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More snippets from PopTech

I’ll write more in-depth about a few of the speakers here, but for now, here are some soundbites (my comments in brackets):

- Andrew Zolli: All societies have an image of the future. Those that have optimistic images have better outcomes than those with pessimistic images. [The US right now seems optimistic overall, but getting a bit more pessimistic. At PopTech this year and last, about 1/2 the speakers said during their talks something to the effect of “we’re screwed”.]

- Malcolm Gladwell talking about a chapter from Blink:
One of the many ways in which asking someone what they think isn’t necessarily the best way to find out what they want: people move away from the more sophisticated idea and they go for the simpler choice because they don’t have the necessary “vocabulary” to explain their real feelings. [You may prefer The Hours to Goldeneye, but when asked to justify that choice, you may find yourself favoring the Bond flick more than you would if you didn’t have to justify it.]

- Frans de Waal studies primate behavior to gain insight into human behavior. One of his findings: aggression does not disperse, it brings primates together more often than normal. [Destruction is creative. Creativity is destructive. Or something.]

- Bruce Mau: Not all countries have embraced democracy, but most have embraced traffic (individual transportation). [There are many different ways in which openness can be introduced into a culture.]

- Thomas Barnett: China is 30% Marxist Communist, 70% The Sopranos.

- Phillip Longman: Secular societies that cannot reproduce will be replaced by fundamentalist countries where children are an economic asset and a gift from God. And in Brazil, television viewing time predicts birth rate…the more TV a woman watches, the less likely she is to have children.

Reader comments

barlowOct 23, 2004 at 10:27AM

Amen, no pun intended, on the reproduction remark from Longman. Europe's nowhere near the replacement rate, and there was a recent report on NPR from Italy about their woes concerning low reproduction rates...

NataliOct 23, 2004 at 10:36AM

That's some kind of insight. I'm looking forward to seeing Bruce Mau's Massive Change exhibit at the Vancouver Art Gallery next month, so if you could expand on what he spoke about, I'd be mightily grateful.

Ash YoungOct 23, 2004 at 10:56AM

Does this explain such poor answers to like "Because it's good" to questions like "Why do you like Open Water". If you're asked to explain the choice, you realise it's not good! (Only kidding)

Peter HueskenOct 25, 2004 at 11:31AM

I haven't been to PopTech, but if you were interested in Frans de Waal's study of primate behaviour you'll probably love this book about the same subject:

Love at Goon Park: Harry Harlow and the Science of Affection
by Deborah Blum

...and find a review of this book by Frans de Waal on the abovementioned link.
I'm looking forward to your in-depth writings...

This thread is closed to new comments. Thanks to everyone who responded.