I'll be speaking this Saturday the 17th at a free event held at Morrisson-Reeves Library, on "The Internet as a Political Tool" - how the Internet continues to change the world of politics and what it means for local citizens. The talk starts at 10 AM in the Bard Room. If you're interested in politics and technology, please come and join the conversation! For more information, you can check out the flyer on the Morrisson-Reeves website.
I spend a lot of time on this blog and elsewhere encouraging people to avoid ceding too much power over their lives to the individuals who would claim it for the wrong reasons (or in many cases, claim it at all), or to institutions and organizations that may not truly have our best interests in mind. But despite my own wariness of those things and of participating in a superstar celebrity culture, it's still pretty hard to ignore the excitement and intrigue that follows around a former President of the United States. This is amplified when he appears in a place quite unexpected, like Richmond Indiana.
Continue reading "Bill Clinton Visits Richmond, Indiana"
Earlier tonight I had the honor of being a guest speaker at the monthly meeting for the Economic Development Corporation of Wayne County's board of directors, presenting a version of my talk on how we can build a more self-reliant Richmond, Indiana in the face of peaking availability of natural energy resources, global climate change, and the decline of the U.S. dollar. As I said about the November 2007 presentation, it was somewhat especially nerve-wracking because the topics covered are so important to me and, in my view, so important to the future of this community. Today it was also always a growing experience to step beyond the safety of the traditional, "business world/tech guy" kinds of interactions I have with some of these folks, exposing another side of my interests and passions along the way.
Continue reading "Presenting to the EDC Board on Peak Oil"
As I mentioned when I came back from the energy conference in October, I was going to give a talk in November called "Going Local: Building a Self-Reliant Richmond, Indiana". I had agreed to speak earlier in the year and didn't really know what I was going to talk about beyond the expectation that it would fit into the "sustainability" theme of the series of talks in which I was participating and have some focus on peak oil and related topics.
It turned into one of my most intense speaking experiences to date.
Continue reading "Going Local: Building a Self-Reliant Richmond, Indiana"
I've been doing more and more public speaking over the last few years, and find that it's something I enjoy immensely. There was a time when I was younger when I considered a "career" in it (as a minister, even), despite my introverted nature and the nervous shakes I'd always get right before beginning a talk. I'm still introverted and I still get the shakes once in a while, but I really appreciate opportunities to be a part of group learning and educational sessions, especially when I have something valuable to contribute and/or unique ways of contributing it. Lately I've been getting some good feedback on my approach to these opportunities and my ability to engage an audience; I've also found more and more sessions that fit well with other projects I'm pursuing. So, I've created a page on this site about speaking opportunities and requests, in hopes that it will lead to more of these. If you're involved with a group or event that might benefit from this kind of contribution, please let me know!
I always look forward to seeing the speakers that my alma mater, Earlham College, brings to Richmond, Indiana because they often bring perspective, insight, and experience that you just can't otherwise get living in a small Midwestern town. Tonight's event was no different: William Kristol (neo-conservative pundit, editor of the Weekly Standard, Bush/Quayle advisor, and member of the American Enterprise Institute) would be giving a talk entitled "America's Foreign Policy After 9-11" on campus free to the public. I appreciate that Earlham makes the effort to bring speakers and thinkers like Kristol who are so diametrically opposed (e.g. Ann Coulter) to so many members of the Earlham community on campus to present alternate, challenging and often infuriating points of view. And I usually appreciate that the Earlham community handles these encounters in such a principled and respectful way.
Oh wait, did I just say "principled and respectful"? I must have made a horrible mistake somewhere, because at tonight's talk, about 30 minutes into Kristol's speech, a student-looking person got up on stage and smacked Kristol square in the face with a pie.
Today I had a speaking engagement on combating unsolicited junkmail (spam). It was one of my first opportunities to speak about this topic to a public audience, and I was glad for the chance to share all of the knowledge I've accumulated about what is increasingly the bane of the Internet. A lot of people seem to be content to hit the delete key as they sort through their e-mail, but I think many are realizing that this approach doesn't "scale" well -- insert here numerous statistics about how much it costs and will cost in lost productivity, abused resources, deaths of baby seals, etc. The participants in my seminar were thirsty for details about the phenomenon and how to make it go away. I think the complexity of the issue can be surprising to some, so end-user education is one of the best things one can do to address the problem.
Any way you look at it, spam sucks, and it's not going away. As it becomes more of a problem, folks will look for better solutions, and I'm glad that I'm involved in that effort.