Tag: Media

What’s the Big Idea Behind TEDxConejo?

TED Notes by Nina Khosla

Buckminster Fuller believed that power and potential came from opposing forces. Fuller’s geodesic dome, an enclosed space with no need for interior supports, made use of this principle. But Fuller felt that the clash of opposites could do much more than keep buildings aloft. He saw in these forces the potential to end world hunger.

And so it is with TED. The annual Technology, Entertainment, Design conference bills itself as a symposium on “Ideas Worth Spreading.” And yet attendance at TED is either by application or invitation. TED talks are now shared freely with the world on the TED website. The TED experience, on the other hand is very exclusive. Opposing ideas these – exclusivity coupled with the idea of being all-inclusive.

TEDxConejo is an independently organized event in the pattern of the “Big TED” conference. The aim is to bring the TED experience to people like you and me. Well, people like me anyway. There is an application process in order to get tickets. The conference theme is “What’s the Big Idea?” and sessions will be grouped around the themes “Thinking,” “Doing,” and “Seeing.”

The first announcement of thinkers, doers and seers include the executive editor of Wired Magazine, Thomas Goetz who looks to be all of twelve years old. On his heels is Scott Patterson, Ph.D. head of Medical Sciences at Amgen Inc. Finally there is a seer, Mark Robert Waldman author of How God Changes Your Brain.

What I’m really excited about however, is not the talks – although anything that can inspire such fervent note-taking as in the example above must be truly inspiring (I wonder if Nina is aware that her notes bear an eery resemblance to the work of Dan O’Neill?)…no. What I’m excited about is the possibility of connecting with people who are focused on work that matters. More than 50% of the seats at TEDxConejo will be set aside for students and educators. The rest will presumably be filled with local doers, thinkers and visionaries. I really hope this event will touch off some vibrant conversation space, meet-ups and hot tubs for the brain on a local level.

I’ll be there, doing what I can. As my friend Howard Rheingold says, What It Is–>Is Up to Us.

RIP Art Clokey, Gumby’s Dad

Sad Gumby

I had the pleasure of meeting Art Cloakey quite a few years ago. He denied that Gumby advocated LSD and he seemed genuinely hurt by Eddie Murphy’s Saturday Night Live portrayal of the little clayboy.

“Gumby is an ambassador for all that is good and innocent in the world,” Cloakey said.

While Gumby himself brims with innocence, this innocence leads to some pretty terrifying places such as in the episode In the Dough where Gumby and Pokey are kidnapped and, for want of a better way to say it, violated by a couple of nasty jelly rolls. Because Clokey worked so closely to his subconscious there’s a surprisingly noir subtext to the show, typically brought out by Pokey. For instance, in the episode Santa Witch, some of the dialog could be straight out of a steamy detective novel – “wouldn’t you look cute with a ribbon wrapped around you.”

Just like the original Time for Beany show, Gumby works on deeper, and I think truer, levels than mass produced cartoons of today. It shows you what a little artistic genius can do.

Boing Boing has a touching little tribute to the man.

See You in the Funny Papers: When Newspapers Are Gone What Will You Miss ?

I’ll miss the comics. It’s the first section I turn to when I look at the newspaper. The experience of reading comics online just isn’t the same as it is in the newspaper.

Seth Godin poses the question When newspapers are gone, what will you miss? Godin’s answer is that he’ll miss “local news, investigative journalism and intelligent coverage of national news. Perhaps 2% of the cost of a typical paper.” True that. But I think there’s more to the story than depth of reportage.

For instance. Seth says that comics are better online. Perhaps that’s true for individual strips. But as far as I know you have to seek these out…and when you do that, you don’t encounter comic strips that challenge you. Like Family Circus.

Maybe that’s what I’ll miss most when newspapers are gone. Chance encounters with stuff I wasn’t really looking for. Truth is, since we canceled our subscription to the Ventura County Star (you might call this the Family Circus of local papers) because we were troubled by the waste stream, I no longer encounter stories from A3 or B2. I look at the headlines, usually stuff “above the fold.” Frankly, most of my news comes from my RSS feed and the various blogs that I subscribe to.

I’m always a little startled when I pick up a paper and flip through the back pages. There is a rich depth of reporting, unexplored worlds, hidden treasures that I simply don’t see in the online rags.

And for online local reportage. Like the Family Circus, it just sucks.