15 Feb 2011

TEDxSMU Tuesday 2.15.11

Events, Ideas, News No Comments

What Technology Wants, Kevin Kelly, 2010

 “Verbalizing visceral feelings about technology, whether attraction or repulsion, Kelly explores the ‘technium,’ his term for the globalized, interconnected stage of technological development. Arguing that the processes creating the technium are akin to those of biological evolution, Kelly devotes the opening sections of his exposition to that analogy, maintaining that the technium exhibits a similar tendency toward self-organizing complexity… Exploring ramifications of technology on human welfare and achievement, Kelly arrives at an optimistic outlook that will interest many, coming, as it does, from the former editor of Wired magazine.”

Medici Effect: What Elephants and Epidemics Can Teach Us About Innovation, Frans Johansson, 2006

 “Johansson, founder and former CEO of an enterprise software company, argues that innovations occur when people see beyond their expertise and approach situations actively, with an eye toward putting available materials together in new combinations. Because of ions, ‘the movement of people, the convergence of science, and the leap of computation,’ a wide range of materials available for new, recontextualized uses is becoming a norm rather than an exception, much as the Medici family of Renaissance Italy’s patronage helped develop European arts and culture.”

Leonardo DaVinci’s Inventions

 “Whilst the full extent of his scientific studies has only become recognized in the last 150 years, he was, during his lifetime, employed for his engineering and skill of invention. Many of his designs, such as the movable dikes to protect Venice from invasion, proved too costly or impractical. Some of his smaller inventions entered the world of manufacturing unheralded. As an engineer, Leonardo conceived ideas vastly ahead of his own time, conceptually inventing a helicopter, a tank, the use of concentrated solar power, a calculator, a rudimentary theory of plate tectonics and the double hull. In practice, he greatly advanced the state of knowledge in the fields of anatomy, astronomy, civil engineering, optics, and the study of water (hydrodynamics).”

Computing Laws

 “Legal aspects of computing are related to various areas of law. Cyberlaw is a term that encapsulates the legal issues related to use of communicative, transactional, and distributive aspects of networked information devices and technologies. Some leading topics include intellectual property, privacy, freedom of expression, and jurisdiction. Information Technology Law (or IT Law) is a set of recent legal enactments, currently in existence in several countries, which governs the process and dissemination of information digitally. These legal enactments cover a broad gamut of different aspects relating to computer software, protection of computer software, access and control of digital information, privacy, security, internet access and usage, and electronic commerce.”

Electronic Textbooks? You Bet, Forbes.com, March 5, 2010

 “…While some students may be using notebooks or their more portable cousins, netbooks, to read textbooks, some experts predict that within the next 10 years, most U.S. college students–and many high-school and elementary-school students as well–will probably be reading course materials on an electronic device instead of in a paper book. And that will have a broad impact on students and teachers, not to mention the $9.9 billion textbook-publishing business.”

Related TEDTalks

Kevin Kelly on how technology evolves, TED2005

Tech enthusiast Kevin Kelly asks “What does technology want?” and discovers that its movement toward ubiquity and complexity is much like the evolution of life.

Kevin Kelly on the next 5,000 days of the web, EG2007

At the 2007 EG conference, Kevin Kelly shares a fun stat: The World Wide Web, as we know it, is only 5,000 days old. Now, Kelly asks, how can we predict what’s coming in the next 5,000 days?

Matt Ridley: When ideas have sex, TEDGlobal 2010

At TEDGlobal 2010, author Matt Ridley shows how, throughout history, the engine of human progress has been the meeting and mating of ideas to make new ideas. It’s not important how clever individuals are, he says; what really matters is how smart the collective brain is.

Joshua Prince-Ramus: Building a theater that remakes itself, TEDxSMU 2009

Joshua Prince-Ramus believes that if architects re-engineer their design process, the results can be spectacular. Speaking at TEDxSMU, Dallas, he walks us through his fantastic re-creation of the local Wyly Theater as a giant “theatrical machine” that reconfigures itself at the touch of a button.

10 Feb 2011

TEDxSMU Tuesday 2.8.11

Events, Ideas, News No Comments

Mind Body Connection


National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine- NIH

Ayurvedic medicine (also called Ayurveda) is one of the world’s oldest medical systems. It originated in India and has evolved there over thousands of years. In the United States, Ayurvedic medicine is considered complementary and alternative medicine (CAM)—more specifically, a CAM whole medical system. Complementary and alternative medicine is a group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products that are not presently considered to be part of conventional medicine.

Complementary medicine is used together with conventional medicine, and alternative medicine is used in place of conventional medicine. A whole medical system is a complete system of theory and practice that has evolved over time in different cultures and apart from conventional medicine. Examples of whole medical systems include traditional Chinese medicine, Ayurvedic medicine, homeopathy, and naturopathy. Many therapies used in Ayurvedic medicine are also used on their own as CAM—for example, herbs, and specialized diets.’

Voodoo Healing

In voodoo, disease is regarded as totally spiritual. Therefore, treatment is entirely spiritual, as well.

Placebo Effect Works Even When Patients Know Medicine is Just `Sugar Pill’, December 22, 2010, Bloomberg

The placebo effect, an improvement in health that occurs when a clinical trial patient is given a dummy pill, works even when the patient knows the medicine is fake, according to a Harvard study.


Somatosensory system

At its simplest, the system works when activity in a sensory neuron is triggered by a specific stimulus such as heat; this signal eventually passes to an area in the brain uniquely attributed to that area on the body—this allows the processed stimulus to be felt at the correct location. The point-to-point mapping of the body surfaces in the brain is called a homunculus and is essential in the creation of a body image. This brain-surface (“cortical”) map is not immutable, however. Dramatic shifts can occur in response to stroke or injury.

Corpus callosum

The corpus callosum, also known as the colossal commissure, is a wide, flat bundle of neural fibers beneath the cortex in the eutherian brain at the longitudinal fissure. It connects the left and right cerebral hemispheres and facilitates interhemispheric communication.

Surgeons removed half her brain to save her life, Today Show, January 31, 2011

Everyday fantasia: The world of synesthesia, American Psychological Association, Monitor on Psychology, March 2001

“…Some synesthetes hear, smell, taste or feel pain in color. Others taste shapes, and still others perceive written digits, letters and words in color. Some, who possess what researchers call “conceptual synesthesia,” see abstract concepts, such as units of time or mathematical operations, as shapes projected either internally or in the space around them.”

Do People Only Use 10 Percent Of Their Brains? February 7, 2008, Scientific American

“…adding to that mystery is the contention that humans “only” employ 10 percent of their brain. If only regular folk could tap that other 90 percent, they too could become savants who remember π to the twenty-thousandth decimal place or perhaps even have telekinetic powers.”

Limitless- Bradley Cooper, Robert DeNiro, March 2011

A copywriter discovers a top-secret drug which bestows him with super human abilities.

No Right Brain Left Behind

No Right Brain Left Behind is a speed innovation challenge, calling on the creative industries to concept ideas that can help the creativity crisis happening in U.S. schools today.

No right brain left behind: Must kids prep for ‘risk-taking’? USA Today, July 13, 2009

“It worries me that we’re not thinking big enough, that we’re not preparing our kids for a world that will be terribly different from the one we grew up in,” says Patrick Bassett, scanning the rapt faces of a few dozen parents in the auditorium of 103-year-old Mission High School, whose alums include poet Maya Angelou and rocker Carlos Santana.

SMU-led research center aims to connect brain signals to robotic limbs, September 8, 2010

Lightning-fast connections between robotic limbs and the human brain may be within reach for injured soldiers and other amputees with the establishment of a multimillion-dollar research center led by SMU engineers.

Related Video

Jill Bolte Taylor’s stroke of insight

Jill Bolte Taylor got a research opportunity few brain scientists would wish for: She had a massive stroke, and watched as her brain functions — motion, speech, self-awareness — shut down one by one. An astonishing story.

VS Ramachandran on your mind

Vilayanur Ramachandran tells us what brain damage can reveal about the connection between celebral tissue and the mind, using three startling delusions as examples.

Laurie Santos: A monkey economy as irrational as ours
Laurie Santos looks for the roots of human irrationality by watching the way our primate relatives make decisions. A clever series of experiments in “monkeynomics” shows that some of the silly choices we make, monkeys make too.

RSA Animate – Changing Education Paradigms, Sir Ken Robinson

Another inspiring RSA Animate taken from a speech given at the RSA by Sir Ken Robinson, world-renowned education expert and recipient of the RSA Benjamin Franklin award.

Related Books

The Tell-Tale Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Quest for What Makes Us Human, V.S. Ramachandran, 2011

The twentieth was the century of physics, with the grand unified theory its quest and goal. The twenty-first is shaping up as the century of neuroscience, with its quest and goal the reaffirmation of human exceptionalism. Boldly asserting, right off the bat, that Homo sapiens is “no mere ape,” Ramachandran tells us why the day of neuroscience has dawned. Always careful to point out when he is speculating rather than announcing research findings, he is also prompt to emphasize why his speculations, or theories, are not just of the armchair variety but can be put to the test because of what neuroscience has already discovered about the active structures of the human brain.

A Brief Tour of Human Consciousness: From Impostor Poodles to Purple Numbers, V.S. Ramachandran, 2005

What does an amputee who still feels a phantom limb have in common with an avant-garde artist, or a schizophrenic who claims to be controlled by alien implants, or an autistic child who can draw a hyper-realistic horse? According to neuroscientist Ramachandran (coauthor, Phantoms in the Brain), named by Newsweek one of the 100 people to watch in the 21st century, the answer lies deep in the physical structures of the brain, and his new book offers a thought-provoking survey of his area of research. Through examples, anecdotes and conjecture, Ramachandran aims “to make neuroscience… more accessible to a broad audience.”

The Emerging Mind: The BBC Reith Lectures 2003, V.S. Ramachandran, 2003

This is a scintillating introduction to the latest thinking on the brain and the mind by the world’s leading expert. Neuroscience can now begin to unlock the key to the self. Our knowledge of the brain has progressed so rapidly that it will change the way we think of ourselves as human beings.

Phantoms in the Brain: Probing the Mysteries of the Human Mind, V.S. Ramachandran, 1999

In these unsettling tales from a neuroscientist every bit as quirky as the more famous Oliver Sacks, Ramachandran sets out his beliefs that no matter how bizarre the case, empirical, strikingly simple testing can illuminate the ways brain circuitry establishes “self.” In a chatty, nearly avuncular style, he (along with his coauthor, a New York Times science writer) snatches territory from philosophers on how we think we know what we know.

The Art of Happiness, 10th Anniversary Edition: A Handbook for Living, Dalai Lama and Howard C. Cutler, M.D., 2009

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to sit down with the Dalai Lama and really press him about life’s persistent questions? Why are so many people unhappy? How can I abjure loneliness? How can we reduce conflict? Is romantic love true love? Why do we suffer? How should we deal with unfairness and anger? How do you handle the death of a loved one? These are the conundrums that psychiatrist Howard Cutler poses to the Dalai Lama during an extended period of interviews in The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living.

26 Jan 2011

2011 Dates…

Events, Ideas, News 3 Comments

…are out! Find out more:

TEDxKids @SMU – 12.2.11

TEDxKids @SMU continues to grow and engage middle school students from across DFW. Click on the link above to learn more.

TEDxSMU – 12.3.11

At TEDxSMU III, we’re talking about Disruption. Click on the link above to learn more.

Here’s the news release: TEDxSMU 2011 Date Announcement

26 Jan 2011

TEDxSMU Tuesday 1.25.11

Events, Ideas, News 1 Comment

Great Apes and Bonobos

Great Ape Trust is a scientific research facility in Des Moines, Iowa, dedicated to understanding the origins and future of culture, language, tools and intelligence. Announced in 2002 and receiving its first ape residents in 2004, Great Ape Trust is home to a colony of six bonobos involved in noninvasive interdisciplinary studies of their cognitive and communicative capabilities, and two orangutans.

Great Ape Trust is also committed to the preservation of endangered great apes in their natural habitats through a project we direct in Rwanda called the Gishwati Area Conservation Program.

A family of eight bonobos, including the world-famous Kanzi, arrived from the Language Research Center at Georgia State University in April 2005.

Dr. Sue Savage-Rumbaugh

Dr. Sue Savage-Rumbaugh is a scientist with special standing at Great Ape Trust – a world-class research center dedicated to studying the behavior and intelligence of great apes. The first and only scientist to conduct language research with bonobos, Savage-Rumbaugh joined Great Ape Trust in 2005 following a 30-year association with Georgia State University’s Language Research Center (LRC).  In 2008, she retired from the administrative and laboratory duties in the Great Ape Trust bonobo facility to focus exclusively on research, writing and lecturing.

Great Ape Research

A great ape research ban, or severe restrictions on the use of non-human great apes in research, is currently in place in the Netherlands, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Germany and Austria. These countries have ruled that chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas, and orangutans are cognitively so similar to humans that using them as test subjects is unethical.

Great Ape Research Act (GAPA) – United States

On March 5th, 2009, U.S. Representatives Edolphus Towns (D-NY), David Reichert (R-WA), James Langevin (D-RI), and Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD) reintroduced the Great Ape Protection Act, H.R.1326 in the U.S. House to end invasive biomedical research and testing on an estimated 1,000 chimpanzees remaining in U.S. laboratories. On August 3, 2010, U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) introduced the Great Ape Protection Act, S.3694 in the U.S. Senate, lending bipartisan support to end the use of great apes in invasive research. The bill would retire approximately 500 federally owned chimpanzees currently in U.S. laboratories, many for more than 40 years, to permanent sanctuary.

Animal Rights Perspective

Project R&R works hand in hand with scientists, world renowned chimpanzee experts, founders of chimpanzee sanctuaries, as well as with other leading national and international organizations. Project R&R spearheaded efforts to end the use of chimpanzees in U.S. research and is currently focused on passing the Great Ape Protection Act, H.R.1326/S.3694. The bill will end the use of chimpanzees in invasive biomedical research and retire all federally owned chimpanzees to permanent sanctuary.

Science Perspective

Following Europe’s lead, Congress moves to ban ape research, Nature.

For all the monkey business in Washington, DC, US lawmakers have decided to get serious about protecting chimpanzees. But doing so creates a conundrum: although the apes are intelligent and caring creatures, they are also considered by many to be the best animal model for developing a vaccine for hepatitis C, a human liver disease that leads to nearly 350,000 deaths each year worldwide.

Animals in the Wild

New Bonobo Ape Population Discovered. National Geographic News, March 6, 2007.

“A new population of bonobos, one of humankind’s closest genetic relatives, has been discovered deep in a forest in Africa’s Democratic Republic of the Congo. Perhaps the largest known concentration of bonobos anywhere, the group may number as many as 3,000—a significant addition to a recent estimated total of 10,000.”

The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival, John Vaillant

“Even while captive in zoos or tamed in circuses, tigers have the power to frighten us, but for sheer fierceness, none of the majestic creatures can rival the man-eating Amur that roam the Mongolian steppes. In recent decades, that ferocity became terrifyingly manifest when a giant Siberian tiger ravaged and ate a human victim in what was almost certainly a savage act of vengeance. The search for this killer feline serves as the narrative thrust for John Vaillant’s fascinating exploration of the deteriorating relationship between humans and these menacing, now seriously threatened creatures.“

Parenting, Language and Societal Development

Why Rich Parents Don’t Matter, Wall Street Journal, January 22, 2011

“How much do the decisions of parents matter? Most parents believe that even the most mundane acts of parenting—from their choice of day care to their policy on videogames—can profoundly influence the success of their children. Kids are like wet clay, in this view, and we are the sculptors.  Yet in tests measuring many traits, from intelligence to self-control, the power of the home environment pales in comparison to the power of genes and peer groups. We may think we’re sculptors, but the clay is mostly set.”

Tiger Mothers: Raising Children The Chinese Way, NPR, January 11, 2011

“In her new memoir, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, Chua recounts her adventures in Chinese parenting, and — nuts though she may be — she’s also mesmerizing. Chua’s voice is that of a jovial, erudite serial killer — think Hannibal Lecter — who’s explaining how he’s going to fillet his next victim, as though it’s the most self-evidently normal behavior. That’s the other gripping aspect of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother:  There’s method to Chua’s madness — enough method to stir up self-doubt in readers who subscribe to more nurturing parenting styles.”

The First Idea, Stanley I. Greenspan, Stuart G. Shanker

“When and how did humans acquire the faculty of symbolic thinking? In this study of the origin of human intelligence, the nature-versus-nurture conundrum is no closer to resolution. However, the nurture side of the debate does get a boost here. Greenspan and Shanker, a child psychiatrist and a philosopher, respectively, explicate their 16-level “functional/emotional” framework to support the evidence about human intelligence that they have gathered from the fields of child development, animal (especially chimpanzee) communication, paleoanthropology, sociology, and the history of philosophy. Apart from building their construct, Greenspan and Shanker challenge the nature champions, such as neuroscientists Joseph LeDoux (The Emotional Brain, 1996) and Steven Pinker (The Blank Slate, 2002).”

Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies, Jared M. Diamond

“In this Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Jared Diamond argues that both geography and the environment played major roles in determining the shape of the modern world. This argument runs counter to the usual theories that cite biology as the crucial factor. Diamond claims that the cultures that were first able to domesticate plants and animals were then able to develop writing skills, as well as make advances in the creation of government, technology, weaponry, and immunity to disease.”

Language Development

Theoretical frameworks of language development, biological preconditions, environmental Influences, social preconditions.

Similar TEDTalks

Joshua Klein on the intelligence of crows, TED2008

“Hacker and writer Joshua Klein is fascinated by crows. (Notice the gleam of intelligence in their little black eyes?) After a long amateur study of corvid behavior, he’s come up with an elegant machine that may form a new bond between animal and human.”

Jane Goodall helps humans and animals live together, TEDGlobal 2007

The legendary chimpanzee researcher Jane Goodall talks about TACARE and her other community projects, which help people in booming African towns live side-by-side with threatened animals.

Beverly + Dereck Joubert: Life lessons from big cats, TEDWomen 2010

Beverly + Dereck Joubert live in the bush, filming and photographing lions and leopards in their natural habitat. With stunning footage (some never before seen), they discuss their personal relationships with these majestic animals — and their quest to save the big cats from human threats.

26 Jan 2011

TEDxSMU Tuesday 1.18.11

Events, Ideas, News No Comments

As a follow up to our conversation about Haiti and the challenges it faces in rebuilding, we’ve put together a list of resources for further exploration in the areas of architecture/engineering, politics, healthcare, and microfinance.


Haiti’s Quake, One Year Later: It’s the Rubble, Stupid! Time, January 12, 2011

“[Rubble removal] requires massive funding, and little of the $9 billion that other donor nations pledged last year — only 10% of which has materialized — is earmarked for backhoes, earth movers and dump trucks.”

A Plan to Spur Growth Away From Haiti’s Capital New York Times, March 30, 2010

“The guidelines’ well-reasoned thinking about environmental threats and the history of urban development in Haiti suggests that they could become a reliable blueprint not just for reconstruction, but also for solving many of the urban ills that have plagued the country for decades.”

Corruption Kills Nature, January 12, 2011

“The structural integrity of a building is no stronger than the social integrity of the builder, and each nation has a responsibility to its citizens to ensure adequate inspection. In particular, nations with a history of significant earthquakes and known corruption issues should stand reminded that an unregulated construction industry is a potential killer.”

AIDG in Haiti

The Appropriate Infrastructure Development Group (AIDG) helps individuals and communities get affordable and environmentally sound access to electricity, sanitation and clean water.  Through a combination of business incubation, education, and outreach, we help people get technology that will better their health and improve their lives.

Architecture for Humanity

The Haiti Team of Architecture for Humanity runs its reconstruction programs out of the Rebuilding Center in Port-au-Prince. These efforts are aimed at coordinating and collaborating with local professionals, educational institutions and other NGOs, training and educating professionals and building owners and directing the design and construction of primary and secondary schools.

The Rebuilding Center will serve as a one-stop shop for professional design and construction services. It will provide workforce training, consumer education, professional referrals, and serve as a clearinghouse for reconstruction bid and tender opportunities. Architecture for Humanity intends to transfer ongoing operations to Haitian hands within five years, following our long-term plan for reconstruction.

Watch Architecture for Humanity co-founder Cameron Sinclair’s TED Prize Wish.


Former Haitian Dictator Taken Away by Police New York Times, January 18, 2011

“One year after the nation was hit by a devastating earthquake that killed more than 200,000 people, the country has been grappling to absorb the potentially destabilizing blow of Mr. Duvalier’s surprise return this week, which drew condemnations from around the world and ignited new fears of conflict.”

United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti

MINUSTAH’s original mandate was to restore a secure and stable environment, to promote the political process, to strengthen Haiti’s Government institutions and rule-of-law-structures, as well as to promote and to protect human rights. The Security Council, by resolution 1908 of 19 January, endorsed the Secretary-General’s recommendation to increase the overall force levels of MINUSTAH to support the immediate recovery, reconstruction and stability efforts in the country.


Partners in Health in Haiti

Founded in Boston in 1987 by Paul Farmer, Thomas J. White, and Todd McCormack to support activities in rural Haiti, Partners In Health (PIH) has three goals: to care for our patients, to alleviate the root causes of disease in their communities, and to share lessons learned around the world. Through long-term partnerships with our sister organizations, we bring the benefits of modern medical science to those most in need and work to alleviate the crushing economic and social burdens of poverty that exacerbate disease. PIH believes that health is a fundamental right, not a privilege.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Information from the CDC on the October 2010 cholera outbreak in Haiti.

Microfinance in the Caribbean

Chiapas International

Chiapas International supports Hispaniola (Haiti and the Dominican Republic) through Esperanza International and the Grameen Foundation.

ACCION International

In collaboration with the Inter-American Development Bank, ACCION is assisting five partner institutions in expanding their microfinance services to rural clients in Latin America. This multi-year project involves Banco ADEMI, Credife, Finamerica, Financiera FAMA, and MiBanco and includes innovative work in the areas of financial products, alternative distribution channels, value chains, financial education and systematization of knowledge.

26 Jan 2011

TEDxSMU Tuesdays

Events, Ideas, News 1 Comment

TEDxSMU Tuesdays are off to a great start! In collaboration with Lockheed Martin Skunk Works Lab, we’re presenting a TEDTalk and facilitating engaging discussions with members of the SMU and Dallas communities. We’ll host this brown bag series every Tuesday of the spring semester. The topic changes every week, so join us as often as you can!

Not able to make it every Tuesday? We’ll post the talk and further research points every week so you can follow along.

21 Jan 2011

Amazing talks from TEDxKIDS @SMU

Events, News No Comments

Check out the fabulous talk from Daniella Willis, a junior at the Oakridge Academy in Arlington, TX. Daniella competed in the Brave New Voices competition last summer in Los Angeles, and joined us at TEDxKIDS @SMU to share some of her poetry.

Then, Mick Ebeling tells us a story that sounds impossible (NOT!) — the tale of how he and a group of designers and hackers helped his friend Tony communicate for the first time in seven years after he lost his ability to do so because of ALS.

14 Dec 2010

TEDxKIDS @SMU – the results are in!

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The results of TEDxKIDS @SMU 2010 continue to amaze and inspire us. At the conference, we saw 300 middle school students learning about evolution courtesy of a Canadian rapper, believing in the impossible through the EyeWriter, supporting peers who spoke about micro-lending, politics, poetry. The energy in the room was infectious, even catching Mayor Tom Leppert and DISD Superintendent Michael Hinojosa in the excitement.

The actions of students inspired by TEDxKIDS @SMU have been overwhelming and humbling. In exchange for free admission to TEDxKIDS @SMU, student attendees were required to complete a service project. Through projects at SMU, at school, and with local nonprofits, students who attended TEDxKIDS @SMU have contributed more than 700 service hours to the community.

Sixty-seven students gathered at SMU to participate in service projects on November 20, TEDxYouth Day. Brought together in a common goal of helping other kids, students from schools across the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex worked side by side, creating:

  • 25 care packages for young patients at Children’s Medical Center of Dallas
  • 14 decorated gardening pots for the Jubilee Park & Community Center
  • 20 mala bracelets to raise funds to benefit children in India
  • 30 “care cards” providing words of encouragement to fellow students

We hoped that by allowing students to design their own service projects, they could use the energy of TEDxKIDS @SMU to create projects that inspired them. We learned a very important lesson – never underestimate the power of giving kids the support and freedom to design and execute their own ideas. Our TEDxKIDS @SMU turned the small opportunity of designing something on their own and created projects far beyond our expectations. Their work, filled with kindnesses large and small, will impact hundreds of people, both locally and internationally.

Akiba Academy students designed a Chesed Fair at their school. Students organized several projects through the fair, including a bake sale and a bone marrow registry drive, teaching younger students about recycling, making infant blankets for Collin County Children’s Advocacy Center, creating books on tape for children, and making kosher meals for the Austin Street Centre.

Communities in Schools GEMS (Girls Exploring Math & Science) students will participate in a service learning project about water conservation and raise money for treating water-borne illness in Haiti.

Harold W. Lang Middle School students organized a food drive to benefit White Rock Center of Hope.

Holy Trinity Catholic School students are organizing a school-wide walk-a-thon in PE classes to raise money for an organization that targets child hunger in Dallas.

KIPP : TRUTH students made over 60 mala bracelets for the children’s charity Baal Dan. Each bracelet sold will provide three meals for a child in India.

North Hills Preparatory students conducted a week-long fundraiser for Falling Whistles and raised $1,000 for the organization.

The Oakridge School students are writing thank-you letters to veterans and organizing a special veterans’ luncheon at school.

St. John’s Episcopal School students were inspired by Will Watson’s talk about the Falling Whistles organization and have organized an event to raise awareness about the nonprofit’s work in the Congo.

Williams Preparatory middle school students created encouragement cards for their high school classmates taking the SAT. Included in their advice:

  • “Smile All the Way To college” (SAT) – what the test stands for!
  • I proudly support one of my own school’s Test Taking students. Go and Be the Best. Have a life… Have a Dream… Be the Dream

You can see more pictures from the Service Projects on our Flickr page.

07 Dec 2010

TEDWomen starts in just a few hours!

Events No Comments

We are so thrilled to have the opportunity to host a TEDxSMU simulcast of the TEDWomen conference. A huge thank you to The Hockaday School for hosting our group, and to Bobby & Candice Haas and Park Restaurant for providing us with door prizes for attendees. For those of you attending, the “stuff you should know” list is below. If you are interested in attending, you can still sign up (the password is TEDWomen).

We are so excited about the livecast of TEDWomen on Dec. 7 & 8, and wanted to share some last minute details about the event.

Parking & Location:
The conference will be held at the Hockaday School at 11600 Welch Road (map). Please come in the main gate on Welch Road south of Forest, and park in visitor parking. Check in at the reception desk and signs/volunteers will direct you to the Clements Lecture Hall. School is still in session, so we do require that you check in at the reception desk.

We have some lovely door prizes to give out at each session; please bring your business cards for the drawings.

Sessions 4 & 5:
Hockaday has generously offered to provide a light snack lunch for guests staying for both Sessions 4 & 5 on Wednesday. If you are interested, please email TEDxSMU@gmail.com so we can have a headcount.

Business casual is absolutely fine. Be comfortable!

What to Expect:
This is a casual event. We’ll have informal discussions between sessions and the audience will be a mix of the TEDxSMU and Hockaday communities.

We will have the registration list at the door, so don’t worry if you forget the print-off of your tickets!

We have reserved seats for Hockaday students and staff at each session, but will gladly seat walk-ins as long as we have empty seats!

If you have any questions, please email TEDxSMU@gmail.com or call the TEDxSMU office at 214 768 1558 (we will be out of the office from 11:00AM on tomorrow).

09 Nov 2010

How do you create a sustainable conference lunch?

Ideas No Comments

Now that we’re through the pomp and circumstance of the actual TEDxSMU event, we’re in the process of wrap up and debrief. One of the major issues we keep coming back to is how to provide quality food service for a 500+ person conference in a manner that’s as sustainable as possible.

During the 2009 TEDxSMU, we opted to offer boxed lunches, which created an extraordinary amount of waste: both in terms of leftover food and in terms of trash. Going into the production of the 2010 conference and with the help of a fantastic sustainability committee, we decided to work with the caterer to offer buffet-styled lunch for the conference. We knew it would be a tough proposition to feed as many people as we needed to in that time frame and in that space, but it allowed us to go to china and flatware as opposed to disposables, and we were able to package all the untouched leftovers and donate the food to The Stewpot.

In the end, I was thrilled we were able to donate the leftovers and have substantially less trash and waste, but I know the experience for our attendees was frustrating, crowded and often times with long waits.

So here’s the quandary moving forward: what’s the balance? What’s the right answer? How do you create the experience you want for the crowd, but with a consciousness towards the environment that reflects the values we believe in? I would love to know what you think…even though at this point it’s all theoretical since we’ve not yet committed to dates or a venue for next year! Surely there are creative answers we haven’t yet thought of as to how to hit both marks!

Thanks for your thoughts,

Sharon Lyle