I refrained from tweeting out all of the great quotes today so I could just truly absorb the entire experience of TED. However, I did paraphrase as many of them as I could (while still paying attention) in my notebook, so I thought rather than typing out several tweets tonight, I'd just type them on my blog and link to it from Twitter. So here we go... The first one of the day I had to write down was from June Cohen, Executive Producer of the TED Conference, when talking about the people that drive us crazy with their obsessiveness on subjects they are passionate about:
"I believe we've evolved as a species BECAUSE of the collective obsessiveness of individuals."
The next one I enjoyed was Nina Jablonski, who studies skin and evolution and referred to how far we've come as a species as well:
"200 years after Darwin's birthday, we have the first moderately pigmented President of the United States."
Arthur Benjamin, math enthusiast, called for a different approach to what is the pinnacle of mathematics. He said that calculus is interesting, but not what will drive students of the future. It is probability and statistics. Love it.
Louise Fresco, a Dutch food and agriculture expert, talked about the upsides of mass food production (often just painted as plain bad) and instead of just local or just global food production, we should be talking about REGIONAL food production:
"Never before has the responsibility to feed the world been given to so few people and never before have so many people been oblivious to this."
"Small scale farming is a luxury solution for wealthy Westerners, but not a solution for solving world hunger."
I totally, completely fell in love with Elisabeth Gilbert of Eat, Pray, Love fame (will now definitely read her book). Everything she said about the anxiety of the creative process really resonated with me...to the point where I burst into tears and jumped to my feet cheering Olé! She was incredibly poignant at describing the frustration I share with her on the lack of understanding people have for creativity. I think my parents STILL wonder what I do for a living. I can't wait until this one comes out in video. Here are some memorable quotes:
"Is it rational that anyone should be afraid of doing the work the felt they were put on this earth to do?"
"Nobody ever asked my father, 'Do you have chemical engineering block?'"
"Individual genius is too much pressure for one frail human psyche to handle. It's like asking someone to swallow the sun and I think it's what's been killing artists for 500 years."
"The creative process does not behave rationally - it seems at times to be paranormal."
She told the story of a poet whose poems come flying over the hills. She can feel the earth rumbling as it approaches and she knows she needs to run like hell to find pen and paper so she can catch the poem as it travels through her body. I've totally been there. Not with poetry, but ideas.
Jacek Utko's design work on a Russian Newspaper increased circulation by more than 30% for some regions and doubled other regions. His designs are freaking killer amazing. He said:
"To be good is not enough."
I loved Margaret Wertheim's crocheted coral reefs project - a real international community effort and a fantastic way to spread the word about the dying coral reefs. She suggested "Play Tanks" instead of "Think Tanks". I like that idea alot.
Post-lunch, I felt lukewarm about Daniel Lieskind's talk. I don't like to think in dualities, but he did say some really profound things:
"Today, we have an evangelical pessimism all around us."
"Many buildings outside tell us a story, but that story is very short. It says, 'We lack a story'"
Kevin Surace's EcoRock is well worth checking out if you are going to be building anything that requires gyprock. I also really loved the idea of intelligent outlets shown by John LaGrou. (sorry...no link I could find to the actual outlets). Shai Agassi, who talked about an awesome electric car network (turning our current vehicles into electric cars instead of merely manufacturing more cars) said:
"Hybrids are like mermaids. When you want a fish, you get a woman. When you want a woman, you get a fish." (I think he was quoting someone else)
There was more, including a hilarious interlude by AskANinja, but I stopped taking notes at some point. Sarah Jones was amazing. My favorite TED Prize was presented by Sylvia Earle who was amazing and passionate about ocean life and I was deeply stirred by José Antonio Abreu's wish to spread El Sistema and the beautiful music played by the youth orchestra. I was also tickled to see that all the TED Prizes from 2008 are doing well: Once Upon a School (Dave Eggers project), Next Einstein (creating the next Einstein in Africa), and Charter for Compassion (my total fave...love this project about religious tolerance and understanding).