If the rest of PopTech is anything like the morning of the first day, then I’m not sure my head can handle it. You can follow along live at Poptech.org/live, and track images on Flickr at PopTech08. Finally, follow the PopTech blog, as they liveblog the whole event. Here are my highlights and images from this event so far.
Before I get started on today though, I need to give a quick shout out to Gever Tulley, who helped re-awaken my love of tinkering and creating with my hands. I spent yesterday afternoon bending wire, strapping down chopsticks and creating power with rubber bands. My masterpiece was a catapult-driven car. Best of all, Gever runs the Tinkering School, and he’s a big AfriGadget fan.
Saul Griffith started us off with some amazing visuals supporting his studies into energy use by himself over one year. You can join in at his crowdsourcing project of personal energy use at a site called Wattzon. It’s really quite interesting to see the breakdown of energy use by those of us who travel a lot.
Malcolm Gladwell spoke about capital usage by societies – I’ve read both Blink and The Tipping Point, so am also going to buy his new book Outliers when it comes out. Frankly, he’s an amazing speaker and it was just enjoyable listening to him talk. Funnily enough, I got to chat with his mother during the break, which was unexpected.
David Harrison is on a mission to save disappearing languages from all over the globe. He’s a professor of linguistics at Swarthmore University, and expressed well the need to save languages as we lose so much human knowledge that cannot simply be translated into a “global language”. Harrison has developed the idea of â€œlanguage hotspotsâ€ – examining where the highest diversity of languages are, where the danger is most and where knowledge that is not widely known exists.
I actually didn’t know anything about Imogen Heap before I heard her here at PopTech. It was an absolutely fascinating moment for me, as she used technology to start echoing her voice and did a full song with only her voice weaving in and out in a symphony that can only be heard, not explained. Amazing. You can also follow her on Twitter @imogenheap.
It was wonderful to finally meet Rob Katz, who started NextBillion.net – the website that tracks and keeps discussions alive around products and services targeted at the “bottom billion” people in the world. We have big plans of having a good long talk over the next couple days, more after that.
Lastly, a new friend of mine that is also a part of this year’s PopTech 2008 Fellows class, is Eric Dawson. One of the more grounded individuals that I’ve ever met, he exudes peace. This is good, as he runs an organization called Peace Games, focused on ending youth violence. His short talk was well done, asking us to not feed the evil, but the good in ourselves.
Best of all, the bags handed out by PopTech are by Timbuk2, and are excellent bags. However, anyone who wants to can donate their bag to Eric’s Peace Games organization for one of the 40,000 youth taking part in their program.