March 11, 2008

Hear me speak at Where2.0

Photo of me speaking at the 2006 Where2.0 conference

Speaking of maps, I'm chuffed to say that I'll be speaking at this year's Where 2.0 Conference in San Francisco. I'll be hitting the crowd with true tales of some of history's craziest and most extreme mapping projects. The conference, by the way, is a great gathering of the people behind the most innovative geolocation applications around. See you May 12th to 14th!

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February 04, 2008

Making A Better Erotic Movie

photo of Jennifer Lyon Bell

Earlier this year British marketing strategist Russell Davies was all set to attend the uber-exclusive TED Conference in California. But then he realized that for the cost of attending TED, he could stage his own mini-TED type conference, filled with all sorts of interesting people.

The conference, called Interesting 2007, happened last June in London, and now Russell has put videos of lots of the presentations online.

Which brings me to my favorite talk of Interesting2007, Jennifer Lyon Bell's 9 Tips For Making A Better Erotic Movie. Bell's a film-maker based in Amsterdam who specializes in erotic films. It's a business with an amazing assortment of special considerations and requirements... everything from do you call your film "porn" or not to how to deal with cast-members' tattoos and pubic hair preferences. It's fascinating to hear how Bell and her partner deal with it all.

Here's a link to Davies pretty much safe for work video of the talk.

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April 07, 2007

From Pixels to Plastic with Matt Webb

slide from Matt Webb's from Pixels to Plastic presentation

One of my favorite moments from last month's Emerging Technology Conference was designer Matt Webb's keynote presentation From Pixels to Plastic.

Webb's an impressive interactive designer who in recent years has branched out into physical world objects. His talk showed why, when it comes to the design of physical devices that are clever, magical, and simple to use yet powerful, we still have a long way to go.

He's done a great job transforming his presentation talk and slides to the images plus text format of the web. I urge you to take 20 minutes and read the whole thing.

Webb is also co-author of one of the most fun books ever about how the brain works, Mind Hacks.


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March 24, 2007

Going to ETech?

ETech logo

Going to the Emerging Technology Conference (ETech) in San Diego next week? Me too! If you're a reader of this blog, I'd love to meet you. keep an eye out for me between sessions, and on the IRC channel. And by all means, say Hi!

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March 07, 2007

Planetary Defense Conference

PDC logo

Right now you're missing the most bad-ass conference EVER. The Planetary Defense Conference in Washington DC brings together scientists, astronauts, politicians and futurists to come up with a master-plan on how to keep an errant asteroid from smashing into Earth and bringing life as we know it to an end.

Conference attendees will be talking about how to detect oncoming asteroids, what's the best way to nudge potential planet killers into safe orbits, and what's the right way to tell all of humanity they're about to die. Now that's what I call a conference.

If you want to get in on the action, you still have time. The conference runs through Thursday.

P.S. Think this whole threat of being hit by an asteroid thing is something we don't have to worry about for a million years? You obviously don't know about 99942 Apophis.


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January 20, 2007

O'Reilly Energy Innovation Conference

logo for the O'Reilly Energy Innovation Conference

I'm a big fan of O'Reilly Publishing's technology conferences. I've attended several, and spoke at one, and they've without exception been chocked full of ultra-smart people and mind expanding information.

So I'm very excited to learn that O'Reilly is putting on a new conference this summer that's outside their usual worlds of computers and the web. This one is all about energy, and they hope to bring together an eclectic mix of energy execs, scientists, activists, you name it, toss 'em all in a room for a few days, and see what kinds of new ideas and innovation comes out. Who knows?

The conference is in San Francisco at the end of August. For more information on the conference, or if you'd like to propose a presentation, visit

By the way, I'll be attending O'Reilly's Emerging Technology Conference in San Diego in March. If you're going to be there too, say hi!

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October 04, 2006

Antikythera Mechanism conference this fall

photo of the Antikythera Mechanism

Just over a century ago, an archeologist investigating an ancient shipwreck off the coast of Greece made an astonishing discovery. Buried in the sea bottom, heavily encrusted with scale and coral, was some sort of complex mechanical computing device. The device, known as the Antikythera Mechanism, has been the subject of study and speculation ever since. With a creation date of approximately 80 B.C., it's one of the world's oldest known geared devices, with more than 30 gears, some of them in a differential gear arrangement that wouldn't be seen again until the 16th century. It appears to be some sort of astronomical calculator, used for figuring out the position of the planets, but there's no definitive proof of that.

CT scan of the Antikythera MechanismOr is there? Later this autumn there will be a two-day conference in Athens devoted to the Antikythera Mechanism. At the conference researchers will report on the most advanced analysis of the Mechanism ever performed, using X-ray based tomography, and on what the hell they think the Antikythera Mechanism was actually used for.

If you want to get the latest on the Mechanism (and you aren't planning on a trip to Greece at the end of November) you can sign up for the Antikythera Mechanism Research Project's mailing list.

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July 10, 2006

Podcast of my "best geo hacks of the last 2000 years" now available

Last month I presented a talk at the O'Reilly Where 2.0 conference in San Jose titled "The Best Geo Hacks of the Last 2,000 Years";. O'Reilly's now made audio of the talk available... it's part of this week's installment of their "Distributing the Future" podcast.

The editing is a bit rough, and of course since it's audio only you're not seeing the slides that go along with the talk, but it mostly still makes sense. If you're interested in learning more about the hacks I talk about, I've put together a list of resources.

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June 27, 2006

Talks from the TED Conference now online

TED talks logo

Like many people, I've wished I could attend one of the mind-bending TED Conferences. But like most people, I can't afford the $4400 US registration, and have had to make due with reading their excellent blog. But now the TED folks have started both video and audio podcasts of selected TED conference presentations. Up so far, Al Gore, Tony Robbins, David Pogue, Majora Carter, Hans Rosling and Ken Robinson.

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June 14, 2006

I just spoke at the Where2.0 conference

Me (Chris Spurgeon) speaking at the Where2.0 conference.  Thanks to James Duncan Davidson/O'Reilly Media for the photo

...and had a great time. The Where2.0 conference brings together folks who are doing all sorts of amazing things with mapping, visualization, and location-based technologies. Got to spend a fun day at Google headquarters hanging with the Google Maps and Google Earth folks, and two fun days having my eyes opened to some of the great mapping-related things going on.

My talk was titled "The Best Geohacks of the Past 3,000 Years" and I got to turn people on to things like Cassini's mapping of the moons of Jupiter and Polynesian navigation. I made a book reading list if you want to learn more about the stuff I was talking about. (Sorry, I don't have my slides online...they don't really make sense without the talk).

(Thanks to James Duncan Davidson/O'Reilly Media for the photo of me speaking).

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April 18, 2006

I'll be speaking at Where 2.0

Where 2.0 logo

Woo Hoo! I'll be speaking June 14th in San Jose at this year's O'Reilly Where 2.0 Conference. My talk is titled "The Best Geo Hacks of the Last 3,000 Years". I'm looking forward to blowing folks minds by showing some of the amazing things people were doing with maps, surveying, and navigation waaay before the internet.

I'll be giving a rough-draft, dress-rehersal version of the talk at the great Machine Project art space in Los Angeles in late May or early June. Why not subscribe to their mailing list to learn about all of the great stuff going on there?


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March 17, 2006

Reading 2.0

DAMN I hate hearing about cool meetings right after they've ended. Case in point: the small but brillantly named "Reading 2.0" summit held earlier this week in San Francisco. What opportunities do the growth in digitized books and digitized libraries enable? How can we improve book location? How could we link bibligraphic citations to the physical objects being referenced? Sounds like some smart people thinking about some tricky interesting issues.

A few Reading 2.0 links:

Tim O'Reilly's reading list (ironic, I know) from the Reading 2.0 summit

Organizer Peter Brantley's Reading 2.0 agenda

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