Interesting2009

I had the good fortune to speak at Interesting2009 this weekend; below is my Roo Reynolds-style round-up.

Tom Loosemore fought with the laptop to bring us a foul-mouthed (“Larry Ellison’s penis extension”) tour of attempts to break the 50 knot speed barrier in sailing.

Jessica Greenwood explained that “the least interesting thing about sport is the score” and reminded us that the “technological doping” of the Speedo suit allowed a swimmer to break the world record and still only come fourth.

Robert Brook reminded us that “nobody you know the name of is a gentleman”.

Toby Barnes recalled Patrick Moore’s Gamesmaster and talked about cheating in computer games, including the Russian Mafia’s involvment in Eve Online.

Leila Johnston implored us to “love your flowcharts” and promo’d her book, Enemy of Chaos.

I missed Cait Hurley‘s and most of Katy Lindemann‘s talks because I was getting set up for my talk, but Katy told us that “robots are full of win” and that’s hard to argue with.

Dominic Tinley‘s talk on colour was a particular highlight for me, and despite his concerns he got the physics of dichroic filters spot on. It was nice to see true violet for once.

Andy Huntingdon discussed the development of the piano keyboard as an interface.

Alice Taylor talked about merchants vs craftants and encouraged us all to put a Princess Leia on our Christmas trees.

Tim Duckett taught the entire room morse code.

Mike Migurski talked about maps and introduced me to the wonders of cross-street indexes.

Josie Fraser told tales of horrifying psychological violence in 70′s and 80′s girls’ comics and reminded us that “girls like to cry”.

Dan Maier gave a raucous account of the work of Sir Francis Galton.

Asi Sharabi told us why children’s drawings were so interesting.

Meg Pickard explained exactly why we clink glasses together when we drink and talked of toasts and “booze croutons”.

Tuur Van Balen made genetically-engineered yoghurt live on stage. (Which Matt Jones was brave enough to eat.)

Jon Gisby began by asking “Is there anybody here who has conducted a symphony orchestra?” and went on to teach us all to do exactly that.

Jessica Bigarel talked about “Meta Meta Data Data”  and showed us some Feltonesque data of her own.

Craig Smith talked about water wheels and his Dad, who “sharpens a drill better than any man in Huddersfield”. He also compared Scottish Country Dancing to House music.

Tom Fishburne explained that everything he knows about business and innovation he learned from drawing cartoons.

Anab Jain talked about her Indian Superpowers including rumours of an Indian atomic weapon 10,000 years ago.

Naomi Alderman somehow managed to link Greek Tragedy and singing goats.

Gavin Bell gave us advice for writing a book.

Emma Marsland told us stories of “Ponies I Have Loved: Both Real and Imaginary”, which had to be the title of the day.

Nick Hand was technically in Havant, cycling around that coast of Britain and reminded us of the simple advantages of cycling: “You can stop anywhere on a bike”.

Mark Earls and the excellently named Darwinian Display Team demonstrated random drift through gestures.

Robert Thomas demonstrated RjDj.

Gem Spear talked of wide streets, electric trains and underground creeks.

Paul Hammond explained that the best way to win at Monopoly was not to play, as “it’s a rubbish game” and that we should all be playing German Board Games (which aren’t necessarily German).

David Smith talked movingly about teaching and the changing role of technology in education.

Richard Reynolds was happy to find the entire audience familiar with guerilla gardening and told us of his sunflower-planting adventures opposite the Houses of Parliament.

Claire Margetts talked about The Do Lectures.

Matt Ward gave a rousing talk on “The Architecture of Frivolity” and his designs for “La Tour Reiffel”.

Dan Germain finished the day, appropriately enough, with talk of sunsets. And how crap they are.

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