PopTech Blog

Posts by Emily Spivack

Meet the 2011 Science Fellows: Shaily Mahendra

We’ve just announced our second class of PopTech Science and Public Leadership Fellows, ten dynamic scientists who are spearheading research to change the world.

To learn more about this new crop of Fellows and their work, we posed one question to each of them: In one sentence, what impact do you hope to have through your work?

We’ll be highlighting one Fellow’s response per day for the next ten days. Stay tuned!


Our work will raise the awareness of emerging pollutants in the environment, and design biological solutions for their clean-up.

-- Shaily Mahendra

 

Image: International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology

Meet the 2011 Science Fellows: Katherine J. Kuchenbecker

We’ve just announced our second class of PopTech Science and Public Leadership Fellows, ten dynamic scientists who are spearheading research to change the world.

To learn more about this new crop of Fellows and their work, we posed one question to each of them: In one sentence, what impact do you hope to have through your work?

We’ll be highlighting one Fellow’s response per day for the next ten days. Stay tuned!


I want to create interactive robotic systems that aid and empower their human users, while simultaneously helping teach and inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers.

-- Katherine J. Kuchenbecker

 

Image: University of Pennsylvania

Meet the 2011 Science Fellows: Milton Garcés

We’ve just announced our second class of PopTech Science and Public Leadership Fellows, ten dynamic scientists who are spearheading research to change the world.

To learn more about this new crop of Fellows and their work, we posed one question to each of them: In one sentence, what impact do you hope to have through your work?

We’ll be highlighting one Fellow’s response per day for the next ten days. Stay tuned!


I study how deep sound connects Earth from its dynamic surface to space, and seek to unravel this primordial dialogue to enhance situational awareness.

-- Milton Garcés

 

Image: Infrasound Laboratory University of Hawaii

Meet the 2011 Science Fellows: Iain Couzin

We’ve just announced our second class of PopTech Science and Public Leadership Fellows, ten dynamic scientists who are spearheading research to change the world.

To learn more about this new crop of Fellows and their work, we posed one question to each of them: In one sentence, what impact do you hope to have through your work?

We’ll be highlighting one Fellow’s response per day for the next ten days. Stay tuned!


Collective organization is everywhere, as evident by migrating cells, swarming ants, flocking birds and our own human society; I hope to reveal the unifying features and principles of collective organization across these levels of biological organization.

-- Iain Couzin

Image: Couzin Lab

SXSW Interactive announces their keynote speaker

Our friends at SXSW Interactive shared an exciting update with us about their 2012 conference that we wanted to pass along to you. We hope to see you in Austin!

Post by SXSW Interactive's Tammy Lynn Gilmore

SXSW Interactive has just announced the first confirmed keynote of 2012, Baratunde Thurston. The politically-active, technology-loving comedian co-founded the black political blog, Jack & Jill Politics, serves as Director of Digital for The Onion and appears on cable news regularly to say smart things in funny ways. He is currently writing his first book, How To Be Black (Harper Collins, 2012).

Fans of PopTech may discover an overlap of fascinating presenters with the SXSW Interactive event in Austin, Texas in addition to Baratunde. Every March, the brightest minds in emerging media and scores of industry leaders converge in the heart of Texas to witness compelling live presentations, network and get a preview of what is unfolding in the world of creative technology. Past SXSW Interactive and PopTech presenter Larry Smith and his Six Word Memoir project is a prime example of the kind of meaningful shared experiences that both PopTech and SXSW Interactive offer.

SXSW Interactive will take place in Austin, Texas, March 9-13, 2012. Register to attend today for the earlybird discount rate!

Image-wise: Billionaire marks his territory

Billionaire Hamad bin Hamdan Al Nahyan decided to mark his territory - in major way. He's had his name carved in the sand of the Persian Gulf island he owns. The two mile long, half mile tall moniker is so large that it can be seen clearly in satellite photos of the region.

via PetaPixel and Forbes

Image: Google Imagery, DigitalGlobe, Cnes/Spot Image, GeoEye, U.S. Geological Survey

Quick takes: 2010 Science Fellows at a glance

Next week we’ll be announcing the second class of PopTech Science and Public Leadership Fellows, a corps of highly visible and socially engaged scientific leaders who embody science as an essential way of thinking, discovering, understanding and deciding.

In preparation, we thought we’d revisit the significant work of our inaugural class of 2010 Science Fellows through Quick takes, a series of entertaining - and educational - PopTech-produced videos that highlight each scientist’s work. Operating across varied disciplines - including energy, food, water, public health, climate change, conservation, and computing - the 2010 class encompassed the breadth and diversity of this program.

Take a gander at each of our 2010 Fellows’ videos in this series to learn more about their work. And stay tuned next week for our new class of Fellows.

Casey Dunn:

Sarah Fortune:

Win tickets from PopTech to see the Interrupters!

The Interrupters, a film by Steve James and Alex Kotlowitz, premieres in New York City tomorrow, July 29. The documentary follows a few key violence interrupters who play pivotal roles within Gary Slutkin’s (PopTech 2008) organization, CeaseFire, in Chicago. The documentary has received numerous accolades from Sundance, SXSW, and the Full Frame Film Festival among others.

We can’t wait to see the film - with you! We’ve got a few extra tickets for anyone who’d like to check out the sold out show with us on Friday evening. All you need to do is tweet @PopTech and we’ll let you know if you’re one of our lucky winners.

For more about the film, check out the trailer:

And have a look at Slutkin’s talk about CeaseFire and the role of the Interrupters at PopTech 2009:

Image-wise: Largest water reservoir discovered in a quasar

Astronomers recently discovered a quasar, or feeding black hole, with a reservoir containing 140 trillion times the amount of water in all the Earth's oceans, which is the largest mass of water that's been detected in the universe. In a press release from Caltech, Matt Bradford, a scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory explains:

The environment around this quasar is unique in that it's producing this huge mass of water. It's another demonstration that water is pervasive throughout the universe, even at the very earliest times.

An artist's rendering of the quasar provides a sense of its scope.

Image: NASA/ESA

People and their technology: Talk to Me opens at the MoMA this weekend

Museum of Modern Art design department curator Paola Antonelli’s latest show, “Talk to Me,” opens at the MoMA on July 24, and it has all the makings of a hit.  Featuring about 200 design objects, the show pulls together an array of items from art, commercial, and academic spaces that exemplify how people and machines interface with one another. The premise is further described on the show’s blog:

The exhibition hinges on an important development in the culture of design (and in culture at large), a shift from the centrality of function to that of meaning. From this perspective, all objects contain information that goes well beyond their immediate use or appearance.

Previous and upcoming PopTech presenters make a strong showing throughout the exhibition: Kacie Kinzer (PopTech 2009), Zach Lieberman (PopTech 2009), Matt Jones (PopTech 2011), Ory Okolloh (Social Innovation Fellow 2009), Erik Hersman (Social Innovation Fellow 2008), Nick Felton (PopTech 2009), Daisy Ginsberg (PopTech 2011) and David Merrill (PopTech 2011 partner) are all exhibiting work.

We’re particularly excited about the piece from MIT’s SENSEable City Lab (PopTech 2010) that's included in the show entitled Backtalk, a series of visualizations that explore what happens to the large quantities of electronics generated annually that have been discarded or have been adopted by new owners. The team at MIT developed two different methods to track obsolete electronics as they travel across the world for reuse or recycle. They partnered with non-profit organizations that shipped donated computers to the developing world, attaching pre-approved GPS-enabled trackers and using the built-in computer cameras to capture images of the new users. They also utilized a tracking system to trace e-waste like batteries, cell phones, and printer cartridges coming from Seattle, Washington as they travel to recycling centers.

In a press release about the project, Carlo Ratti, director of the MIT SENSEable City Lab, explains that, “initial results provide an unprecedented glimpse into the global e-waste chain and its patterns of reuse and disposal.”

Check out this project - as well as many others from the PopTech network - at “Talk to Me” from July 24 – November 7, 2011 at the MoMA.

Image: Backtalk from SENSEable City Lab