PopTech Blog

C.J. Huff on resilience in the aftermath of the unthinkable

C.J. Huff is the superintendent of Joplin, Mo. schools who led his district of thousands of employees and students through the recovery effort that followed the infamous Joplin tornado. “We had children in the rubble...and there is no worse feeling in the world,” he said about the moments after the storm. “I can tell you, at this time in my life, I had 7,747 kids that I was responsible for, and I could only account for my two children.”

Glowing umbrellas at PopTech 2012

Social media is buzzing about the performance group Pilobolus' project in a Camden amphitheater last night involving PopTech folks, Camden residents, and glowing umbrellas.

David DeSteno pries open the science behind human compassion


David DeSteno directs the Social Emotions Lab at Northeastern University where his research is pulling back the curtain to reveal some of the mechanics that drive human compassion. “It is not the severity or the objective facts of a disaster that motivate us to feel compassion and to help. It is whether or not we see ourselves in the victims.”

Champions at PopTech 2012

Claressa Shields won boxing gold in London last summer at age 17. Amy Purdy is a world-class adaptive snowboarder. The pair thrilled PopTech on Thursday.

How boxer Claressa Shields overcame adversity to win gold

Boxer Claressa Shields, age 17, clawed her way out of hardscrabble Flint Michigan to win the first ever Olympic gold medal for women’s middleweight boxing. She has won 31 fights -- and lost only one. “That fight made me work so much harder when I got back to the gym, even though I cried and I was sad. It made me hungrier.”

PopTech's Camden beauty

Attendees, speakers and Fellows are flooding into Camden, capturing the beauty of our town and harbor, and sharing on social media.

This week in PopTech: Get social at PopTech 2012

This week our annual showcase of world-changing people, projects and ideas commences in Camden, Maine. Whether you're joining us in Camden or watching the livestream at home, here are a handful of ways to maximize your PopTech 2012 experience.

  • We've compiled a cohesive PopTech 2012 Twitter list that includes PopTech staff, speakers, performers, Fellows and participants. If you're attending PopTech 2012, have a Twitter account, and you'd like to be added, let us know!
  • The official hashtag for this year's conference is #poptech.
  • If you are a Foursquare user, subscribe to our Camden Tips list for the inside scoop on where to find Wifi, a great cup of coffee or good eats. 
  • Pilobolus outdoor Umbrella Project is coming to town. On Friday night, Oct. 19, from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m., Pilobolus will enlist several hundred volunteers to participate in a large-scale, live performance using umbrellas fabricated with multi-colored LED lights created by the MIT Distributed Robotics Laboratory. The performance will be simultaneously projected onto a large screen. Volunteers are welcome on the spot!

Image: #poptech on Instagram

Yossi Sheffi and the resilient enterprise

Yossi Sheffi explores the various flavors of redundancy, simplicity, flexibility and communications strategies businesses employ to make themselves resilient. “These are the most dangerous things; the things that have severe consequence and low probability…These are the events one worries about when one has to run a large organization.”

Extracurricular fun at PopTech

In addition to the riveting presentations, there is a lot of extracurricular fun at PopTech. Here is a small sampling of some offerings being discussed on social media.

Meet the 2012 Science Fellows: Sriram Kosuri

The PopTech Science Fellows program is a unique leadership development opportunity designed to help high potential working scientists become more effective communicators, collaborators and leaders both within and beyond the traditional bounds of academia. We recently announced our Class of 2012 Science Fellows and we're excited to share their world-changing work with the PopTech community. 

Sriram Kosuri is a biological engineer at the Wyss Institute at Harvard University, developing next-generation DNA synthesis technologies.

To learn more about Sriram, we askedIn one sentence, what impact do you hope to have through your work?

I hope that our technological developments in reading and writing DNA will hasten progress in understanding and engineering biology.


Watch the 2012 Science Fellows present their work at PopTech Camden 2012Join us or tune in via Livestream October 18-20.