Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Smart Failure

I love TED.

This isn’t a sudden coming-out-of-the-closet thing, or a slightly juvenile attachment to my childhood bear a la Sebastian Flyte. The TED to which I refer is an example of what makes the Internet Age so fantastic.

For those who don’t know it’s basically a loosely gathered organisation that invite some of the great and the good, rising stars and inspirational souls from various walks of life to give a short speech (usually 10-20 min) on their subject of choice to a small audience. This speech is filmed and then plonked onto the interwebz where you can watch it for free.

So far I have heard from a woman who worked on a project to create an aircraft capable of Mach 20 (“It sustained controlled flight for 3 minutes before melting. We can’t put a pilot in it yet.”), a guy who created an augmented reality system and made it open source, the direct correlation between body language, posture and chemical reactions in the brain and I have even learnt about the mechanisms octopi use to avoid becoming dinner for predators.

I love this stuff. I love hearing people speak who genuinely know their subject and talk passionately about it. I love listening to people who are clearly far more intelligent than I, making complex ideas simple. I love the process of following someone else’s knowledge down the rabbit hole and seeing where we end up.

But my favourite so far has been a chap called Eddie Obeng. He clearly has a brain the size of a planet, talks at a million-miles-an-hour and looks at the changing pace of our world in a very very interesting way. He hurtles through the way we learnt at school, the challenges of the work environment and how we like to operate as human beings. Eventually he ties the whole thing together with an inspired piece using fluid mechanics as a metaphor for how we live our lives. He even does the worst impression of the Queen I have ever heard just for good measure. If you’re interested, you can watch his speech just below.....

And I, for my part, am happy to be part of the turbulence. Laminar flow is just so very yesterday.


1 comment:

  1. TED is good...challenging and interesting...if I remember rightly you are our local fluid engineering expert