TEDwomen, global

December 7, 2010 at 7:53 pm | In conference, ideas, victoria | Comments Off on TEDwomen, global

I spent about two hours at UVic this afternoon, where the Washington DC-based TEDwomen sessions were being live-streamed. I came in for Session 2: Life’s Symphony, featuring (among others) Sheryl Sandberg (COO of Facebook); Mona Eltahawy (journalist); Tony Porter (educator); and Lauren Zalaznick (television exec).

I was fortunate to have heard about the live-cast (via a friend), and that was evident when I got to UVic. Some of the attendees (mostly women) had been there for Session 1; I arrived right at the break, about 10 or 15 minutes before Session 2. As we waited for it to start, one of the organizers noted that we were a lucky bunch to be privy to the simulcast … since it wasn’t publicly advertised.

Given that there were only about a dozen people in a room that could easily hold about sixty, I really couldn’t understand why the event wasn’t publicly advertised…

At one point, the DC event cut to a map of all the locations, globally, where TEDwomen was being simulcast, and via the magic of simulcasting and Skype, we “visited” the group located in Mexico. Its audience seemed a lot bigger than ours; they had strung up a banner, and were holding a parallel mini-TEDx conference of their own during breaks in the DC simulcast. They had made a big, decidedly public event out of this – I just had to wonder why our Victoria BC session was so private.

I don’t know… I dropped in late, I probably missed something.

But it reminded me of too much in Victoria – taking “it’s on a need-to-know basis” to a whole new level… #dislike

I’m sorry I failed to take notes – there was lots of good stuff.

The picture, above, is of Lauren Zalaznick, whose riveting analysis of TV-watching habits correlated to social trends (in cynicism or judgementalism or optimism or…) was eye-opening. From what I recall: we have so much in common with animals, except this – humans love to watch, whereas other animals don’t have that voyeurism fetish. From that core insight, Zalaznick looked at what we watch (hint, TV), and then extrapolated social trends. She matched these up with TV trends, and made the argument that TV is our “conscience”… Really looking forwarded to getting my hands on an archive broadcast of her talk, and the others, too.

I signed up for another session tomorrow, but I don’t think I’ll take the time out to attend. It’s a hassle to free up the time, and if I’m going to do that, it has to be better than bowling alone.

Maybe ideas really do have sex. Or something…

July 14, 2010 at 11:13 pm | In conference, ideas | 2 Comments

Strange, how ideas and notions sometimes multiply and touch each other in unexpected ways.

This morning, I got a Facebook message from my architect friend Elisa Yon – she sent me a pointer to Matt Ridley, who presented at TEDGlobal 2010:

The Rational Optimist Matt Ridley says prosperity is “the saving of time while satisfying your needs.” The discussion of individual IQ is irrelevant. The collective brain is what matters to social prosperity.

Definitely sounds yummy: I’m interested!

Next, Andrew Wilkinson (of Metalab) updates that TEDGlobal 2010 is “an incredible experience so far,” and I ask if he heard Matt Ridley. In answer, I get a link to Ridley’s TED talk, When ideas have sex. Great talk – I highly recommend clicking through to watch it now.

Ridley is about my age, and he starts his TED talk with a description of the prevailing post-sixties doom and gloom that I, too, recall only too well: when I was in high school, we were visited by a local Malthusian who warned that we would soon run out of water on Vancouver Island, and that therefore it was irresponsible for any of us to take daily showers. Well over three decades later, we still have water and people are still taking showers, but the scarcity model continues to dominate – and frighten. Now it’s all about security dressed up as self-sufficiency. Food security is very much the flavor of self-sufficiency that’s in favor right now, but as Ridley notes, self-sufficiency is what we used to call poverty. (And we’ll still call it poverty in the future.)

I was already pleased by the coincidence of pointers, but then I also took a look at Andrew‘s latest project, Kill the Spill, a site that raises money to help animals affected by BP’s Gulf Oil Spill. Beside Metalab, the Kill the Spill project is supported by three other tech-and-design companies, which will match donations (for up to $35,000 – they’ve gone over $19,000 at present): CampaignMonitor; WooThemes; and Squarespace.

Squarespace happened to be a blog topic on Dave Winer’s Scripting News, and Dave had earlier posted about a photo of a building he identified as Squarespace’s offices. The building is charming – it’s from an era that, referencing Gordon Price,  I’d call BM (“before motordom” – or at least, before motordom took over completely). I looked at it for a while, and admired how it interacted with the street (what’s left of it), commented.

…And what do we see in the right background, very nearly hidden by urban development junk (striped jersey barriers [why?], construction fencing, billboards)? A gas station, symbol of Motordom, in the heart of the (walkable) city. And not just any gas station: this one sports that green and sunny (and so green-washed) BP logo!

In terms of ideas, today felt almost promiscuous.

Gov2.0 and Northern Voice

May 7, 2010 at 8:55 pm | In conference, northernvoice, politics | 4 Comments

Great session this morning at Northern Voice, Gov 2.0 – Politics, Policy and Social Media in Canada: A Multi-Level Exploration, featuring David Eaves as moderator, with Raul Pacheco-Vega, Ian Capstick, Tanya Twynstra, and the most excellent Andrea Reimer.

More later, but for now, a couple of images from Andrea Reimer’s presentation. (Did I mention that it was great?)

Left to right: Raul Pacheco-Vega, Ian Capstick, Andrea Reimer, David Eaves, Tanya Twynstra


Andrea Reimer with one of her first slides. (The chicken in the foreground has a backstory: see Office Chicken for details…) Key thing: citizen blogger, citizen councilor, citizen GIS guru: CITIZEN.



Great image:

“Open and Accessible Data : the City of Vancouver will freely share with citizens, businesses and other jurisdictions the greatest amount of data possible while respecting privacy and security concerns”

Reimer’s 2nd point: “Open Standards : the City of Vancouver will move as quickly as possible to adopt prevailing open standards for data, documents, maps, and other formats of media”…



Finally, Reimer’s last slide: “speak to councillors and the public . . . not to each other” : an exhortation to get out of the echo chamber? This is actually one of the hardest pieces to actualize…

Northern Voice 2008 — what a blast!

February 24, 2008 at 10:26 pm | In conference, northernvoice, nv08, social_networking, vancouver | Comments Off on Northern Voice 2008 — what a blast!

This afternoon I returned home from Northern Voice 2008, the 4th annual incarnation of this event. It was the first time I attended, and I had a great time. Learned a lot, met some terrific people, and experienced a really positive geek vibe — if that makes sense. I’ll post more later — probably tomorrow? — but right now I’m too exhausted. As soon as we (spouse & I) got off the ferry, we phoned the kids at home, ascertained that most of the food was gone, stopped at the supermarket on the way home to ransom a cow’s worth of milk and the millions of pounds of additional food required by growing teenagers, continued on our way, fixed lunch, walked the dog, made dinner, and now it’s time to clean up the kitchen and then collapse into bed. This is what we domestic professionals call being “back in harness.” Ha.ha. The drill continues tomorrow, and so on until …well, just watch birds trying to fledge their young. It gives a whole new meaning to going ragged at the edges.

Except I don’t see the birds in actual harness, but then I guess mine is invisible, too.

I did do a stupid thing after getting home — I spent over two hours going through over 60 pages of photos posted to Flickr that were tagged with nv08 and northernvoice. My god, people get busy with their cameras! My eyeballs hurt.

More later, on the actual conference and the great people. But now it’s off to the scullery…

Theme: Pool by Borja Fernandez.
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