All Our Yesterdays
I opened up proceedings with a talk entitled All Our Yesterdays. I know it’s the title of a Star Trek episode, but I actually had Shakespeare in mind:
To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Usually my presentations follow a linear narrative but this was a rambling, self-indulgent affair. So I used a non-linear presentation tool this time; the Flash-based Prezi. You can view the presentation at prezi.com/35967.
I can’t really summarise the presentation—you kinda had to be there—but there were two main points:
- Think about what you would put on the gold disc attached to Voyager; now publish that material online.
- Use web standards so that we can build a space elevator.
Along the way I took in the history of writing from the Rosetta stone to the Gutenberg press via the Book of Kells, potted bios of Leibniz, Babbage and Turing, the alternative hypertext systems of Vannevar Bush and Ted Nelson, and a fairly emotional rant about the ludicrous state of affairs in the world of copyright and so-called intellectual property. There’s a bibliography of further reading tucked into the corner of the presentation:
- How The Irish Saved Civilisation by Thomas Cahill
- The Victorian Internet by Tom Standage
- The Cogwheel Brain by Doron Swade
- The Code Book by Simon Singh
- Weaving The Web by Tim Berners-Lee
- Free Culture by Lawrence Lessig
- The Fountains Of Paradise by Arthur C. Clarke
- Murmurs Of Earth by Carl Sagan
- Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
URLs mentioned during the presentation include:
These are some of the historically important geographical locations I mentioned:
There were three video excerpts in the presentation:
- The IT Crowd by Graham Linehan,
- 2001: A Space Odyssey by Stanley Kubrick and
- Fahrenheit 451 by François Truffaut.
My disjointed ravings on cultural preservation and space exploration would have seemed far-fetched in any other setting but after the talk, when I was wandering through the Bucky buildings of the biomes, they seemed positively tame.
If you were at Bamboo Juice, I hope you liked the talk. If you weren’t there, sorry; you missed a beautiful day at the geodesic domes.