TEDx Global Music Project

Audio amusement park!  I’ve spent the 4th of July weekend curating 595 music TEDxTalks for the TEDx Global Music Project.

The variety and passion of these performances sweeps me into a lush appreciation for humanity.  Creativity is beautiful.

Over the past four days I have experienced an invigorating, overwhelming range of sound.  Remixed symphonieselectrified beats and vocal virtuosos who together are redefining what music can be.

The world is wonderful — it takes but a few moments of beautiful to keep this in mind:

Take a time-bending worldwide audio roller coaster ride with the TEDx Global Music Project: a platform for musicians to share their creative innovations and an organized playground for the world to discover and explore sound.

My sincerest appreciation to TED for opening up the world with TEDx.

Continue Reading

The TEDy Awards

Chris Anderson on the TEDGlobal 2010 stage. afromusing Flickr

The future is a beautiful progression when seen through the lens of TED.  From cognitive neuroscience to middle eastern stand up comedy, the range of ideas worth spreading knows no bounds.   Nor does the way we audience members choose to convey our interpretation of the conference to the rest of the world.

It is my humble opinion that no description does justice to such human immensity as experienced at TEDGlobal.  How then to expresses the grandiose of thought..  Bright lights and a red (TED) carpet.

I give you The TEDys.

We start off with a bang.  The triumvirate.  Technology, Entertainment, and Design.

  • TECHNOLOGY.  Tan Le, Co-found of Emotiv‘s EPOC, a device that unfolds the cortical structure of the user’s brain to read what he or she is thinking.  Watch the jaw dropping demonstration.
  • ENTERTAINMENT.  Maz Jobrani.  This headliner in the former Axis of Evil Comedy Tour dazzles with jokes that unite the middle east with the rest of the world through the most connective medium of them all:  laughter.
  • DESIGN.  John Hardy.  Co-founder of Bali’s Green School, a soon to be off-the-grid holistic and sustainability education center featuring one of the world’s largest bamboo structures and one of only two hydro-vortex power turbines (that generates 8,000 watts of electricity daily).  Our future is in the minds of our offspring.
  • Runner Up.  Eben Bayer.  Co-inventor of Ecocradle and Greensulate: organic, compostable packaging and insulation, respectively, that is literally grown from agriwaste.
  • Runner Up.  Iain Hutchinson.  Founder of Saving Faces with the Facial Surgery Research Foundation, an organization that furthers the bounds of facial research and restores underprivelaged patients’ sense of well being through reconstructive surgery.  See the gallery here.
  • BEST SCREENPLAY.  David McCandless.  Leave it to David to incite oohs and ahhs with the statistics of health supplements (below) or a breakdown of multi-billion dollar expenditures.  Infographics are the wave of the future, making data not only more exciting, but easier to interpret by “combining the language of the eye with the language of the mind”.

  • MOST INSPIRING / MS CONGENIALITY.  Jessica Jackley.  Founder of Kiva, the microlending powerhouse that to date has linked entrepreneuers with lenders to the amount of $150 million (on loans averaging $200 each).  Check out Profounder, her newest venture.  Jessica’s passion to help her fellow man is nothing short of legendary; visible through the tears she shed on stage under her fervent declaration that “life is beautiful.”
  • PERSPECTIVE.  Chris Anderson.  Curator of TED.  Chris spreads the idea of “crowd accelerated innovation.”  The next global community is a matrix of teachers and students that is bounded only by its capacity to integrate great ideas into new discovery and creation.  Interesting.  See this post.
  • RETHINK.  Conrad Wolfram.  Remember those math courses where calculators were banned?  Conrad proposes an overhaul of mathematics, refining both the order and manner that schools impart information.  Scrap tradition and re-frame the future.
  • GREEN.  Johan Rockstrom.  Director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre, Johan informs and inspires us to make a difference in this crunch time for the climate.  The next decade is an exciting and challenging opportunity for great minds to create the solutions that will shape the future of our world.
  • GIANT.  Stephen Berlin Johnson.  An idea is an evolution.  The “eureka” represents a process, a collaboration and influx of thoughts and inputs over time.  “Chance favors the connected mind.”  Cheers.
  • HONORABLE MENTIONS.
  • Tom Chatfield.  Virtuality is Dazzling.
  • Sheena Iyengar.  Choice isn’t always the optimal option.  Watch the TEDtalk here.
  • Eric Berlow.  Ordered networks encourage us to look at the nature of our questions.
  • Sugata Mitra.  Children function as self-teaching systems.
  • Joseph Nye.  Multi-polar global challenges are best surmounted with soft power.

CLASS FAVORITES (a bit of fun)

  • Best Dressed.   David Rowan.  Editor of WIRED.  Sunny Bates.  Networker extraordinaire, social crème brulée.
  • Visual Delight.  Jamil Abu-Wardeh. Producer of middle eastern comedy, including Axis of Evil Tour.  Elif Safak.  Writer, global citizen. Watch her TEDtalk here.
  • Stage Presence.  Anne Lennox.  Recording artist, social and political activist.
  • Triple Latte Energy.  Rives.  Poet, host of TEDActive, energy bomb.  June Cohen. Executive producer of TED Media, host of TEDUniversity, wit and smiles galore.  Sunny Bates.
  • Best Dancer.  Peter Eigen.  Founder, Transparency International.  Exposer of international bribery and champion of anti-corruption; great at the Tango.

Who would you give a TEDy?

Continue Reading

Airfare Hack: One-Way v Round-Trip

Today I booked my flight to London for TEDGlobal 2010. After tedious searching I am pressed to share thoughts on plane tickets.

Fine Print

As of June 14th, flights from Hsv to London cost $1,499.00. Peak travel season..robbery is to be expected. What struck me almost as gently as the lightness of my pocketbook is that an economy one-way flight costs more than its round-trip counterpart ($1,538.00, Delta.com). I usually only bother searching round-trip fares, but I have a Delta standby ticket expiring soon that I intended to use to promote frugality. Ha ha.

Delta has two exquisite options for Business Class as well. The first flight entices you with not one but two 3.5 hr layovers, only to be outdone by the second choice that offers a grand 8.5 hr layover in Atlanta. $3,747 and $6,500, respectively. One-way. Bloody awful.

Upgrade to round-trip Business and release from your bank account an additional $800. At $4,500, this fare is effectively two thousand dollars less than the more expensive one-way flight. What gives?

Perhaps travelers in need of custom itineraries purchase more one-way tickets and such irregularities disrupt airline schedules. “One-way fliers might need specific times and flights in a way that makes their demand more inelastic,” says an economist of the Austrian School. Professor Horowitz of St. Lawrence University adds “My own thought is that it’s a matter of not wanting an empty seat coming back the other way given the low probability of a ‘double coincidence of one-way tickets.'” Well put.

“Tomatoes are .50 each or 3 for 1.00.” With one-way airfare, you pay a premium for 1. buying less than the standard share and 2. increasing the risk that some of the product will remain shelved.

I’d like to thank those dwellers in the land of the volcano-which-cannot-be-pronounced, because I found an outlying one-way ticket to London from NYC with Iceland Express for $360. I booked a cheap round-trip flight to NY and asked Delta what happens when I fly home standby and don’t use the second leg of my flight.

“We will credit you with a voucher for the portion of the fare you are unable to use.” Really..? I see a loophole.

Example. Given airfare costs $500 one-way or $600 round-trip, even if you don’t need the return, book round. Call the airline before your extra flight departs. You receive a $250 airline credit (after, say, $50 fee), which quintessentially knocks your fare down to $350.

Jay-Z might as well have been speaking about one-way airfare when he said “I kept feedin’ her money till her shit started to make sense.” Indeed.

If you are a traveler who frequently books one-way flights, especially in Business Class, give this a go. And let me know what you think. Half credit from a $600 ticket is convenient; that from a $4,500 ticket is the next order of magnitude. Do this twice and you net a first class round-trip flight across the Atlantic. Now that is something to write home about. Or at least accounting.

Continue Reading