Back from Sci Foo
Nice campout at Google--with tyranosaurs
I spent the weekend with 200 other ubergeeks at the Googleplex, inventing then executing the agenda for the Sci Foo Camp 2009 un-conference. My own talk was on "The Rewilding: An Alternative to the Technological Singularity," and it was pretty well rececived by the tough crowd of intellectual heavyweights I pitched it to.
Other people who were there that weekend included Maureen McHugh (who has written some of my favourite SF and whom I finally go to mee!), and intellectuals/power brokers from diverse fields, such as George Dyson, Esther Dyson, Louise Leakey, Peter Diamandis, Elon Musk, Lee Smolin, George Smoot, Lawrence Lessig, etc. There was an early rumour that Bjork was supposed to attend, but she never materialized, at least not in any recognizable form.
Sessions included one on new data supporting an iminent mass extinction from global warming; spaceflight speculations by Musk and Diamandis; new findings in neurobiology and cognitive science, radical animal design, etc. Way too much for me to be able to attend them all, of course; but I'm familiar with that problem from our SciBarCamp experiments in Toronto. The Google campus was a good setting for the event, and they had built us a "holodeck" that ran Google Earth (and Mars) on a set of wraparound big-screen HD tvs. The food at the campus is excellent, by the way--and yes, they do have a tyranosaur on their lawn.
I met tonnes of people, and I'll catch up with you all individually rather than in this space. ...I guess, in trying to summarize how weird and wonderful the weekend was, I'll just give one example: there was a guy who'd brought a hand-held mirror that shows you your reflection unreversed. (No, it's not a device, it's just a mirror.)