May 14, 2007

E.O. Wilson and the Encyclopedia of Life . . .

Edge has a link to an awesome video of E.O. Wislon.

It's footage of Wislon accepting his 2007 TED (Technology, Entertainment & Design) prize, which includes a $100,000 check. Here's some detail about what the TED prize actually is:

"The prize was introduced in 2005, and it is unlike any other award. Here's why. Although the winners receive a prize of $100,000 each, that's the least of what they get. The real prize is that they are granted a WISH. A wish to change the world. There are no formal restrictions on the wish. We ask our winners to think big and to be creative. They are permitted several months of dreaming, brainstorming and planning. Then they come to TED, and during a special session at the conference, they unveil their wish. The goal is that it creates an incredible sense of excitement and common purpose. It inspires the TED community, and all those who hear about the wish, to offer their help in making the wish come true."
Well, Wilson's wish is to create an encyclopedia of life! This is supposed to be a web-based collection of data created by scientists and amateurs on every aspect of the biosphere. What an incredible task! We know so little about nature right now. But I guess that's really the purpose of it . . . to get people interested in learning and discovering more about the biosphere. In his talk, he discusses various threats to life on our planet as well. And there's also a really cool video montage of nature during his talk, including micro-organisms, insects, monkeys and people. So go check it out!

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