The call for proposals for O'Reilly Emerging Tech 2009 has just gone up: "Living, Reinvented." I was involved in every ETech from the first P2PCon in 1999 right up to last year (I'm taking a year or two off while I catch up on fatherhood and book-deadlines), and I have had some of my most mind-blowing, life-altering conversations and experiences at these events, which showcase the leading edge of (often impractical but never boring) experimentation, skunkworks, and passionate development. This year's theme sounds fantastic, too. Proposals are due Sept 17, and the event is next March 9-12 in San Diego San Jose
# Nomadism & Shedworking: As cities and their suburbs rapidly increase their footprint, there are some who reject the crowded living conditions, but take advantage of the connectedness. They adopt a high-tech lifestyle within the constraints of a smaller space or take their posessions and their bits with them on the road, to the farthest reaches of the globe. How do they do this and what can we learn from them?
# Sustainable Life: The American lifestyle is unsustainable. How do we move to one-Earth economy? What are Europeans doing? Will Dubai be the trendsetter with its newest sustainable city? How will a renewed interest in environmental design affect us? Last year’s keynoter Alex Steffen posited that it would be technology driving the change, not a restriction of habits or an energy diet. Right now the abundant world is being changed by rising oil and medical costs, forcing change. What technology will break through?
# Life Hacking & Information Overload: We are bombarded with too much information, but at least some of it is relevant. What are the tools that we can use to process it? How can we identify the subset we actually care about? How do we identify the necessary bits of information that makes us more productive? Can we use cognitive science to help us deal with modern day living? What does neuroscience tell us about our brains and how we should handle learning and processing? Will ubicomp be able to help us stave off the overload or will it hasten our doom?
The Nightmare Machine is an MIT project to use machine learning image-processing to make imagery for Hallowe’en.
The Stormtrooper Decanter is on back-order, but you can pre-order one from the next batch for £22 — it’s based on Andrew Ainsworth’s original movie helmet moulds from 1976, and will provide endless opportunities to point to lowball glasses and say things like “aren’t you a little short for a Stormtrooper drink?” (via Bonnie Burton)
Yahoo has released a machine-learning model called open_nsfw that is designed to distinguish not-safe-for-work images from worksafe ones. By tweaking the model and combining it with places-CNN, MIT’s scene-recognition model, Gabriel Goh created a bunch of machine-generated scenes that score high for both models — things that aren’t porn, but look porny.
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