As is becoming traditional (2007, 2008), I’ve made a very brief list of what happened at this year’s Interesting
- Tom Loosemore on the race to sail faster than 50 knots.
- Jessica Greenwood on why the least interesting things about sport is the score (football, with all its attendant drama, is a $500B industry).
- Robert Brook spoke on being a gentleman (by birth, costume or behaviour).
- Toby Barnes on a brief history of cheating in video-games (cheating, when it involves other people, is wrong).
- Leila Johnston read some snippets from her very funny book, ‘The Enemy of Chaos‘
- Cait Hurley talked about Arthur Jefferson (Stan Laurel’s dad and an awesome guy).
- Alby Reid told us that everything we knew about nuclear power was wrong (How many people died as a result of Chernobyl? 56.)
- Katy Lindemann enthused about robots (Tweenbots are especially adorable).
- The very cute Bubblino made an appearance on stage (blowing bubbles across the stage every time ‘interesting’ was mentioned on twitter).
- 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.
- Andy Huntington took us on a tour of keyboard instruments and explained ‘equal temperament’.
- Alice Taylor talked about ‘merchants vs craftants’ (give some love back to the crafters).
- Tim Duckett kindly taught us morse code in 10 minutes. For example: Z = Zinc Zoo kee-per = – – . .
- Michal Migurski talked about maps and paper and a much-photocopied intersection map of San Francisco (paper wiki).
- Josie Fraser talked about psychological violence in UK 1970s and 80s girls comics (‘it can be dangerous to mock a monkey’).
- 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‘).
- Asi Sharabi showed us 6-8 year old children’s ideas of interestingness (which centered around technology, friends, motors and animals).
- Meg Pickard taught us about drinking rituals and associated customs (toast, cheers, your good health, chin chin, rule of thumb).
- Alex Deschamps-Sonsino got us to make a very complicated origami box.
- Tuur Van Balen talked about yoghurt and DNA synthesis (“I’ve never done bio-technology under such time pressure!”)
- 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”).
- 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”).
- 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).
- Tom Fishburne talked about innovation and cartoons.
- Anab Jain talked about her Indian superpowers.
- Naomi Alderman talked about greek tragedy and goats.
- Gavin Bell talked about the writing of his new ‘Social Web Applications’ book (wifi is a blessing and a curse).
- Emma Marsland shared the ponies she has loved, real and imagined, from since 1970
- Nick Hand shared his ongoing journey around the coast of mainland Britain (5000 miles in 100 days).
- We heard about the ‘BIL‘ unconference in Oxford next summer (BIL is to TED as Bar camp is to Foo camp).
- Mark Earls and his Darwinian Display Team demonstrated random drift.
- Robert Thomas demonstrated RjDj (‘Music as Software’).
- 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).
- 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).
- David Smith gave a touching and powerful talk about teaching (you can’t teach children well unless you love children).
- Richard Reynolds mentioned his Guerilla Gardening book and told a lovely story about planting sunflowers opposite Parliament.
- We watched Jim Le Fevre‘s beautiful astrotagging film.
- Claire Margetts told us about the ‘Do’ lectures.
- 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”).
- 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).
Another great job from Russell. Three years in a row, Interesting continues to live up to its name.
16 was Dan Maier – http://twitter.com/danielmaier
Good to see you and thanks for this handy post – a good memory-refresher in a day packed with interestingness.
Mark Earls – http://www.twitter.com/herdmeister
Gem Spear (I was told by Russell, and this is how she appeared on the running order, but I assumed the spelling and I don’t know where she lives on the web)
Thanks Lloyd. I wondered if it could be Spier but Russell confirms that it is indeed spelled Spear.
Thank you so much for the sum up and links to all the speakers, was a brilliant day!
Nice to briefly meet you in the morning as well.
Fantastic day, am now determined to find out more about Francis Galton and have a new love of ponies. I will also be haunting the shabbier charity shops, looking for copies of 1970s and 80s girls comics, hoping to actually read what dreadful fate awaited the girl who mocked a monkey.
Had I remembered to do an interesting drawing for Asi, it would have been a giraffe – does this mean I am 6-8 years old?
I’ve been hearing about Interesting for the past couple of years, but never really knew what the content was like. So thanks for this round-up. Makes me want to go. More than I already did.
David: cool. Do check out summaries of 2007 and 2008 for even more interesting things you missed in previous years. :-)
Interesting2009 has caused me to do two very productive things this week:
1. Convince a cat food brand they should have a PDF download of a paper cup that allows people to measure the amount of food they should dispense to their cats.
2. Learn how to play the theme tune to Rainbow on the guitar.
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