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Artists, scientists and entrepreneurs share ideas for innovation at TEDx conference

By Robert J. Terry | Baltimore Business Journal

An eclectic lineup of artists, scientists and entrepreneurs shared stories of creativity and innovation Thursday at the TEDx MidAtlantic conference.

The conference, the first of its kind in the region organized under the TED brand, was pulled together by tech entrepreneur Dave Troy and a team of 100 volunteers with a common theme.

“Behind every great idea there’s a great story,” said Troy in his opening remarks.

Those stories included the evolution of the billion-dollar computer firewall industry. That emergence, said information security expert Marcus Ranum, can be traced to an unforeseen weakness in the development of the file transfer protocol software language for computer networking.

Joel Salatin, a Virginia farmer well known in the sustainable agriculture movement, described how his work raising livestock with cutting-edge techniques led him to become the primary egg supplier for dozens of restaurants wanting to serve food made with locally grown products.

The free conference’s 600 attendees were treated to presentations on aural perception, molecular biology and social activism, which all circled back to a common peg: using creativity to solve problems.

For Tony Geraci, the director of food and nutrition for Baltimore City Public Schools, that’s meant using a 33-acre farm to grow fruits and vegetables to serve to school students. He’s also streamlined the system’s purchasing, buying locally whenever possible, and launching vocational training programs.

His larger mission, which he detailed at the Maryland Institute College of Art’s Falvey Hall, is slowing the emergence of diabetes in children that results from poor nutrition.

“Teaching kids about food is a real simple way to reinforce education,” he said.

TED conferences — it stands for technology, entertainment and design — are held around the world. Speaker presentations are uploaded to the Web (click here) and have become popular in business management and entrepreneurship circles.


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