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TEDxSydney 2013 – my top 5 talks from this wonderful event

May 7, 2013

I attended TEDxSydney 2013 on Saturday 4 May at the Sydney Opera House. Click here to see a list of the speakers and to learn more about this wonderful annual event.

Here’s a brief summary of my top 5 talks:

1) Ron McCallum, blind since birth, is now 64 and has had a successful career as a lawyer, professor of law, and human rights advocate. Technological innovation facilitated his career. He particularly cited the scanner invented by Ray Kurzweil that could read books. (To read my previous post on Kurzweil, who is now the Director of Engineering at Google, click here).

2) Jennifer Robinson is a lawyer who’s profile has risen as she is part of Julian Assange’s legal team. However, the focus of her talk was not Assange but Benny Wanda. Benny Who? That’s the question asked by everyone I spoke to. Wanda is the leader of the Free West Papua campaign (click here to read more about the issue). What most amazed me about the situation in West Papua is that I had never heard about it before.

3) Danny Kennedy is a former Greenpeace activist who discovered the potential for the profit motive to achieve his goals by co-founding Sungevity in the US. He now advocates rejecting the “scarcity narrative” in favour of promoting the potential for abundance (click here for my post on abundance). Sungevity installs solar panels to homes in the US and aims to have 50m US homes with solar by 2018.

4) Andrew Parker is a research leader at the British Natural History Museum and Oxford University. According to Parker, the first animal with eyes came into existence 521m years ago. Prior to this time, animals simply had light sensors. This important evolution triggered the Cambrian explosion during which the rate of evolution accelerated dramatically resulting in a diversity of species similar to that existing today.

5) David Sinclair’s talk was on the development of new medicine to address age-related diseases, such as Alzheimer’s. He argued that certain genes appear to switch on as we age and these cause age-related diseases. Exercise and diet have been found to delay their activation but new medicine is in trial that may address the causes of their activation. This would result in much healthier lives for people into their 90s and early 100s.

With music from the likes of Kate Miller-Heidke, comedy from Julian Morrow, food grown locally but prepared by Aria, and a host of other great talks, this is one of the great events in Sydney.

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