TEDxSydney - Craig Reucassel - Wrapping the Day

Uploaded by TEDxTalks on 10.06.2011

[intro music]
I had muesli for breakfast.
But can I thank Simon Stone for the first planking reference today here, at TED?
I am very happy to be speaking here today. I'm sure everyone is. Because it means the
day is almost over. We're all a little bit elated, aren't we? We're all a little bit
exhausted at this stage. It's been a long day, let's face it. Some of the talks today
could have been a little bit... Possibly.
But there have been so many good speakers today. But, before I go on to them, I just want to
congratulate all of you out there. Remember...that you are a hand-picked audience.
You went through a very complex process to get in here today, unless you knew Remo.
[sniffles and clears throat]
First, you had to become a TEDxSydney community member. Now, we only wanted the best to attend.
Which is why the questions to qualify as a member were so hard ladies and gentlemen.
A lot of people complained about that, but we had to do it. And the thing about the TEDxSydney
community is that you're all go-getters. You're people who set goals and achieve them,
except for this girl here. [sniffles]
No hurry, OK. [chuckles] But look, all of us were chosen in the end
because we're all inherently TED. [sniffles]
As an example of how talented this audience is, it includes the producer of "The King's Speech",
Emile Sherman. Emile is out here somewhere. I think I saw him over there. Congratulations,
Emile: Yeah. [applause]
And Emile, maybe if you achieve something next year, you can be up here on stage, too, hey?
Before I go to the speeches, though, I just wanted to say how fantastic the music was today.
It was quite amazing, ladies and gentlemen, every musical act.
Although, I've always been a massive fan of Fourplay, I think it's time you started flying
guys, OK? [chuckles] The pressure's on.
Now I will briefly, and incorrectly, summarise the speakers we've seen here today.
We started with Bryan Gaensler, the astronomer. A man who has done more work on dying stars
than Joan Rivers' plastic surgeon has.
Now, Bryan took a big challenge. It was a big challenge. He wanted to make us realise
just how insignificant we really are in the universe. And he did succeed.
If you look at the TED sense of self-importance before his speech and then after.
He's really knocked us down there.
He also told us that dark matter and dark energy comprise 95 percent of all matter
and energy in the universe. It also makes up 75 percent of the media as well. [clears throat]
Actually, just a bit of housekeeping while we're here, ladies and gentlemen. I just want
to actually use Bryan's graphic because it was quite useful. As you see, he's established
where we are right there. And, just so you know, the after party's there. OK?
So just use that to make your way there afterwards.
Then we have David Chalmers, who is a philosopher, Director of the Centre for Consciousness,
based in Canberra. Ironically, given it's not a place normally known for consciousness.
David discussed the extended mind, which can be summarised as, iPhone, therefore I am.
He argued how iPhones are now part of our mind. And this was a truly amazing experience
ladies and gentlemen. This is the first time in the history of mankind that somebody has
actually exaggerated the capacity of an iPhone more than Steve Jobs.
But the realisation, though, that our minds are our phones is a fantastic one, ladies and gentlemen.
And I took him up on this idea, because I actually did steal David's phone.
And now I am a consciousness philosopher. Thank you. It's the highest honour I've ever had.
We then had Genevieve Bell, our corporate anthropologist. And one of the 50 most creative
people in business, not including tax accountants, of course.
She was actually the first Australian asked to be a "thinker in residence" in South Australia.
Now that she's left, [chuckles] there are no thinkers in residence in South Australia.
Genevieve asked us to embrace boredom, presumably thought of when in Adelaide. [chuckles]
And I'm not sure if she entirely gets there. Can you imagine if Genevieve ran TED?
But, in the end, I found Genevieve to be an absolute hypocrite. Because she was actually
extremely interesting [laughing] . Thank God one of the speakers later was more focal to
her mantra. [clears throat]
I didn't name anyone. It could be me. [laughs] It probably is.
We then went on to our Josh Cook, our bird behaviourist. Now, a lot of things really fell
into place for me during this speech. When he said that a parrot kept in captivity develops
excessive screeching and aggressive biting. I finally really understood this parrot.
Mango, though, was clearly the star of the show. Mango was quite amazing, flying down here.
And it was great because what I quite liked about it was I discovered that birds
are just like my children. You kind of have to shout at them and whistle at them to come to you.
And, in the end, you have to give them a biscuit.
We then had Richard Cotton, the geneticist, and I really liked Richard Cotton.
He has a humanitarian, egalitarian, equitable approach to spreading medicine. In America he would
be hated and called a communist, wouldn't he? [chuckles]
The only downside of his speech was that, since he showed the diagram of Craig Venter's DNA,
Craig Venter's has now been denied health insurance. So that was a bit of a shame.
[clears throat]
We then had Richard Gill. Richard Gill started by asking for the lights to be brought up
on the audience, so he could pretend that we were all on the same class. And it worked,
amazingly, because when the lights came up, everyone was upper middle class.
Richard then showed us that we're the first audience ever who can't clap properly.
Something was again improved with Ben's drumming later on in the show.
He then argued that we should teach children music. It was a great message, although, he
did somehow miss the important second step of that message, which is then to put your
child on YouTube and wait for a recording contract with Usher.
And by the way, I still don't know what a crotchet or a minim is.
We then had Katherine Samaras, the endocrinologist, and look, her speech had a lot of guts in it,
you've got to say. As far as I could understand it, she suggested we become orthodox Greeks
and fast for 200 days a year. That idea is so crazy, it is bound to become a best selling diet book.
We then heard Grace Karskens, the historian. Her speech showed us the early letters of
Margaret Catchpole, writing home to London and telling them about how great Australia really is.
And today, in Bondi, you can still see the frightening results of these letters,
as more and more Poms flock to our shores.
She also showed us something we've never seen before in Sydney, a livable Sydney, there,
as you can see. And she told us about the amazing number of births in our convict colony,
quite a fascinating thing. Although, again, she left something out. What she didn't tell
you, though, is they were just doing it for the baby bonus to get plasma screens.
We then had Veena Sahajwalla. Now, Veena was a scientist talking about sustainability and
the environment. I have no understanding of what she said. I understood nothing at all.
It was way too complex for me to understand at all. And when I explained this ignorance
to somebody at lunchtime, it was fantastic, because I have now been offered a job as the
climate science writer at "The Australian" newspaper.
As far as I could understand, her whole thing was about a different way of getting rid of
spare tyres, which is good news for these guys again.
We then had Saul Griffith, the inventor. He's fantastic, great speech there.
I mean, he's invented so many things over his time: cheap eyeglasses, a machine that reproduces itself,
his Wikipedia entry. And the only plane that has worse service than Jet Star, but he's
still safer, somehow.
And the problem with Saul is, well, he was so young when he did all this, I mean, have
a look at this. Here is Saul having the time of his life, when he had invented affordable
glasses, but not affordable haircuts.
And, to be fair to Saul, I'm just a little bit jealous, because I also
embarked on a process of making affordable glasses for the third world. Sadly, mine didn't
take off so well.
We then had Josh and Daniel, Daniel Johnson and Josh Wakely. Josh and Daniel, they showed
us that musical collaboration is based on voice mail. Which is why people with Vodafone
aren't able to make music.
There were so many hacked voicemails in that presentation, I thought it was from News of
the World.
But Josh, to be fair, left out an important part of collaboration. And I found it, actually,
on somebody else's voice mail. Paul Kelly was coming up today when I've heard his.
Recording: Hi, it's Paul Kelly here. You can leave a message after the tone. But if it's
Josh, listen now, I've already told you, I really don't want to do the music for your movie.
So, why don't you ask Danny Jones?
Rejection's the important part, ladies and gentlemen.
And just, while we're on these performances, whole idea of performance, we also had Rives,
the performance poet, who's come all the way from New York.
Man: Oh, I knew you'd be making fun of me and man Reeves.
So, what are you going to do about it, mate?
Man: Fisting?
Craig: Fisting? No, I might move on from that, ladies and gentlemen.
We then had Drew Barry, the biomedical animator. This was quite extraordinary animation.
I was quite blown away. And I don't want to be, his malaria video was absolutely chilling,
wasn't it?
And I don't want to be too much of a critic here or anything, but I'm just saying, I thought
the character of the malaria could have done with a buddy, maybe. Maybe you could talk
to Pixar, you know, get a more, just a more uplifting, life affirming end, I thought.
That's the only thing I'd say there. But it was great animation, nonetheless.
We then had Joanna Featherstone, my good friend and poet, and I don't mean to be pedantic
again here, said this to Joanna a few times, "Not much of it rhymes, Joanna."
And I know Oprah has retired, and I don't know if Jo is quite ready to step into the
breach there. She's made the first step, it's not quite there, though. "Look under your seat.
seat. You get a poem, and you get a poem, you get a poem." No one gets a car, unfortunately.
The amazing, the thing I thought was, brought everything together though, today, was when
Joanna was describing pidgin poetry. You could just see Josh Cook sitting in the audience,
suddenly realising why, one day, 50 pigeons brought him poetry. "Oh, that's what it was."
But all in all, ladies and gentlemen, it has been an amazing day with amazing speakers.
And as we draw to a close, no doubt you are all feeling very good. We've all had that
feeling of intellectual exploration, of discussing ideas. You have all had that exclusive
TED experience. Thank you.