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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

TEDxSunnyvale Embracing Recklessness recap

The theme for our second TEDxSunnyvale event in 2012 was: “Embracing Recklessness”

Rather than focus on technology we shifted more towards those who are daredevils, thrill seekers, some with mental health conditions that cause them to behave recklessly, careers in recklessness, and how possibilities in innovation are able to become inventions when one is willing to take a risk. We even touched on some social recklessness. At the end of the day it is fear that holds most of us back. For some, it's not a barrier. Embracing recklessness has both positives and negatives. We wanted to explore both.

Our curator Gordon went the extra step of once again creating unique and custom name badges for us on the laser cutter/etcher. This time he altered the design a bit by spreading out the elements from their usual format. I thought it was a really nice change of pace.

I loved my cool new badge!

This was our first sold out event. Not in the sense that we charged but rather in that we ran out of seating so we had to close the registration link before the big day.

We spent the morning and afternoon watching, thinking about and discussing recklessness from three main perspectives: Pursuing Recklessness, Daring Voices, and New Frontiers. Here are the videos we watched and discussed that day in case you'd like to recreate the event on your own.

Session 1: Pursuing Recklessness

1. Danny MacAskill: Way Back Home (7:43)

2. Gever Tulley: 5 dangerous things you should let your kids do (9:22)

3. Diana Nyad: Extreme swimming with the world’s most dangerous jellyfish (16:58)

4. Eve Ensler: On Security (13:49)

5. Charlie Todd: The shared experience of absurdity (12:04)

6. Heyonce: Single Man dances to Single Ladies (3:16)

Session 2: Daring Voices

7. Casey Neistat: Filmmaker (4:38)

8. Kary Mullis': Next-gen cure for killer infections (4:32)

9. J.D. Schramm: Break the silence for suicide attempt survivors (4:15)

10. Joshua Walters: On being just crazy enough (5:51)

11. Alanna Shaikh: How I’m preparing to get Alzheimer’s (6:12)

12. Philippe Petit: The journey across the high wire (19:07)

13.James Nachtwey: War Photographer (3:40)

14. Jennifer Lin: Improvises on piano at TED 2004 (5:15)

Session 3: New Frontiers

15. Jared Ficklin: New ways to see music (with color! and fire!) (10:00)

16. Misha Glenny: Hire the Hackers (18:40) Selected but not shown due to time conflict

17. George Dyson: On Project Orion (8:35)

18. Steve Truglia: A leap from the edge of space (14:33)

19. Jessamyn Lau - Get a Mohawk (9:38) The audio quality is not good but her message is fanatastic so find a quiet room and enjoy :)

Curator Gordon Garb welcomes our participants.

The process of suggesting and selecting videos is a group endeavor. Two that I had suggested that weren't selected for the presentation I wanted to include here because they embody the theme for me in a way different from the other videos we did present at our event.

The first is the TED Prize acceptance speech by Antiwar Photographer James Nachtwey. His photos are described by TED as "searing." I would have to agree. The first time I saw his work over a decade ago in the book Inferno the images were seared into my brain. They are unsettling, upsetting, disturbing but most of all real. They are the faces and consequences of what happens on the ground in times of war not just to soldiers, but to everyday people like you and me.

My respect for this man and the work he does is endless.

Since seeing first seeing his images in 1999 I've often wondered what drives a person to embrace the documentation of mans inhumanity towards other human beings? Whatever it is, it's something that most of us do not possess. Is it embracing recklessness or overlooking the danger to embrace humanity? I invite you to listen to the words of someone who has been where many of us will never go.

James Nachtwey: My photographs bear witness (21:48)
Why do I think his message matters so much? I think it can have some bearing in the way we vote our leaders into office. Rather than think of war as an idea that happens somewhere else to other people I think for some of us, our feelings would change if we had the opportunity to see what war is really like through the eyes of those who are forced to endure it. For many, their suffering comes through no fault of their own.
Naomi Klein: Addicted to Risk (19:50)
I also wanted to share this video by Naomi Klein as it focuses on the consequences of recklessness. Taken from TEDWomen 2010: "Our societies have become addicted to extreme risk in finding new energy, new financial instruments and more ... and too often, we're left to clean up a mess afterward. Klein's question: What's the backup plan?"
Lunch was provided by TechShop San Jose. We appreciate their support immensely.
   It is because of them we are able to host our events at no charge to our attendees.

I love that TED is all about "Idea's worth spreading." We hope our attendees always leave with fresh perspectives to consider, the courage to try something new, the desire ignited to follow their passions, and a drive to help spread these ideas and feelings. Simply leading by example we can all impact not only our own lives, but the lives of those around us in very positive ways.

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