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)

TEDxSunnyvale: “Life After Doomsday” – Feb 16, 2013

Life After Doomsday

Event link on

San Jose, CA, United States
16 February 2013
10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

We expect to offer beverages (coffee, soft drinks and water).
Contact us if you would like to sponsor refreshments.

What comes after the end?

What do you do when the Sun comes up the day after it was all supposed to be over?

In the past few years we’ve all heard news stories predicting the end – of civilization, of mankind, of the entire universe. Yet after a breathless news cycle each of these predicted Doomsdays is now in our rear-view mirror. Whether you call it Armageddon, Y2K, the Apocalypse, Ragnarok, or the end of the 12th B’ak’tun, we’re still here!

At first, we thought of just having fun with this Theme. “Look, it’s after December 21st, and we’re still here. Nyah Nyah.” But as we discussed it we realized there are interesting issues to explore. We’ve found great talks predicting global doomsday, and others explaining how we will avoid it. There are talks about personal doomsdays, and talks about astronomical and anthropological threats. We’ve also found talks that provide a humorous perspective.

Together we’ll explore endings that failed to end, ponder new beginnings, and visit the times after “end times.” Our event Theme has led us to a day that will be both whimsical and serious, but not terrifying. Our goal is to feed our brains, and to encourage thoughtful discussion, all in a friendly and comfortable atmosphere.


There are over 1,200 TED talks up on, and over 17,000 talks from TEDx events. TEDxSunnyvale exists to bring some of the best of those talks together with passionate people to view, and to ignite discussion.


So while we will have live attendees, we will have no live speakers. We’ll watch together and talk about what we’ve seen. We’ll network and meet new people.

Our event is structured just like any other TEDx event – with a Theme, and Sessions of talks lasting roughly an hour and a half. But in our event all the talks will be watched on video, taken from both the TED and TEDx archives. This is an experiment – all the other TEDx events in the Bay Area focus mainly on live speakers. By taking this lower-key approach to a TEDx event, we are able to keep the costs very low, and we are able to hold multiple events in a year. We’re not trying to replace any of the other great Bay Area TEDx events; instead we add another dimension to TED in the Bay Area, and another way to participate and contribute to the greater TEDx and TED communities.


We have a stress-free policy for our committee and our attendees. We keep the process of attending simple and casual. We ask that you plan to be an active participant at the event.

Free WiFi provided by TechShop San Jose.


(Photo credit: CatsPyjamasNZ via Flickr)

Start your journey of 12,300+ with the top 20 TED talks.

Talks on TED.comThere are over 1,300 TED talks online. Combine that with more than 11,000 TEDx videos, (no, that’s not a typo), and the selection is pretty staggering. But have you ever wondered which TED talks get the most play? Well, fear not! TED has compiled a list of the 20 most viewed TED videos on their blog. Take a look at the link below and, while you probably won’t have time to watch all the talks out there, you can at least be sure you’re caught up the the TED top-20.

TEDxNaperville’s Arthur Zards Talks About the Importance of Name Badges

At the TEDx Organizers’ Workshop this February in Palm Springs, Arthur Zards gave a five-minute talk on name badges. In it, Arthur discusses a number of creative approaches to name badgery. Check out the following excerpt from his blog and be sure to attend TEDxSunnyvale on July 21st to receive a customized TEDxSunnyvale name tag of your very own.

What’s XNet President Arthur Zards doing this week?

Well, Arthur is at TEDActive 2012 in Palm Springs, California to inspire minds and exchange ideas worth spreading.  The four-day program features many of TED’s famous 18-minute talks as well as short talks, music, dances, and other surprises.

TEDxNaperville's Arthur Zards shows off his personalized TEDxSunnyvale badgeTEDxNaperville’s Arthur Zards shows off his personalized TEDxSunnyvale badge

An interesting feature of TEDActive is the TEDActive Projects, a central element of the event focusing on having attendees dream, plan, and execute six projects to solve challenging problems and spark initiatives discovered at TED. Assisting in this endeavor are on-site topic experts and facilitators that move discussion and consolidate goals.  Arthur signed up as one of these experts.  His topic – name badges.

A seemingly trivial part to any event or conference, a properly designed and personalized name badge can inspire networking and create conversation between strangers at an event, which is at the core of many conferences and events. Arthur outlines three rules to building a badge that will greatly increase the quality and reputation of an event.

Click to read the full story…

TEDxSunnyvale: “Embracing Recklessness” – July 21st, 2012

Embracing recklessness

Event link on

San Jose, CA, United States
21 July 2012
10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

2 sessions,
We expect to offer complimentary coffee and breakfast pastries
We will have sandwiches from Togos for lunch, courtesy of TechShop.
We’ll also have soft drinks and water to drink.

The Theme for this event is “Embracing Recklessness”
In our brainstorming for a Theme for our event, we discussed how the culture of Silicon Valley is based on disruption, on taking risks, on sometimes unanticipated game changers. Silicon Valley is one of the few places in the world where trying and failing is celebrated; where somebody who doesn’t have any failures is considered to be not taking enough risks. We want to take this idea to its logical extreme, and see where we all go. So, Embracing Recklessness. It’s mysterious, it’s provocative, and it’s going to be quite a ride.
Continue reading

TEDxSunnyvaleLive – June 27th

TEDxSunnyvaleLive is a simulcast of one day of TEDGlobal from Edinburgh, Scotland.

We will show all four sessions from Wednesday of TEDGlobal. Due to the eight hour time difference between Edinburgh and Silicon Valley, we will time-shift the sessions here.  REGISTER HERE

We have a stress-free policy for our committee and our attendees. We want to keep the process of attending simple and casual. We know that most people have work commitments, and can’t dedicate a whole weekday, even for a major TED event. So we have an open-door plan.

We’ll start showing Session 4: Globality of TED Global promptly at noon on Wednesday, June 27th. Bring your lunch and join us in the Conference Room at TechShop in San Jose. There is free parking until the lot fills up. Come in when you can, leave when you have to, or stay for more.

Continue reading

TEDxSunnyvaleChange 2012 – April 5, 2012, Streamed from Berlin

TEDxSunnyvaleChange 2012 – April 5, 2012, streamed from Berlin
Theme: The Big Picture


Convened by Melinda French Gates. Hosted by Chris Anderson.

The current economic climate has drawn our focus to immediate needs closest to home. But now, more than ever, it’s critical to keep sight of the fact that we are part of interdependent, global community. And too many within that community cannot meet their most basic needs: food, clean water, life-saving medical treatment and vaccines.

We can’t proceed with business as usual. Continue reading

Interested in Attending?

Fill out my online form.