#TEDxWaterloo

tedx waterloo
Credit: flickr / Trevor Haldenby (from TEDxWaterloo 2010)

My mind was blown at TEDx Waterloo – the Uncharted – on Thursday. Seriously, it was SO AWESOME. I was extremely excited and it was more awesome than even I had prepared myself for.

Vincent John Vincent (from GestureTek) talked about gesture-based computing. It’s incredible what they’ve been doing and for how long, and made me think about the implications of the Kinect – the start of affordable, gesture based computing.

Michael Nielsen spoke about the Open Science movement. I really loved this talk, because I agree that research, particularly publicly funded research shouldn’t be locked away. It should be as open as possible. We need to have a culture change, where the rewards of publishing a mediocre paper do not exceed the rewards of furthering human knowledge through open initiatives.

Shelley Ambrose spoke about the need to have “curious” conversations, particularly her experience in selling Canada to New Yorkers. Her talk was a reminder that we communicating is more about listening than talking.

Colin Ellard gave an amusing talk about how we come to get lost, and our relationship with space.

Miriah Meyer talked about visualization in biology. I really loved how she talked about taking an engineering approach to visualization.

Shawn Qu spoke about solar power and reusable energy.

Ben Grossman played a hurdy gurdy.

Jean-François Carrey was the youngest Canadian to climb Everest. His dedication to achieving that goal, and the ways he went about it made for a great talk. “I put it on a t-shirt so then I had to do it”, was pretty memorable. But the things he had to say about your support network, and getting people to buy in to your goal were great too.

Abby Sunderland told the story of her around the world attempt. This girl is seriously cool, fixing boats and attempting something that ambitious. The way she spoke about dealing with failing (I’m sure there’s a different perspective on failure when you nearly die), was very down to earth. Rogue waves will hit, and you’ll have to deal with it.

Vicki Keith inspired with her tales of teaching and of setting – and achieving – crazy, audacious, hairy goals. This woman is a legend, I cannot at all comprehend swimming butterfly for 80 kilometers (and over 63 hours). And it all started with an obnoxious ballet teacher and this search for something she could excel at. I love it! The advice about starting being the hardest part, and creating your own reality in which you goal is possible, even if it seems impossible to others, was uplifting.

Roberta Bondar was hilarious. I laughed so much during her talk! But the way she related the change that astronauts find on their return to earth with our ability to respond to change and challenge in other areas was really cool.

Edwin Outwater talked about Rebel music, illustrating his points with a live band on stage. Pretty awesome!

I feel inspired, and invigorated, and really grateful to be living in #wrawesome. So many cool people – not just the speakers, but also the attendees. This is a really amazing place to live!

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