SXSW: March 13 2015

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Today was the first day of South by Southwest. Bill accompanied me to a few Interactive sessions in the morning, and then headed off to Film for the rest of the day. I stayed with Interactive throughout the afternoon, had tacos from the East Side King food trailer, and saw a movie in the evening. It was a long and tiring day, but informative and thought-provoking.

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Welcome to SXSW Interactive – Hugh Forrest
This speaker provided an introduction to the conference. He stressed that SXSW is a community and the attendees need to keep a zen-like attitude.

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The Climate Crisis: Challenge & Opportunity – Al Gore
Former Vice President Al Gore started with two questions: Do we have to change? Can we change? He explained that the total volume of the atmosphere is small in relationship to the earth. The current crisis has many causes, but is mainly due to the burning of fossil fuels. The past decade was, by far, the hottest decade ever measured. He reviewed recent flooding and drought events around the world. Then he discussed the transition to green energy solutions such as wind and solar energy. He ended by urging attendees to join the Live Earth Initiative in June.

IMG_1778How to Remain Relevant in Today’s Digital Age – Charles Barkley 
Former NBA star and current sports analyst Charles Barkley is not on social media. His advice: don’t take insults personally, do good with your power, education is going to dictate your future. He made a conscious decision to be honest and straight-forward.
He noted that “I got my basketball money, so I don’t need my TV money.” He then digressed to analyze the current NBA season (*yawn*).

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 Curious Bridges: How Designers Grow the Future – Paola Antonelli
Paola is a Senior Curator at the Museum of Modern Art. She is interested in Quantum Design, designers that are “in-between,” and how to create bridges between biology and design.

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Picturing your Big Ideas – Norma Herting
This session was hosted by ImageThink, a graphic recording business that creates all the wonderful image boards during the main sessions. While Norma spoke, her cofounder Heather drew. Norma explained that doodling increases brain memory, results in more creative and complex ideas, and helps one manage and prioritize better.

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The Quantified Us – Matthew Jordan
His company, Artefact, is researching using Big Data with health applications. He explained how group information can give insights to inform individual decisions related to chronic and complicated health problems.

The Science and Art of Genetic Engineering – Josiah Zayner
Josiah gave a very entertaining and interesting talk about NASA’s research into biogenetic engineering, especially related to space exploration. He talked about how biohacking is becoming more prevalent and easier to accomplish…a scary thought, indeed.

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The Last Man on the Moon
This was my only movie today. This documentary was about Eugene Cernan, who was the last Apollo astronaut to walk on the moon in 1972. The film’s director, producers, Cernan, and many members of his family attended this North American premiere of the film.

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