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TEDActive 2012 Reflections

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It has been a week since I have been at TED Active, which also means that I have finally caught my breath and recovered from the intense mental stimulation. To sum up my time at TED, the picture of my badge says it all: I had a fantastic week where I spent with my fellow TED Fellows, TEDxOrganizers and plenty of inspirational attendees.

This is my 4th time at TED, and my 3rd in Palm Springs for TEDActive, so I am no longer a outsider - There were regulars whom I've met in previous years, continuing conversations that were started months before; and new friends whom I have made who blew my mind. Sometimes I wished that my life is a continuous TED conference, being inspired by one another, I got so energized that I wanted to get straight to work right after (mental at least, I was so physically exhausted). I made a small promise to myself this year, which is not to blog or tweet during the sessions - That gave me more time and energy to listen, digest and connect during my 4 days at the conference. So here are my thoughts:

I was one of 12 Fellows who were at TEDActive, staying at a ridiculously lavish house sponsored by Air BNB half a mile away from the Rivera Hotel where the conference was held. (White and stainless steel interiors and on the outside a pool and a hot tub.) It never cease to amaze me what the fellows do, from astronomy, to dance videography, to art using nano chemistry to video games. I spent hours listening to there stories, of how they are following their passions. Each of them had their unique story, their unique challenge - Take for example, Richard Move, is an artist who is putting together a documentary film about Heidi Latsky's GIMP project confronting disabilities through dance and performance, inviting the audience to stare and reconsider their perceptions. 

5 of the fellows shared our interesting ideas and perspectives at TED You - Lucianne Walkowicz, a female astronomer who is also an awesome artist who does amazing anime style art, made astronomy accessible and easy to understand in her talk about invisible light. Kate Nichols spoke about her work using nano particles to create color - where there are color that objects inherently possess and structural color, where nano structures that refract light so that we see different colors from different angles. Richard Move who talked about the significance of his upcoming GIMP documentary. Jennifer Indovina shared about the importance of letting one interrupt - an interesting idea, since at TED we tend to do because of the many ideas bouncing around in our heads and we are afraid that they might lose them. I shared about the way I am following my dreams, the idea of using the scientific method - like in science begin with a hypothesis we design experiments to test them out, and we learn from the results and we improve on our next experiment.

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TED is an amazing place to get filled with knowledge and ideas, some are more bizarre than others, some more practical than others, some are just visually stunning, but nonetheless stimulating. I learnt a great deal, and was inspired by many of the talks, in particular a talk given by Bryan Stevenson, a human right activist lawyer, who gave a counter cultural perspective on America's political and legal system, exposing fundamental flaws simply by asking different questions. Often times, we assume that the majority is right, without challenging our beliefs and seeing the world without the lens of our cultural influence. By seeing the world from the view of the minority, we sometimes realize truths that are so obvious that seems silly to ignore.

I left this year's TED with more ideas, more friends, projects and collaborations. I am looking forward to telling stories about these collaborations and projects.

Tino ChowTED, TEDActive