What a Wonderful World!

October 26, 2011, 6:30pm at The Opera House

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TEDxLosGatos  2011 Speakers

Jonathan Knowles

Curator, Organizer, Host, TEDxLosGatos



Jonathan ia an active member of the Los Gatos community serving as Chairman of Los Gatos Music & Arts, President and Chairman of the Los Gatos-Monte-Sereno Police Foundation, member of the Los Gatos Arts and Culture Commission, as well as several other local organizations. 


A seasoned Silicon Valley professional, Jonathan is currently a senior advisor to the CEO and CTO at Autodesk, makers of software for designers, architects, engineers, filmmakers, game developers, and all who seek to imagine, design, and create a better world. He provides insight on the intersection of emerging technology and social trends, the impact of discontinuous innovation, and beyond the horizon technologies. Jonathan  has held senior positions at Apple and Adobe, is  a faculty member at Singularity University, a regular participant at TED and TEDGlobal, and is a lifelong learner from the University of California, Cornell, and Harvard.

W.M. Vinci

Artist, Teacher, Businessman



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W.M. Vinci is an artist, teacher, and businessman creating from his home in Emerald Hills California. His artwork is in several galleries and private collections and recently was twice featured on the cover of a national magazine. Mr. Vinci's art is inspired by many sources including astrophysics, urban landscapes, and human nature. His vivid work is created with unique techniques developed by the artist and is renowned for his colors and textures. W.M. Vinci also brings his experiences as a teacher, entrepreneur, and world traveler to each canvas.

Dr. Rudy Rucker, Ph.D.

Mathematician, Computer Scientist, Science Fiction Author, Artist, and Philosopher



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Rudy Rucker is a writer, a mathematician, and a computer scientist­ with thirty-two published books.   In the 1980s he received Philip K. Dick awards for his cyberpunk novels Software and Wetware.  He was a computer science professor at San Jose State for twenty years.  He took up painting in 1999, and he’s had three shows of his pop-surreal works in San Francisco.  His fantastic novel of the afterlife, Jim and the Flims and his autobiography, Nested Scrolls: The Autobiography of Rudolf von Bitter Rucker Life, both appear in 2011.  Rudy also edits a speculative fiction webzine called Flurb.  

Dan Orloff

Founder of Bay Area Rocks,Co-founder Orloff Williams Partners marketing communication



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Dan was born in the early 50's – a time when the phrase rock 'n' roll was coined. Music courses through his family's veins: his grandmother sang in Vaudeville, his dad is a well-known barbershop quartet singer. And his cousin is Bob Dylan, whose early career made Dan want to pick up the guitar. Growing up in Daly City, the peachfuzzed Orloff fell under the sway of The Beatles, Jefferson Airplane, The Doors, Tower of Power and spent a few nights inhaling the magic at the Fillmore and Avalon Ballrooms.  Dan played rhythm guitar in schoolboy garage combos and is now a drummer in several San Jose-area classic rock cover bands.


He is the founder of the non-profit organization called Bay Area Rocks. Dan uses the skills to further Bay Area Rocks' mission: To bring rock musicians, their fans and technologists together to benefit arts education. Bay Area Rocks produces multi-media experiences designed to tap the depth and breadth of yesterday and today’s Bay Area rock music scene and believe that by collaborating with like-minded organizations, unique, deep, meaningful and emotive experiences can be created making rock music a compelling, empowering tool to benefit future generations of aspiring youth.

Susan Gundunas

Opera Singer, Actress and Voice Teacher



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Susan Gundunas is a critically acclaimed soprano, actress and voice teacher.  She grew up in Los Altos, California and began singing and dancing as a child at her parent’s Greek nightclub, The Balkan Villiage.  Susan graduated from Santa Clara University with a degree in Theatre Arts and began her acting career at San Jose Repertory Theatre.  After being heard by acclaimed conductor, George Cleve, he highly encouraged her to study classical voice.  Susan continued her studies at University of Connecticut and San Jose State University.   She was discovered by  internationally acclaimed mezzo-soprano, Irene Dalis, who awarded her the position of resident artist with Opera San Jose.  Susan has sung over 40 leading operatic roles and performed in concerts and recitals across the United States and abroad.  Recently Susan has written, performed and recorded two solo recitals “Life, Love and Motherhood “ and “All the World’s a Stage”.  Her career highlights include the role of Carlotta in the Harold Prince production of Phantom of the Opera, the role of Ellen from the opera Nosferatu written by Alva Henderson and Dana Gioia, and singing the Herzogin von Parma under the baton of Kent Nagano in Busoni’s Doktor Faust.  When not performing, Susan teaches voice privately in San Francisco and is on the voice faculty in the music department at UC Berkeley.

Dr. Kim Silverman, Ph.D.

Principal Research Scientist at Apple


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Dr. Kim Silverman is Principal Research Scientist at Apple. His Ph.D. is from Cambridge University, and his post-doctoral research was conducted at Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill, New Jersey. By night Dr. Silverman studies the more "esoteric" arts. He is a president of the Society of American Magicians (Palo Alto), and a Magician Member of the Academy of Magical Arts, better known as the world-famous Magic Castle in Hollywood. Drawing from his backgrounds in science, technology, and cognitive psychology, Kim strives to move the performance of magic from mere presentation of "tricks" to a deeper and more meaningful affirmation of human life. His presentation will demonstrate this with some of his award-winning signature pieces.

Courtney Macavinta

Co-Founder & President, The Respect Institute



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Courtney Macavinta is Co-Founder and President of The Respect Institute whose mission is to give youth and their influencers tools to build self-respect so they can end cycles of disrespect and thrive. Courtney is a domestic violence survivor whose multi-racial family struggled for respect amid issues like substance abuse, incarceration, high-school dropout and teen pregnancy. As a young adult, her mission became to create a world where respect for all is the status quo.


An award-winning writer, Courtney has created the Respect Rally for youth, a popular blog for girls and women, RespectRx, and best-selling book for teens, RESPECT. She’s been featured by CNN, ABC, National Public Radio, USA Today, Teen Vogue and others, and has partnered with organizations such as Girl Scouts of the USA and Derek Jeter’s Turn 2 Foundation. Additionally, she was invited to the White House in 2010 based on her work in domestic violence prevention. She lives in her native San Jose with her husband, former pro athlete Jeremy Cleland, and son Tru.

Marc Goodman

Founder, Future Crimes Institute



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Marc Goodman is a global thinker, writer and consultant focused on the profound change technology is having on security, business and international affairs. Over the past 20 years, he has built his expertise in combating cyber crime and terrorism working with organizations such as INTERPOL, the United Nations, NATO and the US Government. Marc frequently consults with global policy makers, security executives and industry leaders on technology-related security threats and has operated in nearly seventy countries around the world.


Marc founded the Future Crimes Institute and serves as the Chair for Policy, Law and Ethics at Silicon Valley’s Singularity University, a NASA, Autodesk, and Google sponsored venture dedicated to using advanced science and technology to address humanity’s grand challenges. Marc's current areas of research include the security implications of exponential technologies such as robotics, artificial intelligence, the social data revolution, synthetic biology, virtual worlds, genomics, ubiquitous computing and location-based services.

Andrew Hessel

Genomic Scientist



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Andrew Hessel is the Co-Chair of biotechnology and bioinformatics at Singularity University, an educational institution created to train leaders in exponential (fast-changing) technologies.  He views living cells as powerful information processors that are programmable with genetic engineering.  His personal focus is synthetic biology, a suite of tools that allow genomes to be manipulated with relative ease.  Andrew is also the co-founder and managing director of the Pink Army Cooperative, a social biotechnology company working to create open source personalized breast cancer treatments.

Dr. Sandra Faber, Ph.D

Professor of Astronomy & Astrophysics, UC Santa Cruz



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Sandra Faber's dream as a kid was to understand where the Universe came from.  After a lifetime of studying cosmology at UC Santa Cruz, she feels she has some answers.  Faber helped to discover dark matter in the Universe, and, with UCSC colleagues Joel Primack and George Blumenthal, invented the standard theory for galaxy formation based on it.  She led the team that discovered ubiquitous massive black holes at the centers of galaxies.  She's also helped to build and use some of the world's largest telescopes, including the twin 10-meter Keck giants on Mauna Kea and the Hubble Space Telescope, for which she and her graduate student diagnosed the optical flaw.  Currently she leads the CANDELS project, the deepest survey yet with Hubble, which is revealing how infant galaxies formed 95% of the way back to the Big Bang.

A playlist of all of the talks can be found here.

The TEDxLosGatos speakers at TEDxLosGatos

Via TED.com:


Dr. Paul Bloom from Yale University.


Eric Whitacre, world renowned composer.


Dr. Sam Harris, best selling author and Co-Founder and CEO of Project Reason.


Einstein, the African grey parrot, and her trainer, Stephanie White.