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Program Speakers A-Z

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David Adjaye David Adjaye
Architect

One of the UK's most buzzed-about architects, David Adjaye -- of Ghanaian descent -- designed the Nobel Peace Center. His new challenge: thinking about ways to develop the cultural infrastructure of Africa.

David Adjaye's work is high-concept in the best sense -- informed by a central metaphor that's worked into large and small details of the completed structure. His Idea Store in Whitechapel, for instance, is a radical rethink of the free library as a marketplace for ideas. The blue-and-white-striped facade echoes the stripey awnings over an open-air market. Similarly, his private homes play with the tension between open and closed, between the street and inner life, that he internalized growing up in Jedda, Cairo and Beirut as the son of a Ghanaian diplomat. Collaborations with artists Chris Ofili and Olafur Eliasson expand on his explorations of light, shadow and space.

His larger public buildings -- including the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver -- tend to be unshowy containers for deeply thoughtful ideas about the way a building should be used. Adjaye's latest major project, the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture, planned for the Mall in Washington DC, is designed in the shape of a West African crown, a metaphor expressing honor, respect, celebration. His current "GEO-graphics" exhibition at the Beaux-Arts, in Brussels, explores Africa as a center of artistic production.

Session 12: Next Up
Fri Jul 15, 2011
11:00 – 12:45
Nadia Al-Sakkaf Nadia Al-Sakkaf
Journalist

Nadia Al-Sakkaf is the editor-in-chief of the Yemen Times, the most widely read English-language newspaper in Yemen.

Nadia Al-Sakkaf became the chief editor of the Yemen Times, the country's  first and most widely read independent English-language newspaper, in March 2005, and quickly became a leading voice in Yemen and worldwide media on issues of media, gender, development and politics. During the May 2011 leadership crisis in Yemen, Al-Sakkaf and her organization were vital in reporting the news and putting the political situation in context for the wider world. And as the crisis rolls on, the role of an independent press becomes even more vital. The Yemen Times has reporters on the ground in Sana'a, Taiz, Aden and Hodeida covering the uprising.

Under Al-Sakkaf's leadership, the Yemen Times has also created several publications -- especially those for the advocacy of women’s participation in politics, such as Breaking the Stereotype, a book on Yemeni women's experience as political candidates in elections.

Follow the Yemen Times on Twitter >>

Session 8: Embracing Otherness
Thurs Jul 14, 2011
11:00 – 12:45
Asaf Avidan Asaf Avidan
Singer/songwriter

"Like a hoarse angel," says one reviewer of Asaf Avidan's gorgeous, gutsy voice.

Asaf Avidan and his  band, the Mojos, blend folk, rock and blues to create a phenomenon. Avidan's creaky voice draws comparisons to Janis Joplin and Jeff Buckley; his complex and honest lyrics play off the folksy world-music leanings of his Mojos.

Their debut album, The Reckoning, was hailed as "a genuine masterpiece" and went gold in Israel. But Avidan's reach extends worldwide -- Rolling Stone Mexico calls him "a new messiah," and the band has been touring nonstop. If you want a picture of their reach, check out the Facebook page, where fans write mash notes in Hebrew, English, French, Spanish ...  

At TEDGlobal 2011, Avidan will be accompanied by the Mojos' cellist, Hadas Kleinman.
Session 2: Everyday Rebellions
Tues Jul 12, 2011
2:15 – 4:00
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Julia Bacha Julia Bacha
Filmmaker

Julia Bacha is the Media Director at Just Vision and the director and producer of "Budrus," a documentary about a West Bank village, a giant barrier and nonviolent resistance.

Budrus is a Palestinian agricultural village in the West Bank that relies on its olive groves. And Budrus is a documentary about what happened in the village when Israeli authorities tried to uproot those olive groves to build a barrier. The villagers resisted, peacefully, for 10 months, with leader Ayed Morrar helping to unite Fatah, Hamas, the villagers, and Israeli supporters in nonviolent protest. Most vital, Palestinian women, including Morrar's daughter, took a leading role.

It's a story that Julia Bacha found tailor-made for Just Vision, an organization that uses film and storytelling to "Increase the power and legitimacy of Palestinians and Israelis working for nonviolent solutions to the conflict." A break in the endless stalemate, she believes, must come from the bottom up. And the way to help the process is to show the humanity of those working for change. Bacha was also the co-director of Encounter Point, featured during Pangea Day in 2008 -- a feature documentary film about four ordinary people, on both sides of the conflict, who lost nearly everything but who nevertheless work for an end to occupation in favor of peace.

She says: "We are providing alternative role models. I have seen people challenged, inspired and motivated to take action based on the stories we tell." 
Session 2: Everyday Rebellions
Tues Jul 12, 2011
2:15 – 4:00
Mike Biddle Mike Biddle
Plastics recycler

Discarded plastic, too often, ends up buried or burned, not recycled (it's just too complicated). But Mike Biddle has found a way to close the loop.

Throwing water bottles into the recycling bin doesn’t begin to address the massive quantity of postconsumer plastic that ends up in landfills and the ocean. Because it’s so difficult to separate the various kinds of plastics – up to 20 kinds per product – that make up our computers, cell phones, cars and home appliances, only a small fraction of plastics from complex waste streams are recycled, while the rest is tossed. In 1992, Mike Biddle, a plastics engineer, set out to find a solution. He set up a lab in his garage in Pittsburg, California, and began experimenting with complex-plastics recycling, borrowing ideas from such industries as mining and grain processing.

Since then, Biddle has developed a patented 30-step plastics recycling system that includes magnetically extracting metals, shredding the plastics, sorting them by polymer type and producing graded pellets to be reused in industry – a process that takes less than a tenth of the energy required to make virgin plastic from crude oil. Today, the company he cofounded, MBA Polymers, has plants in China and Austria, and plans to build more in Europe, where electronics-waste regulation (which doesn’t yet have an equivalent in the US) already ensures a stream of materials to exploit – a process Biddle calls “above-ground mining.”

He says: "I consider myself an environmentalist. I hate to see plastics wasted. I hate to see any natural resource – even human time – wasted.”

Session 11: Things We Make
Fri Jul 15, 2011
8:30 – 10:15
Phillip Blond Phillip Blond
Political theorist

Phillip Blond is the theorist behind David Cameron's "Big Society," re-imagining the power of government and markets to drive our world.

To put it simplistically, some societies are driven by big business, others by big government. Theorist Phillip Blond suggests a third way -- in a vision compelling enough that David Cameron, the UK's Prime Minister, has become its champion. Blond's vision is for a "Big Society" where government power is decentralized and markets are "remoralized" and made more local. Faceless global financial markets, in this vision, would no longer control your ability to get a home loan; faceless centralized bureaucrats would not control your ability to build a shed. This vision was first laid out in a 2009 Prospect essay called "Rise of the Red Tories," and later expanded into the book Red Tory (which will be released in the US in 2012 reworked with an international focus and retitled Radical Republic).

Blond is the founder of the think tank ResPublica in London.

He says: "We're now in a society without communities."

Session 1: Beginnings
Tues Jul 12, 2011
11:00 – 12:45
Paul Bloom Paul Bloom
Psychologist

Paul Bloom explores some of the most puzzling aspects of human nature, including pleasure, religion, and morality.

In Paul Bloom’s last book, How Pleasure Works, he explores the often-mysterious enjoyment that people get out of experiences such as sex, food, art, and stories. His latest book, Just Babies, examines the nature and origins of good and evil. How do we decide what's fair and unfair? What is the relationship between emotion and rationality in our judgments of right and wrong? And how much of morality is present at birth? To answer these questions, he and his colleagues at Yale study how babies make moral decisions. (How do you present a moral quandary to a 6-month-old? Through simple, gamelike experiments that yield surprisingly adult-like results.)  

Paul Bloom is a passionate teacher of undergraduates, and his popular Introduction to Psychology 110 class has been released to the world through the Open Yale Courses program. He has recently completed a second MOOC, “Moralities of Everyday Life”, that introduced moral psychology to tens of thousands of students. And he also presents his research to a popular audience though articles in The Atlantic, The New Yorker, and The New York Times. Many of the projects he works on are student-initiated, and all of them, he notes, are "strongly interdisciplinary, bringing in theory and research from areas such as cognitive, social, and developmental psychology, evolutionary theory, linguistics, theology and philosophy." 

He says: "A growing body of evidence suggests that humans do have a rudimentary moral sense from the very start of life."

Session 10: Feeling
Thurs Jul 14, 2011
5:00 – 6:45
Karol Boudreaux Karol Boudreaux
Poverty economist

Karol Boudreaux studies economies as if they were genomes, languages, cells -- entities that create a spontaneous order out of many small variables.

Karol Boudreaux looks at the many small decisions and policies that create an economy -- and the unintended consequences and blind spots that contribute to creating economies in poverty. Looking at economies on the Africa continent, including Rwanda, Namibia and South Africa, Boudreaux examines property rights and land tenure, the ability of a human to say of their house or fields, "This is mine," to sell what they grow there, and to sell the land itself or get a loan on its value. How have particular decisions and policies around land tenure actually hindered human flourishing?


Boudreaux is currently with USAID as an Africa Land specialist, and is an Affiliated senior research fellow at George Mason University’s Mercatus Center. She also looks at conservation, the clash between human and ecological needs, and how small, bottom-up decisions to empower locals to preserve their environment can be more effective at preserving species than big, top-down government directives.

She says: "Throughout the developing world, insecure rights to property contribute to human rights abuses, and limit economic growth."

Session 5: Emerging Order
Wed Jul 13, 2011
11:00 – 12:45
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Joe Castillo Joe Castillo
Sand artist

Drawing with his finger through a screen of sand, Joe Castillo makes fluid lines that cohere into characters that become stories.

Joe Castillo is the originator of a form of storytelling art that he calls the SandStory. Drawing his hand across the medium, he makes simple, fluid lines that expose light from under dark sand, telling stories and sharing life lessons. Castillo comes to this method of storytelling from another: advertising. He spent two decades running the Advertising Library agency, then earned a Master’s of Divinity before turning to art and storytelling full-time.

He says: "‘What me worry? I'd rather wonder.’ <- All TED talks in six words."

Session 5: Emerging Order
Wed Jul 13, 2011
11:00 – 12:45
Pauline Chen Pauline Chen
Surgeon, writer

A liver transplant and liver cancer surgeon, Pauline Chen thinks deeply about the practice and process of medicine.

In her online column "Doctor and Patient," on nytimes.com,  Pauline Chen writes about the way we train and maintain doctors, and about the shifting nature of the doctor-patient relationship in the face of tech-enabled medical advances that bring up fundamental philosophical and emotional questions of life and death. A fascinating thread through her work is the deeply frustrating nature of lifestyle-related illness -- how a doctor can remain committed and caring while a patient is eating to obesity, forgetting to take meds or unable to manage their own care. Her 2007 book Final Exam: A Surgeon’s Reflections on Mortality, was a best-seller that examined her developing thoughts on managing illness and death, wrapped around a personal narrative.

She says: "Death brings a lot of deep, unaddressed issues to the fore."

Session 9: Living Systems
Thurs Jul 14, 2011
2:15 – 4:00
Lee Cronin Lee Cronin
Chemist

A professor of chemistry, nanoscience and chemical complexity, Lee Cronin and his research group investigate how chemistry can revolutionize modern technology and even create life.

Lee Cronin's lab at the University of Glasgow does cutting-edge research into how complex chemical systems, created from non-biological building blocks, can have real-world applications with wide impact. At TEDGlobal 2012, Cronin shared some of the lab's latest work: creating a 3D printer for molecules. This device -- which has been prototyped -- can download plans for molecules and print them, in the same way that a 3D printer creates objects. In the future, Cronin says this technology could potentially be used to print medicine -- cheaply and wherever it is needed. As Cronin says: "What Apple did for music, I'd like to do for the discovery and distribution of prescription drugs."

At TEDGlobal 2011, Cronin shared his lab's bold plan to create life. At the moment, bacteria is the minimum unit of life -- the smallest chemical unit that can undergo evolution. But in Cronin's emerging field, he's thinking about forms of life that won't be biological. To explore this, and to try to understand how life itself originated from chemicals, Cronin and others are attempting to create truly artificial life from completely non-biological chemistries that mimic the behavior of natural cells. They call these chemical cells, or Chells. 

Cronin's research interests also encompass self-assembly and self-growing structures -- the better to assemble life at nanoscale. At the University of Glasgow, this work on crystal structures is producing a raft of papers from his research group. He says: "Basically one of my longstanding research goals is to understand how life emerged on planet Earth and re-create the process."

Read the papers referenced in his TEDGlobal 2102 talk:

Integrated 3D-printed reactionware for chemical synthesis and analysis, Nature Chemistry

Configurable 3D-Printed millifluidic and microfluidic ‘lab on a chip’ reactionware devices, Lab on a Chip

Session 1: Beginnings
Tues Jul 12, 2011
11:00 – 12:45
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Alain de Botton Alain de Botton
Philosopher

Through his witty and literate books -- and his new School of Life -- Alain de Botton helps others find fulfillment in the everyday.

It started in 1997, when Alain de Botton turned away from writing novels and instead wrote a touching extended essay titled How Proust Can Change Your Life, which became an unlikely blockbuster in the "self-help"category. His subsequent books take on some of the fundamental worries of modern life (am I happy? where exactly do I stand?), informed by his deep reading in philosophy and by a novelist's eye for small, perfect moments. His newest book is The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work.

In 2008, de Botton helped start the School of Life in London, a social enterprise determined to make learning and therapy relevant in today's uptight culture. His goal is (through any of his mediums) to help clients learn "how to live wisely and well."

Session 9: Living Systems
Thurs Jul 14, 2011
2:15 – 4:00
Danielle de Niese Danielle de Niese
Soprano

Her voice described as a “sweet gleaming soprano,” Danielle de Niese breathes new life into opera, astonishing critics and making audiences sit up and listen.

It’s not every day that an opera singer is deemed “cool.” But Danielle de Niese does look and act, at times, more like a pop singer than an opera star. Born in Melbourne of Dutch/Scottish/Sri Lankan parents, de Niese started classical voice lessons at 8, and moved at 10 to Los Angeles to attend a school of performing arts, while working as a television presenter on a teen show called LA Kids. But de Niese always knew she would be a singer. At the startlingly young age of 19 she made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera, singing Barbarina in Le nozze di Figaro. At 25, de Niese stunned audiences and garnered international acclaim with her sultry portrayal of Cleopatra in Handel’s Giulio Cesare at the 2005 Glyndebourne Festival in the UK.

Gracing the world’s great opera stages and an exclusive recording contract with Decca may seem an unlikely fate for a former teen TV host born Down Under, but de Niese embraces contrasts and challenges. She’s already starred in her own BBC4 reality show, Diva Diaries, and soon fans will be seeing her on the big screen, playing her first major film role in the Maria Callas biopic Master Class.

She says: "What I do demands the same kind of expertise as a professional athlete."

Session 1: Beginnings
Tues Jul 12, 2011
11:00 – 12:45
Anna Mracek Dietrich Anna Mracek Dietrich
Inventor

Anna Mracek Dietrich is one of the creators of the Transition, the "plane you can drive."

Anna Mracek Dietrich is a private pilot trying to making aviation accessible, safe -- and a reasonable way to get to work. With husband Carl and their team at Terrafugia, in Massachusetts, they are building a driveable aircraft (or, as they also term it, the Roadable Aircraft), which is designed to fold its wings, enabling it to be driven like a car. In 2009, Terrafugia successfully flew a proof-of-concept model, and they anticipate that Transition, the first production model, should be on the road by the end of 2011.

She says: "The most common question we got was 'You know that's impossible, right?' Now that we've done it, I don't get that question nearly so often."

Session 11: Things We Make
Fri Jul 15, 2011
8:30 – 10:15
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Hasan Elahi Hasan Elahi
Privacy artist

When Hasan Elahi’s name was added (by mistake) to the US government’s watch list, he fought the assault on his privacy by turning his life inside-out for all the world to see.

When the Feds come after you, you have several options: panic, resist or, if you’re interdisciplinary American artist Hasan Elahi, flood them with information. It all started in 2002, when Elahi was detained in Detroit after a flight from the Netherlands, suspected of hoarding explosives in a Florida locker. Though lie detector tests subsequently cleared him, Elahi – who is an associate professor at the University of Maryland and has exhibited at the Venice Biennale, the Centre Pompidou, and the Hermitage – was subjected to six months of questioning about his extensive international travels. Figuring once in the system, never out, he decided to turn the tables and cooperate – with a vengeance. 

Starting with constant phone calls and emails to the FBI to notify them of his whereabouts, what started as a practicality grew into an open-ended art project. He began posting photos of his minute-by-minute life, up to around a hundred a day, on TrackingTransience.net – hotel rooms, train stations, airports, meals, beds, receipts, even toilets – generating tens of thousands of images in the last several years. Just for good measure, he also wears a GPS device that tracks his movements on his site’s live Google map. And as if to prove his point that “the best way to protect privacy is to give it away,” Elahi – while still being watched by the authorities, according to server records – hasn’t been bothered since.

He says: "By putting everything about me out there, I am simultaneously telling everything and nothing about my life."

Session 2: Everyday Rebellions
Tues Jul 12, 2011
2:15 – 4:00
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Péter Fankhauser Péter Fankhauser
Roboticist

Péter Fankhauser is the leader of a team of students working on Rezero, a robot that balances on a single sphere.

Mechanical engineer Péter Fankhauser is leading a large team of student engineers and designers at the Swiss federal institute of technology in Zurich who are building a robot that balances and drives on a single sphere. Other roboticists have explored this idea, of stabilizing a robot on a ball, but what Fankhauser and his fellow students hoped to do was make it dance. “Adding dynamics was definitely one of our goals,” he says.

Working with researchers including Michael Neunert and Thomas Kammermann,  the team has produced Rezero, a ballbot prototype that can slalom around, resist toppling up to 17 degrees off vertical, and inspire myriad uses. Designed for high acceleration, it moves in an organic and even elegant way.  Fankhauser has started graduate studies in mechanical engineering this fall with a focus on robotics, control and construction.

He says of Rezero: "He wants to demonstrate what he can do, as if he was saying, ‘Backwards, forwards. I can do it all. Look at me!'"

Session 7: Bodies
Wed Jul 13, 2011
5:00 – 6:15
Niall Ferguson Niall Ferguson
Historian

History is a curious thing, and Niall Ferguson investigates not only what happened but why. (Hint: Politics and money explain a lot.)

Niall Ferguson teaches history and business administration at Harvard and is a senior research fellow at several other universities, including Oxford. His books chronicle a wide range of political and socio-economic events; he has written about everything from German politics during the era of inflation to a financial history of the world. He’s now working on a biography of former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

Ferguson is a prolific and often controversial commentator on contemporary politics and economics. He frequently writes, reviews, and hosts for the British and American press. His latest book and TV series, Civilization: The West and the Rest, aims to help 21st-century audiences understand the past and the present. In it, he asks how, since the 1500s, Western nations have surpassed their Eastern counterparts and came to dominate the world (his answer: thanks to six “killer apps”: science, medicine, protestant work ethic, competition, property rights, consumer society). And he wonders whether that domination is now threatened by the rise of Asia. His theories have drawn criticism and prompted discussions, which he says was his intent. “It’s designed to be slightly annoying, so that you talk about it,” he told The Observer.

He says: "If a majority of people subscribe to a particular view, it pays to question it. It pays to think: maybe this is wrong."

Session 4: Future Billions
Wed Jul 13, 2011
8:30 – 10:15
Markus Fischer Markus Fischer
Designer

Markus Fischer led the team at Festo that developed the first ultralight artificial bird capable of flying like a real bird.

One of the oldest dreams of mankind is to fly like a bird. Many, from Leonardo da Vinci to contemporary research teams, tried to crack the "code" for the flight of birds, unsuccessfully. Until in 2011 the engineers of the Bionic Learning Network established by Festo, a German technology company, developed a flight model of an artificial bird that's capable of taking off and rising in the air by means of its flapping wings alone. It's called SmartBird. Markus Fischer is Festo's head of corporate design, where he's responsible for a wide array of initiatives. He established the Bionic Learning Network in 2006.

SmartBird is inspired by the herring gull. The wings not only beat up and down but twist like those of a real bird -- and seeing it fly leaves no doubt: it's a perfect technical imitation of the natural model, just bigger. (Even birds think so.) Its wingspan is almost two meters, while its carbon-fiber structure weighs only 450 grams.

Fischer says: "We learned from the birds how to move the wings, but also the need to be very energy efficient."

Session 12: Next Up
Fri Jul 15, 2011
11:00 – 12:45
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Jeremy Gilley Jeremy Gilley
Peace activist

Filmmaker Jeremy Gilley founded Peace One Day to create an annual day without conflict. And ... it's happening. What will you do to make peace on September 21?

A day of peace. It seems lovely and hopeful to those of us lucky enough to live in peace already. But to those living in war, a day of peace, a temporary cease-fire, is not only lovely, it's incredibly practical. On a day when no bullets fly, families can go to the clinic, mosquito nets can be given out, and kids who've known only war can learn what peace looks like, sounds like. In short, it's a window of opportunity to build peace. For the past 10 years, filmmaker Jeremy Gilley has been promoting September 21 as a true international day of ceasefire, a day to carry out humanitarian aid in the world's most dangerous zones. The practical challenge is huge, starting with: how to convince both parties in a conflict to put down their weapons and trust the other side to do the same? But Gilley has recorded successes. For instance, on September 21, 2008, some 1.85 million children under 5 years old, in seven Afghan provinces where conflict has previously prevented access, were given a vaccine for polio.

On September 21, 2011, Gilley will start the 365-day-long countdown to Truce 2012, a hoped-for global day of guns-down ceasefire and worldwide action toward peace.

He says: "The only logical progression is to work towards a global cessation of hostilities on Peace Day -- from violence in our homes and schools, through to armed conflict."

Session 12: Next Up
Fri Jul 15, 2011
11:00 – 12:45
Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg
Artist, designer

How do we design nature? That’s a question Daisy Ginsberg and her partners in the Synthetic Aesthetics project aim to answer. By applying engineering principles to living systems, they’re turning biology into a material for design.

Daisy Ginsberg describes herself as a designer, artist and researcher who’s interested in the future. She uses design to explore the implications of emerging and unfamiliar technologies, science and services.

“Perhaps my background in architecture and urbanism makes me want to look down the microscope the wrong way,” she confesses. “I am fascinated by the macroscopic view, the larger-scale social, cultural, and ethical consequences of engineering invisible organisms, creating nano-scale devices, and unraveling our genetic futures.”         

Ginsberg, a recent graduate of Royal College of Art in London, spent her time there exploring what design -- which was integral to the industrial and information revolutions -- can offer the current biotech one. She thinks that role includes imagining and designing compelling narratives that allow us to question our unprecedented future.

She says: "Synthetic biology is promising to change the world, from sustainable fuel to tumour-killing bacteria. But personally I’m sceptical about how we should use it — just because we can do it doesn’t mean we should."

Session 11: Things We Make
Fri Jul 15, 2011
8:30 – 10:15
Malcolm Gladwell Malcolm Gladwell
Writer

Detective of fads and emerging subcultures, chronicler of jobs-you-never-knew-existed, Malcolm Gladwell's work is toppling the popular understanding of bias, crime, food, marketing, race, consumers and intelligence.

Malcolm Gladwell searches for the counterintuitive in what we all take to be the mundane: cookies, sneakers, pasta sauce. A New Yorker staff writer since 1996, he visits obscure laboratories and infomercial set kitchens as often as the hangouts of freelance cool-hunters -- a sort of pop-R&D gumshoe -- and for that has become a star lecturer and bestselling author.

Sparkling with curiosity, undaunted by difficult research (yet an eloquent, accessible writer), his work uncovers truths hidden in strange data. His always-delightful blog tackles topics from serial killers to steroids in sports, while provocative recent work in the New Yorker sheds new light on the Flynn effect -- the decades-spanning rise in I.Q. scores.

Gladwell has written four books. The Tipping Point, which began as a New Yorker piece, applies the principles of epidemiology to crime (and sneaker sales), while Blink examines the unconscious processes that allow the mind to "thin slice" reality -- and make decisions in the blink of an eye. His third book, Outliers, questions the inevitabilities of success and identifies the relation of success to nature versus nurture. The newest work, What the Dog Saw and Other Adventures, is an anthology of his New Yorker contributions. 

He says: "There is more going on beneath the surface than we think, and more going on in little, finite moments of time than we would guess."
 

Session 11: Things We Make
Fri Jul 15, 2011
8:30 – 10:15
Misha Glenny Misha Glenny
Underworld investigator

Journalist Misha Glenny leaves no stone unturned (and no failed state unexamined) in his excavation of criminal globalization.

In minute detail, Misha Glenny's 2008 book McMafia illuminates the byzantine outlines of global organized crime. Whether it's pot smugglers in British Columbia, oil/weapons/people traffickers in Eastern Europe, Japanese yakuza or Nigerian scammers, to research this magisterial work Glenny penetrated the convoluted, globalized and franchised modern underworld -- often at considerable personal risk.

The book that resulted is an exhaustive look at an unseen industry that Glenny believes may account for 15% of the world's GDP.

Legal society ignores this world at its peril, but Glenny suggests that conventional law enforcement might not be able to combat a problem whose roots lie in global instability.

While covering the Central Europe beat for the Guardian and the BBC, Glenny wrote several acclaimed books on the fall of Yugoslavia and the rise of the Balkan nations. He's researching a new book on cybercrime, of which he says: "The key to cybercrime is what we call social engineering. Or to use the technical term for it, there's one born every minute."

Watch TED's exclusive video Q&A with Glenny: "Behind the Scenes of McMafia" >>

Session 6: The Dark Side
Wed Jul 13, 2011
2:15 – 4:00
Ben Goldacre Ben Goldacre
Debunker

Ben Goldacre unpicks dodgy scientific claims made by scaremongering journalists, dubious government reports, pharmaceutical corporations, PR companies and quacks.

"It was the MMR story that finally made me crack," begins the Bad Science manifesto, referring to the sensationalized -- and now-refuted -- link between vaccines and autism. With that sentence Ben Goldacre fired the starting shot of a crusade waged from the pages of The Guardian from 2003 to 2011, on an addicitve Twitter feed, and in bestselling books, including Bad Science and his latest, Bad Pharma, which puts the $600 billion global pharmaceutical industry under the microscope. What he reveals is a fascinating, terrifying mess.

Goldacre was trained in medicine at Oxford and London, and works as an academic in epidemiology. Helped along by this inexhaustible supply of material, he also travels the speaking circuit, promoting skepticism and nerdish curiosity with fire, wit, fast delivery and a lovable kind of exasperation. (He might even convince you that real science, sober reporting and reason are going to win in the end.)

As he writes, "If you're a journalist who misrepresents science for the sake of a headline, a politician more interested in spin than evidence, or an advertiser who loves pictures of molecules in little white coats, then beware: your days are numbered."

Read an excerpt of Bad Pharma >>

Session 6: The Dark Side
Wed Jul 13, 2011
2:15 – 4:00
Alison Gopnik Alison Gopnik
Child development psychologist

Alison Gopnik takes us into the fascinating minds of babies and children, and shows us how much we understand before we even realize we do.

What’s it really like to see through the eyes of a child? Are babies and young children just empty, irrational vessels to be formed into little adults, until they become the perfect images of ourselves? On the contrary, argues Alison Gopnik, professor of psychology and philosophy at the University of California at Berkeley.

The author of The Philosophical Baby, The Scientist in the Crib and other influential books on cognitive development, Gopnik presents evidence that babies and children are conscious of far more than we give them credit for, as they engage every sense and spend every waking moment discovering, filing away, analyzing and acting on information about how the world works. Gopnik’s work draws on psychological, neuroscientific, and philosophical developments in child development research to understand how the human mind learns, how and why we love, our ability to innovate, as well as giving us a deeper appreciation for the role of parenthood.

She says: "What's it like to be a baby? Being in love in Paris for the first time after you've had 3 double espressos."

Session 10: Feeling
Thurs Jul 14, 2011
5:00 – 6:45
Robert Gupta Robert Gupta
Violinist

Violinist Robert Gupta joined the LA Philharmonic at the age of 19 -- and maintains a passionate parallel interest in neurobiology and mental health issues. He's a TED Senior Fellow.

Violinist Robert Vijay Gupta joined the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the age of 19. He made his solo debut, at age 11, with the Israel Philharmonic under Zubin Mehta. He has a Master's in music from Yale. But his undergraduate degree? Pre-med. As an undergrad, Gupta was part of several research projects in neuro- and neurodegenerative biology. He held Research Assistant positions at CUNY Hunter College in New York City, where he worked on spinal cord neuronal regeneration, and at the Harvard Institutes of Medicine Center for Neurologic Diseases, where he studied the biochemical pathology of Parkinson's disease.

Gupta is passionate about education and outreach, both as a musician and as an activist for mental health issues. He has the privilege of working with Nathaniel Ayers, the brilliant, schizophrenic musician featured in "The Soloist," as his violin teacher.

Session 11: Things We Make
Fri Jul 15, 2011
8:30 – 10:15
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Harald Haas Harald Haas
Communications technology innovator

Harald Haas is the pioneer behind a new type of light bulb that can communicate as well as illuminate – access the Internet using light instead of radio waves.

Imagine using your car headlights to transmit data ... or surfing the web safely on a plane, tethered only by a line of sight. Harald Haas is working on it. A professor of engineering at Edinburgh University, Haas has long been studying ways to communicate electronic data signals, designing modulation techniques that pack more data onto existing networks. But his latest work leaps beyond wires and radio waves to transmit data via an LED bulb that glows and darkens faster than the human eye can see.

The system, which he's calling D-Light, uses a mathematical trick called OFDM (orthogonal frequency division multiplexing), which allows it to vary the intensity of the LED's output at a very fast rate, invisible to the human eye (for the eye, the bulb would simply be on and providing light). The signal can be picked up by simple receivers. As of now, Haas is reporting data rates of up to 10 MBit/s per second
(faster than a typical broadband connection), and 100 MBit/s by the end of this year and possibly up to 1 GB in the future.

He says: "It should be so cheap that it’s everywhere. Using the visible light spectrum, which comes for free, you can piggy-back existing wireless services on the back of lighting equipment."

Session 12: Next Up
Fri Jul 15, 2011
11:00 – 12:45
Justin Hall-Tipping Justin Hall-Tipping
Science entrepreneur

Justin Hall-Tipping works on nano-energy startups -- mastering the electron to create power.

Some of our most serious planetary worries revolve around energy and power -- controlling it, paying for it, and the consequences of burning it. Justin Hall-Tipping had an epiphany about energy after seeing footage of a chunk of ice the size of his home state (Connecticut) falling off Antarctica into the ocean, and decided to focus on science to find new forms of energy. A longtime investor, he formed Nanoholdings  to work closely with universities and labs who are studying new forms of nano-scale energy in the four sectors of the energy economy: generation, transmission, storage and conservation.

Nanotech as a field is still very young (the National Science Foundation says it's "at a level of development similar to that of computer technology in the 1950s") and nano-energy in particular holds tremendous promise.

He says: "For the first time in human history, we actually have the ability to pick up an atom and place it the way we want. Some very powerful things can happen when you can do that."

Session 2: Everyday Rebellions
Tues Jul 12, 2011
2:15 – 4:00
Jo Hamilton Jo Hamilton
Musician

Playing the Air Piano, Jo Hamilton weaves brave new music from her lush voice and self-aware lyrics.

Jo Hamilton is the premier artist of the Air Piano, an instrument that is played without being touched. Above a black lucite slab, infrared sensors detect the player's hand movements in 3D space, much like a virtual multitouch screen. Unlike a theremin, in which the playspace around the instrument is one continuous area (hence its trademark rising and falling whooOOOOoo), the Air Piano has virtual keys and faders mapped into that space, allowing for clearly defined notes and samples.

Hamilton was the first musician to get a prototype from Air Piano inventor Omer Yosha, and has been exploring ever since. The instrument's range of tones and timbres and possibilities play off Hamilton's rich voice and thoughtful songwriting to make a softly compelling music that's just this side of otherworldly.

She says: "The places I've been to and the things I've seen are all put into a large cement mixer, and I love to see to what will surface first."

Session 12: Next Up
Fri Jul 15, 2011
11:00 – 12:45
Tim Harford Tim Harford
Undercover economist

Tim Harford's writings reveal the economic ideas behind everyday experiences.

In the Undercover Economist column he writes for the Financial Times, Tim Harford looks at familiar situations in unfamiliar ways and explains the fundamental principles of the modern economy. He illuminates them with clear writing and a variety of examples borrowed from daily life.

His new book, Adapt: Why Success Always Starts With Failure, argues that the world has become far too unpredictable and complex for today's challenges to be tackled with ready-made solutions and expert opinions. Instead, Harford suggests, we need to learn to embrace failure and to constantly adapt, to improvise rather than plan, to work from the bottom up rather than the top down. He also presents the BBC radio series More or Less, a rare broadcast program devoted, as he says, to "the powerful, sometimes beautiful, often abused but ever ubiquitous world of numbers."

He says: "I’d like to see many more complex problems approached with a willingness to experiment."

Session 4: Future Billions
Wed Jul 13, 2011
8:30 – 10:15
Balazs Havasi Balazs Havasi
Pianist, composer

Holder of the Guinness World Record for "Most Piano Key Hits in One Minute," Balazs Havasi is an ambitiously thoughtful, sensitive pianist.

On November 28, 2009, in the Academy of Music, Budapest, pianist Balázs Havasi set a world record by hitting the same piano key 498 times within 60 seconds. The man behind this muscular feat is a thoughtful and ambitious modern pianist who draws on his classical training to write a new brand of piano-driven symphonic music. His large-scale work with the Havasi Symphonic Project -- with a choir of 500 and backed by the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra -- was seen by almost 200 million viewers when it debuted at the Shanghai Expo last year. His project Symphonic Red draws together musicians from around the world.

His side project, the Unbending Trees, with songwriter Kristóf Hajós, is a surprisingly intimate chamber-pop outfit that caught the ear of Ben Watt and Tracey Thorn, of Everything But the Girl. Watt produced their well-reviewed album Chemically Happy (Is the New Sad), on which Thorn guests.

He says:"I want to return the piano to the audience, not only the connoisseurs."

Session 3: Coded Patterns
Tues Jul 12, 2011
5:00 – 6:45
Charles Hazlewood Charles Hazlewood
Conductor

Charles Hazlewood dusts off and invigorates classical music, adding a youthful energy and modern twists to centuries-old masterworks. At TEDGlobal, he conducts the Scottish Ensemble.

Charles Hazlewood's fresh presentations of classical music shake up the traditional settings of the form -- in one performance he’ll engage in a conversation with the audience, while in another he’ll blend film or sculpture into a piece -- but his goal is always the same: exposing the deep, always-modern joy of the classics. He's a familiar face on British TV, notably in the 2009 series The Birth of British Music on BBC2. He conducts the BBC Orchestras and guest-conducts orchestras around the world.

Together with Mark Dornford-May, he founded a lyric-theatre company in South Africa called Dimpho Di Kopane (which means "combined talents") after auditioning in the townships and villages of South Africa. Of the 40 members, only three had professional training. They debuted with Bizet's Carmen, which was later transposed into a movie version called U-Carmen eKhayelitsha, spoken and sung in Xhosa, that was honored at the Berlin Flim Festival. He regularly involves children in his projects and curates his own music festival, Play the Field, on his farm in Somerset. His latest project: the ParaOrchestra.

He says: "I have loads of issues with the way classical music is presented. It has been too reverential, too 'high art' -- if you're not in the club, they're not going to let you join. It's like The Turin Shroud: don't touch it because it might fall apart."

Session 9: Living Systems
Thurs Jul 14, 2011
2:15 – 4:00
Erik Hersman Erik Hersman
Blogger, technologist, Guest Host

Erik Hersman nurtures the creativity springing from the African tech community, and helps spread its innovations throughout the world.

Erik Hersman harnesses Africa’s boundless spirit of innovation by creating platforms to improve daily lives both inside and outside the continent. Hersman facilitates a host of web and mobile projects via organizations like iHub, a Nairobi community center built around the vision of an epicenter for Kenya’s booming tech industry. The mobile app Ushahidi, which he co-developed, allows users to share breaking news through text messaging, and continues to revolutionize and empower journalists, watchdog groups, and everyday people around the world.

Hersman, a TED Senior Fellow, grew up in Kenya and Sudan and is, as he puts it, "one of those guys who's much more 'at home' in Africa." He keeps two influential blogs: WhiteAfrican, where he writes about technology on the African continent, and AfriGadget, a group blog that celebrates African ingenuity.

As he says: "The constant bridging of worlds (African and American) started at such a young age that it has become embedded in my character. I find it easy to switch between cultures and enjoy friends and associates on either side of the ocean."

At TEDGlobal 2013 he guest-curated, together with Adrian Hong, the session “Forces of Change."

Session 9: Living Systems
Thurs Jul 14, 2011
2:15 – 4:00
Yasheng Huang Yasheng Huang
Political economist

Yasheng Huang asks us to rethink our ideas about China and other large emerging economies. Lately he’s been asking, Does democracy hinder or promote economic growth?

MIT and Fudan University professor Yasheng Huang is an authority on how to get ahead in emerging economies. The China and India Labs he founded at MIT's Sloan School of Management specialize in helping local startups improve their strategies. His book Capitalism with Chinese Characteristics (2008) chronicles three decades of economic reform in China and documents the critical role that private entrepreneurship played in the Communist nation’s “economic miracle.”

Huang believes that China is moving away from Marxism (public ownership) but not Leninism (ideology of state control) -- and that strong social fundamentals are the key reason for its growth. He is a vocal critic of US foreign policy in China, calling on American leaders to rethink their messages, which often do not resonate with the Chinese public, and to use technology to broaden their reach, overcome stereotypes and quash conspiracy theories. He says: "For too long the US has not paid attention to an important force in the Chinese economy: the rise of indigenous entrepreneurs. This is in sharp contrast to the US approach in India."

In early 2013 Huang sparred with Eric X. Li in Foreign Affairs about the merits of China's one-party system. Li's article became the basis for his TEDGlobal 2013 talk, which Huang then responded to on the TED Blog.

Session 4: Future Billions
Wed Jul 13, 2011
8:30 – 10:15
Mikko Hypponen Mikko Hypponen
Cybersecurity expert

As computer access expands, Mikko Hypponen asks: What's the next killer virus, and will the world be able to cope with it? And also: How can we protect digital privacy in the age of government surveillance?

The chief research officer at F-Secure Corporation in Finland, Mikko Hypponen has led his team through some of the largest computer virus outbreaks in history. His team took down the world-wide network used by the Sobig.F worm. He was the first to warn the world about the Sasser outbreak, and he has done classified briefings on the operation of the Stuxnet worm -- a hugely complex worm designed to sabotage Iranian nuclear enrichment facilities.

As a few hundred million more Internet users join the web from India and China and elsewhere, and as governments and corporations become more sophisticated at using viruses as weapons, Hypponen asks, what's next? Who will be at the front defending the world’s networks from malicious software? He says: "It's more than unsettling to realize there are large companies out there developing backdoors, exploits and trojans."

Even more unsettling: revelations this year that the United States' NSA is conducting widespread digital surveillance of both US citizens and anyone whose data passes through a US entity, and that it has actively sabotaged encryption algorithms. Hypponen has become one of the most outspoken critics of the agency's programs and asks us all: Why are we so willing to hand over digital privacy?

 

 

Read his open-season Q&A on Reddit:"My TED Talk was just posted. Ask me anything.

See the full documentary on the search for the Brain virus

Session 6: The Dark Side
Wed Jul 13, 2011
2:15 – 4:00
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Robin Ince Robin Ince
Comedian

The rational-minded Robin Ince conducts live experiments in comedy.

Is rational thought funny? And is comedy scientific? are the pair of questions on which Robin Ince has built his recent career. On his own and as part of the BBC4 radio show The Infinite Monkey Cage, Robin Ince makes science-friendly comedy with pals like Brian Cox, Ben Goldacre and Simon Singh. TIMC just won the Best Speech Programme at the 2011 Sony Radio Awards, the first science program to win in ... aeons. They recently took the show on the road as "Uncaged Monkeys," about which the Telegraph's critic said, "I was expecting more knickers thrown at the stage, to be honest."

Onstage, Ince conducts live experiments into the science of comedy and laughter. He and his team set out to discover secret of timing, discover if people are born funny, and if computers can tell jokes.

He says: "Most scientists I know have movies and novels in their houses, whereas there are novelists whose houses I've been to who don't have any science books."

Session 4: Future Billions
Wed Jul 13, 2011
8:30 – 10:15
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Allan Jones Allan Jones
Brain scientist

As CEO of the Allen Institute for Brain Science, Allan Jones leads an ambitious project to build an open, online, interactive atlas of the human brain.

The Allen Institute for Brain Science -- based in Seattle, kickstarted by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen -- has a mission to fuel discoveries about the human brain by building tools the entire scientific community can use. As CEO, one of Allan Jones' first projects was to lead the drive to create a comprehensive atlas of the brain of a mouse. Flash forward to April 2011, when the Allen Institute announced the first milestone in its online interactive atlas of the human brain, showing the activity of the more than 20,000 human genes it contains. It's based on a composite of 15 brains, since every human brain is unique.

Think of the Allen Human Brain Atlas as a high-tech bridge between brain anatomy and genetics. Using this atlas, scientists will be able to determine where in the brain genes that encode specific proteins are active, including proteins that are affected by medication. Or researchers could zoom in on brain structures thought to be altered in mental disorders such as schizophrenia to find their molecular footprint. The atlas may provide clues to memory, attention, motor coordination, hunger, and perhaps emotions such as happiness or anxiety.

He says: "Understanding how our genes are used in our brains will help scientists and the medical community better understand and discover new treatments for the full spectrum of brain diseases and disorders."

Watch Dr. Jones' latest TEDx talk on the map of the brain, from TEDxCaltech 2013 >>

Session 3: Coded Patterns
Tues Jul 12, 2011
5:00 – 6:45
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Ben Kacyra Ben Kacyra
Digital preservationist

Ben Kacyra uses state-of-the-art technology to preserve cultural heritage sites and let us in on their secrets in a way never before possible.

As a child, Ben Kacyra was taken to visit the ruins of the ancient city of Nineveh near his home town of Mosul in Iraq, giving him an abiding appreciation for the value of history. So when the Taliban destroyed the Buddhas of Bamiyan in Afghanistan in 2001, the Iraqi-born civil engineer was dismayed. In 2002, he founded California-based nonprofit CyArk in order to apply a highly accurate, portable laser-scanning technology he’d originally developed for monitoring nuclear power plants and other structures – to preserving the world’s cultural heritage sites, what Kacyra calls “our collective human memory”.

CyArk’s methods are fast and accurate: pulsed lasers generate 3D points of clouds, which render surfaces at accuracy to within millimeters. Combined with high-definition photography and traditional surveying techniques these data make it possible to create highly detailed media – photo textured animations, 3D fly-throughs – that digitally preserve our knowledge of heritage sites against natural disaster, war, and neglect, and make them accessible to the world. Among the sites already scanned are ancient sites in Mexico, the leaning tower of Pisa, and Mount Rushmore.

Session 11: Things We Make
Fri Jul 15, 2011
8:30 – 10:15
Cynthia Kenyon Cynthia Kenyon
Biochemist, geneticist

When it comes to aging well, having “good genes” (or rather, mutant ones) is key, says Cynthia Kenyon. She unlocked the genetic secret of longevity in roundworms — and now she’s working to do the same for humans.

Cynthia Kenyon is revolutionizing our understanding of aging. As an expert in biochemistry and biophysics at the University of California at San Francisco, she is particularly interested in the influence that genetics have on age-related diseases (from cancer to heart failure) in living things.

Her biggest breakthrough was figuring out that there’s a “universal hormonal control for aging”: carbohydrate intake, which can have a dramatic effect on how two critical genes behave, reducing insulin production and boosting repair and renovation activities. So far, her theory has proved true for worms, mice, rats, and monkeys — and she suspects it applies to humans, too.

By studying aging, Kenyon believes that she and other scientists (many of whom have successfully duplicated her experiments) will be able to pinpoint the molecules responsible for the onset of age-related diseases in people and prevent them. She’s co-founded a drug-development company called Elixir Pharmaceuticals to do just that.

She says: "The link between aging and age-related disease suggests an entirely new way to combat many diseases all at once; namely, by going after their greatest risk factor: aging itself."

Session 5: Emerging Order
Wed Jul 13, 2011
11:00 – 12:45
Sheril Kirshenbaum Sheril Kirshenbaum
Biologist and writer

Biologist Sheril Kirshenbaum is the author of The Science of Kissing, which explores one of humanity's fondest pastimes.

A research scientist at the University of Texas, Sheril Kirshenbaum wrote The Science of Kissing, containing "everything you always wanted to know about kissing but either haven't asked, couldn't find out, or didn't realize you should understand." She also co-authored Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future with Chris Mooney, named by President Obama's science advisor John Holdren as his top recommended read. She writes a science column at Bloomberg View and hosts the Convergence blog at Wired.com, focusing on the interdisciplinary nature of understanding our world with great emphasis on the conservation of biodiversity.

She works with the Webber Energy Group at the University of Texas at Austin's Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy, where she works on projects to enhance public understanding of energy issues as they relate to food, oceans and culture. She is involved in conservation initiatives across levels of government, working to improve communication between scientists, policymakers and the public.

She says: "When we kiss, all five of our senses are busy transmitting messages to our brain."

Session 7: Bodies
Wed Jul 13, 2011
5:00 – 6:15
Todd Kuiken Todd Kuiken
Biomedical engineer

A doctor and engineer, Todd Kuiken builds new prosthetics that connect with the human nervous system. Yes: bionics.

As Dean Kamen said at TED2007, the design of the prosthetic arm hadn't really been updated since the Civil War -- basically "a stick and a hook." But at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, physiatrist Todd Kuiken is building new arms and hands that are wired into the nervous system and can be controlled by the same impulses from the brain that once controlled flesh and blood.

Kuiken's training -- as both a physician and an engineer -- helps him see both sides of this complex problem. A technology called targeted muscle reinnervation uses nerves remaining after an amputation to control an artificial limb, linking brain impulses to a computer in the prosthesis that directs motors to move the limb. An unexpected effect in some patients: not only can they move their new limb, they can feel with it.

He  said: "From an engineering standpoint, this is the greatest challenge one can imagine: trying to restore the most incredible machine in the universe."

Session 10: Feeling
Thurs Jul 14, 2011
5:00 – 6:45
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Yang Lan Yang Lan
Media mogul, TV host

Yang Lan is often called “the Oprah of China.” The chair of a multiplatform business empire, Yang is pioneering more-open means of communication in the communist nation.

Yang Lan’s rise to stardom in China has drawn comparisons to Oprah Winfrey’s success in the US. It’s easy to see why: Yang is a self-made entrepreneur and the most powerful woman in the Chinese media. As chair of Sun Media Investment Holdings, a business empire she built with her husband, Yang is a pioneer of open communication.

Yang started her journalism career by establishing the first current-events TV program in China. She created and hosted many other groundbreaking shows, starting with the chatfest Yang Lan One on One. The popular Her Village, which now includes an online magazine and website, brings together China’s largest community of professional women (more than 200 million people a month).

Yang, who served as an ambassador for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, wields her influence for philanthropic endeavors, too. She founded the Sun Culture Foundation in 2005 to raise awareness about poverty and to promote cross-cultural communication.

Session 8: Embracing Otherness
Thurs Jul 14, 2011
11:00 – 12:45
Jae Rhim Lee Jae Rhim Lee
Artist

Artist and TED Fellow Jae Rhim Lee re-imagines the relationships between the body and the world.

Jae Rhim Lee is a visual artist and mushroom lover. In her early work, as a grad student at MIT, she built systems that reworked basic human processes: sleeping (check out her it-just-might-work vertical bed from 2004), urinating and eating (and the relationship between the two). Now she's working on a compelling new plan for the final human process: decomposition.

Her Infinity Burial Project explores the choices we face after death, and how our choices reflect our denial or acceptance of death’s physical implications. She's been developing a new strain of fungus, the Infinity Mushroom, that feeds on and remediates the industrial toxins we store in our bodies and convert our unused bodies efficiently into nutrients. Her Infinity Burial System converts corpses into clean compost. She was in residence at the MAK Center in Los Angeles this fall working on the project. And if this vision of life after death appeals to you, sign up to become a Decompinaut yourself.

Session 7: Bodies
Wed Jul 13, 2011
5:00 – 6:15
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Neil MacGregor Neil MacGregor
Director of The British Museum

The writer and presenter of the BBC Radio 4 series "A History of the World in 100 Objects" and the accompanying book.

Established by Act of Parliament in 1753 as a museum for the world (and free to enter, down to this day), the British Museum has built a near-encyclopedic collection of art and artifacts representing the sweep of human history across 2 million years. In his 2010 radio series A History of the World in 100 Objects (accompanied by a splendid book with the same title), director Neil MacGregor showed how the artifacts and items we collect are a powerful tool for sharing our shared human narrative.

MacGregor has long been fascinated with the way museums can tell the world's story. At the British Museum, he's negotiated his way to mounting shows full of Chinese and Persian treasures, helping sometimes-prickly governments to share his mission of cultural togetherness. He was named Briton of the Year in 2008 by the Sunday Times, who said, "He is a committed idealist who, in a world in which culture is increasingly presented as the acceptable face of politics, has pioneered a broader, more open, more peaceable way forward."

He says: "That’s what the museum is about: giving people their place in things.”

Session 11: Things We Make
Fri Jul 15, 2011
8:30 – 10:15
Rebecca MacKinnon Rebecca MacKinnon
Media activist

Rebecca MacKinnon looks at issues of privacy, free expression and governance (or lack of) in the digital networks, platforms and services on which we are all increasingly dependent.

As we push more and more of our social lives online, should we be (and how should we be) regulating these networks? Is there a human rights penalty we pay for trusting basic human connection to the Internet? As a Senior Fellow at the New America Foundation, Rebecca MacKinnon looks at these big questions in her upcoming book, Consent of the Networked, “a treatise on the future of liberty in the Internet age.”

A former head of CNN’s Beijing and Tokyo bureaus, MacKinnon is an expert on Chinese Internet censorship. She’s one of the founders (with Ethan Zuckerman) of the Global Voices Online blog network, which aggregates and translates news around the world that might otherwise go unheard.Follw her tweets at @RMack.

She says: "The Egyptian Revolution makes it clear that digital technologies play a powerful role in global politics. But we should expect that role to be unpredictable."

Session 1: Beginnings
Tues Jul 12, 2011
11:00 – 12:45
Jarreth Merz Jarreth Merz
Filmmaker

Jarreth Merz' new film, "An African Election," follows the 2008 presidential elections in Ghana from start to finish.

Raised in Ghana, Switzerland and Germany, Jarreth Merz is a filmmaker and actor (you may remember him  in the role of Simon of Cyrene in The Passion of the Christ). As a director, his work is rooted in observing life as it presents itself in all its complexities -- as shown in his latest documentary, An African Election, which follows the 2008 presidential elections in Ghana, West Africa.

Merz's stepfather, a political player on Ghana, helped him get access behind the scenes; then Jarreth and his cameraman brother Kevin followed the presidential candidates in the unpredictable months leading up to the final night. In chronicling the rough-and-tumble process of a democratic election, the documentary becomes a meditation on the dream of democracy itself. The film screened in the World Documentary competition at Sundance earlier this year. Merz is now working on a “political safari” in Africa.

He says: "An African Election challenges the preconceived notion we have about politics in Ghana or Africa without hiding the brutal realities."

Session 8: Embracing Otherness
Thurs Jul 14, 2011
11:00 – 12:45
Pamela Meyer Pamela Meyer
Lie detector

Pamela Meyer thinks we’re facing a pandemic of deception, but she’s arming people with tools that can help take back the truth.

Social media expert Pamela Meyer can tell when you’re lying. If it’s not your words that give you away, it’s your posture, eyes, breathing rate, fidgets, and a host of other indicators. Worse, we are all lied to up to 200 times a day, she says, from the white lies that allow society to function smoothly to the devastating duplicities that bring down corporations and break up families.

Working with a team of researchers over several years, Meyer, who is CEO of social networking company Simpatico Networks, collected and reviewed most of the research on deception that has been published, from such fields as law-enforcement, military, psychology and espionage. She then became an expert herself, receiving advanced training in deception detection, including multiple courses of advanced training in interrogation, microexpression analysis, statement analysis, behavior and body language interpretation, and emotion recognition. Her research is synthetized in her bestselling book Liespotting.
Session 6: The Dark Side
Wed Jul 13, 2011
2:15 – 4:00
Pat Mitchell Pat Mitchell
Media pioneer

A trailblazing journalist, Pat Mitchell is the president and CEO of the Paley Center for Media in New York and LA.

Pat Mitchell began her media career in print (at LOOK) and transitioned to television as opportunities opened up for women in the early 1970s. She was among the first women to anchor the news (WBZ-TV Boston), host a morning talk show (Woman 74), and report from the White House. She was also the first woman to host a talk show, the Emmy-winning Woman to Woman. As a producer, Mitchell's work has garnered 37 Emmy Awards, five Peabodys, and two Academy Award nominations. In 2000, she became the first woman President and CEO of PBS. As head of the Paley Center for Media in New York and Los Angeles, she guides an institution that leads discussion about the cultural, creative, and social significance of television, radio, and emerging platforms for the professional community and media-interested public.

Mitchell was the co-host of the first TEDWomen, in 2010, and went on to curate and host two subsequent TEDxWomen events, in 2011 and 2012. She was a guest host at TEDGlobal 2010, and most recently is the co-curator and co-host of TEDWomen in 2013 in San Francisco.

Session 8: Embracing Otherness
Thurs Jul 14, 2011
11:00 – 12:45
Elizabeth Murchison Elizabeth Murchison
Cancer researcher

Elizabeth Murchison studies a mysterious (and contagious) cancer that threatens to wipe out Tasmanian devils.

Elizabeth Murchison grew up in Tasmania, the island home of the small, aggressive marsupial known as the Tasmanian devil. In the mid-'90s, the devils were beset with a terrible new disease -- a contagious facial cancer, spread by biting, that killed the animals just as they reached breeding age. By 2008, half the devil population of Australia had contracted the cancer and died. And as Murchison says: "I didn’t want to sit back and let the devils disappear.”

Leading an international team at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, she worked to understand why this cancer was so virulent -- with the goal of saving the Taz, as it is called, but also of understanding how a contagious cancer works. Analyzing gene and microRNA activity in 25 different facial tumors and in healthy tissue, the team found that cancers from animals across Tasmania were identical, and that the cancer stems from Schwann cells, which normally insulate nerve fibers.

Now a Research Fellow in Medical Sciences at King's College, Cambridge, Murchison is using high-throughput DNA sequencing technologies to investigate the genetics and evolution of this disease, one of only three known cancers that spread contagiously.

She says: "This is why cancer is such a difficult disease to treat: It evolves."

Session 5: Emerging Order
Wed Jul 13, 2011
11:00 – 12:45
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Maajid Nawaz Maajid Nawaz
Anti-extremism activist

Maajid Nawaz works to promote conversation, tolerance and democracy in Muslim and non-Muslim communities.

As a teenager, British-born Maajid Nawaz was recruited to the global Islamist party Hizb ut-Tahrir, whose goal, broadly put, is to unite all Muslim countries into one caliphate ruled by Islamic law. He spent more than a decade there, rising into its leadership, until he was sentenced to four years in an Egyptian prison for belonging to the group. But he left prison feeling that Hizb ut-Tahrir was hijacking Islam for political purposes and that its aims were dangerously similar to the aims of fascism. While remaining a Muslim, he was no longer an Islamist.

His goal now is to help Muslims in the West engage in their current political frameworks, while encouraging non-Western Muslims to work for a democratic culture that values peace and women’s rights. In the UK, he co-founded Quilliam, a think-tank that engages in “counter-Islamist thought-generating” -- looking for new narratives of citizenship, identity and belonging in a globalized world.

He says: "I can now say that the more I learnt about Islam, the more tolerant I became."

Session 2: Everyday Rebellions
Tues Jul 12, 2011
2:15 – 4:00
Thandie Newton Thandie Newton
Actor

Swinging from Hollywood blockbusters to sensitive indie films, Thandie Newton brings thoughtfulness and delicate beauty to her work.

Filmgoers first encountered Thandie Newton in the 1991 film Flirting, a tender and skin-crawlingly honest film about young love and budding identity. In her career since then, she’s brought that same intimate touch even to big Hollywood films (she was the moral center of Mission: Impossible II, for instance, and the quiet heart of the head-banging 2012), while maintaining a strong sideline in art films, like the acclaimed Crash and last year’s adaptation of Ntozake Shange’s For colored girls ...  

Born in England, her mother is Zimbabwean, and Newton is active in nonprofit work across the African continent. In 2008, she visited Mali for a campaign to bring clean water to six African nations, and as a V Day board member, Newton visited the Congo earlier this year to raise awareness of the chronic issue of sexual violence toward women and girls.

Session 8: Embracing Otherness
Thurs Jul 14, 2011
11:00 – 12:45
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Mark Pagel Mark Pagel
Evolutionary biologist

Using biological evolution as a template, Mark Pagel wonders how languages evolve.

Mark Pagel builds statistical models to examine the evolutionary processes imprinted in human behavior, from genomics to the emergence of complex systems -- to culture. His latest work examines the parallels between linguistic and biological evolution by applying methods of phylogenetics, or the study of evolutionary relatedness among groups, essentially viewing language as a culturally transmitted replicator with many of the same properties we find in genes. He’s looking for patterns in the rates of evolution of language elements, and hoping to find the social factors that influence trends of language evolution.
 
At the University of Reading, Pagel heads the Evolution Laboratory in the biology department, where he explores such questions as, "Why would humans evolve a system of communication that prevents them with communicating with other members of the same species?" He has used statistical methods to reconstruct features of dinosaur genomes, and to infer ancestral features of genes and proteins.

He says: "Just as we have highly conserved genes, we have highly conserved words. Language shows a truly remarkable fidelity."

Session 5: Emerging Order
Wed Jul 13, 2011
11:00 – 12:45
Annie Murphy Paul Annie Murphy Paul
Science author

Annie Murphy Paul investigates how life in the womb shapes who we become.

To what extent the conditions we encounter before birth influence our individual characteristics? It‘s the question at the center of fetal origins, a relatively new field of research that measures how the effects of influences outside the womb during pregnancy can shape the physical, mental and even emotional well-being of the developing baby for the rest of its life.

Science writer Annie Murphy Paul calls it a gray zone between nature and nurture in her book Origins, a history and study of this emerging field structured around a personal narrative -- Paul was pregnant with her second child at the time. What she finds suggests a far more dynamic nature between mother and fetus than typically acknowledged, and opens up the possibility that the time before birth is as crucial to human development as early childhood.

Read Annie Murphy Paul's essay on CNN.com>>

Session 1: Beginnings
Tues Jul 12, 2011
11:00 – 12:45
Svante Pääbo Svante Pääbo
Geneticist

Svante Pääbo explores human genetic evolution by analyzing DNA extracted from ancient sources, including mummies, an Ice Age hunter and the bone fragments of Neanderthals.

Svante Pääbo's research on the DNA of human and nonhuman primates has exposed the key genetic changes that transformed our grunting ape-like ancestors into the charming latte-sipping humans we are today. As a director at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, Pääbo and his team developed a technique of isolating and sequencing the DNA of creatures long extinct, using a variety of fragile, ancient source material from Homo sapiens and other human species.

His work shows that all humans trace their ancestry to a small population of Africans who later spread out across the world. We’ve also learned that Neanderthals, the short stocky hunters who disappeared 30,000 years ago, mated with the more modern human species and left their imprint deep within our genome. In 2007, Time named the Swedish biologist one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World for his work.

He says: "Neanderthals are not totally extinct. In some of us they live on, a little bit."

Session 5: Emerging Order
Wed Jul 13, 2011
11:00 – 12:45
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Eddi Reader Eddi Reader
Singer/songwriter

In her warm, glorious voice, Eddi Reader sings thoughtful songs about love, longing and introspection.

Scotland-born Eddi Reader was an '80s pop star in the UK, where her band Fairground Attraction had a #1 hit with the supercatchy "Perfect." Now, as a solo artist, her sounds has matured; quiet acoustic arrangements and gentle harmonies put her lush voice front and center. TED Music Director Thomas Dolby calls her his favorite singer of all time.

Albums such as Candyfloss and Medicine and Angels & Electricity established her as a thoughtful songwriter and interpreter, with an affinity for wistful songs of longing and loss -- and a nice sideline in what used to be called "message" songs, which call to the listener to think about war and peace, the Earth and our place in it.

Reader has also become a noted interpreter of the poems of Robert Burns. Her latest album, Peacetime, offers a compelling mix of Burns lyrics, traditional folk tunes and new songs written by Reader and her longtime songwriting partner, Boo Hewerdine. Fun fact: The title song on the album, "Peacetime," Eddi first learned backstage at her 2003 TED performance.

Session 6: The Dark Side
Wed Jul 13, 2011
2:15 – 4:00
Matt Ridley Matt Ridley
Rational optimist

Matt Ridley argues that, through history, the engine of human progress and prosperity has been, and is, "ideas having sex with each other."

British author Matt Ridley knows one thing: Through history, the engine of human progress and prosperity has been, and is, the mating of ideas. The sophistication of the modern world, says Ridley, lies not in individual intelligence or imagination; it is a collective enterprise. In his book The Rational Optimist, Ridley (whose previous works include Genome and Nature via Nurture) sweeps the entire arc of human history to powerfully argue that "prosperity comes from everybody working for everybody else."

It is our habit of trade, idea-sharing and specialization that has created the collective brain which set human living standards on a rising trend. This, he says, "holds out hope that the human race will prosper mightily in the years ahead -- because ideas are having sex with each other as never before."

Watch his 2010 TEDTalk, "When Ideas Have Sex."

Session 5: Emerging Order
Wed Jul 13, 2011
11:00 – 12:45
Yves Rossy Yves Rossy
Jetman

With a jet-powered wing attached to his body, Yves Rossy expands the possibilities of human flight.

On May 7 of this year, Swiss pilot Yves Rossy stepped out of a helicopter 8,000 feet above the Grand Canyon and ... took off. Wearing a rigid wing powered by four model jet turbine engines, Rossy flew for eight minutes over the mile-deep trench, soaring over the red rocks before parachuting down to the Colorado River far below. It's the latest exploit in a life powered by one dream: to fly like a bird.

Wearing his single wing, Rossy really flies, steering with the movements of his body. In the last couple of years he has crossed the English Channel, flown over the Swiss Alps and performed aerobatic loops around a hot-air balloon; for his next quest, he is developing a new kind of parachute that will enable him to fly as low as 200 meters.

 

Session 2: Everyday Rebellions
Tues Jul 12, 2011
2:15 – 4:00
Bunker Roy Bunker Roy
Educator

Sanjit “Bunker” Roy is the founder of Barefoot College, which helps rural communities becomes self-sufficient.

Development projects the world over run into one crucial point: For a project to live on, it needs to be organic, owned and sustained by those it serves. In 1972,  Sanjit “Bunker” Roy founded the Barefoot College, in the village of Tilonia in Rajasthan, India, with just this mission: to provide basic services and solutions in rural communities with the objective of making them self-sufficient. These “barefoot solutions” can be broadly categorized into solar energy, water, education, health care, rural handicrafts, people’s action, communication, women’s empowerment and wasteland development. The Barefoot College education program, for instance, teaches literacy and also skills, encouraging learning-by-doing. (Literacy is only part of it.)  Bunker’s organization has also successfully trained grandmothers from Africa and the Himalayan region to be solar engineers so they can bring electricity to their remote villages.

As he says, Barefoot College is "a place of learning and unlearning: where the teacher is the learner and the learner is the teacher."

Session 8: Embracing Otherness
Thurs Jul 14, 2011
11:00 – 12:45
Alice Russell Alice Russell
Singer

With her sultry voice chock-full of soul power, Alice Russell is a force of nature. If you've heard her cover of "Seven Nation Army" -- well, then you know.

Alice Russell is one of those fabulous British girls with a great big soul sound -- a tradition stretching from Dusty Springfield to Alison Moyet to Adele. What sets her apart? Some seriously clever musicianship. She counts influences from Sarah Vaughan to Bach, Kate Bush to Arvo Pärt, and J Dilla to Alice Coltrane, and has worked with collaborators ranging from jazz-soul legend Roy Ayres to indie god David Byrne, from Philly hip-hop outfit the Roots to her longtime producer and bandleader TM Juke.

Working with TM Juke, she's made My Favourite Letters and Pot of Gold, playing around with a heavy soul sound, but they're nudging each other in a synthy, Prince-infected direction for their next record.

She says: "Growing up, I was surrounded by different types of music and you know, you just get taken by something, don’t you? It hits you in the right place and you think, ‘Yeah, Baby, I like that!’"

Session 7: Bodies
Wed Jul 13, 2011
5:00 – 6:15
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Josette Sheeran Josette Sheeran
Anti-hunger leader

Our generation is the first in history with enough resources to eradicate hunger worldwide. Josette Sheeran, the former head of the UN World Food Programme, shares a plan.

When Josette Sheeran was the executive director of the United Nations World Food Programme, based in Rome, she oversaw the largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger around the globe. Every year, the program feeds more than 90 million people, including victims of war and natural disasters, families affected by HIV/AIDS, and schoolchildren in poor communities.

Sheeran believes that hunger and poverty must and can be solved through both immediate actions and long-term policies. At the Millennium Development Goal Summit in 2010, she outlined 10 ways the world can end hunger. They include providing school meals, connecting small farmers to markets, empowering women and building the resiliency of vulnerable communities.

Sheeran has a long history of helping others. Prior to joining the UN in 2007, Sheeran was the Under Secretary for Economic, Energy and Agricultural Affairs at the US Department of State, where she frequently focused on economic diplomacy to help emerging nations move toward self-sufficiency and prosperity. She put together several initiatives to bring US aid to the Middle East. She also served as Deputy US Trade Representative, helping African nations develop their trade capacity.

She says: "I think we can, in our lifetime, win the battle against hunger because we now have the science, technology, know-how, and the logistics to be able to meet hunger where it comes. Those pictures of children with swollen bellies will be a thing of history."

Session 4: Future Billions
Wed Jul 13, 2011
8:30 – 10:15
Shohei Shigematsu Shohei Shigematsu
Architect

The director of OMA*AMO in New York, Shohei Shigematsu thinks about how society shapes buildings.

Great buildings happen within a web of restrictions and expectations -- not just zoning laws and budgets, but what we might call emotional context: what a building should be like. The director of Rem Koolhaas' New York office,  OMA*AMO, Shohei Shigematsu has worked on high-profile buildings like the CCTV tower in Beijing and the Schnzhen Stock Exchange, as well as the just-dedicated Millstein Hall at Cornell University, and his conceptual work drives projects like the (unbuilt) Whitney Museum extension in New York City and the Prada Epicenters in London and Shanghai. His approach balances the design approach with the often dense matrix of site-specific, economic and emotional connections.

Of OMA's upcoming Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, he says, "Our ambition is to create a dramatic new presence for the city, while maintaining a respectful, even stealthy approach to the museum's neighbors and the existing museum." It's typical of his explorations of building in context -- which includes the idea of adaptive reuse, turning a specialized building that was useful in one phase of history into another kind of building that's useful now, pulling new ideas, materials and visions into the existing fabric of the built world.

He says: "The interconnection of architecture is shaped by economy and emotion."

Session 3: Coded Patterns
Tues Jul 12, 2011
5:00 – 6:45
Kevin Slavin Kevin Slavin
Algoworld expert

Kevin Slavin navigates in the algoworld, the expanding space in our lives that’s determined and run by algorithms.

Are you addicted to the dead-simple numbers game Drop 7 or Facebook’s Parking Wars? Blame Kevin Slavin and the game development company he co-founded in 2005, Area/Code, which makes clever game entertainments that enter the fabric of reality.

All this fun is powered by algorithms -- as, increasingly, is our daily life. From the Google algorithms to the algos that give you “recommendations” online to those that automatically play the stock markets (and sometimes crash them): we may not realize it, but we live in the algoworld.

He says: "The quickest way to find out what the boundaries of reality are is to figure where they break."

Session 3: Coded Patterns
Tues Jul 12, 2011
5:00 – 6:45
Paul Snelgrove Paul Snelgrove
Marine biologist

Paul Snelgrove led the group that pulled together the findings of the Census of Marine Life -- synthesizing 10 years and 540 expeditions into a book of wonders.

From 2000 to 2010, the Census of Marine Life ran a focused international effort to catalogue as much knowledge as possible about the creatures living in our oceans. (It had never really been done before.) Some 2,700 scientists from 80 countries, on 540 expeditions, worked to assess the diversity, distribution, and abundance of marine life. More than 6,000 potential new species were discovered, amid scenes of ocean degradation, resilience, and wonder.

It was Paul Snelgrove's job to synthesize this mass of findings into a book. Snelgrove, a professor at Memorial University in Newfoundland who studies benthic sedimentary ecosystems, led the team that produced the book Discoveries of the Census of Marine Life, about the most important and dramatic findings of the CML: new species and habitats, unexpected and epic migration routes and changing distribution patterns. The census revealed how diverse, surprising, still vastly unknown, and tenacious life is in the oceans.

He says: "How to distill thousands of scientific papers and dozens of books into a coherent story? The answer was to lock myself in the basement, shut off email, and read, read, read."

Session 9: Living Systems
Thurs Jul 14, 2011
2:15 – 4:00
Rory Stewart Rory Stewart
Politician

Rory Stewart -- a perpetual pedestrian, a diplomat, an adventurer and an author -- is the member of British Parliament for Penrith and the Border.

Now the member of British Parliament for Penrith and the Border, in rural northwest England, Rory Stewart has led a fascinatingly broad life of public service. He joined the Foreign Office after school, then left to begin a years-long series of walks across the Muslim world. In 2002, his extraordinary walk across post-9/11 Afghanistan resulted in his first book, The Places in Between. After the invasion of Iraq in 2003, he served as a Deputy Governorate Co-Ordinator in Southern Iraq for the coalition forces, and later founded a charity in Kabul. 

To secure his Conservative seat in Parliament, he went on a walking tour of Penrith, covering the entire county as he talked to voters. In 2008, Esquire called him one of the 75 most influential people of the 21st century.

He says: "The world isn't one way or another. Things can be changed very, very rapidly by someone with sufficient confidence, sufficient knowledge and sufficient authority." 

Session 12: Next Up
Fri Jul 15, 2011
11:00 – 12:45
Pavan Sukhdev Pavan Sukhdev
Environmental economist

A banker by training, Pavan Sukhdev runs the numbers on greening up -- showing that green economies are an effective engine for creating jobs and creating wealth.

In 2008, Pavan Sukhdev took a sabbatical from Deutsche Bank, where he'd worked for fifteen years, to write up two massive and convincing reports on the green economy. For UNEP, his "Green Economy Report" synthesized years of research to show, with real numbers, that environmentally sound development is not a bar to growth but rather a new engine for growing wealth and creating employment in the face of persistent poverty. The groundbreaking TEEB (formally “The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity”) report counts the global economic benefits of biodiversity. It encourages countries to develop and publish "Natural capital accounts" tracking the value of plants, animal, water and other "natural wealth" alongside traditional financial measures -- in the hope of changing how decisions are made to take into account damage or preservation of biodiversity.

Sukhdev is the current McCluskey Fellow at Yale University where he leads the TEEB@YALE graduate seminar. Sukhdev chairs the Global Agenda Council on Biodiversity and Ecosystems for the World Economic Forum, and was the Special Advisor and Head of UNEP’s Green Economy Initiative.

He says: "You cannot manage what you do not measure."
Session 9: Living Systems
Thurs Jul 14, 2011
2:15 – 4:00
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Marco Tempest Marco Tempest
Techno-illusionist

A magician and illusionist for the 21st century, Marco Tempest blends cutting-edge technology with the flair and showmanship of Houdini.

Marco Tempest’s imaginative combination of computer-generated imagery, quick-cut video and enthusiastic stage presence has earned him a place in the pantheon of great illusionists. At 22, the Swiss magician won the New York World Cup of Magic, launching him into international prominence. His lively phonecam postings on YouTube , done without post-production and video-editing tricks to astonished people on the street, get millions of views. At the MIT Media Lab, Tempest is researching the link between magic and technology as a Director's Fellow.  

Through his art, Tempest creates a highly entertaining way to be entranced by the reality-bending tech magic that surrounds us all every day. Watch more Marco magic courtesy of Scobleizer ... or see Marco profiled on CNN.com's Next List.

He says: "I blend the line between what is incredibly real and what is incredibly not."

Watch a video on the making of his augmented-reality illusion >>

Watch a video on the making of his Nikola Tesla pop-up book >>

Session 7: Bodies
Wed Jul 13, 2011
5:00 – 6:15
Karen Tse Karen Tse
Anti-torture activist

In too many countries, it's still normal to torture prisoners for confessions and information. Karen Tse works to end that.

A former public defender, Karen Tse developed an interest in the intersection of criminal law and human rights after observing Southeast Asian refugees held in a local prison without trial, often tortured to obtain "confessions." In 1994, she moved to Cambodia to train the country's first core group of public defenders. Under the auspices of the UN, she trained judges and prosecutors, and established the first arraignment court in Cambodia.

In 2000, Tse founded International Bridges to Justice to help create systemic change in criminal justice and promote basic rights of legal representation for defendants on the ground. Her foundation complements the work of witness groups, who do the equally vital work of advocacy, reports, photographs. Tse's group helps governments build new systems that respect individual rights. In IBJ's first years, she negotiated groundbreaking measures  in judicial reform with the Chinese, Vietnamese and Cambodian governments. It now works in sixteen countries, including Rwanda, Burundi and India.

She says: "I believe it is possible to end torture in my lifetime."

Session 6: The Dark Side
Wed Jul 13, 2011
2:15 – 4:00
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Abraham Verghese Abraham Verghese
Physician and author

In our era of the patient-as-data-point, Abraham Verghese believes in the old-fashioned physical exam, the bedside chat, the power of informed observation.

Before he finished medical school, Abraham Verghese spent a year on the other end of the medical pecking order, as a hospital orderly. Moving unseen through the wards, he saw the patients with new eyes, as human beings rather than collections of illnesses. The experience has informed his work as a doctor -- and as a writer. "Imagining the Patient’s Experience" was the motto of the Center for Medical Humanities & Ethics, which he founded at the University of Texas San Antonio, where he brought a deep-seated empathy. He’s now a professor for the Theory and Practice of Medicine at Stanford, where his old-fashioned weekly rounds have inspired a new initiative, the Stanford 25, teaching 25 fundamental physical exam skills and their diagnostic benefits to interns.

He’s also a best-selling writer, with two memoirs and a novel, Cutting for Stone, a moving story of two Ethiopian brothers bound by medicine and betrayal.

He says: “I still find the best way to understand a hospitalized patient is not by staring at the computer screen but by going to see the patient; it's only at the bedside that I can figure out what is important.”

In 2011, Verghese was elected to the Institute of Medicine, which advises the government and private institutions on medicine and health on a national level.

Session 10: Feeling
Thurs Jul 14, 2011
5:00 – 6:45
Vertigo Vertigo
Dance company

The Vertigo Dance Company makes innovative contemporary dance and creative movement -- with its heart in social change.

Based in Israel, the Vertigo Dance Company breaks boundaries between dance and pure movement, drawing viewers in around a socially conscious message. Partners in life and in dance, Noa Wertheim and Adi Sha’al founded the Vertigo Dance Company in 1992 -- the name inspired by Adi's experiences with the sensation of vertigo during his years in training with the Air Force.  

Wertheim and Sha’al share a common vision to create social and environmental change through cultural and artistic expression -- manifesting itself via the creative work of the Vertigo Dance Company as well as the activities of the Vertigo Eco- Art Village, in Kibbutz Netiv Halamed Heh in the Elah Valley, and various social projects.

They write: "Vertigo desires to create a common artistic language as a means to nurture contact with the different social circles with which it communicates."

Session 8: Embracing Otherness
Thurs Jul 14, 2011
11:00 – 12:45
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Geoffrey West Geoffrey West
Theorist

Physicist Geoffrey West believes that complex systems from organisms to cities are in many ways governed by simple laws -- laws that can be discovered and analyzed.

Trained as a theoretical physicist, Geoffrey West has turned his analytical mind toward the inner workings of more concrete things, like ... animals. In a paper for Science in 1997, he and his team uncovered what he sees as a surprisingly universal law of biology — the way in which heart rate, size and energy consumption are related, consistently, across most living animals. (Though not all animals: “There are always going to be people who say, ‘What about the crayfish?’ " he says. “Well, what about it? Every fundamental law has exceptions. But you still need the law or else all you have is observations that don’t make sense.")

A past president of the multidisciplinary Santa Fe Institute (after decades working  in high-energy physics at Los Alamos and Stanford), West now studies the behavior and development of cities. In his newest work, he proposes that one simple number, population, can predict a stunning array of details about any city, from crime rate to economic activity. It's all about the plumbing, he says, the infrastructure that powers growth or dysfunction. His next target for study: corporations.

He says: "Focusing on the differences [between cities] misses the point. Sure, there are differences, but different from what? We’ve found the what."

Session 3: Coded Patterns
Tues Jul 12, 2011
5:00 – 6:45
Richard Wilkinson Richard Wilkinson
Public health researcher

In "The Spirit Level," Richard Wilkinson charts data that proves societies that are more equal are healthier, happier societies.

For decades, Richard Wilkinson has studied the social effects of income inequality and how social forces affect health. In The Spirit Level, a book coauthored with Kate Pickett, he lays out reams of statistical evidence that, among developed countries, societies that are more equal – with a smaller income gap between rich and poor -- are happier and healthier than societies with greater disparities in the distribution of wealth.

While poverty has long been recognized as an indicator for such social ills as crime, obesity, teen pregnancy, Wilkinson and Pickett have demonstrated that societal well-being bears no relation to per capita income. They’ve also found that the symptoms of inequality trouble all levels of society. Across the board, mental health, levels of violence and addiction, even life expectancy are affected by the psycho-social stress caused by income gaps and status anxiety.

In the UK, The Spirit Level won support from politicians both left and right. Wilkinson, who is Professor Emeritus of Social Epidemiology at the University of Nottingham, also cofounded The Equality Trust, a nonprofit that aims to reduce income inequality by educating and engaging the public while supporting political commitment to address the problem.

He says: "While I'd always assumed that an equal society must score better on social cohesion, I never expected to find such clear differences between existing market economies."

NEW: Read the TED Blog's Q&A with Richard Wilkinson >>

Session 1: Beginnings
Tues Jul 12, 2011
11:00 – 12:45
Daniel Wolpert Daniel Wolpert
Movement expert

A neuroscientist and engineer, Daniel Wolpert studies how the brain controls the body.

Consider your hand. You use it to lift things, to balance yourself, to give and take, to sense the world. It has a range of interacting degrees of freedom, and it interacts with many different objects under a variety of environmental conditions. And for most of us, it all just works. At his lab in the Engineering department at Cambridge, Daniel Wolpert and his team are studying why, looking to understand the computations underlying the brain's sensorimotor control of the body.

As he says, "I believe that to understand movement is to understand the whole brain. And therefore it’s important to remember when you are studying memory, cognition, sensory processing, they’re there for a reason, and that reason is action.”  Movement is the only way we have of interacting with the world, whether foraging for food or attracting a waiter's attention. Indeed, all communication, including speech, sign language, gestures and writing, is mediated via the motor system. Taking this viewpoint, and using computational and robotic techniques as well as virtual reality systems, Wolpert and his team research the purpose of the human brain and the way it determines future actions.

 

 

Session 7: Bodies
Wed Jul 13, 2011
5:00 – 6:15
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Paul Zak Paul Zak
Neuroeconomist

A pioneer in the field of neuroeconomics, Paul Zak is uncovering how the hormone oxytocin promotes trust, and proving that love is good for business.

What’s behind the human instinct to trust and to put each other’s well-being first? When you think about how much of the world works on a handshake or on holding a door open for somebody, why people cooperate is a huge question. Paul Zak researches oxytocin, a neuropeptide that affects our everyday social interactions and our ability to behave altruistically and cooperatively, applying his findings to the way we make decisions. A pioneer in a new field of study called neuroeconomics, Zak has demonstrated that oxytocin is responsible for a variety of virtuous behaviors in humans such as empathy, generosity and trust. Amazingly, he has also discovered that social networking triggers the same release of oxytocin in the brain -- meaning that e-connections are interpreted by the brain like in-person connections.

A professor at Claremont Graduate University in Southern California, Zak believes most humans are biologically wired to cooperate, but that business and economics ignore the biological foundations of human reciprocity, risking loss: when oxytocin levels are high in subjects, people’s generosity to strangers increases up to 80 percent; and countries with higher levels of trust – lower crime, better education – fare better economically.

He says: "Civilization is dependent on oxytocin. You can't live around people you don't know intimately unless you have something that says: Him I can trust, and this one I can't trust."

Session 10: Feeling
Thurs Jul 14, 2011
5:00 – 6:45