"Then it is dark; a night where kings in golden suits ride elephants over the mountains." - John Cheever

Monday, February 25, 2008

Ideas worth spreading

According to the Daily Torygraph business section , which I found on the tube today, the TED conference is like 'a creative Davos on steroids'. Whether or not that's a good thing is debatable, but you can watch videos of presentations by lots of clever people on it's website. In a similar vein, Google also hosts internal seminars by boffins and gurus and hosts films of their presentations online. In keeping with my normal Fitz posting habits, I haven't actually tried to watch any of these yet, but I'm sure there's some interesting stuff in there. Although it could all be a bit Wired magazine - you know, we're going to solve all the world's problems with nifty technological solutions and get rich in the process, but in a good way.

On a completely unrelated tangent (although I'm sure Wired will appear on here at some point), I happened across this questionable blog while googling stuff about fixed wheel bikes. Not entirely sure where it's coming from - it seems to have satirical intent, but it's not entirely clear who's satirising whom. But some of the entries are pretty funny, although a lot of the commenters don't seem to be in on the joke.


seumas said...

Yeah, I think I've linked to TED before about the Photosynth demo, but there are lots of interesting talks on there.

Tom said...

Not very comfortable with Stuff White People Like. It's clearly clever and highly ironic, but also smug and so obviously open to misunderstanding that it's bound to make people upset.

Colin said...

It's definitely dubious, and deliberately unclear about it's purpose just to wind as many people as possible up (and with more than 4.5m hits in 2 months, that's quite a lot of people). But some of the barbs hit home - although they basically apply to all middle class westerners, irrespective of ethnicity, particularly those of a liberal bent. On environmental matters, for instance:

"The Prius might be the most perfect white product ever. It’s expensive, gives the idea that you are helping the environment, and requires no commitment/changes other than money. The Toyota Prius gets 45 miles per gallon. That’s right, you can drive 45 miles and burn only one gallon of gasoline. So somehow, through marketing or perception, the Prius lets people think that driving their car is GOOD for the environment."

Or, recycling: "Recycling is a part of a larger theme: saving the earth without having to do that much. You can still buy all the stuff you like and then when you’re done you just put it in a DIFFERENT bin and boom! Environment saved! Everyone feels great, it’s so easy!"

Then again, I'm taking the point of the joke to be that we should all be making more of an effort (I hate it when people talk about their recycling habits as though it's any kind of sacrifice or absolves them from avoiding their 3 overseas holidays a year.) But they might just be right-wing disbelievers of environmentalism.

So avoid the blog and stick to TED!

Tom said...

Yes, it seems like a pretty good satire of the self-satisfied, complacent Western liberal upper/middle class, but by giving it racial overtones it immediately becomes unsettling and unpleasant.

I know America is fucked up by race and it should be easier for people to be ironic/funny about it, but I don't think this actually helps much.