TEDx Talks Bring TED Conference to Your Backyard

Attend a local TEDx meeting to inspire innovation and change

I'm lucky enough to live in beautiful Boulder, Colorado, where the Flatirons loom majestically over the CU campus and the granola flows like a cold keg of beer. Boulder has a relatively small but vibrant and active high tech community, with web startups, biotech firms, and telecommunications companies spinning tales at the busy Boulder New Tech Meetup each month. The creative and motivated minds behind this entreprenurial culture also bring events like TEDx to the small but engaged city. TEDx brings the format of the wildly popular but somewhat unaccessible TED conferences to local venues. Each TEDx event hosts a series of short, poignant talks that inspire communication and conversation on a huge range of topics, technology being but one of them. Imporantly, religious, commercial and/or political agendas are not permitted, which helps to remove (but does not entirely eliminate) controversy among participants and attendees. TEDx events are held worldwide in some of the most unlikely places. In many ways, TED is inspired by the same ideals as in the open source community. TED's slogan, "ideas worth spreading," invites participation and discussion in an open format. Videos from the major TED conferences are shared online at ted.com, and the comment threads grow in to the hundreds. Open source assumes many personalities in the talks. For instance, the founder of the open source education site Connexions discusses a fluid approach to education, permitting teachers to modify and update course materials collaboratively and without the limitations of the publishing process. The SixthSense device from Pranav Mistry at MIT, soon to be an open source project, offers a thrilling wearable and touchable computing interface. Jimmy Wales talks about the roots of Wikipedia, and there's a great talk on the open architecture and design project Architecture for Humanity. For me, the most interesting and inspiring talk is Jill Bolte Taylor's "stroke of insight," a fascinating presentation by a brain researcher who experienced a stroke. The event in Boulder is coming up this weekend. Find out if a TEDx event is coming to your area.

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