TED hasn't even started and already I've had brain food. I rode down from the LA Airport in the shuttle with Tommy McCall, a globe-trotting information graphics designer who specializes in bringing what might be dull graphics to life in newspapers and magazines. You can see some of his portfolio here. http://tommymccall.org/Portfolio/Portfolio
His work on the TED program guide earned him a ticket to TED. Tommy is s one of a new generation of TEDster - someone who has come to know and love TED through the web site that lets people enjoyg TED speakers for free at TED.com! He particularly loves Hans Rosling for his absoluting amazing graphics that illustrate trends in world poverty. Who doesn't? He's one of my favourites too. Catch him at
Tommy also talked to me about an Op Ed piece he wrote for the New York Times in October. He calculated the return on investment you would make on $10,000 if you invested only during Republican presidencies since Hoover, or only in Democratic presidencies since Hoover. Each represents 40 years of investing. I guessed pretty bang on for the amount you'd have during Democratic incumbencies - $300,000 (well, $300,671 to be exact), but I miserably overestimated what you'd have under the Republicans - a puny $11,733. That still only rises to $51,211 if you remove Hoover's depression years. I knew the difference was enormous, but not that enormous!