A baby penguin live cam + TEDx = a great Thursday: 2 talks to watch when you’re not geeking out over these penguin chicks

Penguin baby cam: live streaming video by Ustream

Above, watch penguin chicks all day long with explore.org’s live cam of the Aquarium of the Pacific’s two newest Magellanic penguin chicks. Some background information on the chicks from explore.org:

"One of the eggs was abandoned by the parents, a common occurrence in the wild. By the time the Aquarium’s second chick hatched, the first was already twice its size, so Aquarium biologists raised it by hand to ensure its survival.

Now that the two chicks are near equal in size, they are being raised together for companionship. It is also important for the chicks to become accustomed to the biologists feeding them and get used to regular health checks, since the parents will not care for them when they are on exhibit. Likewise, in the wild, the parents go back to sea leaving the chicks to fend for themselves after fledging. At the Aquarium, they will have a team of experts to care for them daily.”

When you’re all maxed out on your cute quota for the day, switch to learning mode with these two great TEDx Talks on our feathered friends:

The great penguin rescue: Dyan deNapoli at TEDxBoston
At TEDxBoston, Dyan deNapoli tells the story of the world’s largest volunteer animal rescue, which saved more than 40,000 penguins after an oil spill off the coast of South Africa. How does a job this big get done? Penguin by penguin by penguin.

Penguins, ice, Douglas Mawson: Karen Barlow at TEDxCanberra
In this spellbinding talk, journalist Karen Barlow recalls two summers spent as a working journalist in one of the driest, most remote, yet increasingly human-affected places on Earth: the Antarctic. Enjoy stories of storms, frozen lakes, and “gray, fuzzy chicks.”

From the TED Blog’s week-long celebration of TEDx:

A TEDx with an icy view: TEDx takes Antarctica

The Great White Continent. The Frozen Desert. The Real Land Down Under. Antarctica might not be the easiest of places to travel to but, in the past year, there have been two TEDx events staged on the continent.

Darren McGann organized TEDxAntarcticPeninsula, which took place on March 6. After watching TEDx talks online for years, he decided to hold his own event while on the International Antarctic Expedition (a multi-week trip designed to show global leaders the beauty and history of the Antarctic wilderness, as well as its fragility to climate change) in 2011.

“During the expedition, the thought kept coming back to me that if I ever get back to Antarctica this would be the perfect setting for a TEDx event,” McGann tells the TED Blog.

His TEDx event, themed “Renewable Reality,” brought together 80 leaders from 23 countries. They were shielded from the elements by two banks of snow. And the event was powered completely by solar energy.

“I am really proud that we were able to demonstrate that you can run a solar powered TEDx in the harshest environment on the planet,” says McGann. “If it can be done in Antarctica, it can be done everywhere.”

McGann also feels proud that nature became a part of his TEDx.

“Having a penguin walk up on stage was certainly a highlight! The speaker couldn’t see it, but the gentoo penguin came waddling up behind her. We had a good laugh about it,” says McGann. “During the talks we also had whales blowing and a glacier birthing. There was a lot going on that day.”

(See photos of the event on Flickr and watch the talks on YouTube.)

...Read more on the TED Blog

Written by Kate Torgovnick

Ideas spread in Antarctica: TEDxAntarcticPeninsula

In one of the most remote, unhospitable places on earth, ideas are spreading with TEDxAntarcticPeninsula.  The event — the second TEDx event ever held in Antarctica— took place March 6th. 70 people from 19 different countries gathered in Ushuaia, Argentina the southernmost city in the world, a week before the event in order to prepare for their trip.

Before leaving, attendees met famous Polar explorer and environmental advocate Robert Swan, whose Antarctic expeditions are designed to bring people together and inspire them to protect Antarctica’s fragile ecosystems. TEDxAntarcticPeninsula was a “solar event”, and was powered off of a wide array of solar chargers. Their goal was to have an event that ran on 100% renewable energy — even attendees brought their own solar lanterns. Having an event on the Antarctic Peninsula meant there would be unexpected challenges: It is a 500 mile (800 km.) trip from Argentina to the icy continent; the event could was always at risk to be cancelled due to a blizzard.

Nevertheless, TEDxAntarcticPeninsula was a memorable event in an inspiring, exciting location.  There was even a penguin registered to attend the event — aptly named TEDdy.

The first ever TEDx on Antarctica - by youth!

©Garry Donaldson/Students on Ice

I am excited and honored to share with you that right at the start of 2012, TEDx will be experienced for the first time on our most beloved continent, Antarctica! Even more exciting, TEDxYouth@AntarcticPeninsula will be organized by youth — a group of high school students from around the world.

Many enthusiasts in the TEDx community dreamed about a TEDx event on Antarctica for almost a year. They all have given valuable support for TEDxYouth@AntarcticPeninsula, and together with the TED team are as excited as I am to see the result.

16-year-old Selin Jessa — my friend and member of the TEDxKids@BC team — is the event’s licensee. Selin is currently on Antarctica and instead of me trying to translate the experience, I will let her use her own words:

Finally, we’ve set foot on Antarctica. Today was absolutely packed with incredible moments, and many snapshots of life in the Antarctic. I woke up to a sea full of icebergs, big and small, green and blue, always beautiful. It was a bit like sailing through a museum of sculptures carved by the water and ice. We set a course for Heroina Island, and we were all eager to get off the ship after having a taste of Antarctica the day before. My group cruised around the icebergs and the coast of the island before landing. There were massive seals lying on the beach, their heads peeking up now and then. We were able to make a landing right near the vast Adelie penguin rookery and stepped up carefully ashore - our very first step on Antarctica. It was magical - the penguins were squawking and barking, preening and feeding and calling to their mates. They were everywhere and I had a chance to park myself on a rock and watch as some of the penguins came within a few inches of me as I was sketching. Too quickly it was time to head back, but a couple of hours later, Geoff’s voice came over the PA system and we all rushed to the bow of the ship: killer whales had been spotted. And not just a couple either, there must have been 20 or 30 of them in small pods, all lining up in parallel. We felt very lucky to have glimpsed them. After a talk by Olle on a Swedish explorer, we made our second landing of the day in Paulet Island, where we could see the remains of a stone hut where 22 men from that Swedish expedition overwintered. I went out with Grant on a zodiac and we also got to collect some plankton samples to check out under a microscope later. My first day on Antarctica definitely touched my heart, and I’m counting down the hours until our next landing, hopefully on Snow Hill Island.

Planning for TEDxYouth@Antarctica is also well under way, and we’ve started planning our talks and the format and purpose of the event. It will be held sometime in the next couple days in Antarctica, and so far the enthusiasm has been incredible.

Selin Jessa, the TEDxYouth@AntarcticPeninsula organizer planning the event among Adelie penguins

Selin Jessa recording her thoughts surrounded by hundreds of thousands of Adelie Penguins©Garry Donaldson/Students on Ice

This event would not be possible, without the support of the amazing Student on Ice organization that have been taking students on expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctica for 12 years now. Geoff Green, the SOI Founder and Expedition Leader have fully embraced the idea to help Selin put a TEDx event on Antarctica. 

Students on Ice Antarctic Youth Expedition 2011 - group photo on the ice floe

Students on Ice Antarctic Youth Expedition 2011 - group photo on the ice floe.
©Mike Beedell/Students on Ice

Learn more about TEDxYouth@AntarcticPeninsula on their Facebook page

For updates, follow the Students on Ice expedition website, and Organizer Selin Jessa’s personal blog.  

Written by Goran Kimovski, TEDxKids@BC Organizer.