TED2007 Day Two: things that knocked my hat in the creek

Oh boy, Day Two of TED2007 was so full of interesting stuff that it bled in to Day Three, which is why I find myself here at 4am in the morning writing this blog post.  Again, I’ll make no attempt to talk about everything (see Bruno’s posts for that point of view), just a few things which stuck out for me.

Day Two for me was, above all, a day of vivid imagery.

John Maeda gave an elegant talk via a stream of beautiful images covering everything from a life responsibility curve to good tofu to cheese puff drawing tools to sushi.  He showed us everything we ever needed to know about simplicity with just two photos of cookies, one small and one large, and two photos of piles of laundry, one small and one large.  You want the large cookie but the small laundry pile, and that’s simplicity in a nutshell.

Microsoft brought us some amazing demos, including one of Photosynth, which synthesizes a scalable image based on a search of flickr for all images of a specific subject, such as the cathedral of Notre Dame (photo credit Jurvetson):


Theo Jansen showed us videos of his wind-driven walking creatures, and also had an actual working machine/artificial animal walking across the stage — effortlessly stepping to create, in effect, a virtual wheel.  Here’s a photo, but also be sure to see the video here:


2007 TEDPrize winner James Nachtwey’s haunting images reminded us all how much needs to be done in the world.  And how lucky all of us in the TED community (which means YOU!) are to be in life circumstances which allow us to dream.  In the midst of so much talent, drive, imagination, as well as the wealth which results from the confluence of those three factors, it’s easy to forget that this mode of existence is a far, far cry from the reality of so many citizens of our planet.  We heard many macro- and micro-economic statistics today.  But no statistics trying to describe life a less than a dollar a day can compete with Nachtwey’s imagery of people’s bodies wasting away from starvation.  See a few of them in this video:

A day of vivid imagery, indeed.