At last – the report you have all been waiting for about our grand TEDxStockholm event! As you know, I’ve already covered Hans Rosling (I’m not sure with what, but he’s covered) in a previous post. He gave a great lecture, and threw around brightly-coloured platsic IKEA boxes to show us that there is no such thing as developing and developed countries. The new emerging economies will soon catch up with the middle economies. (He later went on to illustrate this with this usual data bubbles.) One lonely green box remained on its own on the stage: the bottom billion (a new phrase that you will be hearing a lot. Remember that you heard it first here though). It is the bottom billion people, those living in desperate conditions, that we must all now try to help.
We had lots of interesting talks, coffee breaks and discussions. Professors wowed us and made us think, especially Prof. Johan Rockström with his dire prognosis on the status of the planet in regard to climate change. Luckily, this was balanced by two inventions that ought to help make the world a better place. I think the whole event was a crowd pleaser.
I was most impressed by David Bismark whose research is set to turn voting systems in say, Iran and Afghanistan – and even the USA, upside down via a very effective way of holding verifiable elections. (That means that anyone and everyone can see that the votes are counted correctly and that your vote really does stay anonymous).
And finally, an accolade to Edna Eriksson, who gave a wonderful talk about diversity: it’s not what you see on the surface that counts, but who we are deep down. Or, as she put it, “Don’t ask me where I come from. Ask me where I’m going. You’ll learn a lot more.”
But no day of inspiration would be complete without its wonderfully wacky goings-on. Like the art group Glimpse, all dressed up with Viking horns, recycled dresses and goldfish bowls as hats.
Yes … you could say that I fitted in perfectly!
Honk the herald angels sing. Glory to the newborn thing!
You’ve probably heard of Ricky Gervais – from The Office. But have you read his wonderful books about Flanimals?
They’re so disturbingly grotesque and funny that they prompted J.K. Rowling to write: ‘I generally oppose the banning of books, but there are some things our children shouldn’t know about. Nearly all of those things are Flanimals.’
When Anklebiter #1 and I were in the UK recently, we read some of the Flanimals books at bedtime. She couldn’t get enough of them. We were both flabbergasted and delighted by the Grundit, a big blobby Flanimal with a brain-like bump on its head; by the Plamgotis that swallows its hands in order to walk; and by the dozy Honk that spends most of its time asleep, only waking up to throw out the odd honk or two…
The books are a bestiary of all kinds of weird and wonderful creatures that elicit awe and feedback from parents, such as this:
‘I would like to apologise to Mr Gervais for my previous accusations. It turns out my daughter was already mental.’ Rebecca Fellows, Richmond, Surrey
It seems appropriate that my sister should give a boxed set of these books to Anklebiter #1 for Christmas this year.
They are a good antidote to the constraints and rules of school.
So, in true Flanimal style, let me spread some Christmas cheer!
Five Honks a honking
Four Clunges ambling
Three Coddles flopping
Two Munges fuddlin’
… and a Blunging in a pear tree