TEDxTC: A hell of a lot smarter, without the $6,000 fee

October 18, 2010

I had the opportunity to attend another inspiring TEDxTC event Wednesday at the Science Museum of Minnesota.

If you’re unfamiliar, TED is a small nonprofit devoted to ‘Ideas Worth Spreading,’ and what started out as an annual conference bringing together people from the three worlds of technology, entertainment and design has since exploded in popularity. Speakers at past conferences have included Bill Clinton, Jane Goodall, Malcolm Gladwell and Bill Gates.

TEDx events fit into the picture by bringing ideas worth spreading to smaller stages in communities all around the world, with the ‘x’ events all run independently by volunteers. These local events are also great way to get a taste of the TED action without shelling out for the invitation only, $6,000+ TED membership fee.

Jane Goodall didn’t make it to the Science Museum this year, but presenters William Gurstelle, Jonathan Foley and Nate Garvis rocked the house anyways. Gurstelle reminded usĀ  to live dangerously, and that success and risk go hand in hand, but it was Foley that really blew me away. Foley is Director of the Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota, and spoke on the ‘other inconvenient truth’ : agriculture. Did you know that 40 percent of the Earth’s surface is currently used for agriculture and that agriculture constitutes 30 percent of our greenhouse gas emissions? Oh, and note that the population is, um, you know, supposed to double in the near future.

For those of you who have not yet experienced all TED has to offer, either through the TED Talks on it’s website or through TEDx events, here are links to two of my new favorite TED talks.

– This video of Dan Meyer speaking about a math makeover at TEDxNYED was one of three shown at last week’s event in the Twin Cities: Dan Meyer from TEDxNYED

– Researcher Hans Rosling speaks on poverty at TED2007: Hans Rosling TED2007

And for those of you who were able to join me at the TEDxTC event last week, see Gurstelle redeem his ill-fated experiment on the balcony during the reception, this time with different results: William Gurstelle performs the experiment he attempted on stage