By: Daniel Ciccarello
TED X FSCJ took place this past Saturday October 3rd. The sold out event took place at the Nathan H. Wilson Center for the Arts at Florida State College at Jacksonville’s South Campus. People from all walks of life were in attendance to hear a myriad of ideas. Pre-show, the atmosphere was lively with speakers, staff, and attendees mingling and sipping on free coffee. The event started with a TED video about using electrodes in patients’ brains to help with conditions like Parkinson’s. Then the first speaker Sara Childers — an FSCJ student — explained how working with sea life helped her find her calling, in a talk titled “What Dolphins Taught Me About Autism”. Her talk included a particularly touching story about how a stranded whale looked into her eyes and knew she was there to help. Next Dr. Dianne Fair spoke about “The Fight Against Microorganisms,” enlightening the audience with a talk about the ways people fight infections with microorganisms and how they are evolving. Dr. Fair even spoke of using fecal bacteria to solve colon issues.
After a short break, Nicolas Michaud’s passionate talk, “Educating the Whole Person,” started off the second session. The general idea of the talk was that people are teaching kids the wrong way in schools. Michaud argued that society isn’t preparing children for the real world because deep down we know that kids are educated to “make cheaper hamburgers.” In the next TED talk, Mark Ronson presented “How Sampling Transformed Music.” Many considered Michael T. Smith’s talk the most controversial talk of the day. Smith — a pastor who works to eradicate systemic racism — gave a heartfelt talk about the use of the “N-Word” in his young life and how he grew up in an atmosphere steeped in racism. Two forms of the word were discussed and he spoke about stopping the use of the word, but stressed that more work has to be done internally to stop the thoughts that bubble up from his upbringing. The talk received a standing ovation and cheers from the crowd. With that, the second session was over and lunch was served. During lunch attendees were encouraged to fill out a paper red globe with their vision of the brave new world and hang it on a large X.
During lunch, co-executive producer Lynn Lewis mentioned the event takes a year to plan and joked that it “cured her mid-life crisis.” She was in high spirits and said the event was going extremely well.
After lunch another TED video was screened featuring Eli Pariser, who spoke about Online “Filter Bubbles” and how algorithms are selecting content for people without their permission. He warned that it could lead to a lack of civic understanding. Then Jonathon Fletcher made the case for community solar over individual solar panels on homes and businesses. Stressing its ease and cost effectiveness over traditional installs. Nicholas Martino then let attendees know that people have a unique opportunity with digital privacy laws. According to his talk, this is one of the rare times that the court is looking to the public to see what level of digital privacy the public expects. The next TED video featured Jon Ronson telling a cautionary tale about the speed of judgement on social media and the tendency to paint people as heroes or villains online. For example, Justine Sacco made an innocent joke before she boarded a plane and went to sleep. She woke up to find out Twitter had made her out to be a entitled racist. Ronson’s talk concluded the third session and another break followed.
During the final session, Andres Rojas read poetry as a way to enlighten the audience on the perils of poetry — namely the peril of taking a poem at first glance and not looking for multiple meanings. Up next was a spoken word performance by Alisha Lockley titled “The Anatomy of Intimacy.” She stressed it’s part of life to fall and we fall so we can grow. In the same vein, the next TED video featured John Bohannon with his talk, “Dance vs. Powerpoint, A Modest Proposal.” Bohannon had dancers on stage with him to help illustrate his points. The last speaker of the event was Dr. Jeff Hess who encouraged the audience to use “The Ultimate Communication Device” — body language. Hess stressed the importance of human interaction and how humans pick up on nonverbal communication.
TEDx FSCJ was organized by the TEDx club at FSCJ. Under the supervision of organizer Dr. Jose Lepervanche, curator, Paul Hendrickson, and co-executive producers, Lynn Lewis and Jennifer Grey.