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TEDx talks trade in unexpected twists

Nov 08 2012

A diverse lineup of experts and performers will entertain and inform attendees at this year's TEDxVictoria event, set for Nov. 17 at the Victoria Conference Centre.

TED is a non-profit organization that started as a conference in California 25 years ago. The Victoria event will take place 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Nov. 17, and will feature 12 speakers and eight artists and performers. The talks are 18 minutes each and will be available at ted.com.

Alan Cassels, a University of Victoria drug-policy researcher, decided to step up to improve his public-speaking skills.

"I do a fair bit of public speaking in my work, but there's always room for improvement, right?" Cassels said. His 10-minute talk is about medical screening and how looking for early signs of disease can be harmful.

The unexpected twist is typical of TED talks, which encourage new takes on old beliefs.

While Cassels has been looking at the subject for years - even writing a book on it - he acknowledged that many people still believe it is in their best interest to be screened for breast cancer, prostate cancer and the like.

Seasoned performer Wes Borg said in an email that he is terrified of standing in front of the crowd and giving his spiel. Borg has written and performed for the stage, screen, radio and Internet and is fulfilling a long-held dream of taking part in a TED talk.

"I've always dreamed of saying something smart and interesting and funny, instead of just funny," Borg said.

His message is about the destruction of civilization at the hands of robots.

"[They] will destroy us, not by running amok, but by doing exactly what we ask them to do," he said.

Other speakers include food security consultant Carolyn Herriot and Jaigris Hodson, a former burlesque dancer who teaches digital literacy.

Tickets are $75 to $100, available through tedxvictoria.ticketleap.com and Russell Books.

For more information, go to tedxvictoria.com.


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