Friday, April 18, 2008

Have Your Heard of TED?

Have you heard of TED? TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design. It's an annual event where the world's leading thinkers and doers gather to share information. They have a listing of prominent people in those fields who are invited to "give the talk of their lives" in 18 minutes. This site makes the best talks and performances from TED conferences available for free. There are more than 200, with more added each week and are freely shared and reposted.

For the research work we're doing here at Pitsel & Associates, Ltd., the talk given by Dr. Larry Brilliant is notable. He's in epidemiologist and philanthropist and speaks, in this video clip, on pandemics.

His video is very conversational in tone and easy to listen to, and his message, in brief, is that having overseen the very first eradication of a disease, namely smallpox, he believes the answer to pandemic prevention is "Early detection. Early response."

He goes on to describe the 1980 efforts, without the advances of today's technology, to mark that as the first year in the history of mankind, that a disease was eradicated through human intervention. He describes how even Sovereigns were killed by smallpox, and underlines that diseases spare no one. With an army of volunteers his team canvassed every household in India as part of their awareness and treatment campaign.

Today, he is an executive director of Google.org and supports GPHIN, Global Public Health Information Network, which uses advanced technology to track diseases worldwide, which is credited with preventing a worldwide outbreak of SARS because of early warning capability. The GPHIN has capabilities unavailable to the World Health Organization by virtue of the fact that they are not limited, as WHO is, to only government reportage. They were able to find and contain areas of outbreak before they reached levels where governments were compelled to report to the WHO, giving them a full 3 months advance on SARS.

Here's the site: www.ted.com/speakers

On the first page, at the top, is "Speakers". Click on that.

At the bottom of the new page that comes up, in red, it says alphabetical listing of speakers A-Z., click on that.

Under the "B" heading, near the end of the list, click on Dr. Larry Brilliant. It's well worth your time.

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