TED 2008 : brains, synthetic life and the worldwide telescope

TED stands for Technology Entertainment Design. Its a conference or more strictly speaking a series of conferences that always has fascinating speakers from the worlds of tech, entertainment, design and far beyond!

The 2008 vids have just begun to be released  including  this talk from Harvard-trained brain scientist Jill Bolte Taylor. Yes, that is a brain in her hand!

Also, hear from Craig Venter on how close he is to creating synthetic life  for example, bacteria designed from scratch to gobble CO2 and generate advanced fuels.

Finally astronomer Roy Gould unveiled the WorldWide Telescope as created by Microsoft’s Curtis Wong: the WorldWide Telescope. Here’s his talk.

A fascinating mixture of information – and a great example of involving people from ‘beyond the room’ using webcasts.

Green works

This weekend I went to Wembley to buy a chair.

Who cares?

Well, it wasn’t just any old chair, it was a super functional fancy orthapedic office chair.

Still not interested in your chair story…

Ok ok, here’s the relevance. It was from an enormous store house up near Wembley run by an organisation called Greenworks. It  originally came from Rio Tinto’s offices (there’s a sticker on the back of most of the furniture- Rothschild’s gave away some lovely stuff- unsurprisingly!) and cost a mere £80- compared to the £300 price tag when new…

What Greenworks do is to take office furniture from big companies and sell it on to the rest of us at very bargainous prices.

They have a great selection to suit all budgets and they particularly target their services at schools, community and voluntary groups and the charity sector in general – there’s a discount for registered charities.

They have quite a few branches – find one near you.

Great selection, great service and ethos –  spread the word!

Internet and American Life : What kind of web user are you?

Of late I’ve spent some time looking at how different people approach the web – much like offline life, we have quite varying approaches! One of the more interesting resources I  found on my google-journeys is the Pew Typology.

Over at the Pew Internet and American Life Project they have been surveying the way we use the web for some time now and have created a typology system based upon this data.

Take the survey and find out what kind of web user you are.

The  pdf. report is available to download and goes into great detail – but here are some of the topline stats:

  • 8% of Americans are deep users of the participatory Web and mobile applications
  • 23% are heavy, pragmatic tech adopters – they use gadgets to keep up with social networks or be productive at work
  • 10% rely on mobile devices for voice, texting, or entertainment
  • 10% use information gadgets, but find it a hassle
  • 49% of Americans only occasionally use modern gadgetry and many others bristle at electronic connectivity

The types identified are as follows …

  • Omnivore, Mobile Centric, Connector, Lackluster Veteran Productivity Enhancer, Infrequent but Hassled, Indifferent, Inexperienced, Experimenter, Light but Satisfied

Where do you fit? Take the survey to find out.

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PS. I’m an omnivore – this is also true in real life!

PPS. I actually found the typology result to be very accurate – if you take the test, let me know what you think.

:)