T.E.D.: Day Two Talks (Distilled and Hyperlinked)

Oliver Sacks recounted his adventures with patients who suffer from Charles Bonnet Syndrome, who are losing their sight or hearing but who nevertheless experience sensory visual or auditory hallucinations. (Might this phenomenon have had some impact on the creation of prehistoric cave paintings, he mused quickly, ala How Art Made the World.) "We see with our brains," he said. "Some people call that imagination."

Then, as you might imagine for a session entitled "See," artists presenting on their installations thereafter predominated...
Olafur Eliasson, author of the New York City waterfalls and the green dye project, started with optical illusions of residual colors, making us viewers "co-producers" of the resulting artwork.
Ed Ulbrich explained the mind-blowingly infinitely intricate process behind the creation of the digital persona of the old/young Benjamin Button.
Golan Levin, a former graduate student from the MIT Media Laboratory, creates work that explores the intersection of abstract communication and interactivity, including art that looks back at the viewer. (I loved the program that turned human negative space into digital objects!)
Daniel Libeskind presented his architectural projects, which he aims to be above all democratic.

The rest of the day seemed to feature mostly scientists...
Louise Fresco had the incredible presence of mind to bake bread onstage while speaking about how - after 10,000 years - nutritious bread stopped being an accessible staple for people. "To those who have to go without 2 meals a day," as she quoted Gandhi, "God can only appear as bread." "Please ask your government to provide an integrated food policy," she urged.
• Anthropologist Nina Jablonski presented on what she says is our most evident and accessible proof for evolution, the various colors of our skin. The darker the skin color, the more resistant it is to UVB rays, but the harder for it to absorb vitamin B, a testament to our collective ancestral immigration out of Africa.
Although as a historian of medicine, I can tell you that premodern surgeons weren't all quacks like amazing roboticist Catherine Mohr suggested in the preface to her research, she's in the process of developing the latest generation of the incredibly advanced DaVinci laparoscopic surgical robot!
Robert Full is a biologist studying how geckos climb up walls and use their tails as a fifth leg for climbing and even as a rudder for gliding, and roboticists are using this information for prototypes of the mega-cool mecho-gecko!

Finally, Sarah Jones stunned with her consumate portrayal of half a dozen characters from her own life's history that populate her one-woman stage show! Her wonderful (and my favorite!) character based on her Jewish great-aunt is viewable here.

Last but not least, earlier in the day bestselling author Elizabeth Gilbert cleverly talked about how genuis can - in a sense - ruin genuises, that is, unless they can manage to divorce themselves from it. The video from this spectacular TED presentation is already available here!

Other blog coverage of TED's second day can be found at...
Via My Heart's in Accra:
Via White Africa:

My next post will be on the TED Prizes!

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