THE SPECKTATOR

Jax Gets TED-ucated

Live blogging from TEDx Jacksonville

Denise M. Reagan
Posted

Kerry Speckman shares her unique perspective and observations on people, places and events on the First Coast and beyond. She's also the 2012 winner of Jacksonville Dancing With the Stars, so she's got that going for her.

So excited for TEDx Jacksonville to finally be here and want to share this amazing experience with those of you who couldn't be here or so I'll be live blogging the event ... because live Tweeting is just annoying. No offense.

10:50 a.m. Host Al Letson opens the show with a quote from Margaret Mead. Something about small groups of people changing the world. [I can't type fast enough to get it verbatim.] Then encourages participants: "Talk to people you don't know. Ask someone a question. One of the first questions I ask people is 'what's the bravest thing you've ever done?'" A memorable response, he says, was a man who saved a chihuahua from drowning in a big fish tank.[Still working on my answer.]

10:54 a.m.: Housekeeping reminders ... Letson points out the exits "in case anything bad happens ... which it won't" [he must have been a Boy Scout]. Turn off your cell phones. Video cameras or everywhere. Keep your droolng to a minimum. And if you're going to be Tweeting from the event, use the hashtag #TEDxJax. 

10:58 a.m.: First spontaneous applause of the day. Letson says he's from Jacksonville and proud to be.

11 a.m. Barbara Collciello speaks on "Improvisation to the Rescue." "Nothing," she says, is more powerful than to be together, your minds and hearts, listening and sharing."

11:05 a.m. Al introduces 5 & Dime, a Theatre Company, who perform an excerpt from Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens. [Now would be a good time to look up what "elegy" means. ... I'll be right back.] And don't forget to use the hashtag #TEDxJax.

11:07 a.m. Just as Bruce Ganger takes the stage to discuss "Moving Toward a HungerSolution, the lights go out. The executive director of Second Harvest Food Bank is unfazed. "I can't make you see what hunger looks like. But darkness is one way to portray it. You can't focus on anything else, you feel immoblized and anxious, you can't connect with others. You can't read, study or work. Metaphorically, you can't wait until the  lights come back on." Then he drops some disturbing facts: 1 out of 6 adults are actively hungry or "food insecure" meaning they don't know how or when they are getting their next meal. One in four children are hungry or food insecure. [This talk is giving me a pit in my stomach ... of guilt, not hunger.]

11:31 a.m. "If we don't own the issue, how is it ever going to get better?" Letson says and introduces former Ambassador Nancy Soderberg and her "ridiculous resume" (which includes a recent appearance on "The Daily Show".) Oh, yes, and remember to use your hashtags.

11:33 a.m. In her presentation, "The New Global Impact," Soderberg discusses the horrific situation in the Congo: hundreds of thousands of people dying from disease, hunger, war. And if you think it doesn't affect Americans, think again. "Do you feel safe? Do you feel prosperous?" she asks the audience. "I don't." From Somali pirates and Chechnyan bombers to Al Qaeda/Qaida/Kaida and cyber attackers, America is in the cross-hairs, Soderberg says. And it's time for America to step up and embrace the new compact. [On another note: how cool is it to say "When I was at the White House..."? And mean it?]

11:55 a.m. Letson is back. Hashtag count: 6. Finally have time to look up the definition of "elegy." Don't judge.

noon: Video from a previous TED event. Brené Brown speaks on "The Power of Vulnerabiity." 

12:14 p.m. Letson introduces President & CEO of Jacksonville Community Council IncBen Warner. [No hashtag mentions. #getittogetherletson]

12:15 p.m. Ben Warner on  "New Models for Civic Engagement." [My apologies to Ben, but my computer ran out of juice just as he started speaking. But he did make a reference to Schoolhouse Rock, which is awesome.] 

1:31 p.m. Back from lunch. Thanks for the chicken salad, Black Sheep! Letson brings the hashtag reference total to 10!

1:35 p.m. Patricia Siemen on "The Rights of Nature": "We think of ourselves as though the Earth rotates around us. Not the sun," she says. "Was Copernicus wrong?" [Astronomy jokes kill with smart people!] "The illusion of our separation is dangerous. We think the laws of nature and physics don’t apply to us, which means we continue our actions of destruction. [Side note: Siemen is a nun and a lawyer. If I meet her, should I call her Counselor Sister Siemen or Sister Counselor Siemen? Or just leave her alone?]

1:52 p.m. Did Al Letson really just ask where lost and found is? Video break...

1:55 p.m. Performance by Jacksonville University Honors String Quartet. [Didn't even need the cowbell.] 

2:08 a.m. Al just told the audience how great we look. Then he barked. [Still at 10 hashtag references]

2:10 p.m. Video from Ric Elias: "Three Things I Learned While My Plane Crashed": "I no longer try to be right; I choose to be happy." Brilliant.

2:14 p.m. Al Letson just admitted that he opens dictionaries too. So there.

2:16 p.m. Speaking on "Tales From the Ocean's Garbage Patch," Matt Rutherford is the first person in the history of the world to complete a non-stop navigation voyage around North America and South America (translation: Annapolis, Md. to Cape Horn in Chile ... and back ... 27,000 miles) and he's telling us why he is insane—but in a good way. According to Matt, 1 trillion plastic bags are used every year: only 11 percent are recycled—10 percent wind up in the ocean. Spontaneous applause when Matt brings up "stupid coffee stirrers" being used for 10 seconds and lasting four generations.  

2:31 p.m. Letson is back. "Hashtag." "Hashtag." "Hashtag." Total=13

2:33 p.m. Video from TEDx Puget Sound: Simon Sinek on "Golden Circle Essence." [Is everyone named Simon brilliant?]

2:49 p.m. Letson "hashtag" count: 15

2:50 p.m. Robert Inglis is about to speak on "Changing the Dialogue on Energy on Climate" which, unfortunately, coincides with my need for a bathroom break. 

3:03 p.m. Here's what "Folio Weekly" editor Denise Reagan Tweeted about Inglis' presentation since I missed it: 

  • “Free enterprise can fix climate change”  —Robert Inglis #TEDxJax
  • According to @bobinglis, BMW = Bubba akes Wheels. Love it! #tedxjax
  • Eliminate the opportunity to belch and burp for free. #TEDxJAX

[I definitely need to ask her about that last one. I've been giving them away for free for years.]

3:05 p.m. Al Letson calls me out—from the stage—for counting how many times he has said "hashtag." In the process, he brings his total to 18.

Break time... beach balls... 

3:55 p.m. Did you ever know Hank Coxe was Al Letson's hero? It's true. Al says that Hal is the "conscience of Jacksonville."

4:01 p.m. Coxe opens "When Will Your Child Be Eligible for Parole?" with a story about playing 3-on-3 basketball against Lew Alcindor (aka Kareem Abdul-Jabbar). I can't begin to do this presentation justice (pardon the pun) ... so just read this by Ron Word that appeared in "Folio Weekly." Five word summary: "Kids are not little adults."

4:20 p.m. Bob-n-Me performs and it goes a little something like this: Church car. Kumquat. Church car. Bang. Rubber baby. Rubber baby. Church car. Box car. Bang. Church car. Automobile. [I'm clearly not smart enough to get this, but the presentation started at a highly appropriate time.]

4:26 p.m. Anaaad he's back. Al's talking about Bugs Bunny, dyslexia, cheerleading, Delores Barr Weaver, Jacksonville ... but not a single mention of hashtags.

4:35 p.m. Alas, my live blogging is over for the time being as I have to prepare my costume for the Halloween Party at the Casket Factory. To keep up with what's going on at TED, follow Folio Weekly on Twitter. To find out how many more times Al Letson says "hashtag," @karenfeagins is your girl.

One final note: kudos to the entire TEDx Jacksonville team for an awesome event! Let's do it again next year!

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