Friday, November 18, 2011

TEDx - Cesar Harada

Cesar Harada gave an inspiring talk about how he and his team are helping use technology to help clean oil spills. He coordinates Open_Sailing which is a group developing open-source International Ocean Station. They have developed a remote controlled sail boat which will help clean oil spills in the oceans more efficiently. The remote controlled sailing robot is called Protei. The boats entire hull flexes making it resemble a fish as it maneuvers. This sinuous motion makes the robot more efficient as it tacks, or changes course, going up wind. All of the technology being developed is open sourced making it easy for anyone to modify or improve designs from anywhere in the world.

Team members wanted to document the existing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico but authorities didn't grant them open access to view or chart the spill. In order to get detailed maps of the spill, they decided to simply float a digital camera high into the sky using a weather balloon. Thousands of digital pictures were then composited to create a detailed view of the area.

In his closing statements, Cesar pointed out that technology needs to be used to protect the earth from civilizations often destructive search for fuel. Everyone in the Winter Garden Theater stood and applauded his efforts with thunderous applause.

One of the next speakers was neuroscientist Wendy Suzuki. She has been researching how aerobic exercise improves learning, memory and cognition. She took an aerobics class and found she was fired up and felt sharp and inspired as she learned new things. She was offered to teach a class called "Can Exercise Change your Brain?", at NYU and she used the students in her research. The class exercised while shouting out positive affirming statements. There was some nervousness and giggling at first but then the students embraced the motivational exercise program. She found that a semester of increased aerobic exercise improved performance on a recognition memory task compared to a control class that did not participate in the same exercise regime during the semester. In another study, she found that an hour of aerobic exercise improved cognitive performance in college students on a number of tasks dependent on the frontal lobe. She decided to get the audience involved. She had us all pump our hands in the air to some fast energetic music while we shouted strong affirmations. Actually, I was a slug, my hands stayed on task, finishing a sketch. Even so, I was fired up and ready to learn more. Sweat then study! Keep creating, make mistakes, learn from them and grow.


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