Manual RedEye

IdeaFestival Day Two

lee billings
Lee Billings sits outside the auditorium after his presentation. Photo by Patrick Smalley

Manual students attended the second day of IdeaFestival, the first day of the core IF program after Thrivals, on Oct. 1.

The day kicked off with a presentation by Scientific American science writer Lee Billings. Billings discussed media sensationalism with regards to the discovery of exoplanets, planets that do not orbit Earth’s Sun. He argued for increased funding for telescopic technology to gather more accurate measurements on these celestial bodies.

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Stephen Cave speaks about the four myths that humans invented about death. Photo by Josh Svoboda.

Philosopher and diplomat Stephen Cave spoke next, promoting his new book, “Immortality”. Cave identified four different myths that he claims humans invent to ward off the fear of death, and also provided a fifth alternative which he believes allows humans to escape the four fallacies.

After lunch, former U.S. State Department employee and writer Peter van Buren spoke about economic inequality in the United States, listing six of what he termed “economic realities” and strongly advocating for raising the minimum wage. Van Buren was terminated from the State Department after being charged under the Espionage Act, though the charges did not hold up in court.

Nine time Grammy Award winning jazz musician Wynton Marsalis spoke next, this time in a more relaxed question and answer format in which he interacted with the audience. Many YPAS students from Manual attended, and some, like Jonah Boutelle (11, YPAS), spoke with Marsalis directly. Boutelle, a trumpet player himself, asked Marsalis for “tips”. “If you really want to do music, don’t have nothing to fall back on,” Marsalis advised.

The formal program concluded with a presentation by designer Debbie Millman about traits that promote innovation and creative thinking.