Monday Topsight, June 26, 2006
Light blogging week (of course, the week when I get a hat tip from BoingBoing). I'm spending the next few days at the Institute for the Future's Health Horizons conference (PDF), including serving as the keynote speaker tomorrow. I'll be talking about the role of current and emerging mobile interactive technologies as a catalyst for change in the healthcare system (i.e., the medical aspects of the participatory panopticon).
I'll also be one of the leaders of a major project at IFTF starting next month; I'll provide more details when I can.
• Al Gore, Futurama, and Me: My shameful secret. When I met Al Gore last February at the TED speakers' dinner, after exchanging a few pleasantries, and before mentioning anything about WorldChanging, I told him that I was honored to meet the "first emperor of the Moon" -- Gore's title when he appeared as a guest character on the cartoon Futurama. I was pretty happy when he responded with his line from that episode, "I have ridden the mighty Moon Worm!" (and somewhat less happy when he turned to Stewart Brand and explained that his daughter was a writer on the show, and that it had "something of a cult following").
But Gore's back in cartoon form in this promo for An Inconvenient Truth ("the movie that will make you feel like you should probably do something!") shown at Grist, wherein he mentions his "hybrid pimp-mobile" and delivers a sound thrashing to the robot Bender. Sigh. What could have been...
• Speaking of An Inconvenient Truth...: I finally got a chance to see it this weekend. Little of the material was new to me, unsurprisingly, not just because I had covered so much of it on WorldChanging, but because Gore delivered his slide show (Keynote, not Powerpoint, btw) at TED. Stirring, effective, and all that, but I have to admit to feeling a bit disappointed at how little discussion there was of the bigger kinds of changes that are necessary to fight climate disaster. He did mention Robert Socolow's Stabilization Wedges, but there was more emphasis on buying hybrids and compact fluorescent bulbs; what we really need to do is reimagine our urban systems and transform how we deliver energy, and so forth. For the scale of the disaster underway, it was a bit... frustrating... that the solutions mentioned weren't very Big Picture.
Janice's response to my criticism was that Gore was trying to talk about what we as individuals could do, while those Big Picture ideas are out of the hands of most of us, and she undoubtedly has a point. Still, I wish there was more recognition that avoiding climate disaster will mean changing how we live, not just what we buy.
• The Scale of the Problem: You've probably heard that the US National Academy of Sciences has come out with a report on the evidence for human causation of global warming, with a particular focus on the so-called "hockey stick" model showing a sharp jump in CO2 and temperatures. Unsurprisingly, people with their fingers in their ears going LALALALA have tried to cherry-pick lines from the report to continue their denial (and no, I don't link to crap like that, it's easy to find), but I was suprised at how few of the reports of any stripe actually link to the report itself.
- Here's the NAS Press Release, with the short summary of findings.
- Here's the Report in Brief (PDF), giving more aspects of the article. This is probably the one to read for the best balance of details and brevity.
- Finally, here's where you can download the full article for free or buy a print copy; you'll need a free sign-up to the NAS website to download the PDF.
• More Self-Promotion: I'll be a keynote speaker at the upcoming International Association for Public Participation conference to be held in Montreal, Canada, in November. Anybody have any hot tips about things to see and do in the late Fall in Montreal?