This week in PopTech: Stories of fact, fiction and future

There's always something brewing in the PopTech community. From the world-changing people, projects and ideas in our network, a handful of this week's highlights follows.

  • Cowbird is a new online storytelling project by Jonathan Harris (PopTech 2007). Harris talks to our friends at frog design about this new direction of digital storytelling. "Cowbird," he explains, "is basically a storytelling platform that people can use to tell stories online using photos, sound maps, timelines, videos, and casts of characters. It’s geared towards long-form narrative, so...it encourages introspection. But the second part of it is the interesting part, which is that when many different people tell stories, the system automatically finds connections between them and weaves them together into a kind of meta-story. In the long-term, it will hopefully become like a reference library for real-life experiences the same way we have public libraries for science, math, and historical fact." 
  • Pioneering epidemiologist Dr. Ian Lipkin (PopTech 2008) was a major scientific contributor and advisor on the production of the Warner Bros. movie “Contagion," which will be released at theaters on September 9, 2011. He was recently interviewed for a documentary that speaks to the subject of epidemic outbreaks and how such outbreaks would and could be managed. The footage is raw, but entirely fascinating. 
  • In an article on CNN's Global Public Square, 2011 PopTech presenter Jan Chipchase unpacks exactly what it will mean to be immediately identified by anyone with a camera phone via facial recognition technology. The revolution may not be televised, but it will be photographed, aggregated and searchable and, like it or not, it's here to stay.

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Image: Qiagen

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