Friday, May 18, 2007

Thursday gazette

Back at home after a super swell time at the Social Technologies Summit in Manchester--special thanks to all the wonderful participants and to the Futuresonic team who consistently held the backend together and made my job easier.

Drew Hemment deserves all the credit for coming up with the conference theme and convening the event - and that's no small feat! - while I helped him with programming the speakers and took care of schedules and briefings and the event's overall interaction design. I'll post more properly on what we did as soon as I get the chance, but for now I'd just note that organising and facilitating a conference and workshop is totally different from being a participant--both challenging and satisfying in unexpected ways!

I also managed to get out a bit while I was there and I have just one thing to say: if you ever have the chance to see Faust, don't miss them! (Hint hint: they're touring the UK in June and this is what you can expect.) Such beauty in timing, noise and destruction, which despite the overwhelmingly masculine tone of the event reminded me of Kali and Coatlicue, I could only have been more pleased if it were Can I had seen.

Anyway, I've got just over five weeks at home before I head off for a month in Banff, and I've got a much loved boy and cat to spend time with, flowers to plant, book clubs to join, bbqs to host and attend, bike rides to take, and yes, a bunch of work to do.

But before I forget, here's a quick list of things that've recently caught my eye:

BBC: "I think that concerns about robot rights are just a distraction. The more pressing and serious problem is the extent to which society is prepared to trust autonomous robots and entrust others into the care of autonomous robots."

NY Times: How the Inca Leapt Canyons

Guardian: "Just as we built up roads, the next step in civilisation is to build a total information network that will form part of the fabric of things around us."

IHT: Human skin is an anthropologist's map

BBC: "The safe development of a new technology should not depend on whether an academic wins a highly competitive research grant."

[Updated 18.05.07 for clarification.]

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