TedX attracts audience of nearly 1,000
A record 920 guests turned out for today's TEDx Bermuda.
The conference heard speakers ranging from Japan's last ninja to the world's fastest electric pilot.
“Whatever you were doing this morning, I hope you were clearing your minds,” organiser John Narraway told the packed auditorium in the Fairmont Southampton.
Mr Narraway, who helped winnow this year's speakers from a pool of 60 down to the top ten, took to the stage as smoke dissipated from Jinichi Kawakami's lecture on the roots of ninjutsu. The man billed as Japan's last ninja had demonstrated the use of the smoke bomb as cover – and how to use a cloak to disguise himself as a stone.
Asked why he hadn't assigned himself a successor, Mr Kawakami replied: “Ninjutsu is a classical military technique – ninjutsu has no place in this modern society.”
Sparking deep conversation is the TEDx mission, and today's speakers didn't disappoint.
The conference heard of the budding new field of synthetic biology from guest Natalie Kuldell, and the Island got another visit from Professor Robert Lustig, warning of the chronic disease caused by the sugar overdose fed into Western processed food.
Dr Lustig was a star guest for the Bermuda Diabetic Association earlier in the year, and his current visit will include meetings on Monday with local health authorities.
In a TEDx first, the audience got to see themselves on a screen – viewed through the Google glasses of surgeon Rafael Grossman.
Lecturing on the “telemedicine” permitted by new smartphones and devices like the glasses, Dr Grassman marvelled: “A device that was for play, we can now use to save lives."
There were local implications in the talk by sea farmer Bren Smith, whose vertical farm in the waters of Long Island Sound extends from the seabed to surface buoys. Three-dimensional sea farming maximises diversity without stripping the environment of resources in the “plundering” style of industrial fishing, he said.
“Here in Bermuda you've got shellfish, seaweeds, that you can grow in this,” Mr Smith told the audience.
While a MakerBot Replicator machine in the lobby demonstrated 3-D printing, the conference saw teaching through break-dancing demonstrated by the group Hip Hop Fundamentals. Bermuda's Ombudsman, Arlene Brock, lectured on the art of sifting through the complex facts of a dispute.
Animator and artist Andrew Park lectured along to one of his own animated displays on learning, and filmmaker Jeremy Gilley related his 14-year personal journey in getting September 21 established as a global day of peace.
Pilot Chip Yates closed the 2013 TEDx on a high note. The man behind the world's fastest motorbike and plane informed his audience: “The last two world records I set with an airplane were last week. The three before that were last month. The one before that was last year.”
Mr Yates accomplished such feats having only received his pilot's licence last year.
“Risk is the currency of innovation,” he said, after recounting an early electric motorcycle crash that shattered his pelvis.
“The risks we're taking here, we believe are necessary for taking technology forward.”