TED 2009: Day 2

Posted on February 6, 2009 Under Life

The morning got off on an artistic note and included Ed Ulbrich who showed some dazzling film special effects from The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love wooed the audience with an “a cappella” (read: no slide support) walk-through of her creative process while Margaret Wertheim amazed people with her crocheted great barrier reef art installation, which strangely and coincidentally unlocked mathematical secrets. Later Daniel Libeskind took us through a juxtaposed architectural vision and thoughts behind the new Freedom Tower. Shai Agassi who abruptly left SAP to follow a vision on shifting the world to non-petroleum transportation showcased his recent partnerships with both Renault-Nissan and various governments. Sarah Jones brought her multiple personalities to the stage and entertained everyone while poking a little fun at highbrow TEDsters.

Later in the day, TED 2009 Prize Winner Jill Tarter, introduced remotely by Sir Richard Branson and Al Gore, asked everyone to collaboratively find extraterrestrials which was actually rather well received. Sylvia Earle who is collaborating with Google Earth to map the world’s oceans gave everyone a good scare showing that fish populations have been depleted by 90% because of pollution and commercial fishing since 1900. Between Jeremy Piven’s mercury poisoning and this revelation I am going to reduce my sushi intake starting today. Accordingly she asked all of us to ignite public support for a global network of protected marine areas. The response was overwhelming. Jose Antonio Abreu in Caracas who created El Sistema and helped musically inspire impoverished children and bring them out of poverty also received acknowledgment today.

So while the elbow rubbing and hob-knobbing continues, there is clearly an underlying level of tension on the many global crises that exist right now. The good news is that the TED community is pretty powerful and may just figure out how to crack the code on some of these enormous issues