Mars for the Martians

There are so many examples of human misuse of the Earth that even phrasing this question chills me. If there is life on Mars, I believe we should do nothing with Mars. Mars then belongs to the Martians, even if the Martians are only microbes. The existence of an independent biology on a nearby planet is a treasure beyond assessing, and the preservation of that life must, I think, supersede any other possible use of Mars.

TED Session 4 – See

Today started oddly for me. Tired after too few hours sleep (I was on Canberra time last night), the first session, while certainly interesting didn’t feel like it resoonated with me quite so much as the previous day. I am neither artist, scientist nor musician and the morning was dominated by these disciplines.

Don’t get me wrong, it was all deeply interesting, it just didn’t sing for me. That changed dramatically over the day, as I will explain in a further post.

Deepak Ram

One word. Haunting.

Oliver Sacks

  • we see with the eyes but we see with the brain as well
  • imagination and hallucinations – they are different
  • patient – Rosalie, 95 years old, blind, no mental deterioration
  • began visual hallucinations
  • “It’s like a silent movie”
  • unrelated to anything she was doing
  • no familiar components
  • Charles Bonnet Syndrome – originallly described in 18th Century
  • approximately 10% of Sacks’ patients have visual or auditory hallucinations
  • as vision decays, visual center of brain becomes hyperactive
  • less than 1% of patients with hallucinations acknowledge the condition
  • not the same as psychotic hallucinations which are fully interactive
  • temporal lobe hallucinations are recollective and involve all senses
  • Bonnet is very different as you are an ousider – common factors of facial deformation in characters (large teeth and eyes) and seeing cartoons
  • FMRI now possible during hallucination
  • these issues need to be normalised as a condition
  • “The theatre of the mind being generated by the machinery of the brain”

Jo-ann Kuchera-Morin

  • at UCSB
  • the Allosphere
  • imagine a giant microscope hooked to a supercomputer
  • fit 20 people on viewing platform inside
  • massive visualisations of any activity at any scale
  • H atom particle emissions mapped to sound output
  • listen to the hydrogen

Dale Chihuly

  • trained as interior designer
  • melted some stained glass and changed his life
  • went fishing in Alaska to pay for his graduate study at U Wisconsin (only US glass blowing course at the time)
  • studied in Venice

Olafur Eliasson

  • studio is more like a lab
  • “What consequences does it have when I take a step?”
  • is art about that?
  • works with space – has dimension and temporal factors
  • Negotiability
  • Tangibility
  • Responsibility
  • Causality
  • Consequences
  • between thinking and doing is experience
  • his students (average 20yo) expected TED to be Technology. Environment. Democracy.

Don Levy

  • Sony animation
  • making Cloudy with a chance of Meatballs
  • massive labor intensity
  • computing power changes mean realistic area rather than point lighting now possible
  • also light bounce for surfaces
  • release will be September 2009

Ed Ulbrich

  • team worked on The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  • Benjamin is 100% CGI from the neck up for the first hour of the film
  • have we crossed the Uncanny Valley?
  • anything is possible with enough time, money and resources
  • David Fincher insisted the character be played by a single actor
  • prosthetic would not hold up
  • very high risk
  • beleived they had “a solid methodology that might work”
  • sample verion done in 2004
  • Ed threw up when they were green-lighted
  • 325 sfx shots in the first hour of the film
  • looked at marker-based motion capture
  • needed the “between” data – skin behavior, muscle and bone
  • walked away from motion capture
  • now have a “technology stew”
  • Facial Action Coding System (FACS) defined in early 70s has a set of core actions
  • capture surface in 3D in real time
  • FACS library of Brad Pitt built, mapped against realistically aged maquettes
  • digital puppet that Pitt could control with his face – no animators needed
  • emotion capture
  • 155 people took 2 years

Randy Gleason

  • we have developed a culture of always-on availability
  • we have a proliferation of mobility
  • we have established an expectation of availability
  • we are documenting everything – to the detriment of engagement in the moment
  • there is a correlation between availability and a need for shared narrative
  • “I share therefore I am”
  • we create technology to build shared experience and therefor recreate our world
  • let’s create technology that makes us more human, not less

Ray Zahab

  • just set world speed record for on foor to South Pole – 33d 23h 55m
  • towed own sleds
  • Also ran across Sahara in 111 days – most strong memory is number of people affected by lack of water
  • there has to be a reason for adventurers
  • use adventure to bring attention to issues
  • for Antarctic trip had live updated web site
  • use it to tell the story re pollution and ozone
  • answer questions from school kids
  • solar powered equipment – no batteries
  • inspire young people through web site and also being inspired by their interest
  • has only been running 5 years – before that a pack a day smoker
  • “We can make the impossible possible”

Golan Levin

  • where is art on the iPhone store?
  • empower people through interactivity
  • “The mouse is the narrowest experience to suck the human experience through”
  • Remark system visualises the shape of sounds in the voice
  • phonesthesia
  • Gaze system eye-tracks as a relationship marker
  • videos at
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