Thursday, February 11, 2010

TED10 Wed PM: Making Good Food Choices

Carter Emmart

Score: 5 (out of 10) balloons

Carter is Director of Astrovisualization at Hayden Planetarium. He shared some cool renderings of the universe.

Phil Kaplan then had 3 minutes to pitch Blippy - -a Twitter for shopping, where you can follow what your friends are buying. Obviously this has some good monetization but is it compelling for users?

Cheryl Hayashi

Score: 3 Balloons

Associate Professor Hayashi teaches at UC Riverside. She is an expert on spiders enumerated the many kinds of silk and how spiders spin it.

William Li
Score: 8 balloons
Dr. Li educated the audience on an exciting approach to fighting cancer. To grow into a tumor, cancer cells need a blood supply, and so if we can systemically inhibit angiogenesis (the growth of blood vessels), we can prevent tumors. One approach is to develop medical therapies that do this, as two Bessemer companies --Aveo and Acceleron -- are already doing. Aveo's drug Tivozimab, now in Phase 3 clinical trials, inhibits receptors 1, 2 and 3 of the vascular endothilial growth factors.

A second approach is a prophylactic diet that reduces the chance of cancer by eating foods that naturally include anti-angiogenic compounds. Turmeric, green tea, lavender and cooked tomatoes were at the top of the list.

My only criticism of the talk is that Dr. Li did not address the downside of of inhibiting angiogenesis. Deficient angiogenesis leads to other disease conditions including heart disease. For someone who already has cancer this risk is obviously tolerable; but inhibiting angiogenesis as a general objective in one's diet seems to present other risks.

Dan Barber

Score: 10 Balloons

"There are only two fish I've ever loved." This is the opening sentence of a love story between a famous chef and a delicious fish he once ate that he traced to a naturally sustainable fish farm. In the most entertaining talk of TED '10 (so far), Barber (in an encore appearance) explained the current state of commercial fish farming, and how it could be done better, as evidenced better by one model of natural sustainability.

Jamie Oliver (as seen on TV!)

Score: 3 Balloons

The winner of the 2010 TED Prize is TV personality Jamie Oliver, a UK chef who advocates better food choices for children. Jamie's wish was to help teach kids recipes they can cook at home so they have choices beyond junk food. It's a nice cause, but Jamie blustered and rambled his way through it, tossing out junk science and TV-bite-size simplifications. Is he really the most worthy person in the world for the TED prize? Really? What about other speakers like Dr. Li, who would have used the prize to develop anti-angiogenic compounds that fight cancer?

To be fair, I think most of the audience liked Jamie's talk. Here it is, if you wish to judge for yourself...

Wednesday's program ended with a nice performance by Sheryl Crow.

1 comment:

  1. I think the fact that he was able to get international media exposure from healthy eating choices is the reason he got the award. For example, I have not heard of Dr Li or what she has to say.