[ExI] the $$$ TED Conference

John Grigg possiblepaths2050 at gmail.com
Thu Feb 28 19:46:07 UTC 2008

I was shocked to learn a ticket to the "Uber-Con" TED Conference is six
thousand dollars! Yeouch!!!  I wonder if I could get in as a volunteer? LOL
It does sound pretty amazing and comes with quite a roster of visiting
dignitaries and celebrities.  I hope Natasha Vita-More gives us an insider's
view on how things went.  : )

John Grigg


A sold-out confab of celebrities, industry titans and alpha geeks will
converge on Monterey, California, for a four-day, invitation-only
celebration of big ideas this week.

Now in its 24th year, TED begins on Wednesday and runs through Saturday. It
is an elite event where leaders in technology, entertainment and design
gather to cross-pollinate ideas and gain inspiration from presentations on
the latest developments in sciences and the arts. Political leaders take the
stage too: Former President Bill Clinton received the annual TED prize at
last year's conference; former Vice President Al Gore has also been a

The conference attracts a wide range of people, from Google founders Larry
Page and Sergey Brin to musician Peter Gabriel and filmmaker J.J.

Those who can't afford the $6,000 price tag for TED's excellent adventure
have an alternate for the first time this year with a parallel conference
called BIL <http://bilconference.com/%22>, which will be held near the
conference center housing TED. BIL is an open-ended gathering designed to
complement TED, and begins just after the closing beach party that ends TED
on Saturday.

BIL does not charge attendees but conference goers must create their own
roster of speakers -- anyone who shows up at BIL can give a presentation
there. The list of scheduled
speakers<http://bilconference.pbwiki.com/Schedule>includes some
current and past TED presenters.

About 1,100 people are expected to attend TED. This year's conference theme
is "Big Questions," and speakers will be looking at core issues like who we
are, where we came from and what our place is in the universe.

The 50-plus speakers will include theoretical physicist Garrett Lisi, who
garnered headlines last year after publishing his Exceptionally Simple
Theory of Everything <http://arxiv.org/abs/0711.0770> online, which proposes
a unified theory of the universe's structure that rivals the widely
supported string theory.

Experimental physicist Brian Cox will be discussing the Large Hadron
Collider at the CERN lab outside Geneva, Switzerland, which scientists hope
will provide information to support string theory or other theories of the
universe after the Collider's turned on for the first time this summer.

Stanford psychologist Philip Zimbardo will look at why people become evil by
discussing his famous 1971 Stanford prison experiment, in which students
playing "prison guards" in a simulation quickly became abusive toward their
"prisoners." Zimbardo will discuss how the abuses perpetrated by the
students in his study parallel what guards at the Abu Ghraib prison did to
inmates in Iraq.

Other speakers include John Knoll, creator of Photoshop and visual effects
supervisor for Star Wars: Episode III -- Revenge of the Sith and Mission
Impossible, author Amy Tan and fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi.

Former Vice President Al Gore is also slated to give a presentation, though
organizers haven't revealed the subject of his talk yet. Two years ago Gore
presented his now-famous slide show on global warming to the influential TED

The conference has recently adopted a more socially-conscious focus designed
to get the wealthy power brokers thinking about projects that can improve
the world. That was the impetus for the TED prize, an annual award launched
in 2005 to recognize individuals whose work has had and will have a powerful
and positive impact on society. It provides each recipient with $100,000 and
the chance to ask for help from the TED community in achieving one grand
wish to change the world.

The three winners of this year's TED prize will announce their wishes at the
conference on Thursday. The winners include Cambridge University theoretical
physicist Neil Turok<http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/news/2008/02/qa_turok>,
author and founder of the 826 Valencia literacy project Dave
former nun and comparative-religions scholar Karen Armstrong.

TED, which has long been an elite gathering, opened up to a much wider
audience after it began posting video of its
talks<http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks>on its website in 2006.
According to conference organizers, 200 talks from
past TED gatherings have been posted so far and have been viewed around 30
million times.

Wired.com will publish stories from the conference all week and will also be
covering it on our Epicenter blog <http://blog.wired.com/business/>.

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