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In My Opinion
"Minds Wide Open" at TEDx San Antonio
Wednesday, October 9, 2013 • Posted October 10, 2013

I've followed the TED talks for years now. They are short presentations by those at the leading edge of technology, education and design, and the people attending the talks are just as important a part of the process as the speakers. On Saturday, I will finally be able to attend one of the TED sanctioned events being held in San Antonio.

In my case, I was fortunate enough to know Rebecca Helterbrand (you may remember her as Becky Craig back in her high school days in Mason), and she is helping with the San Antonio event. She had seen references to the TED Talks in my columns over the years, and knew that I might be interested in participating. She told me the application process for attending was a bit complicated; and, she told me I would need to follow all the required steps to receive an invitation.

Back in early September, Rebecca emailed me a link to the TEDx conference site. I completed a lengthy series of questions and short essays. The application sought to determine if I would find the TEDx conference interesting; but, to also determine if I would be someone that could be interesting to other attendees.

I guess I passed the scrutiny.

In mid-September, I received an email directing me to the TEDx website in order to register and reserve my place. I had to respond in 72 hours or I risked forfeiting my seat to others on the waiting list. There was no reason for the urgent tone of the email - I responded in less than fifteen minutes and now have my ticket safely tucked away, ready for my trip to San Antonio on Saturday.

The speaker list is impressive. There is an architect who will be discussing issues of lunar construction. An Iraqi war veteran will talk about teaching children in the war zone. The mother of the Sandy Hook shooter will talk about the issues of a parent dealing with a child who commits a horrific act. There are talks about stem cells, photography, infectious disease, media,,,,, there's even a live performance involving fabric, dancers and a large open space.

I'm excited about this new experience. This is even more surprising to me, as I don't usually like to sit for long periods of time, I'm uncomfortable around large groups of people, and I don't enjoy sitting for extended periods. But, I do enjoy hearing from people who challenge my own opinions and preconceived notions. And, I enjoy hearing about concepts and ideas that, though not yet fully formed and fleshed out, are on the cutting edge of science and technology.

The TEDx conference, like almost all TED talks, will eventually be available at the website. I'm not worried about being part of a televised audience, as that doesn't really factor into the reasons I am attending.

I am worried about being there on time Saturday morning, especially since the forecast calls for rain. If you've ever been in San Antonio during rain,,, well, you understand. I'm worried about finding the location, as it's far on the northeast side of town, which is not an area I know very well. And, I'm worried about how late it's going to be when I finally make it back home Saturday evening.

I'm so grateful for the small town communications network that we have which helped Rebecca know of my interest in all things TED. I'm grateful that my snarky answers to the application made it through the vetting process. And, I'm grateful that those who know me have put up with my constant focus in the last few weeks on my pending attendance at the conference.

I'll let you know how things go.

It’s all just my opinion.

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