Tom Ross: With global luminaries gathering in Long Beach, conference video will be live in Steamboat’s Library Hall |

Tom Ross: With global luminaries gathering in Long Beach, conference video will be live in Steamboat’s Library Hall

— The daily temperatures in Long Beach, Calif., are expected to reach well into the 70s this week, but the mild SoCal weather isn't the biggest attraction. It's the annual TED conference, bringing some of the most innovative thinkers and creators in the world together for an intriguing barrage of the shortest, most interesting speeches you ever sat still for.

The $7,500 tickets for the TED Conference are sold out. Lucky for you, the entire program, Feb. 26 through March 1, will be shown on a live television feed in Library Hall at Bud Werner Memorial Library, where the temperature is likely to reach the high 60s.

TED is a nonprofit organization committed to bringing together creative people from the broad fields of technology, entertainment and design, and spreading their innovative ideas.

"This is your one opportunity to come in and se the whole conference," Bud Werner Memorial Library adult programs coordinator Jenny Lay said. "The TED Conference creates this combination of people who (represent) both the micro and the macro – people looking at big world issues and people who do something really, really specific."

The great news for Yampa Valley residents is that they may come and go from Library Hall, sampling the diverse program as their schedules permit.

The first session Tuesday features robot expert Rodney Brooks of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, whose quest is to build robots that can figure things out for themselves. He will be joined by former two-term Michigan Gov. Jennifer Grandholm, who has called for empowering states to create jobs through a clean energy race to the top.

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Other speakers in the first session include economist Robert J. Gordon, innovation researcher Erik Brynjolfsson, robotics entrepreneur Keller Rinaudo, and author Nolifer Merchant, who looks deeply at the strategies and cultures of effective businesses. And some guy named Bono, who is both a musician and an activist.

The conference comprises between two and four daily sessions with as many as nine speakers in each 105-minute session. Each of the speakers is challenged to give the best speech of their life in 18 minutes or less.

Throughout the conference, it is the juxtaposition of experts from widely different worlds that is intended to stir the pot.

And the TED Conference is far from stuffy. The speakers include a yo-yo champion, three young bluegrass musicians and a beat boxer.

Steamboat Springs offers incredible cultural and intellectual opportunities for its residents and visitors, but it's a great big world out there, and the adult programming at Bud Werner Memorial Library is doing as much as any local institution to share it with us.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email

If you go

What: The TED Conference for technology, entertainment and design in a live television feed from Long Beach, Calif.

When: Tuesday through Friday

Tuesday’s schedule:

Session 1: Progress Enigma, noon to 1:45 p.m.

Session 2: Beautiful Imperfection, 3:15 to 5 p.m.

Session 3: The Spark, 6 to 7:45 p.m.

Where: Library Hall, Bud Werner Memorial Library

You can also watch and re-watch previous speeches by TED participants (TED Talks) at

Go to the Bud Werner Memorial Library’s events page, to see the times of TED Conference telecasts Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Find information about the speakers at the conference web page.

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