Wednesday round-up: Highlights, snapshots & quotable moments

PopTech 2011 is off to an enthusiastic, if slightly soggy, start. Arriving attendees were greeted by the always-smiling volunteer staff and quickly off to their various adventures, which included making cheese, sailing Penobscot Bay with citizen scientist Gale McCollough, and discussing the science of character with psychologist David DeSteno.

Below are some of the day's highlights, snapshots and quotable moments:

PopTechers on a boat; science by a fluke

Citizen scientist and whale activist Gale McCullough scans the horizon on the PopTech voyage aboard the Schooner Appledore.

Saltwater Farm: Preserving tradition through food

Salt Water Farm sign

Know your butcher. Know your fishmonger.

-- Salt Water Farm chef/owner Annemarie Ahearn on understanding where your food comes from.

Science of Character discussion

Psychologist David DeSteno explained his simple yet ingenious experiments that probe questions such as: Why do politicians, celebrities, CEOs -- even ourselves -- behave in ways we would consider "out of character"? Take Eliot Spitzer, the former New York State attorney general who rallied against prostitution yet secretly used the services of an escort. Did his friends, his wife, the public gravely misjudge his character? Was he a sinner all along? DeSteno asserted that, based on new scientific insights, the answer is no. Rather, it's our concept of character that's wrong and needs to change: 

It's not this rigid thing. It's more like a scale that's always in motion. And depending on where the scale is at a given moment is going to influence the way we act.

-- David DeSteno

Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry preview

Art often isn't about hearing artists talk about their own work, it's about leaving space for viewers to interpret.

-- Alison Klayman, who screened portions of her documentary on Chinese artist-dissident Ai Weiwei and discussed the three years she spent following the artist leading up to his detainment in April of 2011.

That's it for today! Check back tomorrow when we'll be live streaming the presentations, blogging, sending photos up to Flickr and otherwise covering all the action as it unfolds.

Photos by Emily Qualey and @mriggen

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