After its cancellation in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, TEDx BinghamtonUniversity was postponed to this Sunday. In the YouTube Live event, seven speakers “unearthed” underlying ideas which are often glanced over.
Speakers included a litigator who represented 9/11 ground zero first responders, a geophysicist researching landslides in space, an e-commerce businessman and others. The 10th-annual TEDxBinghamtonUniversity conference was converted to a livestreamed, newscast-style conference this year. Although audience members could not congregate in the Anderson Center as they have in the past, the event has had 520 views on YouTube since Sunday night.
“UNEARTHED,” the theme of this year’s talks, was chosen by five student directors. Sofia Fasullo, a student director and junior double majoring in geography and mathematics, said the theme was important in bringing light to concepts which are often left in the dark.
“TEDxBinghamtonUniversity ‘UNEARTHED’ seeks to unearth new ideas, to share those ideas which lie below the surface of our everyday lives and conversations,” Fasullo said. “Whether it an entirely new and emerging network like cryptocurrency or very slightly different angle on memories that present themselves in an entirely new light —whether these buried ideas are unearthed with a shovel or a brush — they are worth spreading and that is why we brought our speakers to share them on the Binghamton University stage today.”
David Mathews, student speaker at TEDxBinghamtonUniversity 2020 and a junior double-majoring in integrative neuroscience and philosophy, and Flynn Anderson, host of TEDxBinghamtonUniversity 2020 and a junior majoring in biomedical engineering, took to the Osterhout Concert Theater stage with 50 socially distanced attendees in the audience. Anderson acknowledged that this year’s online format was not ideal, but could still impart something meaningful on each of our lives.
“I ask that you guys treat this more of like a Netflix special and less of like an online homework or discussion or something like that,” Anderson said. “These speakers have been waiting four, five months to give a glimpse into their lives so I ask that you all pay attention because you really never know how someone can change your life.”
This year’s TEDxBinghamtonUniversity lineup included individuals like psychotherapist Laura A. Jacobs, teacher and volunteer Lissarette Nisnevich and comedian Abby Govindan. Each shared a passion for making a mark on the world and spreading their knowledge. Mika McKinnon, a geophysicist who specializes in natural disasters, discussed the relevance of rocks in our past and future and how these hidden gems can be enjoyed by anyone in her talk, “Do You Have A Rock?”
“Every rock has a story,” McKinnon said. “Rocks are relentless time keepers, tracking everything from ice ages, to magnetic field orientation, to how fast a river flowed.”
Max Kurant, a junior majoring in sociology, applied McKinnon’s speech to a broader context.
“This is so interesting,” Kurant said. “McKinnon really made me wonder if there is an equivalent of rocks in social sciences — a simple thing to look at that shows us a story of human social history and predicts the future.”
Russell Korus, co-founder and chief executive officer of EZ365, discussed the world of cryptocurrency and how it will be mass incorporated in our future in, “Bambi and Godzilla: How Blockchain Turns You From One into the Other.”
“Throughout the history of fiat currency, we have been Bambi, and the central banks and government have been Godzilla,” Korus said. “This is the reason I love this stuff so much. Because with cryptocurrencies, we are Godzilla.”
Anderson left advice for those who watched the conference.
“If there’s one thing to take away from this, it’s to be open-minded and to be open to new ideas,” Anderson said.
Students can watch the entire TEDx conference on YouTube.
Check out Pipe Dream’s profiles on this year’s TEDxBinghamtonUniversity speakers:
— David Matthews, a Binghamton University junior double-majoring in integrative neuroscience and philosophy
— Mika McKinnon, a geophysicist, science writer and sci-fi adviser
— Russell Korus, co-founder and chief executive officer of EZ365
— Lissarette Nisnevich, early childhood professional in English as a second language (ESL)
— Bill Groner, chief executive officer of Settlement Services Arbitration and Mediation who worked on ground zero litigation
— Laura A. Jacobs, a transgender and genderqueer psychotherapist, activist, public speaker and author
— Abby Govindan, a rising comedian