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More fascinating SciFoople (my word and I made it)

August 5th, 2010 · No Comments

Lots of us!

Originally uploaded by betsythedevine

Here are just a few more of the fascinating people whose ideas helped make SciFoo 2010 such a treat.

Linda Stone It was great to see Linda Stone again working so energetically and creatively at pulling important ideas out of the subconscious and giving them good names, e.g. “continuous partial attention” and “email apnea.” She’s now thinking about play, or as she says, “the place where your passions find you.” Mapping the early play activities of scientists to their later work, she recommends Stuart Brown on the neuroscience of play, and wants more scientists to get in touch through her website, Early remarkabilities: programmers played at building things; physicists loved games of asking why; many neuroscientists zapped bugs with electricity.

Werner Vogels I first met Werner at an early Bloggercon–soon afterward he became tech guru at Amazon–so it was lovely to see him the same Werner Vogels after an infinite number of Internet years. He made a couple of really good contributions from the floor about “Citizen Science.” Amazon’s Mechanical Turk lets people do small tasks online for small amounts of pay — hunting for porn is a popular task, and a common one as companies filter user-generated-content. One big motivation for turks is having a clear task that fits into a short space of otherwise blank time.

Yoshiyuki Sankai He is an MD whose company Cybernics makes working exoskeleton pieces. One assemblage helps people walk, using their own nerve activity to move legs and feet. He showed us some remarkable videos of people standing up and walking after years of being confined to a wheelchair or bed.

Gary Bradski Gary works on a computer visualization program called Open CV, at Willow Garage. He gave a lightning talk about perception (“harder than vision,” to quote him). “What is an edge?” he asked, showing a photo where we could see lots of them. Then he focused in on just some of the different kinds of edges we perceive … discontinuities in depth, color, reflectance, texture, and surface orientation.

Debra Lieberman Debra is a professor at UCSB who designs interactive games that promote good health outcomes. I begged her to give a talk at my virtual/visual session, but she was already committed to speaking elsewhere that session. I did repeat for my group her definition of a game, which you will notice does not involve competition: “A game is a rule-based activity that involves challenge to reach a goal and that gives feedback to player on progress toward the goal.” (This is her definition as said across a dinner table and scribbled by me in my notebook, so please blame me rather than her for any flaws therein.)

Tags: Science · Wide wonderful world