing human insight and persuasion into an art for her clients. Six years after getting an artificial hip, she decided to try something new.

Allison runs HATCH Research Intelligence in Toronto, a qualitative market research company that consults on marketing communications and strategy development for clients like Kellogg's, Toyota and Molson-Coors.  

Session 9: Indelicate Conversation
Thurs Feb 28, 2013
2:15 – 4:00
J
Dong Woo Jang Dong Woo Jang
Bow designer

Dong Woo Jang turns an unusual stick of bamboo into an archer’s bow, an exploration of his cultural heritage and a metaphor for his perfect world.

His parents wouldn’t let him play video games, so Dong Woo Jang had to invent other ways to entertain himself in and around his Seoul apartment. First, he studied spider anatomy and hunting skills for three years, creating their habitat in his room. Next, Dong headed outside, where he picked up fallen tree branches and turned them into archery bows.

Later, while researching the age-old craft, he discovered that his optimal design was strikingly similar to that of his ancestors. Though he concedes that, during his process of “fixing, breaking, redesigning, mending, bending, and amending” bows, he accidently set his building on fire. The 15-year-old says that working with wood -- and traveling back and forth in time -- makes him feel free.

Session 6: Create!
Wed Feb 27, 2013
2:15 – 4:00
Meg Jay Meg Jay
Clinical psychologist

In her book "The Defining Decade," Meg Jay suggests that many twentysomethings feel trivialized during what is actually the most transformative — and defining — period of our adult lives.

Lately it feels as if 25 is just a bit too young to get serious. In her psychology practice, and her book The Defining Decade, clinical psychologist Meg Jay suggests that many twentysomethings have been caught in a swirl of hype and misinformation about what Time magazine calls the "Me Me Me Generation." The rhetoric that "30 is the new 20," she suggests, trivializes what is actually the most transformative period of our adult lives.
 
Drawing from more than ten years of work with hundreds of twentysomething clients and students, Jay weaves science together with compelling, behind-closed-doors stories. The result is a provocative, poignant read that shows us why, far from being an irrelevant downtime, our twenties are a developmental sweetspot that comes only once.  Our twenties are a time when the things we do -- and the things we don’t do -- will have an enormous effect across years and even generations to come.

Jay is a clinical psychologist who specializes in adult development, and in twentysomethings in particular. She is an assistant clinical professor at the University of Virginia and maintains a private practice in Charlottesville, Virginia.  She spent her own early twentysomething years as an Outward Bound instructor.

Session 3: The Spark
Tues Feb 26, 2013
5:00 – 6:45
Mohamed Jemni Mohamed Jemni
E-accessibility strategist

Mohamed Jemni develops intuitive tools to make the web more accessible for people with disabilities.

In his lab at the University of Tunis, Mohamed Jemni is building e-learning environments for students with disabilities, and improving accessibility for the deaf community by the use of information and community technology (ICT) and sign language -- with tools like the app MMS Sign, which makes mobile phones accessible for deaf people, and the new WebSign, which unlocks web data using an avatar who speaks sign language. (Watch his TED Talk about WebSign.)

Jemni and his lab won the UNESCO Prize in 2008 for their e-learning curriculum for visually impaired people, and the World Summit Award (WSA) Mobile 2010 in the field of social inclusion. He is a member of the steering committee of G3ICT United Nations, the Global Initiative for Inclusive Information and Communication Technologies, and the president of the Tunisian Association of e-accessibility

Session 8: Coded Meaning
Thurs Feb 28, 2013
11:00 – 12:45
Mary Lou Jepsen Mary Lou Jepsen
Screen engineer

Mary Lou Jepsen discovers astonishing ways to integrate digital screens into daily life.

Mary Lou Jepsen is the head of the Display Division at Google [x].  Previously she has founded or co-founded 4 different startups and served as the CTO or CEO at all of them. In 2005, with Nicholas Negroponte, she co-founded One Laptop per Child (OLPC) to build affordable computers for the world’s poorest children. As CTO she invented, architected and delivered to high-volume production a machine that the titans of technology believed was impossible to make.  Dr. Jepsen then founded Pixel Qi Corp. in 2008 in an attempt to transform a broken display component industry into an innovation engine. In the past she has been a professor at MIT, the CTO of Intel's Display Division and a globe-trotting high-tech media artist. She has been ranked in the top 50 female computer scientists of all time, and Time Magazine inducted her into its "Time 100" as one of the 100 most influential people in the world.

Session 5: Dream!
Wed Feb 27, 2013
11:00 – 12:45
K
Raghava KK Raghava KK
Artist

Raghava KK's paintings and drawings use cartoonish shapes and colors to examine the body, society, our world.

Raghava KK began his career in art as a newspaper cartoonist, and the cartoonist’s bold line -- and dead-on eye for truth -- still powers his art. His work spans painting, sculpture, installation, film and iPad art, always linked by his challenging opinions on identity, conformity, gender, celebrity, ceremony. (He even views his lavish Indian wedding as a piece of performance art.)

His early work as a painter made a complete break with his cartoon career -- he painted watercolors on canvas using only his hands and feet. Since then, his work has grown to knit together aesthetics from both worlds, as collage and complication play against flat color and precise lines. He shows in galleries and performance spaces around the world and often collaborates with other artists, most recently with musicians Paul Simon and Erykah Badu.  In 2011, he launched his children's iPad book, Pop-it, shaking up the concept  of an ideal family. He is currently working on a project that promises to shake up everything! From news to education.

Session 8: Coded Meaning
Thurs Feb 28, 2013
11:00 – 12:45
Shane Koyczan Shane Koyczan
Poet

Shane Koyczan makes spoken-word poetry and music. His poem "To This Day" is a powerful story of bullying and survival, illustrated by animators from around the world.

Shane Koyczan is a poet, author and performer. He performed at the opening ceremonies of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, where  an audience of more than 1 billion people worldwide heard his piece “We Are More.”

He has published three books: Stickboy, Our Deathbeds Will Be Thirsty and Visiting Hours, selected by both the Guardian and the Globe and Mail for their Best Books of the Year lists.

In 2012, he released a  full-length album with his band Shane Koyczan and the Short Story Long. The album includes the viral hit “To This Day,”  which explores the anguish of anyone who grew up feeling different or just a little bit alone. To bring visual life to this image-rich poem, Koyczan invited artists from around the world to contribute 20-second segments of animation to the project. Posted on YouTube on February 19, 2013, by the close of the month the video had been viewed 6 million times.

Session 10: Secret Voices
Thurs Feb 28, 2013
5:00 – 6:45
L
Alex Laskey Alex Laskey
Energy software maker

Alex Laskey helps power companies to help their customers cut down -- using data analysis, marketing and a pinch of psychology.

What's a powerful way to help people use less power at home? Pit them against their neighbors. As founder and president of Opower, Alex Laskey helps utlity companies show customers, right on their utility bills, where their own house sits on the spectrum of neighborhood energy wasters -- and how to beat the game. It seems silly, but the large-scale reductions in energy usage are no joke.

Opower works with more than 80 utilities on three continents, and serves over 15 million customers. Since its launch in 2008, it has cumulatively saved utility customers more than $200 million and 2 terawatt hours (TWh) of energy -- enough to power a city of more than a quarter million people. It's all through a powerful combination of behavioral science, data analytics and good marketing.

In the next twelve months, Opower is on track to save another 1 TWh, equivalent to more than one half the generation of the entire US solar power plant industry in 2011.

Session 7: Sustain!
Wed Feb 27, 2013
5:00 – 6:45
Hyeonseo Lee Hyeonseo Lee
Activist

Born in North Korea, Hyeonseo Lee left for China in 1997. Now living in South Korea, she has become an activist for fellow refugees.

Hyeonseo Lee grew up in North Korea but escaped to China in 1997. In 2008, after more than 10 years there, she came to Seoul, South Korea, where she struggled to adjust to life in the bustling city. North Korean defectors often have a hard time in South Korea, she noted in the Wall Street Journal: "We defectors have to start from scratch. Prejudice against North Koreans and icy stares were other obstacles that were hard to cope with."
 
Now a student at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, she has become an advocate for fellow refugees, even helping close relatives leave North Korea after they were targeted. Her dream? As she told the Korea Times, she'd like to work at the UN or an NGO that advocates for the human rights of North Koreans, including their right to be treated as political refugees.

Session 10: Secret Voices
Thurs Feb 28, 2013
5:00 – 6:45
Jinsop Lee Jinsop Lee
Multi-sense designer

Jinsop Lee is an industrial designer who believes that great design appeals to all five senses.

A former professor of design, Jinsop Lee founded the firm Uncle Oswald Is My Hero, which produces clever iPod speakers from old telephone handsets. And we'll let him take it from here:

"My design background began when I was 5 years old. My mother cruelly refused to buy me a Star Wars X-wing fighter, so I built my own from Lego. Yes, I was the traumatized little boy in the corner of the playground holding the multi-coloured Lego X-wing fighter. However, this did teach me an important lesson: You don't have to follow the instructions that come with the box.

As an adult, I started my career as a suit-wearing design consultant, designing stuff and strategies for large companies. I then spent a mandatory two years in the Korean Army without killing anybody. Then I began teaching English, which eventually led to a job as an associate professor of industrial design. Being a professor means you're designing the most important thing of all: students and the type of designers they will later become.

"Now I am working on a series of short videos about industrial design. Each video follows a simple formula: the viewer must learn something new about design while laughing (or snickering) an average of two times per minute. It turns out the second criteria is much harder than the first."

Session 6: Create!
Wed Feb 27, 2013
2:15 – 4:00
Lawrence Lessig Lawrence Lessig
Legal activist

Lawrence Lessig has already transformed intellectual-property law with his Creative Commons innovation. Now he's focused on an even bigger problem: The US' broken political system.

Lawyer and activist Lawrence Lessig spent a decade arguing for sensible intellectual property law, updated for the digital age. He was a founding board member of Creative Commons, an organization that builds better copyright practices through principles established first by the open-source software community.

In 2007, just after his last TED Talk, Lessig announced he was leaving the field of IP and Internet policy, and moving on to a more fundamental problem that blocks all types of sensible policy -- the corrupting influence of money in American politics.

In 2011, Lessig founded Rootstrikers, an organization dedicated to changing the influence of money in Congress. In his latest book, Republic, Lost, he shows just how far the U.S. has spun off course -- and how citizens can regain control. As The New York Times wrote about him, “Mr. Lessig’s vision is at once profoundly pessimistic -- the integrity of the nation is collapsing under the best of intentions --and deeply optimistic. Simple legislative surgery, he says, can put the nation back on the path to greatness.”

Read an excerpt of Lessig's new book, Lesterland >>

Session 4: Disrupt!
Wed Feb 27, 2013
8:30 – 10:15
Wang Li Wang Li
Mouth musician

Wang Li mesmerizes audiences with his unique approach to two of the world’s most ancient (and surprising) instruments.

Wang Li weaves virtuoso soundscapes with humble tools: the kouxiang (commonly known as the Jew’s harp) and the calabash flute. His music enchants audiences worldwide, from the 2009 WOMAD festival to concert halls in New York City.
 
Raised in austere conditions in Northeastern China, Wang Li honed his skills on electric bass before retreating to a French monastery upon his college graduation. Amidst the solitude, Li nurtured his palette of skills -- including circular breathing and overtone singing -- forging a personal approach to his traditional instruments. His recordings include Rêve de SangGreen Apocalypse, with Yom; and Guimbarde.

Session 7: Sustain!
Wed Feb 27, 2013
5:00 – 6:45
Eleanor Longden Eleanor Longden
Research psychologist

Eleanor Longden overcame her diagnosis of schizophrenia to earn a master’s in psychology and demonstrate that the voices in her head were “a sane reaction to insane circumstances.”

Despite what traditional medicine may opine, Eleanor Longden isn’t crazy -- and neither are many other people who hear voices in their heads. In fact, the psychic phenomenon is a “creative and ingenious survival strategy” that should be seen “not as an abstract symptom of illness to be endured, but as complex, significant, and meaningful experience to be explored,” the British psychology researcher says.
 
Longden spent many years in the psychiatric system before earning a BSc and an MSc in psychology, the highest classifications ever granted by the University of Leeds, England. Today she is studying for her PhD, and lectures and writes about recovery-oriented approaches to psychosis, dissociation and complex trauma.
Session 10: Secret Voices
Thurs Feb 28, 2013
5:00 – 6:45
James Lyne James Lyne
Cybersecurity specialist

Whether he’s taking on insecure hotspots, inept passwords, or lax OS designers, James Lyne exposes technology’s vulnerabilities while elevating the security awareness of everyday users.

In an ever-expanding world of networked mobile devices, security threats -- and our ignorance of them -- are more widespread than ever. James Lyne of security firm Sophos believes that if we continue to ignore basic best practices, security is on a trajectory of failure.
 
A self-described geek, Lyne spends time ripping apart the latest gadgets and software, builds true random number generators out of tinfoil and smoke alarm parts, among other unlikely objects. But his gift lies in his ability to explain complicated concepts and abstract threats to diverse audiences around the world.

Session 9: Indelicate Conversation
Thurs Feb 28, 2013
2:15 – 4:00
M
Saki Mafundikwa Saki Mafundikwa
Graphic designer

Saki Mafundikwa wrote the book on Africa’s graphic design heritage -- then opened a school of graphic arts in his native Zimbabwe.

In his book Afrikan Alphabets, Saki Mafundiwaka includes a Ghanaian pictograph meaning “return to the past” This is exactly what he did in 1997 when he cashed in his publishing job 401(k) and left New York to open the Zimbabwe Institute of Vigital Arts (ZIVA) in Harare. (“Vigital” denotes visual arts taught using digital tools.)

As a kid growing up in Zimbabwe, Mafundiwaka loved to sketch letterforms he saw in books and magazines, but he didn’t know graphic design was a career option until he arrived in America. "Sometimes you have to leave home,” he says, “to discover yourself.” He opened ZIVA to pay it forward. “The dream,” he says, “is for something to come out of Africa that is of Africa."

In 2010, he made the film Shungu: The Resilience of a People, a compelling narrative of the strategies ordinary people use to survive in Zimbabwe today.

Session 8: Coded Meaning
Thurs Feb 28, 2013
11:00 – 12:45
Pedrito Martinez Group Pedrito Martinez Group
Afro-Cuban alchemists

Fueled by their deep Afro-Cuban roots, the Pedrito Martinez Group, featuring Ariacne Trujillo, have rocketed to the top of New York’s Afro-Caribbean music scene.

At their home gig at a NYC Cuban restaurant, the Pedrito Martinez Group turns diners into dancers with their cocktail of African-infused Latin grooves and mesmerizes music lovers night after night. In New York they’re already legends, but their fame is spreading far beyond Manhattan.

Born in Havana, Cuba, in 1973, leader Pedrito Martinez spent his youth steeped in the music of the Yoruba-based Santería religion and in the rumba tradition. By the time he reached U.S. shores, his music had become an intoxicating blend of Cuban tradition and African-American styles. Martinez has played on many recordings, including the Grammy-winning Simpatico by Brian Lynch and Eddie Palmieri. Check them out on YouTube or listen to their recording Live at Guantanamera, featuring Ariacne Trujillo with Alvaro Benavides and Jhair Sala.

Session 7: Sustain!
Wed Feb 27, 2013
5:00 – 6:45
Andrew McAfee Andrew McAfee
Management theorist

Andrew McAfee studies how information technology affects businesses and society.

Andrew McAfee studies the ways that information technology (IT) affects businesses, business as a whole, and the larger society. His research investigates how IT changes the way companies perform, organize themselves and compete. At a higher level, his work also investigates how computerization affects competition, society, the economy and the workforce.

He's a principal research scientist at the Center for Digital Business at the MIT Sloan School of Management. His books include Enterprise 2.0 and Race Against the Machine (with Erik Brynjolfsson). Read more on his blog.

 

Session 6: Create!
Wed Feb 27, 2013
2:15 – 4:00
John McWhorter John McWhorter
Linguist

Linguist John McWhorter thinks about language in relation to race, politics and our shared cultural history.

John McWhorter studies how language has evolved -- and will evolve -- with social, historical and technological developments, in addition to studying and writing about race in America.

In recent work, he’s been urging grammarians to think of email and text messages not as the scourge of the English language but as “fingered speech,” a new form between writing and talking. These digital missives, despite their “shaggy construction,” represent an exciting new form of communication in which “lol” and “hey” are particles, he suggests, and written thoughts can be shared at the speed of talking. Should we worry that knowing how to parse "haha kk" means we'll lose the ability to read Proust? No, he told the TED Blog: "Generally there’s always been casual speech and formal speech, and people can keep the two in their heads."

McWhorter teaches at Columbia, where his students, including Yin Yin Lu, Sarah Tully, and Laura Milmed, teach him all about the world of texting. He's also a contributing editor at The New Republic and TheRoot.com. Among his books on language and on race, a selected list: What Language Is (And What It Isn't and What It Could Be); Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue: The Untold History of English; and Losing the Race: Self-Sabotage in Black America.

Session 8: Coded Meaning
Thurs Feb 28, 2013
11:00 – 12:45
Nilofer Merchant Nilofer Merchant
Corporate director, author

Business innovator Nilofer Merchant thinks deeply about the frameworks, strategies and cultural values of companies.

Nilofer Merchant has been helping to grow businesses -- from Fortune 500s to web startups -- for 20 years. She’s worked for major companies (like Apple and Autodesk) and early web startups (remember Golive?). Logitech, Symantec, HP, Yahoo, VMWare, and many others have turned to her guidance to develop new product strategies, enter new markets, defend against competitors and optimize revenue.

Today she serves on boards for both public and private companies, and writes books about collaboration, like The New How: Creating Business Solutions Through Collaborative Strategy, and openness -- check out her recent ebook 11 Rules for Creating Value in the #SocialEra, chosen by Fast Company as one of the Best Business Books of 2012. She also writes for HBR, including the personal and brave essay about a previous attempt on the TED stage: "What I Learned from My TED Talk."

Watch Nilofer's moving TEDxHouston talk on "onlyness" >>

Session 1: Progress Enigma
Tues Feb 26, 2013
11:00 – 12:45
Kees Moeliker Kees Moeliker
Ornithologist

Kees Moeliker writes and speaks about natural history, especially birds and remarkable animal behavior, as well as improbable research and science-communication-with-a-laugh.

In Kees Moeliker's career (he's now curator of the Natural History Museum Rotterdam) he's rediscovered long-lost birds, such as the black-chinned monarch (Monarcha boanensis) on the remote Moluccan island of Boano in 1991. On the tiny West Papuan island of Boo he collected and named a new subspecies of fruit bat (Macroglossus minimus booensis).

Aaaaand he's the guy who observed and published the first scientifically documented case of homosexual necrophilia in ducks. For this, he was awarded the 2003 Ig Nobel biology prize, and that much-coveted award led him to appreciate that curiosity and humour can be powerful tools for scientists and science communicators.

Moeliker later used these tools to tell the world about two other notorious, complicated subjects: the brutally murdered ‘Domino’ sparrow and the feared disappearance of the once-ubiquitous pubic louse. He has pioneered unusual ways to engage international audience — to make people think about remarkable animal behaviour, biodiversity and habitat destruction.

His writings include two books, in Dutch: 'De eendenman' (The Duck Guy, 2009) and 'De bilnaad van de teek' (The Butt Crack of the Tick, 2012).

Each year, on June 5, he organizes Dead Duck Day, an event that commemorates the first known case of homosexual necrophilia in the mallard duck. The event also raises awareness for the tremendous number of bird deaths caused, worldwide, by glass buildings.

Session 9: Indelicate Conversation
Thurs Feb 28, 2013
2:15 – 4:00
Elon Musk Elon Musk
Serial entrepreneur

Elon Musk is the CEO and product architect of Tesla Motors and the CEO/CTO of Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX).

Elon Musk is the chief designer for SpaceX, overseeing development of rockets and spacecraft for missions to Earth orbit and ultimately to other planets. In 2008, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft won the NASA contract to provide a commercial replacement for the cargo transport function of the space shuttle. In 2012, SpaceX became the first commercial company to dock with the International Space Station and return cargo to Earth with the Dragon.

At Tesla, Musk has overseen product development and design from the beginning, including the all-electric Tesla Roadster, Model S and Model X, and overseeing the rollout of Supercharger stations to keep the cars juiced up. (Some of the charging stations use solar energy systems from SolarCity, of which Musk is the non-executive chair.) Transitioning to a sustainable energy economy, in which electric vehicles play a pivotal role, has been one of his central interests for almost two decades. He co-founded PayPal and served as the company's chair and CEO.

Session 5: Dream!
Wed Feb 27, 2013
11:00 – 12:45
Jacky Myint Jacky Myint
Designer

Jacky Myint designed the boundary-breaking news feature "Snow Fall" for nytimes.com.

Jacky Myint is an interactive designer based in New York who works at the online arm of the New York Times, crafting new forms of digital storytelling with data, moving images and code (and underpinned by great writing. reporting and design). Since graduate school at Parsons School of Design, she has been exploring how to communicate and tell stories through design and code, collaborating with smart, talented folks to work on projects that have innovated in multimedia storytelling. She’s excited about the ways technology has allowed for new possibilities to interact with the visual narrative from the participatory to the spatial.
Session 6: Create!
Wed Feb 27, 2013
2:15 – 4:00
N
Ajit Narayanan Ajit Narayanan
Visual grammar engine inventor

Ajit Narayanan is the inventor of Avaz, an affordable, tablet-based communication device for people who are speech-impaired.

Ajit Narayanan is the founder and CEO of Invention Labs, and the inventor of Avaz AAC, the first assistive device aimed at an Indian market that helps people with speech disabilities -- such as cerebral palsy, autism, intellectual disability, aphasia and learning disabilities -- to communicate. Avaz is also available as an iPad app, aimed at children with autism. In 2010, Avaz won the National Award for Empowerment of People with Disabilities from the president of India, and in 2011, Narayanan was listed in MIT Technology Review 35 under 35.
 
Narayanan is a prolific inventor with more than 20 patent applications. He is an electrical engineer with degrees from IIT Madras. His research interests are embedded systems, signal processing and understanding how the brain perceives language and communication.

Session 8: Coded Meaning
Thurs Feb 28, 2013
11:00 – 12:45
O
Daniel Ogilvie Daniel Ogilvie
Psychologist

Pulling from psychology, evolutionary theory, history and more, Daniel Ogilvie is trying to understand humankind’s deep-seated belief in the soul.

Daniel Ogilvie wants your soul. That is, he wants to define it, explore the degree to which you believe in it (or do not) and untangle the cognitive systems that work together to create those beliefs. Soul beliefs, after all, are a unifying theme in most religions, capable of soothing troubled minds as well as initiating war and other devastating disputes. A better understanding of the soul and beliefs regarding its final destination will, perhaps, lead to a better understanding of religion, faith and human nature.
 
Ogilvie’s Soul Searching Project at Rutgers University has been at work on the soul since 2009. “The question of whether or not the soul exists cannot be answered by science,” he writes, “But we can study the causes and consequences of people's various beliefs about the soul, and that is the area in which we are beginning to make progress.”
Session 11: Who Are We?
Fri Mar 1, 2013
8:30 – 10:15
P
Dan Pallotta Dan Pallotta
Charity defender

Everything the donating public has been taught about giving is dysfunctional, says AIDS Ride founder Dan Pallotta. He aims to transform the way society thinks about charity and giving and change.

"The nonprofit sector is critical to our dream of changing the world. Yet there is no greater injustice than the double standard that exists between the for-profit and nonprofit sectors. One gets to feast on marketing, risk-taking, capital and financial incentive, the other is sentenced to begging,” Dan Pallotta says in discussing his latest book, Charity Case. This economic starvation of our nonprofits is why he believes we are not moving the needle on great social problems. “My goal … is to fundamentally transform the way the public thinks about charity within 10 years.”

Pallotta is best known for creating the multi-day charitable event industry, and a new generation of philanthropists with the AIDS Rides and Breast Cancer 3-Day events, which raised $582 million in nine years. He is president of Advertising for Humanity, which helps foundations and philanthropists transform the growth potential of their favorite grantees. He is also the founder and President of the Charity Defense Council.

Session 12: A Ripple Effect?
Fri Mar 1, 2013
11:00 – 12:45
Amanda Palmer Amanda Palmer
Musician, blogger

Alt-rock icon Amanda Fucking Palmer believes we shouldn't fight the fact that digital content is freely shareable -- and suggests that artists can and should be directly supported by fans.

Amanda Palmer commands attention. The singer-songwriter-blogger-provocateur, known for pushing boundaries in both her art and her lifestyle, made international headlines this year when she raised nearly $1.2 million via Kickstarter (she’d asked for $100k) from nearly 25,000 fans who pre-ordered her new album, Theatre Is Evil.
 
But the former street performer, then Dresden Dolls frontwoman, now solo artist hit a bump the week her world tour kicked off. She revealed plans to crowdsource additional local backup musicians in each tour stop, offering to pay them in hugs, merchandise and beer per her custom. Bitter and angry criticism ensued (she eventually promised to pay her local collaborators in cash). And it's interesting to consider why. As Laurie Coots suggests: "The idea was heckled because we didn't understand the value exchange -- the whole idea of asking the crowd for what you need when you need it and not asking for more or less."

Summing up her business model, in which she views her recorded music as the digital equivalent of street performing, she says: “I firmly believe in music being as free as possible. Unlocked. Shared and spread. In order for artists to survive and create, their audiences need to step up and directly support them.”

Amanda is currently working on a nonfiction book, due out in November with Hachette, that will dig deeply into the topics she addressed in her TED Talk, and she is touching base with her one million Twitter followers on a daily basis to figure out how to write it.

Session 11: Who Are We?
Fri Mar 1, 2013
8:30 – 10:15
Amanda Palmer Amanda Palmer
Musician, blogger

Alt-rock icon Amanda Fucking Palmer believes we shouldn't fight the fact that digital content is freely shareable -- and suggests that artists can and should be directly supported by fans.

Amanda Palmer commands attention. The singer-songwriter-blogger-provocateur, known for pushing boundaries in both her art and her lifestyle, made international headlines this year when she raised nearly $1.2 million via Kickstarter (she’d asked for $100k) from nearly 25,000 fans who pre-ordered her new album, Theatre Is Evil.
 
But the former street performer, then Dresden Dolls frontwoman, now solo artist hit a bump the week her world tour kicked off. She revealed plans to crowdsource additional local backup musicians in each tour stop, offering to pay them in hugs, merchandise and beer per her custom. Bitter and angry criticism ensued (she eventually promised to pay her local collaborators in cash). And it's interesting to consider why. As Laurie Coots suggests: "The idea was heckled because we didn't understand the value exchange -- the whole idea of asking the crowd for what you need when you need it and not asking for more or less."

Summing up her business model, in which she views her recorded music as the digital equivalent of street performing, she says: “I firmly believe in music being as free as possible. Unlocked. Shared and spread. In order for artists to survive and create, their audiences need to step up and directly support them.”

Amanda is currently working on a nonfiction book, due out in November with Hachette, that will dig deeply into the topics she addressed in her TED Talk, and she is touching base with her one million Twitter followers on a daily basis to figure out how to write it.

Session 11: Who Are We?
Fri Mar 1, 2013
8:30 – 10:15
Amanda Palmer Amanda Palmer
Musician, blogger

Alt-rock icon Amanda Fucking Palmer believes we shouldn't fight the fact that digital content is freely shareable -- and suggests that artists can and should be directly supported by fans.

Amanda Palmer commands attention. The singer-songwriter-blogger-provocateur, known for pushing boundaries in both her art and her lifestyle, made international headlines this year when she raised nearly $1.2 million via Kickstarter (she’d asked for $100k) from nearly 25,000 fans who pre-ordered her new album, Theatre Is Evil.
 
But the former street performer, then Dresden Dolls frontwoman, now solo artist hit a bump the week her world tour kicked off. She revealed plans to crowdsource additional local backup musicians in each tour stop, offering to pay them in hugs, merchandise and beer per her custom. Bitter and angry criticism ensued (she eventually promised to pay her local collaborators in cash). And it's interesting to consider why. As Laurie Coots suggests: "The idea was heckled because we didn't understand the value exchange -- the whole idea of asking the crowd for what you need when you need it and not asking for more or less."

Summing up her business model, in which she views her recorded music as the digital equivalent of street performing, she says: “I firmly believe in music being as free as possible. Unlocked. Shared and spread. In order for artists to survive and create, their audiences need to step up and directly support them.”

Amanda is currently working on a nonfiction book, due out in November with Hachette, that will dig deeply into the topics she addressed in her TED Talk, and she is touching base with her one million Twitter followers on a daily basis to figure out how to write it.

Session 4: Disrupt!
Wed Feb 27, 2013
8:30 – 10:15
Ji-Hae Park Ji-Hae Park
Violinist

Ji-Hae Park spreads the joy of classical to music to those who might not otherwise hear it -- and in the process shows that you can rock out on the violin.

Ji-Hae Park was on the fast track to violin stardom when she ... paused. Why was it simply her goal to be the best violin player in the world? Was there more to music than that? And thus she began to think differently about how to "play" her life. Now -- along with playing prestigious concert halls, winning prizes and making a new album for Decca called Baroque in Rock -- she makes time to play in hospitals, churches, prisons, anywhere she feels she can reach people with music. Her friendly, entertaining rearrangements of classical music invite new listeners in.

She was named The Respected Korean 2010  for her leadership and influence on the national development. She is playing on the Petrus Guarnerius 1735, Venedig on loan from the German Foundation (Deutsche-Stiftung- Musikleben) since 2003.

Session 5: Dream!
Wed Feb 27, 2013
11:00 – 12:45
Alastair Parvin Alastair Parvin
Designer

Alastair Parvin believes in making architecture accessible to 100 percent of the population.

"As a society we’ve never needed design thinking more,” says Alastair Parvin, but most people -- particularly those in cities of growing density and poverty -- can’t afford it. Parvin, who was trained in architecture but chooses to make a career looking for ideas beyond its conventional framework, wants to change that.

He is one of a team behind WikiHouse, an open-source construction set that allows anyone to freely share model files for structures, which can then be downloaded, "printed" via CNC cutting machine and easily assembled. Parvin calls WikiHouse a very early experiment, the seed of what he sees as design’s great project in the 21st century: the democratization of production.

Session 4: Disrupt!
Wed Feb 27, 2013
8:30 – 10:15
Lesley Perkes Lesley Perkes
Public art instigator

Collaborating with brilliant public and performance artists and people in neighborhoods, Lesley Perkes instigates with imagination and public space -- to transform entire atmospheres. Just like that. Ha!

In one of the only green spaces in inner-city Johannesburg, Lesley Perkes and artist Johannes Dreyer transformed a pile of rat-infested rubble into a bed with plush headboard, creased sheets, crumpled duvet and pillows -- all made from concrete. The Troyeville Bedtime Story is her Neighborhood Target Practice initiative’s highest-profile project, and it unfolds in physical and online public space.

Perkes’s artatwork project builds bridges between artists and the South Africa's corporate and government sectors, but she doesn’t seek or ask permission to instigate Target Practice. “Public space belongs to the public,” she says. The community (in the district and online) has taken ownership of the bed as an ongoing yet ephemeral legend, a place for mischief and performance, a setting for pajama parties, and the site of a 100-person-(so far)-strong portrait project.
Session 4: Disrupt!
Wed Feb 27, 2013
8:30 – 10:15
Joshua Prager Joshua Prager
Journalist

Joshua Prager’s journalism unravels historical secrets -- and his own.

Joshua Prager is billed as a journalist, but he’s really a storyteller. Over a decade-plus career at the Wall Street Journal, where he began as a news assistant and worked his way up to senior writer, Prager excelled in writing enthralling tales that had one thing in common: They were about secrets. While at the paper, Prager uncovered the world’s only anonymous Pulitzer Prize winner, the unknown heir of the author of the children’s book Goodnight Moon, and the hidden backstory of how the 1951 New York Giants baseball team cheated their way to infamy, as told in his book The Echoing Green.

Today, Prager is focused on a personal story: the 1990 bus accident that left him a hemiplegic at age 19. His new book, Half-Life, about the accident, explores identity and what it means to live a life changed in a single moment.

Session 11: Who Are We?
Fri Mar 1, 2013
8:30 – 10:15
Lakshmi Pratury Lakshmi Pratury
Connector

Lakshmi Pratury is the host of The INK Conference and was the co-host of TEDIndia 2009.

After two decades in marketing, venture capitalism and social entreprenuership, Lakshmi Pratury turned her focus toward linking her home country of India more tightly with the American community. Her firm, Ixoraa Media, runs meetings and events to spark dialogue and make connections. In 2009, she co-hosted TEDIndia and saw such a warm response to the conference that she founded The INK Conference, in partnership with TED, that would pick up where TEDIndia left off. Watch the INKTalks channel  to see some of the brilliant ideas shared at the INK Conference. Pratury blogs at Lakshmi's Lounge.

She worked at Intel for 12 years as a marketer and evangelist, then moved to a VC firm, Global Capitalist Partners. At GCP, she focused on connecting India's legendary software-development community with US tech. She began to focus more strictly on relationship-building with her move to the America India Foundation, where she founded the AIF's Digital Equalizer program, offering technology education to some 80,000 children and 2,000 teachers in India. She also launched the AIF Summit for social entrepreneurs from India.

Session 10: Secret Voices
Thurs Feb 28, 2013
5:00 – 6:45
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Daniel Reisel Daniel Reisel
Neuroscientist

Daniel Reisel searches for the psychological and physical roots of human morality.

Daniel Reisel grew up in Norway but settled in the UK in 1995. He works as a hospital doctor and as a research fellow in epigenetics at University College London. He completed his PhD in Neuroscience in 2005, investigating how learning rewires the brain. Since then, his research has been concerned with the effect of life events on gene function. Daniel is currently training to become an accredited restorative justice facilitator with the UK Restorative Justice Council.

Session 11: Who Are We?
Fri Mar 1, 2013
8:30 – 10:15
Diana Reiss Diana Reiss
Cognitive psychologist

Diana Reiss studies animal cognition, and has found that bottlenose dolphins (and Asian elephants) can recognize themselves in the mirror.

Diana Reiss’s research focuses on the cognition and communication of marine animals, with an emphasis on comparative animal cognition. Essentially, she studies the evolution of intelligence. Reiss pioneered the use of underwater keyboards with dolphins to investigate their communicative abilities and provide them with more degrees of choice and control. Reiss and her colleagues demonstrated that bottlenose dolphins and an Asian elephants possess the rare ability for mirror self-recognition previously thought to be restricted to humans and great apes. She wrote about this work in her recent book, The Dolphin in the Mirror.

Reiss' efforts also involve the rescue and rehabilitation of stranded marine mammals, including the successful rescue of Humphrey, the humpback whale, from San Francisco Bay waters. Her advocacy work in conservation and animal welfare includes the protection of dolphins in the tuna-fishing industry and efforts to bring an end to the killing of dolphins in the drive hunts in Japan. 

Reiss is a cognitive psychologist and professor in the Department of Psychology at Hunter College and the Biopsychology and Behavioral Neuroscience subprogram at the Graduate Center, CUNY. She directs a dolphin cognitive research program at the National Aquarium in Baltimore and is a research associate at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in DC, where she investigates elephant cognition.

Session 10: Secret Voices
Thurs Feb 28, 2013
5:00 – 6:45
Keller Rinaudo Keller Rinaudo
Robotics entrepreneur

Keller Rinaudo is the co-founder and CEO of Romotive -- makers of the small, covetable robot, Romo.

Keller Rinaudo founded Romotive alongside friends Phu Nguyen and Peter Seid. The startup makes Romo, an adorable miniature robot that harnesses the the powerful processor in every smartphone. Something between a personal robot and a pet, Romo has a personality thanks to controllable facial expressions and is able to roll around on a tank-like base. As CEO of Romotive, Rinaudo sets the strategic direction of the company, raises funds needed to scale quickly and focuses on growing the team through recruiting.

A 2009 Harvard graduate, Rinaudo worked with Dr. Yaakov Benenson and colleagues on biological computers -- tiny devices made of RNA, DNA and proteins that, when implanted in the body, could work as molecular doctors signaling genes in need of treatment. Rinaudo is also a professional rock climber ranked top 10 in sport climbing. He has scaled alpine cliffs in France, underwater caves in Kentucky and the limestone towers of Yangshuo, China.

Session 1: Progress Enigma
Tues Feb 26, 2013
11:00 – 12:45
Christopher Ryan Christopher Ryan
Psychologist

The co-author of "Sex at Dawn," Christopher Ryan explores the prehistoric roots of human sexuality.

In the fascinating book Sex at Dawn, Christopher Ryan and co-author Cacilda Jethá, MD, explore how humans' prehistoric promiscuity (perhaps similar to the bonobos') may have influenced our current attitudes toward pair-bonding, monogamy and long-lasting passion. Their thesis draws on evidence from anthropology, archeology, primatology, anatomy and psychosexuality.

As a psychologist, Ryan’s research focuses on trying to distinguish the human from the cultural. His book, he hopes, is "pointing toward a more optimistic future illuminated by our innate capacities for love, cooperation and generosity."

Session 9: Indelicate Conversation
Thurs Feb 28, 2013
2:15 – 4:00
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Sebastião Salgado Sebastião Salgado
Photojournalist

Sebastião Salgado captures the dignity of the dispossessed through large-scale, long-term projects.

A gold miner in Serra Pelada, Brazil; a Siberian Nenet tribe that lives in -35°C temperatures; a Namibian gemsbok antelope. These are just a few of the subjects from Sebastião Salgado’s immense collection of work devoted to the world’s most dispossessed and unknown.

Brazilian-born Salgado, who shoots only using Kodak film, is known for his incredibly long-term projects, which require extensive travel and extreme lifestyle changes. Workers took seven years to complete and contained images of manual laborers from 26 countries, while Migrations took six years in 43 different countries on all seven continents. Most recently Salgado completed Genesis, an ambitious eight-year project that spanned 30 trips to the world’s most pristine territories, land untouched by technology and modern life. Among Salgado’s many travels for Genesis was a two-month hike through Ethiopia, spanning 500 miles with 18 pack donkeys and their riders. In the words of Brett Abbott, a Getty Museum curator, Salgado’s approach can only be described as “epic.”

Session 2: Beautiful Imperfection
Tues Feb 26, 2013
2:15 – 4:00
Saskia Sassen Saskia Sassen
Sociologist and globalization expert

Saskia Sassen is the world’s go-to theorist on our complex and vibrant cities.

Saskia Sassen is fascinated with all aspects of the global city, from how it forms to how it fits in the world economy to the technologies that adapt to it and change it. Which isn’t surprising, as she's a product of the global world: born in The Hague, raised in Buenos Aires, educated in France and Italy and later at the University of Chicago and Columbia University in New York, with books translated into 21 languages.

An authority on globalization, immigration and the politics of cities, she discovered the dynamics that she then named the “global city.” Sassen thinks deeply about the interconnected systems of economy, society and politics as these borders shift, loosen and tighten around all of us.

Her books include Cities in a World Economy; The Global City: New York, London, Tokyo; and Guests and Aliens.

Session 2: Beautiful Imperfection
Tues Feb 26, 2013
2:15 – 4:00
Allan Savory Allan Savory
Grassland ecosystem pioneer

Allan Savory works to promote holistic management in the grasslands of the world.

Desertification of the world's grasslands, Allan Savory suggests, is the immediate cause of poverty, social breakdown, violence, cultural genocide -- and a significent contribution to climate change. In the 1960s, while working in Africa on the interrelated problems of increasing poverty and disappearing wildlife, Savory made a significant breakthrough in understanding the degradation and desertification of grassland ecosystems. After decades of study and collaboration, thousands of managers of land, livestock and wildlife on five continents today follow the methodology he calls "Holistic Management."

In 1992, Savory and his wife, Jody Butterfield, formed the Africa Centre for Holistic Management in Zimbabwe, a learning site for people all over Africa. In 2010, the Centre won the Buckminster Fuller Challenge for its work in reversing desertification. In that same year he and his wife, with others, founded the Savory Institute in Boulder, Colorado, to promote large-scale restoration of the world's grasslands.

Intrigued by this talk? Read Savory's papers and other publications »

Session 7: Sustain!
Wed Feb 27, 2013
5:00 – 6:45
Camille Seaman Camille Seaman
Photographer

TED Senior Fellow Camille Seaman photographs big ice and big clouds.

Camille Seaman takes photographs all over the world using digital and film cameras in multiple formats. Since 2003, her work has concentrated on the fragile environment of the polar regions. Her current project concerns the beauty of natural environments in Siberia. 

Seaman's photographs have been published in Newsweek, Outside, Zeit Wissen, Men's Journal and more, and she has self-published many books on themes like “My China” and “Melting Away: Polar Images” through Fastback Creative Books, a company that she co-founded. In 2008, she was honored with a one-person exhibition, The Last Iceberg, at the National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC.

Read the TED Blog's Q&A with Camille Seaman >>

Browse a gallery of stormcloud photos >>

Session 2: Beautiful Imperfection
Tues Feb 26, 2013
2:15 – 4:00
Mark Shaw Mark Shaw
Macroencapsulator

Mark Shaw develops technologies to contain hazardous waste, storm water and radioactives.

On graduating from college, Mark Shaw saw a news broadcast on a toxic waste clean-up called Love Canal. The footage showed leaking steel drums of toxic waste being lowered into larger steel drums. It was then he was inspired to “save the world from toxic waste” and build a drum that would never leak. At 23, an economics major working out of a rented storage locker, he developed his first patent, an overpack container with resistance wiring built into the lid that would automatically heat-weld the lid to the container with the push of a button. He dubbed it “Macroencapsulation” and today, it is not only an EPA-approved treatment for hazardous waste but is also used extensively at the U.S. Department of Energy National Labs for shipping and treating mixed radioactive waste that is both chemically and radioactively hazardous. Many of his inventions and products have become the market standard worldwide. Shaw and his companies are also pioneers in the spill containment, stormwater management and spill response industries and are now bringing over 500 practical and innovative products and technologies to industry on a global basis through its 1,500 distributors covering 40 countries.

Session 9: Indelicate Conversation
Thurs Feb 28, 2013
2:15 – 4:00
Peter Singer Peter Singer
Philosopher, ethicist

Sometimes controversial, always practical ethicist Peter Singer stirs public debate about morality, from animal welfare to global poverty.

Peter Singer may be, as The New Yorker calls him, the planet’s “most influential living philosopher.” The Australian academic specializes in applied ethics, to which he takes a secular, utilitarian approach -- minimize suffering, maximize well-being. He gained recognition in the 1970s with his groundbreaking book Animal Liberation: A New Ethics for Our Treatment of Animals, which questions society’s tendency to put human needs above those of members of other species. And he draws fire from critics who object to his fascinating argument in favor of an obligation to help the global poor that sets the bar so high that it means we are almost all living unethically. His defense of euthanasia and infanticide, in some circumstances, has led to protests against his lectures and to teaching position at Princeton.

But Singer’s collective body of work is more acclaimed than controversial. He has written the classic text Practical Ethics and many other books, with more in progress. He lectures at Princeton, where he is professor of bioethics, and the University of Melbourne, where he is a laureate professor. You can find dozens of brief, brilliant essays at Project Syndicate, where Singer examines the philosophical questions surrounding current topics like Obamacare, computer piracy and obesity.

Session 12: A Ripple Effect?
Fri Mar 1, 2013
11:00 – 12:45
Sleepy Man Banjo Boys Sleepy Man Banjo Boys
Bluegrass musicians

The Sleepy Man Banjo Boys is made up of 11-year-old banjo sensation Jonny Mizzone and his brothers Robbie, 14, on fiddle, and Tommy, 15, on guitar.

These days your kid can get famous on YouTube for having water sprayed at him, for being duped about his Halloween candy, and for being high off laughing gas. But what if your 8-year-old gets famous on the Internet for being an absolute genius on the banjo? So goes the story of Jonny Mizzone, who first became a YouTube sensation in early 2011 for videos of him and his brothers tearing it up playing Earl Scruggs's Flint Hill Special. It wasn't long before the press started calling.

Now Jonny, Robbie (fiddle) and Tommy (guitar), known as the Sleepy Man Banjo Boys, are 11, 14 and 15 respectively. In 2011 alone they got calls from The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Jimmy Kimmel Live and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and in the summer of 2011 they appeared as musical guests on The Late Show with David Letterman and NBC’s Today Show.

While the trio grew up in New Jersey -- which is known more for rock music than for bluegrass -- they fell in love with the unique sounds of J.D. Crowe, Ralph Stanley, Clarence White and Earl Scruggs after some creative YouTube searching. Now, having become sensations on the platform themselves, the trio has accumulated more than 17 million video views. Their first album, America’s Music, was released in September 2011 and charted top eight on the Billboard Bluegrass Album Chart. In October 2012 they released their second album, The Farthest Horizon, which cracked the top three. The group is already at work on their next album.

Session 3: The Spark
Tues Feb 26, 2013
5:00 – 6:45
Adam Spencer Adam Spencer
Science communicator

Radio host Adam Spencer fills Sydney's drive-time mornings with smart math and science talk.

Adam Spencer is the breakfast host on 702 ABC Sydney, the most listened-to talk show in Australia's biggest and most competitive market -- but (or maybe because) in between the usual fare of weather, traffic and local politics he weaves a spell of science, mathematics and general nerdery. Really! In a radio landscape dominated by shock jocks and morning zoos, he plays eclectic tunes, talks math, and never misses the chance to interview a Nobel Prize winner. Which is unsurprising once you find out that this former world debating champion had actually started on a PhD in Pure Mathematics before he began dabbling in improv comedy, which eventually led to his media career.

"Numbers," he says, "are the musical notes with which the symphony of the universe is played."

Watch Adam's promo video for this talk -- and follow the hashtag #PrimePush.

Session 8: Coded Meaning
Thurs Feb 28, 2013
11:00 – 12:45
Kate Stone Kate Stone
Shepherd of electrons

At Novalia, Kate Stone and her team use ordinary printing presses to manufacture interactive electronics, which combine touch-sensitive ink technology and printed circuits into unique and cost-effective products.

Born in Cheshire, England and the child of a continent-hopping engineer, Kate Stone was often left to her own devices among some of the world's most disparate cultures. Whether learning to cook rice from Gurkhas or spending time alongside a garageful of car repairmen in Borneo, Kate quickly learned that nontraditional problem-solving was often the very best kind.

At 20, Stone moved to Australia and eventually to the outback, where she was soon herding 22,000 sheep on a 120,000-acre farm. She then returned to England and began her studies in electronics at Salford University, before being recruited to do her PhD work in physics at Cambridge's Cavendish Laboratory, where her focus on moving electrons eventually led to the creation of her groundbreaking company, Novalia.

At Novalia, Stone says: "The work of my team and myself is the realization of my childhood fascinations. We put electronics into paper, and paper is all around us." Stone sees herself as a “creative scientist,” blending art and science to create startling fusions of new and old technology. In addition to her work with Novalia, Stone is on the advisory board of Lifeboat, a think tank dedicated to solving the ethical challenges brought about by scientific advances.

Session 6: Create!
Wed Feb 27, 2013
2:15 – 4:00
Barb Stuckey Barb Stuckey
Food creator

Barb Stuckey tastes food for a living -- and wants to help you taste things better.

Barb Stuckey works for Mattson, a food development company about which the New York Times says: "Whether it’s frozen, cooked or poured, chances are Mattson has had a hand in bringing it to your mouth." The company develops new frozen foods, entrees for chain restaurants, bottled beverages and more, and helps large food companies stay up on new food trends.

Stuckey's daily job requires her to taste food and figure out how to make it better. After more than a decade of doing this, she’s honed her tasting skills and her ability to help others make food taste better. She shares this insight with the world via her book Taste What You’re Missing, about the science of taste and why good food tastes good.

Session 6: Create!
Wed Feb 27, 2013
2:15 – 4:00
Julia Sweeney Julia Sweeney
Actor, comedian, playwright

Julia Sweeney creates comedic works that tackle deep issues: cancer, family, faith. Her latest book is "If It's Not One Thing, It's Your Mother," on parenting and being parented. She performs often with Jill Sobule, telling stories alongside Jill's songs, in their "Jill & Julia Show."

Known for her four-year run on Saturday Night Live and her powerful solo shows, Julia Sweeney is carving out her own territory in entertainment, one that moves between the personal and the political, the controversial and the comical. Her piece Letting Go of God traces a spiritual journey that takes an unexpected turn toward science (a turn that, incidentally, also led her to TED) and ends with atheism. Her latest book is If It's Not One Thing, It's Your Mother, on parenting and being parented.

In this, as in all her performances, Sweeney projects a warmth and sincerity on stage that's unmatched in today's theater; you immediately feel you're chatting with an old friend. And this gift of intimacy allows her to achieve the impossible: an utterly disarming show that honestly confronts the most controversial topic of our times. Her earlier shows God Said “Ha!” and In the Family Way also garnered praise and prizes for their pairings of humor and poignant truth.

Session 12: A Ripple Effect?
Fri Mar 1, 2013
11:00 – 12:45
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Rich + Tone Talauega Rich + Tone Talauega
Creative directors, choreographers

The explosive creative direction and choreography of Rich + Tone Talauega has been featured in tours and music videos of pop icons like Michael Jackson, Madonna and Jennifer Lopez.

You might not have heard of brothers Rich + Tone Talauega, but chances are you’ve seen their work. For the past decade they’ve choreographed for some of the biggest names in pop music, like Madonna, Jennifer Lopez, Gwen Stefani and Christina Aguilera. And it’s no wonder: The brothers got their start as teenagers, when they were discovered freestyling at a club in Oakland by Michael Jackson’s choreographer and recruited for a tour with Jackson and Diana Ross.
 
In addition to their prolific work on tours and in music videos, the Talauega brothers have choreographed for major motion films like Save the Last Dance and Step Up 3D, and were producers for David LaChapelle’s documentary on krumping, Rize. They are also the men behind the iconic dancing iPod silhouettes.
Session 5: Dream!
Wed Feb 27, 2013
11:00 – 12:45
Richard Turere Richard Turere
Inventor

Young inventor Richard Turere invented "lion lights," an elegant way to protect his family's cattle from lion attacks.

Richard Turere is a young Maasai man who lives in the wilderness of the Kenya savanna, on the edge of a national park full of rhino, giraffe, buffalo and lions. Since he was 9, Richard has held the honored chore of tending his father's cattle; in his free time, he tinkered with electrical gadgets. After dismantling the few household appliances, Richard taught himself how to fix them, and then he started inventing. He fit his parents' home with fans made from car parts and other junkyard components harvested from junkyards, then built other inventions for his neighbors.

Now 13, he is renowned for inventing "lion lights," a fence made of basic pieces (solar charging cells, flashlight parts), which quickly and effectively scares lions away from his father's cattle. Richard's dream is to be an aircraft engineer.

Read more about Richard Turere on CNN.com >>

Session 3: The Spark
Tues Feb 26, 2013
5:00 – 6:45
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Martin Villeneuve Martin Villeneuve
Graphic artist, director

In his film "Mars et Avril," Martin Villeneuve brings his sci-fi romance graphic novel to glorious life.

The musician who plays otherworldly music on one-of-a-kind instruments, the genius who designs the instruments inspired by a woman's body, and the photographer they both love. An old-fashioned love triangle is at the heart of Mars et Avril, a bold and dreamy sci-fi story set in a future Montreal where the Champ-de-Mars subway line takes you right out to Mars. While many sci-fi films have budgets exceeding $100 million, this incredible arthouse version was made for just $2 million thanks to the bold creativity of filmmaker Martin Villeneuve. 

By taking his time on the project, asking the best creatives for favors and approaching problems as exciting challenges, Villeneuve has made a movie that seemed impossible. The film has shown at festivals, and is available on DVD. Villeneuve is currently working on securing international distribution for the work.

Villeneuve made the film based on his two graphic novels, also titled Mars et Avril. Villeneuve is the former artistic director for the ad agency Sid Lee that works with Cirque du Soleil. Among other projects, he's now working with comic book masters Benoît Sokal and François Schuiten on an animated fantasy feature film, Aquarica.

Session 6: Create!
Wed Feb 27, 2013
2:15 – 4:00
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Orly Wahba Orly Wahba
Kindness catalyst

Orly Wahba helps spark acts of kindness with viral cards (pass 'em around!) and her memorable short film, "Kindness Boomerang."

Orly Wahba is passionate about inspiring people to be kind. She recently left her job as a middle-school educator to found Life Vest Inside, a nonprofit dedicated to spreading kindness and building self-esteem. Today, you might find her making a chalk walk of inspiration in Times Square or handing out Acts of Kindness Cards on the subway.
 
Her film "Kindness Boomerang" takes us not only on a journey down a street block, but also on a journey to see the strength we each possess to make real change through simple acts of loving-kindness.
Session 12: A Ripple Effect?
Fri Mar 1, 2013
11:00 – 12:45
Eric Whitacre Eric Whitacre
Composer, conductor

After creating and conducting a worldwide virtual choir on YouTube, Eric Whitacre is now touring with an astonishing live choir.

Eric Whitacre began his music career singing in his college choir; by 21, he had written his first concert work, Go, Lovely Rose, and advanced to Juilliard, where he studied under John Corigliano. Today, he has published more than four dozen choral works, conducted in some of the most esteemed halls in the world, and featured on dozens of recordings. His album Cloudburst and Other Choral Works earned him a Grammy nomination in 2007, as did his Decca debut Light & Gold, while his new album, Water Night, debuted at #1 in US iTunes classical charts.

You may know him, too, as the creator and conductor of the virtual choir, a network of YouTube-connected singers whose voices blend together online to become true magic. And he's now touring with the Eric Whitacre Signers, a 28-voice choir (yes, they're all in the same room).

Session 12: A Ripple Effect?
Fri Mar 1, 2013
11:00 – 12:45
Edith Widder Edith Widder
Marine biologist

Edith Widder combines her expertise in research and technological innovation with a commitment to stopping and reversing the degradation of our marine environment.

A specialist in bioluminescence, Edith Widder helps design and invent new submersible instruments and equipment to study bioluminescence and enable unobtrusive observation of deep-sea environments. Her innovative tools for exploration have produced footage of rare and wonderful bioluminescent displays and never-before-seen denizens of the deep, including, most recently, the first video ever recorded of the giant squid, Architeuthis, in its natural habitat.

In 2005 she founded the Ocean Research & Conservation Association (ORCA), which is dedicated to protecting aquatic ecosystems and the species they sustain through the development of innovative technologies and science-based conservation action.;  In an effort to protect and revitalize the ocean she loves she has been focusing on developing tools for finding and tracking pollution -- a major threat to all of our water ecosystems and ultimately to human health. She was awarded a MacArthur "genius" grant in 2006.

In 2012, Widder was among the team that filmed the giant squid (Architeuthis) for the first time in its home ocean.

Session 2: Beautiful Imperfection
Tues Feb 26, 2013
2:15 – 4:00
Taylor Wilson Taylor Wilson
Nuclear scientist

At 14, Taylor Wilson became the youngest person to achieve fusion -- with a reactor born in his garage. Now he wants to save our seaports from nuclear terror.

Physics wunderkind Taylor Wilson astounded the science world when, at age 14, he became the youngest person in history to produce fusion. The University of Nevada-Reno offered a home for his early experiments when Wilson’s worried parents realized he had every intention of building his reactor in the garage.

Wilson now intends to fight nuclear terror in the nation's ports, with a homemade radiation detector priced an order of magnitude lower than most current devices. In 2012, Wilson's dreams received a boost when he became a recipient of the $100,000 Thiel Prize. Wilson now intends revolutionize the way we produce energy, fight cancer, and combat terrorism using nuclear technology.

Session 5: Dream!
Wed Feb 27, 2013
11:00 – 12:45
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Miranda Wang and Jeanny Yao Miranda Wang and Jeanny Yao
Science fair winners

Miranda Wang and Jeanny Yao have identified a new bacteria that breaks down nasty compounds called phthalates, common to flexible plastics and linked to health problems. And they’re still teenagers.

After a visit to a plastic-filled waste transfer station last year, students Miranda Wang and Jeanny Yao learned that much of the plastic in trash may not degrade for 5,000 years. Synthesized into plastics are phthalates, compounds that make shower curtain liners, food wraps and other products bendable but may also adversely impact human reproductive development and health.  As plastics slowly break down, these phthalates would leach into the surrounding environment.

So, the two young scientists tackled the problem and ultimately discovered strains of bacteria that have the potential to naturally degrade phthalates. Their work earned a regional first place in British Columbia for the 2012 Sanofi BioGENEius Challenge Canada, as well as a special award for the most commercial potential at the contest’s finals.

Session 7: Sustain!
Wed Feb 27, 2013
5:00 – 6:45