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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

TEDxSunnyvale: Life After Doomsday

What comes after the end?
What do you do when the sun comes up the day after it was all supposed to be over?

. . . Together we’ll explore endings that failed to end, ponder new beginnings, and visit the times after “end times.” Our event Theme has led us to a day that will be both whimsical and serious, but not terrifying. Our goal is to feed our brains, and to encourage thoughtful discussion, all in a friendly and comfortable atmosphere.

As is our tradition, TEDxSunnyvale held our most recent event at TechShop San Jose. The staff went all out. They had creating a cool poster to promote our event and since our last event they had made black out curtains to block all of the windows. It definitely gave us a more theater-like atmosphere to show the TED and TEDx videos that the team had selected.

Refreshments were laid out. We offered coffee and donuts as our participants arrived. To support local businesses we purchased the donuts at Psycho Donuts across the street and some of the coffee was from Roy's Station. TechShop also sponsored us their in-house coffee. Thanks TechShop!

Once again our fearless leader Gordon Garb came up with a new concept for name badges. Gordon realized that if our event branding could be removed, our participants could reuse their name tags at other events as the badges themselves were made out of dry-erase board.

So this time instead of laser etching the entire badge, they were partially etched and we attached stickers to the rest that could be peeled off later and a new greeting or event  could be handwritten in with a whiteboard pen.

Our participants arrived by 10:30 AM to kick off Life After Doomsday. We had a great group of people attending. We did intros and learned more about people's views on Doomsday.

Participant Michelle even made suggestions about her favorite Doomsday themed books. I thought I'd pass them along in case you're interested in the same genre:
  1. The Road by Cormac McCarthy
  2. Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
  3. The Holy Machine by Chris Beckett
  4. Dark Eden by Patrick Carman

In light of our theme, Gordon asked all of us our "favorite' doomsday scenario. He wrote them all down on a whiteboard and later we matched up how many were addressed in the videos that day.

I was the only one who struggled for a "favorite" scenario. It just seemed so incongruous to me. Until Gordon mentioned global warming. Then I said that would have to be my favorite because the last person standing as the waters rose could say "I told you so." And I was sure that person would be a woman. LOL

In the end the event sparked meaningful conversations between the attendees at the conclusion of each video. Click on the video titles below to view them in their entirety.


Paul Gilding: The Earth is Full
17 minutes - TED 2012

Sophal Ear: Escaping the Khmer Rouge
6 minutes - TED 2009

John Hodgman: The End is Nigh
14 minutes - TEDxMidWest

Christien Meindertsma: How pig parts make the world turn
9 minutes - TED Global 2010

Amy Purdy: Living beyond limits
10 minutes - TEDxOrangeCoast 2

Wade Davis: The Worldwide Web of Belief and Ritual
20 minutes - TED 2008

Ian Goldin: Navigating our global future
(Not Shown but Recommended) 
7 minutes - TED 2012

Lunch: We split up and wandered around TechShop to pick up lunch to go and brought it back to eat with the group. Some of us had Jack in the Box, others pizza, and most went for Indian food. 

I had a slice of Super Veggie pizza for lunch. I also found religion walking down the street. Or maybe I should say religion found me when a nice woman chatted me up at a crosswalk. After crossing the street she offered me a "bible" print out.

I also tried an Indian fried cauliflower dish called Gobi Manchurian that Gordon shared with me. I LOVED IT! I can't wait to have it again. It reminded me a lot of the sweet chili paste "pik pow" sauce I've had at Thai restaurants in the past. I used to cook a breaded shrimp dish like that years ago. It never occurred to me that I could still make it using cauliflower instead of shrimp. Since it is deep fried I will have to limit it to an occasional treat even though I'd like to eat it at least once a week. You're welcome heart and arteries.

After lunch we dimmed the lights and kicked off the second session. Here are the speakers and videos:


Jared Diamond: Why Societies Collapse
(Not Shown but Recommended) 
19 minutes - TED 2003

Prepper Tips - Rehydration
1 minute excerpt - National Geographic

Richard Sears: Planning for the end of oil
7 minutes - TED 2010

Jill Sobule - Manhattan in January
3 minutes - TED 2006

Ric Elias: 3 things I learned while my plane crash
5 minutes - TED 2011

Thomas Calloway - Why the End of the World?
15 minutes - TEDxAsheville

Rajesh Rao: A Rosetta Stone for the Indus script
17 minutes TED 2011

Glenn Stutzky: Surviving the Coming Zombie Apocalypse
2 minutes - TEDxLansing

Peter Diamandis: Abundance is our future
16 minutes - TED 2012

And a picture of the entire collection of laser etched and cut name badges we've created for our past event attendees. Click Here to view the recap posts for all of our past events

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