Tuesday, December 26, 2006

COM: Blogarithmic #188

I remember doing some cogitating a year ago about how big quakes seem to routinely hit around Christmas with a couple day window. Well, this year's is here:
"Japan's Meteorogical Agency says an earthquake off Taiwan had a prelimarymagnitude of 7.2 and that a 3-foot high tsunami is headed for the east coast ofPhilippines, The Associated Press reports."

Saw Blood Diamond, Apocalypto and The Good Shepherd these holidays. Will try to catch some more, but these three should certainly be contenders for some awards. More soon i hope.

TED Prize 2007: The Winners
War photographer, James Nachtwey, one of the world's most prominent scientists, E.O. Wilson, and President William J. Clinton, are the winners of the 2007 TED Prize. Each recipient has been granted ONE WORLD-CHANGING WISH to be revealed at the 2007 TED conference, in Monterey, CA. Many members of the TED Community, and a group of world-class companies, have pledged support to help fulfill these wishes. Each winner will also receive $100,000 to be spent however they choose in support of their wishes.

James Nachtwey, Photojournalist
"I have been a witness, and these pictures are my testimony. The events I have recorded should not be forgotten and must not be repeated." James Nachtwey is one of the best-known and most highly regarded current photojournalists. In 1976 he started work as a newspaper photographer in New Mexico, and in 1980, he moved to New York to begin a career as a freelance magazine photographer. His first foreign assignment was to cover civil strife in Northern Ireland in 1981 during the IRA hunger strike. Since then, Nachtwey has devoted himself to documenting wars, conflicts and critical social issues. He has worked on extensive photographic essays in El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Lebanon, the West Bank and Gaza, Israel, Indonesia, Thailand, India, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, the Philippines, South Korea, Somalia, Sudan, Rwanda, South Africa, Russia, Bosnia, Chechnya, Kosovo, Romania, Brazil and the United States. Nachtwey has been a contract photographer with Time Magazine since 1984. However, when certain stories he wanted to cover, Romanian orphanages and Somalian famine, garnered no interest from magazines he self-financed trips that resulted in the issues being taken up more widely by the media. He is known for getting up close to his subjects, or as he says, "in the same intimate space that the subjects inhabit," and he passes that sense of closeness on to the viewer. In putting himself in the middle of conflict, James' intention is to record the truth, to document the struggles of humanity, and with this, to wake people up and stir them to action.

Dr. E.O. Wilson, Biologist
"This planet can be a paradise in the 22nd century." One of the world's most distinguished scientists, E.O. Wilson is a university research professor and honorary curator in entomology at Harvard University. His most recent work has focused on drawing public attention to the impact human activity has had on life on the planet. His research includes evolutionary biology, the biology of social insects, the classification of ants, sociobiology, biogeography, and ethical philosophy. He was 13 when he discovered, in a vacant lot near the docks of Mobile, Alabama, the first known U.S. colonies of fire ants, Solenopsis invicta, invaders from Brazil and Argentina known in the South as "the ants from hell." He is most famous for the publication in 1975 of Sociobiology: The New Synthesis, a work of deep insight that advanced evolutionary thinking and proved a Darwinian manifesto, describing social behaviour from the ants to humans. It was also the work that threw Wilson into one of his biggest controversies, being accused of suggesting that some human beings are genetically superior to others. Another major contribution has been, with the physicist turned biologist Charles Lumsden, the idea of "gene-culture co-evolution". Essentially it describes how culture and genetics intertwine to create the complexity of human life, reaching for the biological roots of culture. Drawing from his deep knowledge of the earth's "little creatures" and his sense that their contribution to the planet's ecology is underappreciated, he produced what may be his most important book, The Diversity of Life. In it he describes how an intricately interconnected natural system is threatened by a man-made biodiversity crisis he calls the "sixth extinction" — the most devastating trauma since the extinction event that laid waste the dinosaurs and other creatures 65 million years ago. In it he notes that the 1.5 million species named so far by scientists represent only a tiny fraction of the tens of millions that may be out there. Wilson's prediction that 30 percent to 50 percent of all species would be extinct by the middle of the 21st century was meant to provokeand it did. With the human population expected to reach 9-10bn by the end of the century and the planet in the middle of its sixth mass extinction — this time due to human activity — the next few years are critical in maintaining anything near the current level of biodiversity. Wilson believes, "The two major challenges for the 21st century are to improve the economic situation of the majority and save as much of the planet as we can." With his most recent book, The Creation, he wants to put the differences of science-based explanations and faith-based explanations aside "to protect Earth's vanishing natural habitats and species — in other words, the Creation, however we believe it came into existence."

President William J. Clinton
"All of us have an unprecedented amount of power to solve problems, save lives and help see the future." Elected President of the United States in 1992, and again in 1996, President Clinton was the first Democratic president to be elected to a second term in six decades. Under President Clinton's leadership the United States enjoyed unprecedented peace and prosperity. After leaving the White House, President Clinton established the William J. Clinton Foundation with the mission to strengthen the capacity of people in the United States and throughout the world to meet the challenges of global interdependence. To achieve this, the Clinton Foundation is focused on four critical areas: health security, with an emphasis on HIV/AIDS; economic empowerment; leadership development and citizen service; and racial, ethnic and religious reconciliation. The Clinton Presidential Center, located in Little Rock, Arkansas, is comprised of the Library, the archives, Clinton Foundation offices and the Clinton School of Public Service. Following the 2002 Barcelona AIDS Conference, President Clinton began the Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS Initiative (CHAI) to assist countries in implementing large-scale, integrated, care, treatment and prevention programs that will turn the tide on the epidemic. It partners with countries in Africa, the Caribbean and Asia to develop operational business plans to scale-up care and treatment. CHAI works with individual governments and provides them with technical assistance, human and financial resources, and know-how from the sharing of the best practices across projects. The ultimate objective in each of these countries is to scale up public health systems to ensure broad access to high-quality care and treatment. The Initiative's long-term goal is to develop replicable models for the scale-up of integrated programs in resource-poor settings. CHAI is currently bringing life-saving care and treatment to over a quarter of a million people around the world and over 60 countries have access to CHAI's drug and testing prices. In September 2006, President Clinton hosted the second annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative, which is a non-partisan catalyst for action, bringing together a community of global leaders to devise and implement innovative solutions to some of the world's most pressing challenges, including poverty, climate change, global health, and religious and racial conflict. In its two years of existence, the Clinton Global Initaitive has generated over $10 billion in commitments to improve the lives of people living on 6 continents.

TED Prize 2006: Winners
Dr. Lawrence Brilliant: Medical doctor, epidemiologist, technologist, activist, author who is healing the world
Jehane Noujaim: Filmmaker documenting her search for truth
Cameron Sinclair: Architect solving global, social, and humanitarian crises with design
Read more about the Ted Prize 2006 winners >

TED Prize 2005: Winners
Bono: Musician whose activism has changed lives across the world
Edward Burtynsky: Photo-Artist revealing humankind's impact on the environment
Robert Fischell: Inventor who has saved countless lives
Read more about the Ted Prize 2005 winners >

TED Prize Supporters
The TED Prize Honorary Advisory Committee is made up of:
Jeff Bezos, head of Amazon.com
Eve Ensler, writer of "The Vagina Monologues"
Herbie Hancock, jazz legend
Goldie Hawn, Oscar-winning actress
Shashi Tharoor, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Communication
The Prize has generated offers of support from major companies including: Sun; Kleiner Perkins; Google; IDEO; GE; and Viewpoint, among others.

The original group of TEDsters who joined the Sapling Foundation in brainstorming the TED Prize program was:
Juan Enriquez, Author, Futurist
Tony Hoeber, Director, Dalai Lama Foundation
Roger Mandle, President, Rhode Island School of Design
Rachel Newton Bellow, Consultant on Philanthropic Strategy
Jacqueline Novogratz, CEO, Acumen Fund
Jay Walker, CEO, Walker Digital

The New York-based sculptor Tom Shannon has created the physical awards to be presented to the winners.

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