Today's TED2013 line-up was once again filled with amazing people with super-charged ideas and skills. I really can’t pick any bests out of the bunch, but here are three talks that stood out for me.
Black: Yo-Yo Performance Artist
Wow! Never has yoyo-ing seemed so elegant, exciting, and dare I say, beautiful. Black is a cross between an amazing yo-yo champion, graceful gymnast, and
gasp-inducing magician. He got his first yo-yo when he was 14 and spent hours with it every day. By age 18, after 10,000 hours of practice, he became the
world’s yo-yo champion in 2001. But then he quit and became an engineer, thinking that taking the title of World Champ was as far as he could go. He
couldn’t, however, squash the yo-yo passion that lived inside him, and by 2007 he was back at it, this time winning World Champion in the Artistic
When Black performs, the yo-yo goes from being a toy to a spectacular prop. Wearing black sensei garments, he is precise with his choreography, dramatically
moving his yo-yo in time with music that combines percussions with sounds of nature. Later he shoots his yo-yo out towards a nearby table, and suddenly the
yo-yo grabs and holds a white cloth napkin, which he reels in with one quick snap. Later the yo-yo is spinning while Black is contorted into a backbend that
makes his body seem hardly human.
This video is from the 2011 TEDx Tokyo and only shows a fraction of what he did today. But at least it will give you a peek.
Stewart Brand: Animal De-Extinction
Stewart Brand began his TED talk today with the statement, “Biotechnology is about to liberate conservation.” Before I had a chance to process what that
meant, he went on to list a number of birds and mammals that have become extinct in the last few centuries, including the passenger pigeon, which was
killed off by hunters in the 1930s. For a moment my mood plunged, as it always does with conversations of human-caused animal extinction. And then he asked
the question, “What if DNA could be used to bring a species back?” I felt a tsunami of awe and excitement barrel through the audience. This was as
exciting as his declaration about the digital world in 1984 when he said, “Information wants to be free.”
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