Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }

Gerald Joe watches a public livestream of the TED talks outside BC Place in Vancouver, March 17, 2014.

Ben Nelms/The Globe & Mail

Here's what $7,500 can buy you – the opportunity to be surrounded by accomplishment. The high-profile TED Conference (theme: The Next Chapter) kicked off in Vancouver Monday. And even before the opening session "Liftoff!" – featuring Chris Hadfield and others – the very high level of curation was evident, along with the bright-eyed greeters and lattes on demand.

Stepping through the door of the Vancouver Convention Centre, attendees are immediately swept up in the hyper organization. Someone in TED-wear approaches with an iPad, you tell them who you are, and by the time you emerge up the colourful "the next chapter begins here" staircase, a completely new TEDster is there with your badge, addressing you by name.

Around the convention centre, there are hydration stations, Google Glass demonstrations, a Delta Airlines experience that matches you with your Twitter soulmate. Huge boards invite you to rate the importance of various issues such as climate change and rising inequality with a post-it note placed under "Yes, this matters!" or "Not so much."

Story continues below advertisement

At lunch, high-level thinkers could choose from food trucks or fancy buffets with low-cholesterol options such as artisanal greens.

But it's what is going on inside the theatres that is really "jaw-dropping" – that's the top option offered to attendees in evaluating speakers, ranging down to "longwinded" and finally "obnoxious."

Every year, TED – Technology, Entertainment, Design – selects 40 people to take part in pre-conference workshops and give brief talks ahead of the main, higher-profile sessions (20 at the main conference and 20 at the TED Global conference). Some return as Senior Fellows.

On Monday, they presented forward-thinking research and projects covering a huge range of areas, and living up to TED's motto – ideas worth spreading.

Janet Iwasa premiered the 3D animation she has created to help molecular biologists visualize their hypotheses – far more helpful, she said, than the vast oversimplification of traditional molecular drawings. The beta version was available for download on Monday.

David Sengeh, a biomechatronics engineer at MIT Media Lab, explained how he has used technology – including 3D printers – to design prosthetic limb sockets that are more comfortable and less expensive.

Kathryn Hunt recounted how a passion for archeology and a diagnosis of ovarian cancer at 22 led to her study of cancer in ancient societies.

Story continues below advertisement

Another highlight was Palestinian speaker Aziz Abu Sarah. When his brother died after being released from an Israeli prison, where he had been beaten, he was devastated.

"I was bitter, I was angry and all I wanted was revenge," he said. He chose instead to channel his rage into a positive endeavour, and now organizes tours that take Jewish tourists to Palestinian territories, and Muslim tourists into Jewish homes in Israel.

Reforestation expert Shubhendu Sharma creates dense, but tiny forests – as small as the area six cars take up in a typical parking lot – that improve air quality, increase bird visits and yield seasonal fruits, as Mr. Sharma did in his own backyard in India.

Ziyah Gafic explained his quest to document every item recovered from the mass graves of Bosnia-Herzegovina's genocide. His hope for his photos of watches, eyeglasses, toothbrushes and other possessions is to create a database that could help survivors identify the dead, and create a permanent record of the lives lost.

"These items are the last testament to the identity of the victims; the last permanent reminder that these people ever existed."

TED 2014 continues through Friday at the Vancouver Convention Centre.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies