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The TED University Talk by Ann Treacy
June 29, 2012, 8:10 pm
Filed under: Edinburgh | Tags:

I’m hoping to write about TED in the next week –mostly so that I have ready access to the notes, but of course anyone is welcome to read them. Lots of people have asked about the TED Talk so I thought I’d start there.

Image courtesy of TED Global

I decided earlier this year that I wanted to go to TED Global – so I applied and got in and that was pretty exciting in and of itself. Then they sent out a message inviting people to give talks as part of the TED University. To be a big TED speaker is a *huge* deal. I thought there’d be no way I’d ever be selected to give a TED U talk. (Being a TED U speaker was a tremendous honor – but lest readers get the wrong idea – it’s not like being a planned TED speaker.)Well June 3, approximately three weeks before the conference I got the email (which I read 1000 times) inviting me to be a speaker. I don’t know how many apply; about 12 were selected.

The title of my talk was Ready, Shoot Aim. (Rick B came up with that very good idea!) I had exactly 3 minutes to talk. The TED people could not have been nicer! I wrote several versions of the talk – you know between work and getting ready to get the girls and myself to Dublin. (Patrick left a month earlier.) Then I had an unfortunate situation happen on the way to Dublin – and I trashed the talk I had written and used the incident instead.

The incident: I totally screwed up our flights to Dublin. On Thursday I looked at the tickets thinking the flight was Friday. It was Wednesday. So it was an opportunity to get ready, shoot and aim.

Luckily I spoke on the first day – or I would have missed the whole conference due to worry. All of the TED U speakers gathered at the Lyceum at noon to get a feel for the space. Then we came back around 3:30 for hair and makeup. I went on at 4:40. Before me was a PhD from MIT who had developed a printable microscope. The woman after me spoke about how she is planning to get Alzheimer’s because her dad has it and spoke on the changes she is making in her life in preparation. I was totally out of my league.

I gave the talk. I don’t really remember the experience. I had memorized the talk. Not my favorite way to give a talk. I had no visual aids. I went over my time – in fact I cut our about 20 percent of my talk because I noticed the blinking lights. I thought I’d get comfortable when I was up there. I didn’t. In fact it took about 2 hours and a 20 minute walk back to my hotel to quit shaking. It was totally like going off the high dive – glad I didn’t chicken out, but at that point I wasn’t so sure I was glad I jumped either.

BUT I am glad that I did it. It gave me an opportunity to meet a cohort of sorts off the bat, which was nice. Also, it was a good excuse for people to come up and talk to me. People are really kind. Lots of people said nice things. I got to hear about everyone’s travel mishaps and I found out that librarian is a very popular profession in the TED world – popular as in people liked that – not that there were many librarians. At the conference I spoke with loads of people – but just a handful became friends on any level – and I got to know one set friends because they stopped me and asked about my talk.

The woman who spoke about her Alzheimer’s plan told me that she got to hear all about people’s death stories. In that respect I was glad to have gone lighter. Although her talk was so good, she just may find herself on the big TED website. I will not. Although in about 6 months they will be posting all of the TED U talks on the TED U website.

I still can’t believe I was selected – but I couldn’t be more thankful that I was.



Hack the City: Science Gallery by Ann Treacy
June 23, 2012, 8:23 pm
Filed under: Dublin

Our best event so far was the sneak preview of the Hack the City exhibit at the Science Gallery. I love the Science Gallery and the Hack the City is my favorite exhibit there yet! Maybe the coolest things about the exhibit is the list of events they are planning throughout the summer. One highlight for me is a discussion with Susan Crawford. But clearly that’s not what we saw on Thursday.

We saw an exhibit where various photographers attempted to take pictures in public places where security cameras were clearly marked and where there were security guards present. It was interesting to see the reactions of the security guards, which ranged from following the photographers to telling the photographers that they weren’t allowed to take pictures. The underlying question being – who has permission to photograph or not photograph public spaces?

There were a couple of graffiti-related exhibits. The girls got to make graffiti sheets in one – the other showed computerized recreations of famous graffiti artists.

There was a display from 3D printers, which was kind of cool. There were whole small scale villages made from the printer – the idea promote rapid prototyping – although not for products that require any great accuracy in specification. Still cool for early process product developments. I was talking to the student presenting the project and it seems like with Google Sketchup and a 3D printer you could go pretty far.

We saw flying drone, which were cool too. They had planned to fly them outside – but shock of shocks – weather would not permit. So they flew them in the auditorium. So they were flown manually (and opposed to via satellite) but it was still cool. Apparently the artists/scientists demonstrating the drones spent a good deal of time at Heathrow explaining them when they went back to London.

Many discussions are planned on use of public data, privacy and government transparency. I’m very excited!



Love Live Music by Ann Treacy
June 23, 2012, 8:20 pm
Filed under: Dublin

One of the things I like about Dublin is the seemingly hundreds of events hosted around town. This last week we attended part of the Love Live Music day. There were all sort of bands playing in various locations around town. We caught a traditional band playing (Buffalo in the Castle) in Meeting House Square – which has been very fixed up in the last year. It is an open square – one of our favorite places to go on a Saturday for the market – but in the last year they have put up giant umbrella sort of things, which are perfect for keeping the incessant rain off for events.

We also saw a fun rap band on Curved Street. Unfortunately no one else in my family has any appreciation of new music. So our time there was short lived.



Walking in the Rain by Ann Treacy
June 23, 2012, 8:18 pm
Filed under: Dublin, Dun Laoghaire

We didn’t really bring any good weather with us this year – at least not so far. It has rained pretty much every day. One day I sat in the kitchen inches away from the heater all day because I was freezing. But I guess you don’t some to Ireland for the weather. Although you’d hope that you wouldn’t be sad about leaving your mittens at home!

That being said, we’re tough and we’ve been talking lots of walks. We walk around the parks in Cabinteely. We walk down the pier in Dun Laoghaire. In fact (and I know this is meaningless to most readers) we walked from Dun Laoghaire to Cabinteely one day. And we’ve walked in town. And I’ve taken pictures are we’ve trekked.



Taste of Dublin by Ann Treacy
June 23, 2012, 8:16 pm
Filed under: Dublin, Dun Laoghaire

So our first full day Patrick and I headed to Taste of Dublin – it’s a fun event in the Iveagh Gardens where lots of restaurants sell (and sometimes give) samples of their best dishes. We have a few years in the past. SO this was the worst weather we’ve experienced – but it did seem as if there were more free tiny tastes of food and drink. Especially tiny tastes of wine, which is fun. Also we connected with old friends – Karina and Bernie. I haven’t seen Bernie in almost 20 years. I worked for her at a cafeteria at Mother Redcap’s Market. It was fun to talk to her; I have always been amazed at how smart Bernie is especially in terms of current events. We spoke a lot of time talking about fracking.

On the way out of the event we got free drink tickets for some pub – so we got a bonus free sample in a pub that Bernie mentioned did not allow anyone over 25 in when they first opened. Apparently we were looking good or they have become less fussy.

Then Patrick and headed to Glasthule to catch the tail end of a Bloomsday Party. It was fun to walk around and see the James Joyce fans.



Tickets for when? by Ann Treacy
June 23, 2012, 8:14 pm
Filed under: St Paul

So on Thursday I started to get ready for our flight to Dublin on Friday. I imagine my great surprise when I realized the tickets were for Wednesday. Absolutely the dumbest thing I’ve done in a year. We got ready in record time. God love the girls who truly rallied to get ready on time. We went to the airport and more of less begged them to let us on the plane. Luckily there was a big thunderstorm – so we actually made the flight. And on the positive side – it was one less day for me to worry. On the negative side, we packed poorly – as you do when you pack in a rush.



Bobbing for Apples by Ann Treacy
June 23, 2012, 8:13 pm
Filed under: St Paul

The last fun event in St Paul was Aine’s Girl Scout Party. Aine’s Girls Scout troop is a great group – we like them very much. The event of the night was bobbing for apples. It must be harder than it looks. But fair play to the girls I think everyone eventually got her apple in the end.




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