My notes & photos from TEDx Auckland 2015. I only took the phone (for both notes & photos) and was sitting right at the back of the hall so my shots are a bit ‘distant’.
The italics are the speaker profiles sent out by TEDx Auckland
The bullet points my OneNote notes taken on the day (which may contain errors) and a few post-TEDx thoughts after.
Award-winning scientist Dr. Siouxsie Wiles describes herself as a microbiologist and bioluminescence enthusiast but to others she is “that pink-haired science lady”. She believes that playmakers like Lego should lead the way in stamping out gender-stereotyping in toys.
18/150 minifigs feminine when first looked
20% feminine 2014
Lego friends mostly feminine but they suck
Hands don't move
Can't ride a bike, can brush hair
In NZ: 98% plumber mechanics builders men, 97% teacher female
Lego have had a solution for years, the two face Voldemort minifig could be male/female
Of 200 head introduced 2013 had 2 expressions
Just make all figures with both gender two sided faces is a simple and elegant solution
I know Siouxsie, from Skeptics in the Pub, and had seen her speak before so wasn’t at all surprised she was great. Must be a double edged sword being first up to kick off a big day. Big expectations but the benefit of getting out of the way to enjoy the rest of the speakers. As a life long Lego fan (having Grandparents living on duty free Norfolk Island helped that) I the topic was of interest. I loved the simple solution Siousxie offered, something Lego could, and should, easily implement.
Grant Schofield lives and breathes the motto “be the best you can be”. Through his work as Professor of Public Health and director of the Human Potential Centre at AUT, his focus is on preventing the diseases of modern times, and seeing what it takes to help people live a long, healthy and happy life.
Ever think about how you are going to die?
Aspire to live long, then drop dead without lingering
Worked on pacific atoll, still had population of 40k, 50% have diabetes
Lost traditional values, living on instant noodles not the best
How did we get to the point where butter is like marijuana, most have tried it but wouldn't use it daily
Grant found him after he commented on a blog post, looked a bit like a rock star.
Drug user with hepatitis c
Figures out new way of eating, health improves
Was on benefit in West Auckland, now research assistant at AUT public health
George’s journey enabled by internet
Public health should involve the public
Sometimes complex problems have simple solutions. Public health should involve the public.
RILEY & STEVE HATHAWAY
Riley Hathaway is a 14-year-old ocean ambassador, who presents her own TV series called ‘Young Ocean Explorers’. In it, Steve and his daughter Riley present captivating stories about what happens when a teenager comes face to face with the marine animals we’re all curious about.
Started with dad helping daughter with school project in waste plastic on turtles, fantastic response, inspired the series
Using Kids to inspire kids works
If we win the kids we all win
Great message and amazing where a school project can lead.
Shaun Hendy is the founding Director of Te Pūnaha Matatini, a Centre of Research Excellence hosted by the University of Auckland. Shaun believes that the challenge for New Zealand is to overcome our relatively small and widely dispersed population base and build a city of four million people.
NZ primary sector ~50%
Denmark similar size
same primary sector
4x other export
NZ 1 patent/1000 people, chch 1/1000, akl 1/750
Larger city, more innovation
Create social network
Cities enable connection but technology can too
Barcode invented by AMTRAK, didn't work till combined with laser
Innovation is diverse ideas connected
Diversity drives innovation: Detroit (old Auto) vs S.F. (Tesla)
Hitachi in Japan led idea/ patent sharing
Dominant global business model of shared patents responsible for 2/3 patents worldwide
Interesting to compare the culture of patent sharing to some of the patent trolls who hoard and stifle innovation. I wonder, in spite of some awesome examples, if New Zealand will ever get beyond the commodity mentality.
People rush out for coffee at the end of the first session
Steve Pointing is Professor of Applied Ecology at AUT and for over a decade has led an astrobiology research team collaborating with NASA. He has broadened his interests to consider the societal impacts of discovering life on other planets: How will this change our perception of humanity?
Science was his escape from bullying
Studies extremophiles in Antarctica, NZ, Tibet
Is there life on Mars
Aliens likely to be microbes, imagine bio security risk of returning samples
Will discovery of alien life impact faith?
Pope Francis happy to baptize alien
Consider impact of Spanish on Aztec South America
Genetic changes from interbreeding
If we discover alien life, are we going to be the colonists or the Aztecs?
Strange leap from potential of alien microbes to the Pope being open to welcoming Aliens!
Dr. Hong Sheng Chiong is currently an eye doctor in Gisborne hospital. In 2014, he founded OphthalmicDocs, an R&D company that focuses on the development of ultra mobile and economical eye tests and diagnostics devices.
A dream to end preventable blindness
Has worked in Kenya, Nepal
285 million vision impaired, 39m blind 80% preventable
As I have fairly poor vision — short sighted, astigmatism and a risk of glaucoma — I know how it would impair life without treatment. Hong Sheng got a deserved standing ovation for a brilliant combination of invention, technological innovation and creative distribution to get affordable health care to people who really need it.
Tom Scott is an award winning political columnist, editorial cartoonist and documentary maker. Some of the films and television dramas he either wrote or co-wrote include Footrot Flats and Tiger Country. He's currently working on a six-part television series on Sir Edmund Hillary.
Charlie Hebdo: Not great drawings, but great messages
Father came to NZ after war, in part to escape religion in northern Ireland
Why do states like Pakistan & North Korea devote so much of limited GDP to nuclear weapons? Where are the keys? Tucked under the drivers sun visor probably!
His biggest concern: Global Warming
95% of people are decent, 5% nutters and shitters try to ruin it for the rest of us.
Have known his work my whole life. Great to hear Tom speak about his work, our world and some of the bizarre things that are considered normal.
Gavin Healy, who is originally from Ireland, will speak about the impact of growing up in a country devastated by centuries of civil war, and how the 5,500 year old spiritual sites that surrounded his childhood home gave him hope...
Thoughts determine behaviour
Brain rewired by thought
Denial is easier then acceptance and behaviour change
Suggested religion but wouldn't give car keys to a stranger, wouldn't give brain to something wasn't sure exists
Investigated spirituality, Celtic etc
Formed ‘I Stop’ to get kids out of the Northern Irish troubles
Theory: If thoughts create neuron pathways, & those pathways create addiction, what is media doing to our brains?
Marshall institute ran smoking is ok campaigns, now working on climate change
Creating doubt is their goal, doubt feeds denial
Met kiwi wife, moved here and reconnected with environment
Element Magazine (Herald insert)
About to launch social media site
Message: Change the world by changing how you think
Grow new behaviour with new thoughts, spirit & world
Some interesting views on the way media is influencing us, maybe our brains. Have been thinking about this myself since the Tibet trip. Both Buddhism and the political oppression combined with media control have impacted a whole society. Maybe (in a different way) the same is happening here.
Billie Jordan established a hip hop dance crew with her elderly neighbours (aged 68 to 96 years old) with the audacious goal of performing at the World Hip Hop Championships in Las Vegas within eight months. From that point on, her life and the lives of her dance group changed forever.
At what point are you considered old?
Ageism is real
US senior citizen suicide rate 3x youth rate
Old age should be the most liberating time of your life
All the group have physical/mental aging problems to some degree. ASIDE: Why do people still whisper about dementia? It's going to happen to all of us who live long enough to some degree
I think because all mental health problems still stigmatized
Both parents abusive, felt Suicidal
Cut off from that and moved to Chch
Traumatized by quake survival
Moved to Waiheke, created flash mob of oldies top connect with others
Set them impossible goal: Performance at World Hip-hop championship in Vegas
Learnt hip hop off YouTube to be their choreographer
They got there
Their doctors say are healthier now than have been in years
Billie and her crew were just awesome. What I found really sad was the prejudice they encountered (from both family and community) which was much more discussed in the AUT Lounge session after.
Hip Hop-eration video
Bailey Wiley filters neo-soul classicism through modern, righteous and true live musicianship. The star of the show is her golden voice – effortless and organic, supported by her raw talented band.
DALE NIRVANI PFEIFER
Dale is changing the way we connect online. Her #donate software, developed to make giving easy on social media, is unleashing the next generation of generosity. Her goal is to support the evolution of the human experience with money by creating a generosity-based financial system.
Her https://goodworld.me service allows you to use the #donate tag to give to charity via Facebook and Twitter
Paradox of generosity
Giving is also self serving
Givers are happier
Give what you want to receive
I hadn’t heard of Goodworld and how the #donate tag worked before this talk. A neat way to enable more people to give, breaks through the hassle of giving.
Janette Searle had a life changing conversation that turned into ‘Take My Hands’ a not-for- profit organisation that redistributes prosthetic, orthotic and medical equipment to those in need.
Working at conference found NZ hospitals dump unused limbs - later worked out equiv of 60,000 boxes of medical equip/year goes to landfill
Arranged to get some unused limbs to Pakistan
Worked out 1 limb cost $0.30 to get to a boy in Pakistan
Turned it into a trust
PBT transport, Mondiale & NZ Post supported
Designed a platform (now open)
IT: Item tracking & management
Knowledge: Advisory board
Stories: Telling about the impact
Now used from
Blissful act s of kindness palm nth
Furnishing the pacific
The floating foundation
Everyone can make a difference, you don't need to wait until you're rich and retired.
The last note sums it up. A simple idea, connecting a waste problem to a resource shortage, and she made it happen. Brilliant.
SIR BOB HARVEY
Sir Bob Harvey is the Chairman of Waterfront Auckland, has served 6 terms as Mayor of the city of Waitakere and recently published his biography ‘A Life Less Ordinary’. Sir Bob’s involvement in leadership, creativity and his passion for the environment will be the foundation of his TEDx talk.
Leadership in a landscape
Grew up in Newton Gully
Cycled to Piha, bit never got there, Karekare took his eye & heart so he never got to Piha
First sea air rescue ever was at Karekare when float plane picked up woman who'd drifted out.
Slept on beach, saw Waterspout and discovered dead whale, inspired to do something creative
Ad agency worked on:
Norm Kirk campaign - Its time first NZ modern political campaign,
David Lange - Was huge, but got a little slimmer
Major of Waitakere:
Named it Eco City - a green bastion of sanity
Inspired by Karekare
Driftwood talks to itself but we cant hear it, that's not crazy, but it is edgy.
If you want to find leadership: find your place and believe in you.
Bob’s talk really resonated with me. Maybe because I’m a Westie and love the West Coast that was ‘his place’. I don’t live on that coast but would never want to live far from it. I made a point of hanging around to thank him personally for the talk, inspiring.
A futuristically classic sound in a distinctive blend of funky drum rhythms and soulful synthesizers – that is how you can explain the diverse music mix of Sorceress. The duo has evolved into a widely respected soul electronica act with a truly global following.
To be honest, initially had my doubts, then the trumpet came out and the performance soared. Loved it.
Tame Iti will explore the old saying of "Te ka nohi ki te ka nohi" (Dealing with it eye to eye) and how it creates a far more productive space for open dialogue around any issue.
Sense of self
Sense of place
Sense of heritage
At primary school principal banned Maori at school
He tested that and had to write lines on the blackboard
Authority is not mana
Make them face you
Eye to eye
Went to crown treaty hearing
They were up on stage
He didn't want to be looked down on
Took a ladder to do his submission from
The mana of the people is equal to that of any authority
History has woven us together, we are the basket, the kité, which holds the future. We must face each other eye to eye
When I saw Tame Iti on the line-up I remembered the underwhelming Willie Jackson session last year. No worries about that as Tame Iti was brilliant. A great message, beautifully delivered.
Max Cryer (MBE) was New Zealand television’s first quiz host and was awarded ‘New Zealand Entertainer of the Year.’ He has an Honours degree in English Literature and Etymology, and for TVNZ he produced over 100 episodes of “University Challenge” and 100 episodes of ‘Mastermind’. [and MC Vaughn in W3
English language has a world of its own
No country called Germany
No city called Venice
No place called Gallipoli
But we use all these words
Impact of internet on language
Met without meeting
Dating without dating
Grooming... Doesn't work out well
Friend you haven't met
Text evolved to texting & texted
We Chat in rooms with no chat
Tweet in silence
@ amphora symbol has no name in English
Used for pricing before the web was invented: 4 yards @ £3 yard
That is why it's on the keyboard
In many languages has a name but in English has none
Spam was originally Spiced Ham
Monty Python popularised spam spam spam
Something we get in profusion but don't want
Have known Max’s work my whole life, listen to his Radio Live spot with Graeme Hill every weekend (via the podcast usually), was great to see him live. He didn’t disappoint.
Lisa Matisoo-Smith is the Professor of Biological Anthropology in the Department of Anatomy at the University of Otago. Her primary area of interest is in looking at the biological evidence for the human settlement of the Pacific.
Uses DNA to understand human migration history
Pioneered by NZ Allan Wilson
All the diversity in humans today happened in about the last 60,000 years
Polynesian triangle (New Ginea, Samoa, Tonga) colonised over 3500 before present BP
NZ 1200 to 750 BP
Polynesian chicken bones found in South America dated 750 years before Columbus. They returned via Ecuador bringing kumara with them
Studied rat dna in Polynesia, community engagement from the led to acceptance of human dna project
30 female mitochondria means there were thousand or more, not previous thought hundreds, woman settled here (NZ) in initial migration.
The longest journey: Africa to Aotearoa: A genetic study of NZ
Had heard of Lisa’s work (I think thanks to G Hill on Radio Live) and interested. A few years ago I submitted my DNA to the National Geographic Genographic Project. The results showed that my (paternal) ancestral DNA left Africa about 60,000 years ago migrating across continents to the U.K. & Western Europe. From there a much more recent migration resulted in me being Kiwi born. It was interesting to hear how Lisa’s work was rewriting, or restoring, the remarkable abilities of the Polynesian settlers.
Michel Tuffery has a deeply held belief in the possibility of art to create connections: "I’m not a social worker, I’m an artist who’s trying to create a conversation".
C3WEST 'Transforma Project' partnered with Museum of Contemporary Art and Campbelltown Arts Centre, Sydney, Australia, 2012-2014
Aboriginal settlement near Campbelltown,
Cars stolen, burnt, dumped in river
Drugs, needles in bush
River used to pristine
Started boxing club for kids
Trained for hour
Fed & ate with them
Had kids design transformers made of car wrecks, printed on paper & t shirts
Worked with council, army, tow truck companies and community to clear it up
Built a Kangaroo transformer sculpture that changed a community
Interesting to hear how art was used to build community in an area with many social challenges.
And that’s it:
There was a strange sky to greet us, the result of a full'ish moon being eclipsed by a cloud!
This was a new venue for TEDx. Although the auditorium was great I thought the lack of foyer space, compared to the previous Aotea Centre, really impacted the ability to circulate and socialise during the breaks. Food, from The Food Truck, was good but they were seriously challenged trying to feed a couple of thousand people in the one hour break. It was fortunate there was no rain, always a risk in Auckland’s changeable climate, as the outdoor areas got a lot of use. In short, a great day but I hope it returns to Aotea next year.
That awkward moment when you realise it it's too warm to wear the top you had on when left home to walk the dog, then realise that means you're wearing "The Skeptics' Guide To The Universe Down Under Zombie Koala T Shirt" in a cemetery.
I did pick a path which kept me far away from those who might be there for more solemn reasons than dog walking.
It's now only three weeks to go before this year's Skeptics Conference.
With a central theme of science communication, we've got a wide range of speakers and workshops lined up: from astronomy and psychology to climate change, statistics, skeptical activism and citizen science!
There's the usual Saturday night dinner, plus a blind auction for a VIP dinner on Friday evening with a selection of the weekend's speakers.
Here's our line-up of speakers for this year:
Dr Pamela Gay - Astronomer, citizen science leader, Astronomy Cast host and author of the Star Stryder blog.
Kylie Sturgess - Teacher, host at the Token Skeptic, prolific interviewer, writes for Patheos and the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry.
Dr Matt McCrudden - Associate Professor of Psychology, currently on the editorial board of five scientific journals.
Dr Siouxsie Wiles - Microbiologist, CUSP podcast host. Loves bioluminescence, not so keen on the Ponsonby News.
Prof Martin Manning - founding director of the NZ Climate Change Research Institute, and co-author of several IPCC assessment reports.
Loretta Marron - Skeptical activist and CEO of Friends of Science in Medicine, Loretta has twice been voted Australian Skeptic of the Year.
Elf Eldridge - Amateur Astronomer and pirate, he’s also the president of the Wellington branch of the Royal Society of New Zealand.
Aimee Whitcroft - Has worked in science communication, driven the Mongol Rally and is the founder and host of Wellington’s Nerd Nite.
Emmeline Haymes - Coordinator for the National Fluoridation Information Service - arch nemesis of the Fluoride Action Network.
Dr David Bulger - A senior lecturer in Statistics, David works with quantum computation and music modelling. He also battles numerical illiteracy.
Vicki Hyde - Veteran New Zealand skeptic and the face of NZ Skeptics Society (she’s the one you see on TV).
Sue Nicholson - Well-known psychic, star of Sensing Murder and regular guest on TVNZ’s Good Morning. No, really.
Although my Physics education ended at High School, so probably won’t understand much, i still enjoy learning what I can.
The importance of being wrong: the Big Bang and precision cosmology
Inaugural lecture by Professor Richard Easther Department of Physics
A generation ago, “precision cosmology” was an oxymoron. Since then, advances in observational astrophysics let us measure global properties of the universe -- age, expansion rate, composition, temperature, smoothness -- to within a few percent, or even better.
This newfound clarity allows us to test competing cosmological models and rule out those which do not match what we see in the sky. I will describe recent advances in observational astrophysics, and explain how I use this data to explore the properties of the universe a trillion, trillion, trillionth of a second after the Big Bang.
All are welcome to this public lecture.
5.30pm, Tuesday 14 May Large Chemistry Lecture Theatre Building 301, 23 Symonds Street The University of Auckland