TED

So I’m at TED. Pretty remarkable people. My random dinner companions last night (“is this seat free?”) were a tall thin Ugandan who doesn’t know how old he is (a Tutsi whose family was originally from Rwanda, he was born sometime during the Ugandan civil war, so between 1982 and 1986; his family are nomads, but he somehow got an education, became a CPA for a Ugandan bank; left to found EcoFuel Africa . . . a Bulgarian who was born under communism but decided she wanted to go to college in the U.S., read a great deal of Charles Dickens to improve her English, took the SATs – in Bulgaria – wrote letters to 100 different U.S. colleges, was offered full scholarship by 12 including Harvard; is now a Palo Alto venture capitalist . . . and a satellite salesman from the Isle of Mann (yes, they still have cats) who happily gave up his low Manx tax rate, he says, for the privilege of being a U.S. citizen (and whose wife, an astronaut, has flown two NASA missions).

You’ll forgive my being a little dizzy. There are CEOs here, musicians, a poet laureate, a space archaeologist (they find ancient Egyptian cities via satellite), a body architect, a former Supreme Court Justice, and a video sculptor who put one of his friends in a blender. (Watch what happens when you turn it on.)

Also, the author of the previously-plugged Abundance, which sets my happy gene to resonating; the afore-plugged Atul Gawande (he, of the hospital checklists, and more); the afore-plugged Philip K. Howard (The Death of Common Sense); and 1400 more.

Yikes.

Not attending (to my knowledge):

SATAN

But Rick Santorum worries he’s headed our way.

CATHOLICS

John Grund: “One more Catholic teaching that conservatives reject: A no-exceptions ban on torture. Compare the church’s position and Rick Santorum’s (via Andrew Sullivan): here.”

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