Podcast recommendation: Off the Wall Post

As you might know, Shift Run Stop (that podcast I used to edit every week) is on holiday at the moment. While we work out when/how/whether to restart, I’ve found myself listening to lots more podcasts. There’s one in particular which I think you might like.

Off the Wallpost (‘a conversation about digital media in the real world’) is put together by an intelligent, funny gang of three that you want to be part of. It only took 15 minutes before there was a Ghostbusters reference. What’s not to like?

They are: Dan Biddle, a social media producer; Kat Sommers, who works in a research team developing new tech for TV and radio and Barry Pilling, a cross-platform producer. Full disclosure: I used to work with these people. I think they’re ace.

Here’s what you’ll find in episode one…

    6:00 – Artfinder.com launch. What is it, does it work, would you use it?
    13:00 – Mobile + contacts, why can’t Google and Facebook get along?
    20:00 – Charlie Sheen being bat-shit crazy on Twitter.
    24:00 – Charity and social media (covering Underheard in New York, TwitChange, Pledgehammer, ProcasDonate and more). How is online charity evolving?

And episode two…

    8:00 – Jon Bon Jovi and Steve Jobs
    10:30 – The trend of using Tumblr to do one single simple but very specific thing, like Kate Middleton For The Win. Kim Jong Il Looking at Things. [I love these so much, I don’t know where to start. I have my own collecting internet fridges and I’ve recently fallen in love with Nick Clegg Looking Sad.]
    18:00 – Facebook and Warner Movies deal – will it work?
    25:30 – Wanky words.
    26:45 – Geo-location. Foursquare, StickyBits, Google Latitude, Glimpse and more. Is Foursquare a dead end? What’s the real opportunity here?

If you’re anything like me, this is exactly the sort of stuff about which you want people to do be funny and irreverent. Why else do I like it?

  1. They’re pleasingly cutting about the jargon and bullshit which often surrounds social media experts. The first episode begins with an amnesty on the most offensive, trite and meaningless ‘wanky words from the web’, rooting out terms like ‘side-loading’ and stripping them of their power. This is refreshing, funny and fun.
  2. At usually (so far) between 35 and 45 minutes long. That’s the right length; not too long, not too short.
  3. It’s presented by British people. Not that I don’t love my friends from the USA, but in an online world where their US voices often seem to dominate it’s lovely to hear some local accents and a UK perspective for a change.
  4. It’s like a really good SXSW panel with brilliant panelists talking about things you care about (and all without having to even get in a shuttle bus or queue up).

Like.

Some of my collections

I was invited to give a short lunchtime talk for a team in BBC Audio and Music (radio, to you and me) by the lovely Hugh Garry.

In a gloriously open brief, he asked me whether I’d prefer to talk about things I make or things I collect. For some reason I thought sharing a collection of my collections would be the most interesting option, and soon started putting together some examples. This morning, in a last-minute moment of self doubt, I realised how much cooler I’d have looked if I’d shared some of the hacks and tinkering projects I’ve worked on over the years. Like this and this and this and this. Not that much cooler, you say? Oh well.

Geeky things I obsessively collect and curate it is then…

I asked my wife what she thought, but she just laughed and pointed out a few extra collections I’d forgotten about and she’d never understood. How is it even possible for someone to throw away empty Altoids tins? They’re so keepable.

Just before the talk, anticipating there would be time for questions, I added a blank slide followed by a secret extra slide with my prediction of the first question that would be asked: “Where do you find the time?”. It turns out I guessed right, which got a big laugh. I’m sure the person who asked it didn’t mean it in a negative way, but it’s easily interpreted as “why do you waste your time with something I wouldn’t bother with?” and is not that different from claiming someone has too much time on their hands. So I blushingly pointed out that the question could be seen as slightly rude, and went on (hopefully not too defensively) to say that this was a very condensed view of many years of collections, very few of which have lasted very long or required very much time. Each one has taught me something and been valuable in its own way, and been more than worth the amount of time I’ve invested in it. Hard not to sound defensive though, so I also acknowledged that obviously I’m a bit of a geek, some of these things have been (sometimes short-lived) obsessions, and I wouldn’t expect other people to enjoy or value everything which I do in the same way.

We went on to discuss how the internet is a million niches, something I’ve been thinking about a lot in the past few years.

Thanks to Huey for the invite. I really enjoyed it.

Culture Hack Day 2011: Lightning talks

An exciting blend of arts, culture and tech; the lightning talks session at the Culture Hack Day mounted at W+K today were interesting and inspirational.

Speakers

Tom Uglow, (Creative Director, Google and YouTube, Europe) talked about “What if the Web is a Fad?”. He’s pretty sure the internet isn’t going away, but thinks the web as we know it could be on shaky ground. He also pointed out that people don’t want to interact with cultural institutions online. They want to interact with the content.

Clare Reddington (Director, iShed and Pervasive Media Studio) asked “What if We Forget about Screens and Make Real Things?” asking what if all objects had their stories attached to it? She also showed, and sat next to, Tweeture.

Leila Johnston (author, blogger & comedy writer) asked “What if We Have Fun?”, and said ‘If you’re looking for inspiration, everything is fun; toys are all around you, even if they don’t seem like toys’. [update: more notes and links from Leila]

Tom Armitage (Creative Technologist, BERG @infovore) challenged: “Sod big data and mashups: why not hack on making art?” and referenced about several of the works of Tom Philips, plus Caleb Larsen’s ‘A Tool to Deceive and Slaughter‘ (an installation that continually tries to sell itself to the highest bidder)

Tom Dunbar (Producer, Hut V) asked “What if the audience had access to metadata embedded in visual media?”” and imagined

Matthew Somerville (developer, Theatricalia @dracos) asked “What if You Never Needed to Miss a Show?” and showed us his lovely Theatricalia project.

Nick Harkaway (author and blogger for FutureBook @harkaway) asked “What if you need IP?” – and made the point that privacy protection often goes hand-in-hand with IP protection. [Update: Nick shared his own notes here.]

Chris Thorpe (ArtFinder @jaggeree) asked “What if you could see through the walls of every museum and something could tell you if you’d like it?” and imagined the ‘angel’ character in Disclosure walking around galleries; wants people to look at the art, not screens. ‘technology should get out of the way’.

Update: more, and better, writeups of the talks from Chris Unitt, Mia Ridge, Erin Jo Richey, Pervasive Media Studio and Simon Hopkins. Many of the talks were also recorded as videos, here.

PaperCamp2

PaperCamp2 happened this afternoon. Like the first one, it was excellent.

Ben Terrett has done nice little review and you should check out the rest of his photos of the day too.

Stuart Bannocks (more photos) and his team, who no longer call themselves the fabrats but don’t yet have another name, gave us all a chance to be participate in some hands-on protosynthesis with carboard boxes, stickers, pens and our imaginations. (By the way, if you don’t know Stu, you should utterly take a look at the Badge a day project.)

PaperCamp2

I was asked me to wrap up the day, so I stood up at the end and rambled a bit about what I’d enjoyed. Below, I present a tidied, expanded and explicated version of the notes I used. Here’s what I wanted to say:

1.) Matt Jones [@moleitau] kicked off the day by saying he had “a new admiration for primary school teachers” and today has reminded me a lot of first school. Everything is creative. Making things is fun and there’s no such thing as a mistake. What a lovely way to spend a day.

2.) Matt Brown [@irvinebrown] started things off by introducing us to
the work of Josef Albers, origamic architecture by Gerry Stormer, curved folds by David Huffman and clumsy but magical self folding origami. (When we wondered out loud how it works, Ben Terrett patiently and accurately explained “it’s got stuff on it”.) Matt’s clearly having a lot of fun at BERG, and I particularly enjoyed the glimpse behind the scenes of making Dimenions, especially the paper-based ‘post digital augmented reality’ of holding a small drawing on a piece of paper in front of your face to get a sense of the pyramids on the horizon or a Spitfire in flight (“It’s smaller than you’d think”). Update: Matt has written up details of his talk, so you can see what post digital augmented reality aka ‘Sticking A Bit Of Paper In Front Of Your Face’ looks like.

3.) At this point I noticed the tea urn in the Conway Hall sounds like applause. Comforting. It’s been there all day, quietly applauding us all.

4.) Jane Audas [@shelfappeal] told us that “nobody wants what I want on ebay”, which surprised everyone who loves what she loves. She introduced us to various paper artists including Su Blackwell. I was especially excited about her examples of different sorts of packaging, including this beautiful 1950s egg box from Sainsbury’s. It gets me thinking about packaging. Remember when the bag-in-the-box which cornflakes came was made of paper rather than plastic, and milk came in glass bottles? We’ll be seeing a lot less plastic and a lot more card and paper packaging in the near future. (In fact, of course, we already are.)

5.) Camille Bozzini [@therealcamille] showed up some interesting and effective examples of paper advertising, including a rather nice ‘Ombro Cinema’ animation technique which is surprising and delighting, something that can’t always be said of adverts in newspapers.

6.) Laura Dickinson [@pbz1912]. I mean honestly, what must her brain be like? She maps mathematical models, constrained by the affordances and dimensions of paper, into 3d space and then back to nets which she cuts our and assembles into amazing shapes. There’s something delightfully pure and neat and accurate about it.

7.) Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino [@iotwatch] told us why she loves postcards, and made us love them a bit more too. I got a shiver from the postcards from the future exhibition at the Museum of London.

8.) Have you heard of Riepl’s law? Wolfgang Riepl, writing about ancient and modern modes of news communications in 1913, hypothesizes that new media never replace the old. Instead, we end up using the older media differently. Television didn’t replace radio, it sits alongside it quite comfortably.

The internet won’t kill off books, or television. Even if circulations of printed newspapers are dropping, newspapers are not going away.

Look at what happened to painting when photography came along. Not dead, just different.

At the end of his talk, Matt Brown summed it up nicely when he said “the pressure is off books for just imparting information”.

Update: bonus thing 9.) just as we were tidying up and getting ready to go to the pub, Basil showed me this amazing paper procedural generator he built. Brilliant.

BAFTA Film Awards 2010

I was fortunate enough to be invited to help out the BAFTA online team during the Film Awards on Sunday. I spent the afternoon and evening tweeting as @baftaonline and helping their team keep their Facebook page updated.

Initially, I was mainly sharing photos from the red carpet, which meant wandering around with an ‘access all areas’ pass and trying grab pictures of the buildup while staying (unsuccessfully) out of the way of various live news cameras. Here are a handful of the photos I uploaded to Twitpic during the afternoon.

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic Share photos on twitter with Twitpic Share photos on twitter with Twitpic Share photos on twitter with Twitpic Share photos on twitter with Twitpic

I was only slightly hampered by not having much of an idea of who everyone was, and during the busiest time on the red carpet it was a struggle to get a photo and tweet everything. Fortunately, the Bafta/BBC TV crew I was embedded with were very helpful in confirming names of people I was unsure of, etc. Conscious of a fast-depleting iPhone battery, I was alternating between an iPhone and my Canon camera, grabbing snaps and video of whatever looked interesting.

Red Carpet Kimberley Walsh Guy Pearce on the Red Carpet James Cameron on the Red Carpet Andy Serkis on the Red Carpet Edith gets her make up touched up

Once the ceremony began, I went upstairs to the media room where I sat with the BAFTA online team watching the ceremony and backstage interviews live. I was updating their Twitter and Facebook presences with the award winners as they were announced and the response to these live updates was overwhelmingly positive. Rob (BAFTA’s online editor) had proposed a very clean, cut down style for the announcements which worked really well for giving it an official, definitive tone. Keeping it short meant it was more likely to be retweeted too.

Upstairs

During the ceremony, I had a list of who was announcing what, and had to fill in the blanks with the winner as they were announced, tweeting and updating Facebook as quickly as possible. This was pretty stressful, though obviously also an awful lot of fun. I soon found a rhythm and was pleased to be using a laptop where I could quickly copy and paste blocks of text between various windows. The iPhone is nice, but it would suck for this sort of work.

Backstage Carey Mulligan Backstage Kristen Stewart Backstage Backstage

There was some frustration, among people watching on TV, that the twitter stream was acting as a ‘spoiler’ for the event (though I should point out this was massively outweighed by vast numbers of people expressing supportive, grateful thanks for the instant updates). I think the call (which was, of course, BAFTA’s to make) to announce live, rather than in sync with the TV coverage, was the right move. People were looking to @baftaonline for the definitive results when rumours were circulating on Twitter, and it wouldn’t have made sense to wait. We should probably have been clearer as the ceremony began that the tweets were going to be out of sync, to reduce the risk of people being surprised by spoilers.

Once the ceremony was over, and I’d reluctantly handed back the iPhone, I found myself on the stage itself. This was, frankly, even more surreal than the rest of the day. Watch this video below to get a sense of what it was like.

Later in the evening, my wife and I attended the Film Awards party, which was great fun.

BAFTA Party BAFTA Party BAFTA Party BAFTA Party BAFTA Party BAFTA Party

On returning home, I discovered I’d been seen by the BBC News cameras 3 times. As Ian H pointed out, it’s a bit like playing ‘Where’s Wally’.

In the news (1 of 3) In the news  (2 of 3) In the news  (3 of 3)

This makes five times, to my knowledge, I’ve been spotted on TV. (The first and second both being on the set of Watchdog in 2008.)

So, all in all a fantastic day and what little stress I did feel was entirely exciting. Thanks to everyone at BAFTA for a brilliant time.

Making a podcast – some notes and observations

For the past 3-and-a-bit months, I’ve been making a podcast with my friend Leila.

It’s called Shift Run Stop and thanks to iTunes featuring it on their Podcasts page, it’s recently started getting rather a lot more attention and listeners than we’d ever have hoped.

Shift Run Stop hits the bigtime

A few people have asked me how the recording and editing works, so I thought I’d share what little I know about this stuff and how I do it. We co-host and co-produce, and while Leila is the video editor and publicist, I’m the sound editor and chief tech monkey. I think we make a good team, and it’s certainly a lot of fun.

Recording / Capturing / Studio

We both have Zoom H2 mp3 recorders (I copied Leila) and we use one or both of them to record the audio (generally as a 256kpps MP3, which we copy across to my laptop after we finish recording). Meanwhile, Leila uses her Flip camera or iPhone to capture video tasters, which she edits later in iMovie. She’s good.

Here you can see the Zoom H2, Leila’s Flip and The Internet’s Dave Green all in action together.

Leila and Dave

The Zoom H2 is very good for the price, and I’d recommend it to anyone looking for a decent sound recorder on a budget. For a slightly higher end option, I definitely like the look of the Edirol R-09HR.

Mixing / Cutting / Editing

I use Reaper to edit and mix the recordings. Reaper is amazing, has a hassle-free 30 day evaluation period and after that costs a very reasonable $60 for a personal/education/small-business discounted license or $225 for the regular license.

Some of the filters I use: compressor (to even out the loud peaks), reverb (though not very much or very often) and low-pass (as a hiss filter). Here’s what an episode looks like while I’m working on it.

The editing process

Most of the podcasts you’ll find on iTunes are really quiet. I’m learning to trust what Reaper tells me about the volume level, and keeping it as high as possible so it doesn’t quite clip.

One recent complaint was that the stereo separation is sometimes too great; you hear one person in one ear and one in the other. It’s (obviously) because we sometimes record at opposite sides of the stereo microphone, i.e. at the extremes of it’s recording field. More overlap would be better. I’m going to experiment with the chanmix2 filter in Reaper to narrow the separation a bit. Longer term, to do everything properly, I’m actually quite tempted by the Alesis MultiMix 4 USB Four-Channel USB Mixer for creating a bit more of a studio setup with multiple microphones.

People have suggested that we could tighten it up a bit by removing the ‘um’s, ‘ah’s and other pauses. That’s probably true, and I do increasingly take out a bunch of the worst offenses. On the other hand, my feeling is that I wouldn’t want to go too far; leaving a bit of who we are is a good thing, and totally stripping the conversation of its natural rhythms would be bad. Sometimes I think the odd ‘umm’ can be a useful break; a sort of pressure valve to stop your brain exploding from over concentrated conversation. There are extremes here, with totally unedited two-hour long raw rambling conversations at one end (with the bad bits left in too), and an ultra tight US commercial radio programme at the other (with every hestitation and every moment of silence removed to make way for more ads).

If you’ve ever listend to Radiolab, and you should, then you’ve heard a well produced podcast (perhaps sometimes slightly over-produced for my taste), but one where the imperfections lend it an enormous charm.

In editing, I’m generally just trimming out the more glaring diversions, conversational cul-de-sacs and dull bits, cutting some of the bigger pauses and generally tidying it up a bit. In a 45 minute recording session it’s usually not hard to spot the 20 minutes of really really good stuff. We generally don’t re-order anything, or (of course) make it sound like someone said something they didn’t. I do happily switch between conversations though, and even drop listeners into things with very little introduction.

Back in November, Leila described Shift Run Stop as “an ambient soundscape sort of production, an undulation of chatter and noise, ideas, games and food…”, which I quite like. In the earliest episodes it was probably a bit too confusing, and we’re getting better at signposting what’s going on. That said, one thing I’m still really proud of is the bit in episode 4 where we drop into a couple of conversations without any sort of introduction. One right at the start (which ends up being a lead into hearing a Commodore 64 programme at in the podcast [02:30], which nobody yet seems to have loaded and run) and again at [10:03] where Dave, Tom and Leila are talking about a film and it’ll probably take you until about 11:15 to work out which one. Introducing that with ‘And now, we share our theories about a film…’ just wouldn’t have worked. You might argue that it’s confusing and stupid and annoying and wrong, and that’s just fine. Someone recently described it as ‘overhearing someone else’s conversation’ and gradually working out for yourself what’s going on. I prefer to think of it like that. It works if the conversation is interesting enough.

Publishing / Syndicating / Hosting

I use Libsyn to host the MP3s and Video files in the podcast, an instance of a WordPress to serve the shiftrunstop.co.uk blog and finally Feedburner to take an Atom feed from the blog and turn it into a podcast, while also tracking subscribers, making it work nicely in iTunes, etc.

Our setup works beautifully and was relatively painless, not to mention fairly cheap, to set up. Robert Brook was kind enough to give me some advice about Libsyn (by recording the answer to my questions in his own podcast, so you can hear it too if you want to). The only real cost is Libsyn, where I’m currently paying $24 per month for 525MB per month of upload, which is enough for 4 half-hour-ish audio episodes and 4 5-minute-ish video tasters. They have cheaper packages too. Libsyn don’t cap download bandwidth, so although Amazon S3 might have been even cheaper in the early days, Libsyn is a nice predictable cost rather than a variable one. To do it totally for free, we could just use the Internet Archive to host the audio files. Sadly, to be brutally honest, their upload is still so disappointingly flakey that I didn’t want to trust it.

Enormous Caveat: I’m probably doing everything really badly wrong. I’m documenting it here partly to share what I’ve learned by trial and error, but mostly so that people who know more about it can correct me.

New podcast: Shift Run Stop

Shift Run Stop

I’ve been working with Leila Johnston on a new thing. It’s a fortnightly podcast called Shift Run Stop and as she explains it’s “an ambient soundscape sort of production, an undulation of chatter and noise, ideas, games and food”. Editing it is a lot of fun, as are the weekly recording sessions.

It lives at shiftrunstop.co.uk and in iTunes for your subscribing pleasure. Hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

Roo Robert and Dave Cherry Yogurt Mentos James Bridle's MENACE Scribblenauts David and Roo How it Is

Playful ’09

Playful 09 was great.

Playful 09

I really enjoyed Playful 08 so was delighted to be asked back. Last year I demoed my Rock Band MIDI guitar hack. This year, rather than extend my P5 Glove project into another MIDI instrument, I decided to set myself the challenge of talking about games and films. This was perhaps a little foolish, as I know only a little bit about games and barely anything about films. However, the audience were mercifully forgiving of my ill-prepared nonsense and laughed in all the right places.

In case you missed it, here are my slides, complete with dodgy audio recording of the talk.

Thankfully for all concerned, the rest of the day was much better. Here’s some of what happened:

Playful 09 Leila at Playful Robin Burkinshaw talks about Alice and Kev Daniel Soltis at Playful James Bridle's MENACE Rex Crowle at Playful

A great day with lots to take home and think about. Thanks to Toby Barnes and everyone else at Pixel-Lab for making Playful happen.

More people who have written about it: Suw Charman-Anderson, Leila Johnston, Howard Pull, Adam Davis, Lawrence Chiles, Libby Davy, Daniel Soltis, Priyanka Kanse, Melinda Seckington and more, plus the official record: part 1, part 2 and part 3.

Too Thine Own Self Be True – Keep Wire In Correct Groove, Man

Conway Hall has a couple of iconic photographs that everyone seems to take…

To thine own self be true To Thine Own Self Be True Interesting 2009 - To Thine Own Self Be True
Keep Wire In Correct Groove Interesting 2008 - Keep Wire In Correct Groove interesting

Interesting 2009 – forty even more interesting things

As is becoming traditional (2007, 2008), I’ve made a very brief list of what happened at this year’s Interesting

Interesting 2009 Interesting 2009 Bubblino at Interesting 2009 Interesting 2009 Interesting 2009 Hello, Interesting 2009

  1. Tom Loosemore on the race to sail faster than 50 knots.
  2. Jessica Greenwood on why the least interesting things about sport is the score (football, with all its attendant drama, is a $500B industry).
  3. Robert Brook spoke on being a gentleman (by birth, costume or behaviour).
  4. Toby Barnes on a brief history of cheating in video-games (cheating, when it involves other people, is wrong).
  5. Leila Johnston read some snippets from her very funny book, ‘The Enemy of Chaos
  6. Cait Hurley talked about Arthur Jefferson (Stan Laurel’s dad and an awesome guy).
  7. Alby Reid told us that everything we knew about nuclear power was wrong (How many people died as a result of Chernobyl? 56.)
  8. Katy Lindemann enthused about robots (Tweenbots are especially adorable).
  9. The very cute Bubblino made an appearance on stage (blowing bubbles across the stage every time ‘interesting’ was mentioned on twitter).
  10. Dominic Tinley explained why we don’t see the colour violet on our computers and cameras, as well as what Radio 4 would look like if we could see sound.
  11. Andy Huntington took us on a tour of keyboard instruments and explained ‘equal temperament’.
  12. Alice Taylor talked about ‘merchants vs craftants’ (give some love back to the crafters).
  13. Tim Duckett kindly taught us morse code in 10 minutes. For example: Z = Zinc Zoo kee-per– – . .
  14. Michal Migurski talked about maps and paper and a much-photocopied intersection map of San Francisco (paper wiki).
  15. Josie Fraser talked about psychological violence in UK 1970s and 80s girls comics (‘it can be dangerous to mock a monkey’).
  16. Dan Maier talked about Sir Francis Galton (I now really want to read Galton’s book ‘The Art of Travel‘, and to a lesser extent his thoughts on ‘Africa for the Chinese’ (“one of the 5 most racist things I’ve ever read”, according to Dan) and ‘Arithmetic by Smell‘).
  17. Asi Sharabi showed us 6-8 year old children’s ideas of interestingness (which centered around technology, friends, motors and animals).
  18. Meg Pickard taught us about drinking rituals and associated customs (toast, cheers, your good health, chin chin, rule of thumb).
  19. Alex Deschamps-Sonsino got us to make a very complicated origami box.
  20. Tuur Van Balen talked about yoghurt and DNA synthesis (“I’ve never done bio-technology under such time pressure!”)
  21. Jon Gisby taught us how to conduct a symphony orchestra (“It’s like riding a horse at speed; fun, but with a significant risk of abject and public failure”).
  22. Jessica Bigarel discussed, and beautifully presented, her meta meta data data (capturing each flight of stairs travelled up or down was “an arduous dataset and it was very disruptive to my life”).
  23. Craig Smith talked about his dad (“he sharpens a drill bit better than any man in Huddersfield”) and showed us the types of water wheels (under shot, breast shot, over shot and pitch back).
  24. Tom Fishburne talked about innovation and cartoons.
  25. Anab Jain talked about her Indian superpowers.
  26. Naomi Alderman talked about greek tragedy and goats.
  27. Gavin Bell talked about the writing of his new ‘Social Web Applications’ book (wifi is a blessing and a curse).
  28. Emma Marsland shared the ponies she has loved, real and imagined, from since 1970
  29. Nick Hand shared his ongoing journey around the coast of mainland Britain (5000 miles in 100 days).
  30. We heard about the ‘BIL‘ unconference in Oxford next summer (BIL is to TED as Bar camp is to Foo camp).
  31. Mark Earls and his Darwinian Display Team demonstrated random drift.
  32. Robert Thomas demonstrated RjDj (‘Music as Software’).
  33. Gem Spear talked about electric trains and underground creeks (GM’s inglorious part in killing off the inter-urban railway systems in the US, and a rather nice discussion of running surface runoff water through gardens rather then through underground culverts).
  34. Paul Hammond showed us how to win at Monopoly (if you can buy it, buy it; trade up to a full colour group asap; go for the oranges (stats!); unless it’s early in the game, stay in jail; create a housing shortage; don’t play house rules, as they’ll only make the game take too long; don’t play it at all, it’s a rubbish game. Instead, play German board games, which are not all German and not all board games).
  35. David Smith gave a touching and powerful talk about teaching (you can’t teach children well unless you love children).
  36. Richard Reynolds mentioned his Guerilla Gardening book and told a lovely story about planting sunflowers opposite Parliament.
  37. We watched Jim Le Fevre‘s beautiful astrotagging film.
  38. Claire Margetts told us about the ‘Do’ lectures.
  39. Matt Ward showed us why frivolity is important by showing his plans for watching a bullet reach the top of its trajectory (“Understanding comes through doing”).
  40. Dan Germain talked about sunsets (“basically, when the sun disappears”, by which time it has apparently already happened) and asked why we persist in taking bad photos of them, pondering whether it’s because they remind us of death).

Interesting 2009 Matt David Smith at Interesting 2009 Interesting 2009 Interesting 2009 Interesting 2009

Another great job from Russell. Three years in a row, Interesting continues to live up to its name.

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