Tuesday, 7 December 2010

TEDxBRussels, 6 December 2010

Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend TEDxBrussels, which is supposedly the largest TEDx event, so yay Brussels! Ok we had the chance to experience the usual, er, level of service from Belgacom regarding the wifi network - and the location, albeit beautiful, had poor network, but overall it was an interesting day, to say the least.

I won't bore you with the details - and I'm running on short deadlines! I guess most of the talks will be available on line soon, so here is just a glimpse of what struck me most:

"Innovation doesn't come top down, it comes bottom up - William Kennard, US Ambassador to the EU - loved that he recognized that governments and institutions must facilitate innovation, not be the centre and motor of it.

"People do not take seriously predictions of catastrophes until it's too late" - Jeffrey Satinover - I could have transcribed his entire talk as everything he said was basically worth hearing, but let's stick to that one for now :)

"Innovation : listen - decide - do" - Sebastian Thrum - pretty straightforward isn't it?

"Creativity demands a solid basis of knowledge from which to diverge" - David Anderegg - his talk about Nerds and Why we need them was one of the best, in my opinion.

David Orban: here again I should have had a dictaphone to record the whole talk, but it definitely opens a new perspective on the future technology, where all devices will be networked in what will be called "the internet of things". I encourage you to read the TEDxBrussels blog for an introduction to his work, and check out his website.

"If you have to measure (a result), it's not big enough"
"The child becomes the agent of change, as opposed to the object of change" - Nicholas Negroponte, One Laptop Per Child

"We need to raise a generation of problem solvers"
"Double click is a conspiracy against elderly people to keep them away from using computers"
"It's never too late to pick up a new profession" - Walter Bender, SugarLabs

"You know you're doing things right when they're a little bit out of control" - Dries Buytaert, Drupal

Unfortunately I missed Marc Luyck's talk, which I heard through the grapevine was great.

Now onto something I didn't quite enjoy as much, and I love ranting, so here we go. But first let's get things straight: I am a yoga student and teacher trainee, therefore I am familiar with meditation, connection even, and setting an intention, a "sankalpa" for my practice and daily life.
However, Lynne McTaggart's talk left me somewhat uncomfortable. Honestly I cringed.
Using "intention" as in "positive thinking" is not a bad thing per se. Using it in the name of science, claiming to have almost singlehandedly halted war in SriLanka thanks to intention, and claiming to cure people is not science, it's dangerous.
On top of that, she used some kind of guided meditation to get the audience take part in her experiment, something we as a whole did not respond to quite well. Overheard: "I did not pay for that". Ouch. This was not the right place and time. That didn't make sense to anyone. And I'm a bit concerned about my own "niche": how will the people attending this talk react when someone mentions meditation in a conversation, how will that be viewed?
I am not a guardian of the yoga temple, I would not dare calling me one, and is there such thing as a yoga temple anyway? But on a very personal level, I felt sad.
The good thing about it? I can work to prove we yoga teachers slash practitioners slash students are not just a bunch of lunatics. I guess we can help save the world :)
End of rant, thanks for reading!

Anyway, apart from this glitch, I enjoyed the day, opening new (to me anyway) perspectives, and really giving me food for thought. If I'm still in Brussels next year, count me in!

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