Recap: TEDxSunnyvale – Life After Doomsday

Recap: “Life After Doomsday”

On Saturday, February 16th, 2013, a group of intrepid adventurers gathered in the conference room at TechShop San Jose to explore “Life After Doomsday”

The day started as attendees signed in and got a custom laser-engraved namebadge. Improving on the terrific custom-made wood, acrylic, and dry-erase badges we innovated in 2012, these new badges are not just made from recovered materials, they are also reusable.

Life After Doomsday

The badges are laser-engraved from a sheet of old dry-erase board that Gordon had kept in his garage since the 1990s. Each attendee’s name is laser engraved into the badge, in large, easy to read type. But instead of engraving the event name, date, and theme into the badge, these were printed onto low-tack stickers that were then stuck onto each badge. Attendees can choose to keep the badge as a souvenir, or they can peel off the stickers and use the badge for other events. For example instead of the generic slap-on “Hi, my name is…” badge at their next meetup, they can wear this laser-engraved badge. They can write on it with a common dry-erase marker to customize it for the event.

Attendees were then asked to name their favorite Doomsday. Listed were Zombies, Supervolcanos, Y2K, Stupidity, Alien Invasion, Biblical, Climate Change, Asteroids, Science Fictional, Nuclear, Plague, Electro-magnetic Pulse, Electric Storm, and Running out of Food stocks.

We had a variety of intriguing and satisfying donuts from Psycho Donuts across the street, and coffee courtesy of our venue, TechShop San Jose.

We then watched the following videos, discussing each one before watching the next.

Session One:

  1. Spicy God (Topical commercial – Tabasco)
  2. Paul Gilding: The Earth is Full (TED 2012)
  3. Sophal Ear: Escaping the Khmer Rouge (TED 2009)
  4. John Hodgman The End is Nigh (TEDxMidWest)
  5. Christien Meindertsma: How pig parts make the world turn (TEDGlobal 2010)
  6. Wade Davis: The Worldwide Web of Belief and Ritual (TED 2008)
  7. Ian Goldin: Navigating our global future (TED 2012)

At our lunch break we dispersed to several of the local restaurants, where we got delicious American, Indian, or Pizza, and brought it back to eat and chat.

Session Two:

  1. Asteroid Doomsday (Topical commercial – Bud Light)
  2. Jared Diamond: Why Societies Collapse (TED 2003)
  3. Prepper Tips – Rehydration (National Geographic Channel)
  4. Richard Sears: Preparing for the end of oil (TED 2010)
  5. Jill Sobule – Manhattan in January (TED 2006)
  6. Ric Elias: 3 Things I Learned While my Plane Crashed (TED 2011)
  7. Why the End of the World? Thomas Calloway (TEDxAsheville)
  8. Rajesh Rao: A Rosetta Stone for the Indus Script (TED 2011)
  9. Glenn Stutzky: Surviving the Coming Zombie Apocalypse (TEDxLansing)
  10. Peter Diamandis: Abundance is our future (TED 2012)

After the final video we had a brief discussion of the favorite Doomsday scenarios we had started with, and how we felt about them now.

To continue on this path of study, try these:

  1. Wade Davis: Dreams of Forgotten Cultures (TED 2003)
  2. Jill Bolte Taylor’s stroke of insight (TED 2008)
  3. Stacey Kramer: The best gift I ever survived (TED 2010)
  4. Jeff Masters: Nine Potential $100 Billion Weather Disasters of the Next 30 Years (TEDxBermuda)
  5. The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi (A great science fiction novel about a future time where food is scarce and Calorie Companies rule)

Vocabulary – New terms we learned today:
Eschatology“, The “Omega Pulse” and the “Blood Wave“, “Peak Whale“.


Explain the difference between an Asteroid, a Meteoroid, a Meteor, and a Meteorite.

Extra Credit:
Help save the world from Asteroids
• Ed Lu: The Biggest Conservations Project Imaginable
• The B612 Foundation
• Phil Plait: How to Defend the Earth from Asteroids (TEDxBoulder)

(Photo credit: CatsPyjamasNZ via Flickr)