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Hundreds to descend upon Long Beach for 2013 TED conference

Bono, the frontman of U2 and an activist, is slated to speak at the 2013 TED conference in Long Beach.
Bono, the frontman of U2 and an activist, is slated to speak at the 2013 TED conference in Long Beach.
Joe Kohen/Getty Images for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week

Bono will be there. So will a former Michigan governor, a yo-yo champion and a trio of bluegrass musicians – the youngest of whom is 15.

They'll all take the stage during this year's Technology, Entertainment and Design (TED) Conference in Long Beach, which starts Monday at the Long Beach Performing Arts Center's Terrace Theater. 

TED describes itself as an organization "devoted to ideas worth spreading." The five-day conference showcases ideas on a wide variety of topics, including economics, the arts, sustainability and scientific advancement, as well as more esoteric questions such as those of identity and legacy.

This year's program is the largest in TED's history, with more than 80 speakers and performers taking the TED stage. Registration is closed, but 1,400 people were able to secure a coveted spot for $7,500 a pop. Because there are so many speakers, event organizers said the talks will be shorter – 12 minutes (or less) instead of the usual 18. It's also the first time TED has embarked on a global talent search for speakers, which organizers say yielded about half of this year's program.

Here are some highlights from the 2013 TED Conference in Long Beach, the theme of which is "The Young. The Wise. The Undiscovered.":

A former Michigan governor: Jennifer Granholm, a former two-term governor of the Great Lakes State, authored a book about how her state navigated its way out of economic turmoil. She'll promote the empowerment of states to create jobs through her talk: "Clean Energy Jobs Race to the Top."

A yo-yo champion: He goes by BLACK and has logged 10,000 hours of yo-yo practice. It's not for nothing: He won the world title in 2001 and 2007. His act is a blend of performance and yo-yoing:

A (very) young bluegrass band: The Sleepy Man Banjo Boys' members are 15, 14 and 10. The three brothers have appeared with Ellen DeGeneres, Jimmy Kimmel, Jay Leno and David Letterman:

A "food creator": Barb Stuckey tastes food and then figures out how to make it better. Really.

A "serial entrepreneur": You may have heard of Paypal, or SpaceX, or Tesla, all of which are under Elon Musk's belt – he's co-founder, CEO and CEO, respectively.

An inventor: Richard Turere is a 13-year-old Maasai who lives in the Kenyan savanna. In order to protect his father's livestock, he invented "lion lights," a fence made of solar charging cells and flashlight parts that keeps lions away.

A "kindness catalyst": Orly Wahba founded Life Vest Inside, a nonprofit devoted to spreading kindness and uplifting people. She's the creator of a well-known short film, "Kindness Boomerang":

A "renegade gardner": Ron Finley calls South L.A. "home of the drive-through and the drive-by." In order to accomplish his vision of a "food forest," he started an urban garden movement.

The full roster can be viewed on the conference's website, where past TED talks are also available. After five years in Long Beach, event organizers recently announced the conference will move next year to Vancouver.