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TED 2011 Conference Kicks Off: How To Get The Latest Updates

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The 2011 TED conference, which brings together billionaires and bloggers, neuroscientists and artists, luminaries and less-well-known innovators, kicked off Monday in Long Beach, California.

The theme for this year's week-long conference is "the rediscovery of wonder" and includes a distinguished and varied line-up of speakers. There's papercutter artist Beatrice Coron, tech pioneer and philanthropist Bill Gates, "Wrongologist" Kathryn Schulz, director Julie Taymor, and former Afghanistan commander Stanley McChrystal.

HuffPostTech is in Long Beach and will be blogging, interviewing, and live-tweeting from TED 2011. Follow @bbosker on Twitter for live updates from TED, or check back here, where we'll be compiling the latest news from TED 2011.

We want to be your eyes and ears at TED, so check out the full list of speakers at TED 2011 then tell us who you want to hear from and what you're interested to learn. Weigh in below or email us at

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via @TEDNews: "Jack Horner: "But birds are dinosaurs...So we don't have to make a dinosaur, we already have them!" #TED"

"Jack Horner: "The chicken is a dinosaur -- you can't argue with it because we're the classifiers, and we classify it that way." #TED"

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"[R]eally, when you get down to it, the guys at Enron never would have done this. This is so blatant, so extreme," Bill Gates said of state governments' accounting practices generally, during a surprise talk at TED University.

According to Gates, the bottom line is, "We need to care about state budgets because they are critical for our kids and our future."

Read more about his remarks here.

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The Huffington Post sat down with Morgan Spurlock for a Q&A on his new film, consumer anger, and what he won't do for a film.

Read the full interview here.

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Google executive Wael Ghonim, who emerged as a leader during the protests in Egypt, spoke from Cairo during the TED conference.

He emphasized the importance of cell phones, social media and the Internet in helping protestors to connect and effect change.

"The Internet has played a great role in helping people to speak their minds, to start collaborating together," Ghonim said.

"This whole revolution showed us how ugly such a regime was and how great and amazing the Egyptian man and Egyptian woman [are]...when they have a dream," he continued.

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Very soon we will see the day where cars are essentially talking to each other, predicted Bill Ford, executive chair of the Ford Motor Co.

Ford stressed the need for green technology, while also emphasizing the threat "global gridlock" is posing to our mobility. As more cars hit the road and further stress our infrastructure, our ability to travel will be hampered, imperiling the "incredible freedom of mobility" we've enjoyed to date.

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Al Jazeera director general Wahad Khanfar spoke Tuesday at the TED conference. We've posted a piece that summarizes his key remarks on the future of the Arab world, the power of reporting, and using social media to cover the protests in the Middle East.

Read more about his TED talk (and watch it!) here.

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Spurlock, the filmmaker behind "Supersize Me" and other films, discussed his new documentary, "The Greatest Movie Ever Sold," on stage at TED.

"More than anything we have to embrace transparency," Spurlock said. "Today more than ever a little honesty will go a long way."

A propos of transparency:

@ bbosker : Morgan Spurlock:This is image that comes up w Google image search for transparency. I like the way u roll Sergey Brin

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The 2011 TED fellows were introduced onstage at TED and received a standing ovation from the audience. Learn more about the fellows here.

They include a "fashion designer who 'grows' clothing with bacteria," a cellist, a human rights activist, and more.

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Director Julie Taymor, best known for her work on Broadway musicals "The Lion King" and "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark," as well as the Met's The Magic Flute," described her new projects and spoke to the challenges she is currently facing.

"Spider-Man" is not only the most expensive musical on Broadway to date, but has been plagued by safety problems, lackluster ticket sales, and so-so reviews.

"Everyone who creates knows there's that point where it hasn’t quite become the phoenix or the burnt char and I'm right there on the edge," Taymor said.

Taymor went on to say, "I'm in the crucible now. It's my trial by fire, it's my company's trial by fire."

"We as collaborators only get there all together," she concluded. "I know you understand that."

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Ten-time Grammy Award winner (and TED speaker) Bobby McFerrin sat down with HuffPostTech for a Q&A about Facebook, the artists that inspire him, how tech is changing the way we listen to music, and more.

From the interview:

When I was a kid growing up and we bought albums, we treated them with such reverence, we would listen to every single cut, first to last, whether we liked the pieces or not, we were patient enough to at least give the [pieces] a chance. I'm finding that in today's technological world we've become more and more impatient, and that we don't take time to let things soak or steep.

Read the rest of the conversation here.

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TED unveiled a new initiative during the final session of the day, "Mindblowing," aimed at enriching education: TEDED.

"In a few weeks, TED will be launching an online forum. We're calling it the TED-ED Brain Trust. We're seeking the expertise of visionary educators, students, organizations, filmmakers & other creative professionals to guide, galvanize & ultimately lead this exciting new initiative," TED announced. Find out more on

via @TEDchris: "Excited to announce TED-ED. If you're passionate about education, please join our braintrust."

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Mike Matas of Push Pop Press demo-ed an revolutionary ebook on stage at TED that looks little like the digital books that exist today.

Matas used Al Gore's new book "Our Choice" to show off what's possible with Push Pop Press's dynamic, interactive software. The digital book includes images and videos that can be expanded and minimized with just a pinch, appearing to pop off the page and fold out from the screen. The text includes interactive infographics--including a map that can locate the reader's location via GPS. Users can even spin a digital windmill by blowing into the iPad.

TED attendees were impressed:

via @roxannehai: "mike matas demoing 'our choice' by al gore-the super 21st century iPad app e-book. this guy is 24 yrs old, putting us all to shame #TED"

via @TEDxCLE: Push Pop Press making mindblowing interactive book content. First is Al Gore's #tedactive #ted

via @liaonet: #ted push pop press is most amazing publishing system I have ever seen!

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via @TinoChow: "It is amazing what #BobbyMcFerrin can do, how he engages the audience is simply breathtaking. #TED #TEDActive"

via @Scobleizer: "Bobby McFerrin is amazing. He's on stage at TED goofing with people in audience. I wonder if this video will get on"

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via @Bill_Gross: "If your days are really tightly scheduled, you are minimizing your chances for serendipity." John Hagel on making better connections. #TED

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Audiences have been inundated with news about the disappearance of sea ice and the risks it poses, said Nicklesen, who explained he hopes his photographs help show the importance of preserving sea ice.

With his work, Nicklen hopes to "put faces" on the creatures that are affected by the loss of sea ice. "I want people to get the idea and concept that if we lose [sea ice], we stand to lose an entire ecosystem," he said.

Losing that ice is "like losing soil in a garden," said Nicklen.

He also described waiting two months in a river to see the extremely rare, all-white spirit bear.

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"There is no such thing as a flattering definition of a doodle," Brown explained, noting that "doodle" has been used to describe everything from a "simpleton" to a "corrupt politician."

"Doodling is an incredibly powerful tool," Brown said, arguing that it is useful in assisting people to remember and relearn information. Doodling leads to “29% greater retention” and has a "profound effect on creative problem solving," noted Brown.

The real defiiniton of doodle, according to Brown, should be "to make spontaneous marks to help yourself think.”

Do you doodle? Why or why not? Do you find it helpful? Tell us below.

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Session 2, "Majestic," began with Handspring Puppet Company's Basil Jones and Adrian Kohler, who shared the stage with a life-size, snorting horse puppet.

The creators noted that the puppet's ears were extremely important, even more so than its eyes.

Breathing was also a "big challenge." A total of three puppeteers--two inside and one outside--controlled the animal. A rider was brought onstage to ride the "horse."

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Composer Eric Whitacre discussed his Virtual Choir project during his TED talk.

Whitacre described the sensation of seeing the Virtual Choir come together. "I was moved to tears when I first saw it," he said. "I couldn't believe the poetry of it." He likened the performers to souls that were all on their own desert island sending electronic messages in a bottle to each other.

Whitacre said that growing up, he "wanted to be a rockstar"--or more specifically, the fifth member of Depeche Mode or Duran Duran.

When he went to college, Whitacre said he was "stunned" to find there was no "Pop Star 101" course or "even a degree program for that interest."

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In his TED talk, journalist David Brooks explained why he thinks politicians are "freaks" and described three insights that are leading to a "revolution in consciousness" and a new world view. See our full coverage of his remarks at TED here.

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See our post on Levin's TED Talk, which includes a description of what the Big Bang may have sounded like, as well as what the inside of a black hole may look like.

Levin said that black holes can "bang on mallets on a drum" and that they have a "characteristic song."

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@ bbosker : Janna Levin: The universe has a soundtrack and that soundtrack is played on itself because space can wobble like a drum #TED2011

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Session 1, Monumental, kicked off with an interview with an astronaut inside the ISS: "Being in a place like this makes me rethink most thinks about life as we know it," astronaut Katie Coleman said.

TED's Chris Anderson noted that TED will be streamed aboard the ISS.

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To celebrate the start of TED 2011, we've compiled the best of TED from years past--check out these 15 unmissable TED talks on tech.

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