当天的另一个亮点来自阿曼达•波登，她是布隆伯格当纽约市长时的纽约城市规划主管。她讲到纽约市有一项规定，要求新建房地产项目离地铁站出口不能超过步行十分钟。然后她讲述了自己为了执行这个规定，艰苦地完成城市分区工作的过程。她还详细谈到了自己常年与房地产开发商斗智斗勇的故事，包括著名的哈德逊庭院项目的开发商（这个项目去年出现在《财富》杂志的封面上）。这个开发商当时想拆掉、然后重建纽约人心爱的高架公园（High Line Park）的一部分。波登说：“商业利益总是会与公共空间发生冲突。”
TED的兼容并包还不仅仅停留在自动驾驶汽车、建筑学、国家安全和城市规划上。《纽约时报》（New York Times）填字游戏的设计者、著名魔术师邝大卫把他的两项专长结合在一块儿，给大家带来了一场主题为“人类生来就为了解谜”的演讲，令人目眩神迷。（世界上第一个纵横字谜是100年前在《纽约世界报》上刊登的，但谁还记得呢？）物理学家米歇尔•拉伯奇带来了关于核聚变商业化的演讲；环保活动家刘佩琪回顾了中国的环保努力；字体设计师马修•卡特探讨了电脑时代建立新字体背后的技术；纪录片制片人约鲁巴•瑞肯介绍了她为记录美国同性恋者争取自身权利的历史所做的努力。
In an interesting moment, TED's Anderson asked the audience to raise their hands if they thought Snowden was a hero or a villain. About 10% rejected his heroic status, and a louder, more enthusiastic group supported Snowden. Anderson astutely noted that many people -- myself included -- didn't raise their hands at all. Importantly, Anderson noted that he invited the NSA to send a representative to the conference, and that they claimed logistical challenges. Given that he'd accommodate a video hookup for the NSA as well, it'd be a fascinating contrast if they accepted his invitation. I left the extended interview, which lasted much longer than 18 minutes, convinced that Snowden has done a service to the country. But I am unprepared to say he shouldn't be punished for what obviously are violations of the law.
Another highlight of the day was Amanda Burden, the head of planning for New York under Michael Bloomberg. She explained the painstaking process of zoning in support of a policy to ensure that all new housing development in New York take place within a 10-minute walk of a subway station. She detailed her constant fights with real estate developers, including the builders of the massive Hudson Yards project (featured last year on the cover of Fortune magazine), who wanted to tear down and then re-build a portion of the now treasured High Line park. "Commercial interests will always battle against public spaces," said Burden.
Eclecticism didn't end with self-driving cars, architecture, national security and urban planning. David Kwong, a magician and New York Times crossword puzzle creator dazzled the crowd by combining his two professions while presenting the thesis that "human beings are wired to solve." (The New York World published the first crossword puzzle 100 years ago. Who knew?) Physicist Michel Laberge spoke about commercializing fusion, activist Peggy Liu reviewed environmental efforts in China, typeface designer Matthew Carter discussed the technology behind creating new fonts in the computer age, and documentary filmmaker Yoruba Richen described her efforts to track the histories of civil rights with gay rights in the U.S.
TED also knows how to change the pace of events, understanding that a repetitive cadence of talks of just one length would get boring. So in the afternoon Tuesday it gave past speakers the opportunity to update quickly their popular talks from past TEDs. The famed psychologist Phil Zimbardo explained the demise of "guys" and suggested things are getting worse. (He says schools are "feminized" by too few male teachers and that Japanese men are so hooked on computer porn they don't want to have the traditional kind of sex.) The oceanographer David Gallo said the only word he can think of to describe a climate denier is "dumb ass."
Bill and Melinda Gates were the focal point of the final session, in addition to a charming and enjoyable performance by Sting. The Gateses didn't say much new, though they did show photos of their children, they said, because the kids told them they want the world to know they care deeply about the philanthropic work their parents are doing with the Gates Foundation.
It's a lot for one day. Expect more Thursday.