Sunday, November 27, 2011

[tedfellows] TED Fellows go old school for new ideas

On Nov 27, 2011, at 9:02 AM, TED Fellows wrote:

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TED Fellows go old school for new ideas

Posted by  eric berlow to TED Fellows
In the spirit of the TED Fellows program mission to help “trailblazers spread world-changing ideas”, the second annual "Think Weird Go Big" workshop hosted 7 TED fellows to turn their creative visions into big realities. In an era of social media and a preponderance of virtual interaction, the Think Weird Go Big (TWGB) workshops, organized by and for TED Fellows, focus on the unique value of real human interaction for interdisciplinary cross-pollination. Set at the Swall Institute near Yosemite National Park, the workshop blends focused round-table discussions, group cooking, and kinetic dialogue during hiking sessions along the pristine landscape of the Sierra Nevada. The intimacy, play, and traditional face-to-face discourse fosters collaborations and deeper understandings that would otherwise be impossible.  Below is a summary of the group’s diverse visions for the future:
2011 Attendees 

In "Talk Derby to Me" a scientist and two filmmakers will look at what the human microbiome can teach us about being human. Through the film, a roller derby team will take us from the macro to the micro, into worlds that have rarely, if ever been seen before. What unites us and evens our collective playing field may be the smallest, and most unexpected elements living in and on our bodies.

A new scientific field is emerging that has the potential to radically shift our perception of humanity.  Our bodies contain 10 times more microbial cells than human cells, and 100 times more microbial genes than human genes.  We are thus a complex system comprised of multiple organisms - a 'supraorganism' - and the interactions among our human and microbial components is crucial to our health and well being.  Despite the importance of our microbiota, it is commonly assumed that sharing microbes through human contact is bad.  We will address misunderstandings about the human microbiome by telling a story centered on human connections that the audience feels.  We will take a visceral, emotional approach to illuminate a timely and peculiar issue which has a global impact. Roller derby is the fastest growing sport in the U.S. and a radical platform for capturing public attention on issues surrounding human contact and the human microbiome.

When I was 15, I was almost sold into marriage for 200 sheep in remote Uzbekistan. If I were sold, I'd be living in the mountains of Tien Shain. I'd be making cheese and knitting wool sweaters. I'd be reading a lot of Russian literature and riding a dirt bike. But my father didn't know how to fit 200 sheep in the airplane. Now I live all over the world with my husband Adam and our little son Tian. Sometimes we eat cheese and I don't like wool sweaters. We make films, tell stories and once rode a Yamaha RX135 in North-West India but it broke down after a while.

With a keen attention to detail and deep-rooted passion for finding out what is true, I work to pinpoint the essence of contemporary issues using the most effective means of storytelling to present my vision in compelling ways that maximize understanding by connecting with the emotional while engaging the intellectual. I have covered assignments for The New York Times since 2006 and my photographic work has been exhibited around the world in venues which include Le Centre Pompidou (Paris), La Triennale di Milano, and the Shanghai Art Museum. I also trained as a competitive figure skater for over a decade.

As Director of the Biology and Built Environment Center and Professor at the University of Oregon and the Santa Fe Institute, I have explored microbial biodiversity across the surface of the Earth - from buildings to oceans to forests. I skated for three years on the Emerald City Roller Girls and have long envisioned using roller derby as a tool to convey ideas about microbial science.

We want to help people map and visualize the structure  of complex problems to find powerful leverage points for social and environmental good. As an Ecologist/Complexity Scientist and Designer/Data Artist we are developing an open source platform that maps expert knowledge and perception to view the hidden influence structure underlying problems from climate change to middle eastern conflict.

We are just beginning to recognize the depth of our interconnectedness – and the degree to which solutions to the world’s problems are complex and tightly interwoven. At this critical juncture, now more than ever, we need tools that enable collective problem solving and allow cross-cutting solutions to emerge from a sea of data.

I am an Ecologist, Complexity Scientist and founder of TRU NORTH Labs. For the past 20 years I have been investigating the order underlying nature’s complexity. I apply ecological thinking and complexity theory to help find leverage points in complex problems for social and environmental good.

I am a Designer, Artist, and co-founder of Brainvise: a team of Artists, Designers, Programmers and Strategists. Brainvise delivers elegant solutions to complex visual problems, from Apps to Art. Brainvise's mission is to help people create resonant, creative expressions for their world-changing visions.

"Lyrics For Literacy" is a project that creates a bridge of awareness to encourage the preservation of the Esan language - an endangered native dialect of the Edo State in Nigeria - through storytelling, proverbs and music. 

The curriculum works to energize and promote language history through folk song preservation. The purpose of this music and language integration is to develop an appreciation for Esan history, philosophy, and their relationship to the present day natural sciences, while fostering a deeper understanding of the past and present generations of Edo Speaking people.

"When Women Were Drummers" is the featured presentation and audience-interactive performance, delivering native folk songs, proverbs and wisdom from Esan elders, weaving a diverse tapestry of African and Western language with songs and modern poetry.

In the area of language preservation there is a wide range of research to be done. Lyrics for Literacy is born from a need to promote opportunities for alternative methods of learning and exploring oral languages, as well as to further develop the skills of underprivileged communities in standard English with aid from music lyrics.

Words of wisdom from Esan historian Dr. Okogie C. G. states that language is not only a vehicle through which a people's culture can be expressed, but also a medium of ones imagination, creativity, aspirations and sacred capacity. There is a global interconnecting current responding to our needs to communicate with one another.

My name is Iyeoka. I was named after my grandmother. The native Esan oral translation of my name is, "I am not a female to be insulted. I am one to be fully honored."  In the Yoruba oral translation, my name means "mother who speaks the word." I am fascinated by the subtle influence of the spoken language and our potential access to the bounty of translation and meaning. My name and my journey synergistically encourages me to share the story of the Esan people. 

A network of self-sustained, locally built, and energy autonomous, centers set up in diverse communities of the globe that participate in the development and standardization of novel scientific methodologies in each community. These ¨nodes¨ will act as observatory platforms that track indicators of global changes, while focusing on community empowerment through the generation of knowledge at the local level. They will also serve as cultural and artistic shelters for exchanges and performances.

As a global snapshot, only a very few clusters in the world are considered to be participating in modern knowledge generation and technological development. This means that most societies (particularly those in developing regions) are only applying and not generating scientific knowledge. However, global challenges are culminating and necessitate a paradigm shift on the role of experts. Participatory and community-based initiatives for knowledge generation is a way to understand (and take action) on most of global challenges because not only does it provide billions of eyes and potential new ideas, but it opens new ground for democracy.

I'm a biochemist, an engineer, a filmmaker and an urban art gallerist. After working for 7 years in institutionalized research academia, I currently live a nomadic life with projects that relate to the demystification of science and art. My projects are based in the Basque Country, West Africa, Philippines, Solomons Islands and Chile. I usually work on projects and give lectures about molecular biology, critical views of technological transfer, urban and public art, and participative innovation and co-creation.

Special Thanks to our supporters: 
* Peggy Bauhaus and Raymond Neutra
* Robert Atlee

Posterous Spaces is the place to post everything. Just email us.

Posted via email from TED Fellows

Friday, July 22, 2011

Living Sea Sculpture- MUSA Cancun, Mexico

Pablo Pantoja located the site with me and was my local liaison/daily ally. (Better not begin listing all the huge support of the people in Mexico, never get through!! special thanks are at the bottom:)
Wendy Thompson and Terra Nyssa did a fish survey to observe environmental impact of the project; will fish and others quickly populate the sculpture once it is in place? Lots of rain and murky waters almost prevented them from snorkeling the site, but luckily the sun and ocean gave them one bright calm day. 

Mike Gerzevitz captured some great interviews and footage of the making (as well as participated in the making). Here's a little timelapse for you:

Thomas Sarkisian helped immensely with forming the metal by hand, body and foot; and with Tom Goreau, prepared the power supply for phase 2--deploy. Will have to bring Thomas back over from Thailand to calibrate and install his BOLPS (Biorock On Land Power Supply prototype 3). Hope to return for phase 2 very soon! Hurricane season is stirring up, so we aim to process the paperwork and see what the weather holds.
Below is a photo tour of phase 1: making the DNA helices


the working model (12:1 scale)      {photo by Clay Connally}


assessing the first workshop

setting up "open air studio" locating supplies and team...

at least 15 iguanas were studying the process.  


we moved to Todo Inoxidable (stainless steel factory)


a roof to protect from the erratic downpours and intense sun.


access to tools and metalworkers.

see that smooth floor?? priceless!               Mike's cutting away extra steel...


placing the expanded mesh, spot welding and cutting away the excess.


Joel Lopez is a master electrode welder.  Fredy Ulloa de la Rosa is watching


Pablo protects his eyes with a common welder's mask--the hand.  


Thomas and the team truly muscled that metal with grace and grimaces

we thought we were going to install the next day, alas...


the ship is there, but we have a contract to clear.


imagine corals and fish coming to bring this to life


in the waters of Punta Nizuc's tropical AquaFresh blue--that is the future 15 feet down. 

(photos by Mike Gerzevitz
and Colleen Flanigan

For more from Dr. Tom Goreau about Biorock® and his take on Climate Change:

And Sylvia Earle about the Coral Reefs--Rainforests of the Sea:

special thanks to Marcia de La Pena and Leif, Pablo Pantoja, Fredy Ulloa de La Rosa, Joel Lopez, Jason deCaires Taylor, Roberto Diaz, Mario and Enrique Chacon, Jaime Gonzales, Alain Ibanes, Todo Inoxidable - Guillermo, Suzie, and Jose Luis, Diego Gioseffi, Jorge Luis, Fernando, Lorenzo Guerrero, Kevin Watt, Karen Salinas, Rodrigo, Salvador, the staff of Aquaworld and Marenter, and of course, MUSA!...the long list continues of people who have offered creativity, skill, friendship, strength, and resources in Mexico.

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Monday, May 9, 2011

black ones

This morning I went for a run in Forest Park. I came upon a snail with a beautiful orangey hue in its body. The rust-like color was permeating its shell. It reminded me of a sunset. I plucked it and set it in the grass to the side of the trail. I wanted to keep it as a pet. i know, why?? but sometimes the uniqueness catches my eye; just as the birds keep pulling at all the wire on this snail above that sits on my front porch trying to find the "shiny" for their nests, I am easily mesmerized by unusual snails.
While in SF in December, snails with white shells and black bodies were up in Bernal Heights. New variety to me. Not sure I want to eat them..would need to speak with a mallacologist to make sure they are edible. Happy they appeared.
If you find yourself reading this, thank you and have a day filled with whatever you love.

photo by Nancy Peach. steel snail by me. wire woven by the kids at the Discovery Museum in San Jose, CA.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

only 9 days - Living Sea Sculpture update

Dear Friends,


10 days!
now 9...

My 90 days with kickstarter are coming to an end soon!  We have $3,000 to go to meet our goal of $15,000 for Living Sea Sculpture--Contemporary Art as Coral Refuge or will not receive any of the money raised.   To find out about the project in detail and donate:

my favorite cultural blogger, Maria Popova of Brain Pickings, featured the project this week:

The Atlantic grabbed it:

Much has been happening to get ready for this project in Mexico:

Artist and MUSA curator, Jason deCaires Taylor, has located a site for the sculpture near 4 of his pieces in a highly visited snorkel zone.  Just got the green light from Club Med in Cancun for our electrical source today.   The tidal turbine is still in the works for future projects.  This small budget won't cover it this time, yet thanks to many backers, I've been getting suggestions about additional funding resources. Some of the grants are large enough that it could allow us to prototype a turbine and install another refuge.. to keep the momentum for more living sea sculptures.   

Wonderfully talented people are joining in: Mike Gerzevitz has offered to come to Mexico and document some of the project.  Margaret Andres has offered her editing skills.  Thomas Goreau, Thomas Sarkisian, Brent Hartwig, Carey Robson, have been consulting and working on energy designs to ensure most efficient and affordable methods.  I recently met with Diego Gioseffi, president of the non-profit,, to discuss possible collaborations here in Portland and in Mexico this summer. They have a workshop scheduled for July 2nd-July19th in Playa del Carmen; timing may be perfect for kids in Mexico to join us in Cancun to replant coral on the sculpture, take underwater photos, and learn about reefs.

On March 25th, the Biorock simulation and Gossamer Crocheted Community Reef came down from the display at Knit Purl. It had been there since January 5th.  LOTS of people walked by, saw the art and watched pieces of the movie, "Reef Reborn."  Thanks to Clay Connally, the movie was looping for the entire 2 months and 3 weeks. Right in front of a busy intersection and bus stop, the installation was very public. Every time I was near, I saw someone peering at the screen; even overheard someone who "lives" by that window say, "It's about corals."  nice:)

Some people plan to come down to help with the coral planting.  lovely! I met Wendy Thompson at the "Wild and Scenic Film Festival" in Nevada City this Jan. when they were screening "On the Trail with Miss Snail Pail."  She immediately offered to get involved. She has worked with Sylvia Earle and facilitated coral reef research in Belize, specializing in fish and invertebrate species abundance trends and coral identification.

The small Biorock® experiment at Sea Horse Aquarium Supply, here in Portland, OR,  is beginning to accrete:


sooo, lots of good progress!  Just a few thousand $$ to go. Please contribute whatever you can.  
Any outreach you can do in these final days: post, tweet, publish, email, ask... THANK YOU!
This is my first attempt to raise so much money.  I'm on a limb and keeping the faith. For those of you not familar with kickstarter, please check out the site; it has helped so many creative projects take off and backers receive unique "rewards."

As the hourglass trickles out, please give one final shout for the coral refuge!!

Here are a few photos I took of the Gossamer Community Crocheted Reef and Biorock Simulation installation at KnitPurl.  Special thanks to Sandy Barnes, Elle Moody, and Tess Stevens for that opportunity! 






            thank you and best wishes!

           TED Senior Fellow

Posted via email from Biorock Around the Globe

Sunday, March 20, 2011

coral refuge update #3

Below is the update from my kickstarter that automatically goes to all the supporters of the project.

Excited to share the latest developments with you too.

22days to go!!!

Update #3 posted about 4 hours ago

Yes, 22 is my favorite number and that is how many days left to raise the final $5,700. 

Thank you for backing and getting the word out, for sharing your knowledge and suggestions.   Some exciting news: Mike Gerzevitz has offered to come to Mexico and document some of the project.  Margaret Andres has offered her editing skills.  Thomas Goreau, Brent Hartwig, Carey Robson, and Thomas Sarkisian are working on energy designs to ensure most efficient and affordable methods.  I recently met with Diego Gioseffi, president of the non-profit,, to discuss possible collaborations here in Portland and in Mexico this summer. They have a workshop scheduled for July 2nd-July19th in Playa del Carmen; timing may be perfect for kids in Mexico to join us in Cancun to replant coral on the sculpture, take underwater photos, and learn about reefs.  That would be fantastic!

Through this kickstarter, I've met Julyo Espinoza in Mexico City.  He works with coral importation into Mexico, among other biological research, and has a deep, poetic affinity for protecting and restoring their habitat:

"Some people think corals are like strange pretty rocks, some other that they are like oceanic grass where you can walk without concerns while diving, but when you watch this "rocks" moving, contracting, eating... god, it's shocking! Lonely glutton polyps or huge colonies, fighting against predators or against other colonies... I really admired them. Colonies as old as entire civilizations, as important as rainforests, but as fragile as leaves..." 


Spending time at Sea Horse Aquarium, I see the slimy strands of fighting corals, the growing polyps and their sensitive nature.  I also see how resilient they are when given the right environment that Woody and Tracie, plus the other volunteers, provide for them. 

The Biorock in tank experiment is finally accreting!! we kept shifting small variables and wondering what was the hang up? the power source and anodes needed some we have 2.2 volts running with 2 amps and, not sure, but possibly the luck of the Irish helped save the day;) On March 17th, St. Patrick's Day, some fine white coating and big bubbles (in photo below) appeared.  {note: It was also 2 Irish friends' birthdays and I did attend a potluck potato party...}

In all seriousness, I need to reach more backers! Please continue to support any way you can.  tell people, post to your facebooks, tweet, publish, email... 

Special opportunity: if you know of houses for sale ($50,000-$150,000) in Clark County (Vancouver, WA), please let me know.  Someone is ready to buy the "Biorocker" and contribute $5000 if he can find a suitable house in that area to buy and renovate. Finding that house to restore for human habitation could be the final pledge towards creating this new coral colony!

thank you!!!

for more about Living Sea Sculpture: contemporary art as coral refuge,

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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

AskNature of Biomimicry Inst. seeks Digital Design Strategist

While at TED, this came in.  What a great job for someone with these skills! 

Subject - Casting Seeds: News from AskNature
Take AskNature to the Next Level
Do you think you are a Digital Design Strategist? If so, we'd like you to apply for that position to take AskNature to the next level of development. The ideal candidate will be incredibly Web savvy, with a keen sense of how people use technology in all facets of their lives. He or she will have demonstrated web project management skills, experience working with online educational content, great interpersonal skills, and an aptitude for building digital partnerships. The position will either be at the Group’s headquarters in Missoula, MT, or San Francisco (negotiable).

Reporting to the Executive Director at The Biomimicry Institute, the Digital Design Strategist will lead and grow an agile team of content providers, graphic designers, and IT specialists; collaborate with additional staff to ensure AskNature continues to meet audience needs; develop strategies and partnerships to ensure the continued growth of AskNature's content; and assist with seeking funding for the project.

For a complete job description and instructions for applying, please send an email to To learn more about the Biomimicry Group, see The deadline for submissions is March 31, 2011.

Nature Tweeted Long Before We Did
In collaboration with BeeDance, HOLOS Collaborative, and E4S, AskNature will live tweet the South by Southwest (SxSW) panel discussion “It’s Nature's Way: Innovative Tech Design Through Biomimicry” on Saturday, March 12 at 11 am CST.

Join the discussion now!

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Sunday, February 20, 2011

MondoWindow--when you want to know what's below

Below is an email from a brilliant friend, Gregory Dicum.  I hope he goes to TED some day. He'd give an amazing talk! truly a grand polymath slicing and dicing economics, travel, art, writing, coffee,... He was one of my references for becoming a Fellow in 2009, so I'm thrilled to share his latest venture:

Hi There;

I suppose you're wondering why you haven't heard much from me lately--and why when you do, it's in a form letter. Let me explain...

Five years ago, when my Window Seat books were published, I got together with my friend Tyler Sterkel to try and figure out how we could make an interactive version of the books for airline passengers to enjoy in their seatbacks. 

We found out that to get anything flying like that would cost buckets of money and would be seriously limited by existing technologies, so we shelved the idea and moved on.

Until last year, when we revisited the concept in light of the ongoing rollout of wifi on board airliners. All of a sudden, we had a way directly to the passenger, without relying on the airline gatekeepers and legacy systems.

We started to research things in earnest in the summer, and by the fall we had formed a company. Now, we are on the verge of unveiling the beta of MondoWindow.

MondoWindow works
 like this: You get on a plane, you take out your laptop, tablet, or smartphone, you log in to the onboard wifi, and you go to There you find a map that tells you where you are as you fly, and what’s going on below. It’s layered with points of interest, audio, video, games, and social media. 

It is the first of its kind, ever, and it is going to be amazing: we have an incredible team of designers, developers, and writers working all out to launch our beta for South by Southwest in March (sxsw). 

This is full-on startupland madness, and if you want many, many more details, just ask! (Like, as an example, if you'd like to receive information on how you can get in on pre-money investment.) 

And in the meantime, here are four things you can do right now:

4) tweet/update that you are excited about @MondoWindow and have just signed up for the #sxsw beta

Can't wait for you to try MondoWindow on a flight this spring!!

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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

LOVE show

For some, Valentine's day means something.  And for others, it means something else. Still others, it means nothing.  Having reason to celebrate is what life is all about, and however you do or don't feel about Valentine's Day and its ever morphing continuum of hearts and romance, rebellion and disdain, Valentine's Day is coming up!

If you are in Portland,  come by and see what random concepts, carefully conceived crafting, and enigmatic mysteries have been displayed for a couple short weeks of LOVE at Gallery Homeland.
Over 300 artists joined in.  Opening night this Friday, the 12th, from 7PM-midnight.  Come in your eggshell (not the tired old pumpkin shell; Cinderella has that one anyway)..


there will be a potluck (just found out) with food made by the participating artists, music, a food drive....please tell your friends in Portland.

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Monday, January 31, 2011

Contemporary Art as Coral Refuge

Living Sea Sculpture: Contemporary Art as Coral Refuge

In October, I began talking with Jason deCaires Taylor of the Museo Subaquático de Arte (MUSA) in Mexico about including Biorock® sculptures in the underwater museum.  Early January, I received happy news! Aah, I sighed a grand thank you.  He and the others on the museum and marine park committee have approved some of my designs to join his in the ocean this year.  Currently, Jason's cast cement pieces are the only works evolving there.  His "Silent Evolution" was installed in conjunction with the UN Climate Change conference in Cancun this December.   Yesterday I began preparing small steel pieces for our first Biorock® experiments at Seahorse Aquarium here in Portland...
please pass it along!

So far, a few filmmakers have offered to help with documentation.  Just got off the phone with KnitPurl, a  downtown yarn store in Portland.  They will soon be taking photos of our Biorock® coral restoration simulation brightening their shop windows through mid-March. The installation is complete with the movie "Reef Reborn" looping, the Gossamer Community Crocheted Reef, steel sculptures, a sample of Biorock...I'll post KnitPurl's newletter when it comes out later this week! 

Which brings me to more international Biorock® news:
Karang Lestari (coral nursery) in Pemuteran, Bali, is going to get their green energy this spring!  Rani and Celia found the funding. Congratulations and celebrations!
I hope Rani will post about it here.  
for more about that coral nursery:   

Back to Portland:  Tomorrow I hope we switch the power and begin the coral cultivation. Fun to be in room filled with tropical coral, interesting people, and bright lights to warm my chilblains (I love that word!)

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