22 Mar 2011

TEDxSMU Tuesday 3.22.11

Events, Ideas, News No Comments

What Good are Mosquitoes? About.com

There isn’t much love lost between people and mosquitoes. At the very least, these bloodthirsty insects are major annoyances, biting us with a persistence that can be maddening. If insects can be credited with evil intent, mosquitoes seem determined to wipe the human race out. As carriers of deadly diseases, mosquitoes are the deadliest insect on Earth.

Intellectual Ventures

“In 2007, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation asked Intellectual Ventures to create new technologies that will not only fight malaria but will eventually eliminate this scourge of humanity altogether. Already our team of entomologists, epidemiologists, physicists, and other scientists have come up with innovative approaches that attack the parasite that causes the disease from several angles. Some make it easier to diagnose the disease quickly and accurately. Others destroy the parasites directly. Still others target the mosquitoes that serve as hosts to the parasites and spread malaria from person to person.”

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Malaria causes nearly 1 million deaths per year, and 85 percent of those who die are children under 5 years of age. Ninety percent of malaria deaths occur in Africa, where the financial cost of malaria is crippling economic development due to the high cost of medicines and reduced productivity.

Nothing but Nets

Nothing But Nets is a global, grassroots campaign to raise awareness and funding to combat malaria, one of the largest killers of children in Africa.

GM mosquitoes deployed to control Asia’s dengue fever, The Independent, January 27, 2011

A genetically modified mosquito carrying an artificial fragment of DNA designed to curb the insect’s fertility has been released for the first time in south-east Asia as part of an ambitious attempt to combat deadly dengue fever that affects up to 100 million people worldwide.

Education & Makers

SMU Lyle School of Engineering Innovation Programs

Big Thought

Founded in 1987, Dallas-based Big Thought is one of the nation’s leading nonprofits focused on building partnerships that allow all children access to quality learning opportunities. Driven by our mission — to make imagination a part of everyday learning — we do our work so that children have opportunities to become imaginative, adaptable and productive adults, resulting in stronger communities and a more capable future workforce.

MAKE Magazine

MAKE Magazine brings the do-it-yourself mindset to all the technology in your life. MAKE is loaded with exciting projects that help you make the most of your technology at home and away from home. We celebrate your right to tweak, hack, and bend any technology to your own will.

Dallas Makerspace

Dallas Makerspace is a membership based, not-for-profit, shared community workshop and laboratory, similar to a hackerspace. We are an organized group of local artists, engineers, makers, creators, and thinkers that work together to collect tools and resources for our membership, who could not otherwise afford, store, or use them individually. We use these resources to collaborate on individual and community projects in order to promote science and technology, while working and experimenting on innovative ideas to encourage learning within our community.


CoHabitat is the awesomest startup community around – located conveniently (for many) in Uptown Dallas. Since its inception in December 2008, it’s become a hub for developers, creatives and entrepreneurs building the next break-out startups.

The Thomas Edison Center at Menlo Park

Thomas Edison was an unknown young inventor when he moved his experimental facilities to the tiny village of Menlo Park, New Jersey, in 1876. Then, in a six-year burst of astonishing creativity, he patented approximately 400 inventions, including the phonograph and devices for electric light and power generation, and he revolutionized the process of invention itself. Known around the world as the Wizard of Menlo Park, Edison made himself and Menlo Park famous, and to this day, both names are synonymous with the spirit of invention.

Nathan Myhrvold

The Game-Changing Cookbook, Wall Street Journal, February 12, 2011

Here’s the recipe for the most astonishing cookbook of our time: Take one multimillionaire computer genius, a team of 36 researchers, chefs and editors and a laboratory specially built for cooking experiments. After nearly four years of obsessive research, assemble 2,400 pages of results into a 47-pound, six-volume collection that costs $625 and requires four pounds of ink to print.

Nathan Myhrvold: A restless prodigy lives many lives after Microsoft, ForbesLife Magazine, February 25, 2011

“Life has not been boring for me,” Nathan Myhrvold says. An overachiever’s overachiever, Myhrvold, 51, graduated from high school at 14, had two master’s degrees and a Princeton Ph.D. in theoretical and mathematical physics by 23, worked alongside Stephen Hawking at Cambridge, and went on to earn hundreds of millions for Microsoft (and himself) as chief technology officer. Cashing out in 1999, he began pursuing his true passions by the armful: skydiving, car racing, scuba diving, volcanology, and UFOlogy, not to mention whole alternate careers as a wildlife photographer, dinosaur hunter, inventor (his name is on nearly 250 patents and counting), and author of the extraordinary new cookbook Modernist Cuisine.

Related TED Talks

Nathan Myhrvold on archeology, animal photography, BBQ …, TED 2007

Nathan Myhrvold talks about a few of his latest fascinations — animal photography, archeology, BBQ and generally being an eccentric genius multimillionaire. Listen for wild stories from the (somewhat raunchy) edge of the animal world.

Bill Gates on mosquitos, malaria and education, TED 2009

Bill Gates hopes to solve some of the world’s biggest problems using a new kind of philanthropy. In a passionate and, yes, funny 18 minutes, he asks us to consider two big questions and how we might answer them.

Nathan Wolfe’s jungle search for viruses, TED 2009

Virus hunter Nathan Wolfe is outwitting the next pandemic by staying two steps ahead: discovering deadly new viruses where they first emerge — passing from animals to humans among poor subsistence hunters in Africa — before they claim millions of lives.

Esther Duflo: Social experiments to fight poverty, TED 2010

Alleviating poverty is more guesswork than science, and lack of data on aid’s impact raises questions about how to provide it. But Clark Medal-winner Esther Duflo says it’s possible to know which development efforts help and which hurt — by testing solutions with randomized trials.

Elizabeth Gilbert on nurturing creativity, TED 2009

Elizabeth Gilbert muses on the impossible things we expect from artists and geniuses — and shares the radical idea that, instead of the rare person “being” a genius, all of us “have” a genius. It’s a funny, personal and surprisingly moving talk.

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