World Leaders In Their Underpants

North Korea's Kim Jong-un

I’m generally not a big fan of politicians. There’s too many of them, they’re overpaid and they get their job through a blind popularity contest. At least with X-Factor and Pop Idol, the contestants have to show what they’re skilled at before we vote for them.

So it was with much glee that I came across World Leaders in their Underpants which literally strips politicians, dictators and royalty to their underwear. Created by cartoonist Nick Hilditch, he’s drawing his way through the world’s countries and now has over 120 of the world’s most powerful people in their smalls. All in the best possible taste of course. Regrettably, he’s not yet disrobed either the USA’s President or the UK’s Prime Minister so you’ll have to sign up to Nick’s RSS feed, follow @understates or like on Facebook to await their arrival. I’m told by Nick that Iraq is next.

The perfect antidote to Newsweek, Time and The Economist!

Picture courtesy of Nick Hilditch.

TEDxBelfast 2012

TEDxBelfastAt TEDxBelfast last night I was inspired by the stories of individuals who passionately believed in an idea and then made that idea a reality. From working with autistic children to building a new arts centre, these people all made a difference. Presented in Titanic Belfast in front of the replica of the famous staircase, it was an unforgettable evening.

Titanic Staircase

As with all TED conferences, the presentations will be posted on-line but that will take a week or two before they are ready. In  the meantime, these are the speakers, their stories and how they made a difference.

David Maxwell of Tyrone Timberframes presented his work with Habitat for Humanity in building highly energy-efficient homes that have no central heating. The significant cost of fossil fuel-based energy can be a big factor in poverty and these homes can save the inhabitants over £1000 per year.

Maureen Murphy, Director of Aurion Learning, grabbed attention with the headline that 70% of training was wasted and proposed an innovative way of providing effective training using the acronym ASSAULT. One of the best bits was that of story-based approach that hooked the learner and got them more emotionally involved.

Fransuer Makula grew up in the slums of Kenya but is now a teacher in a prestigious school in Northern Ireland. Describing the harsh reality of existence as a street child, where death is commonplace, he related how the children dared to dream big. In the midst of utter poverty, these children wanted to grow up as doctors, nurses and lawyers. Fransuer established “Jengana” to help orphans, street children and schools in West Kenya.

Colleen Hardwick, billed as an urban geographer and serial entrepreneur from Vancouver, laid out the loss of personal engagement in democracy. The statistics she presented on the fall of voter turnout over the past few decades were shocking. To counteract the anonymous global nature of the web, she’s developed PlaceSpeak, a community-based website that lets local people be authenticated as stakeholders in local issues without necessarily giving up that anonymity.

Next was an absolute gem…acoustic guitar duo Declan McKerr and Andy Toman, aka Gypsy’s Wish, serenaded TEDxBelfast, equipped with a brand-new George Lowden guitar. His guitars are world-famous with owners such as Eric Clapton and Mike Oldfield. Sublime.

Following a musical theme, Chris Blake, Principal Horn with the Ulster Orchestra, talked about the work he’d done with autistic children and the therapeutic value of music. The results were truly ground-breaking, increasing the evidence between autism and musicality.

Dr Nigel Hart took us all on a trip to the peaks and Mt Everest in particular in his talk on Mountains, Medicine and Mantras. Clearly a keen mountaineer, he combined his medical training with his passion to investigate the effects of hypoxia on humans at altitude. During his climb to the top of the world, he had to rescue another climber who had collapsed. Apt for many shared endeavours, his response to the famous climbing question was not, “Because it’s there” but rather, “It’s not the height or the distance, it’s the people you travel with.”

Anne McReynolds, CEO of the Belfast Metropolitan Arts Centre, had TEDxBelfast captivated by her struggle to get a world-class arts centre built in Belfast. Starting in 1996 and finally opening in 2012, it’s an amazing story of architects and artists (“good clients get good buildings”), buildings and space. If you want to build an arts centre, Anne should be the first person you talk to.

Colin Williams of Sixteen South tackled the “Can’t Do” attitude that has often afflicted Northern Ireland with a great story of “Can Do” success. It’s likely that you’ll never have heard of Sixteen South, a children’s TV production company but if you have kids under five you’ll have heard of Sesame Tree, Big City Park, Pajanimals, and Big & Small. Working with the BBC and The Jim Henson Company, Sixteen South produces these great TV programmes here in Northern Ireland. Fantastic.
Colin’s business plan was pretty clever too. “Do some good, make some money, have some fun.” Good advice for anyone.

Chris Horn completed the speaker line-up with his inspiration for Dublin’s Science Gallery, an exhibition space that takes a creative and artistic approach to the presentation of science and related issues. By taking the traditional remit of a science museum and combining it with the changing presentation of an art gallery, the Science Gallery is an innovation in itself that has proved tremendously successful. So much so that Google recently awarded the Science Gallery $1m to setup other Galleries around the world.

Overall, it was a great evening, with inspirational speakers in a fantastic setting. Thanks also to Davy Sims and Gary Burnett and Mark Finlay for organising #TEDxBelfast.

GNC-2011-09-26 #708 The Facebook Menace

I talk about the Gaf in show 707, and then spend some time on my soapbox talking about Facebook and the implications of recent revelations. I talk very seriously about the ramifications of allowing Facebook to track your every move and how it could impact your life, relationships with a spouse and ruin your reputation.

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Listener Links:
Amazing planet View.
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Neutrinos from Space 2.0

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Credits: Jack Ellis – Executive Producer

GNC #691 Dialed In

Congrats to our Roku or Google TV winner Steve Novak. Next GNC will be from the heartland of Texas. Will be out their for a week. Looking forward to testing some of my new road setups should be a lot of fun. I carry on for quite a bit tonight over the Sonos cannot say enough on how great a system they have. Thanks for all the new followers on Google+ and again congrats to Steve.

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Sink it in 2020?
No we wont sink it.
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Bonus Links:
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Show Links:
Happy B-Day DOS!
Twitter to Flag NSFW.
Fox hates Cord Cutters.
Wii + Netflix =25% @ 480P?
$99.00 Google TV!
Ads and Mobile Apps.
Senate wants NASA Answers.
21 Private Flights to ISS!
Google to Speed you up!
Is your Gmail forwarded?
MPEG LA versus Google?
Find a Virtual Assistant.
ISP Snooping Bill.
Warrantless Wiretapping goes unanswered.
Oslo CCTV.
Ads in Twitter Stream.
Click a Link go to Jail.
Canadian Censorship?
New Nasa Data debunks some Global Warming Models.
Destination Jupiter.
Bad Apples.
Blacklisting Usenet Search Site.
Office on Lion.
Correct Address?
Hacking you Car.
AngelMed for heart patients.
Spotify Sued.
Airbnb sellers beware.
AT&T to Throttle Users big Time.
TaskRabbit Awesome!
Sprint Mobile Holding its Own?
Amazon gets aggressive on Media.
Google Hotel Finder.
Bio Gel to help in Face reconstruction.
F35 1st Catapult Launch.
Two Women find Cameras everywhere in rented apartment.
Toyota knows when you are having Heart Attack.
Facebook + Most Wanted = Idiot.
Circuit Bss
Sonos.com

GNC-2010-07-02 #589 Chrome Takes a Dive!

The Lenova A63 Giveaway is happening now Listen to Win. The only way to Win is to Listen and act before the show on July 6th! I talk in depth about the July Fund Raiser. I understand some of you will have reservations but if you have thought about supporting the show. This will be the month to do it. I would like to raise $10,000 between now and the end of the month. Big number I know but I have some incentives for those that donate. Thank you in advance your contribution will go toward a major upgrade in the studio!

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Flip Video Camera with Wi-Fi.
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Spies need Tech Support too.
Movie + Camera + Jail + Reward – MPAA = Lawsuit
See the New $100.00 Bill.
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Google Airlines.
Google News.
Google Rolls Over on Red Chinese?
Is your site Slow?
Video + Viral – iPhone + EVO – Best Buy = Fired
Google Me?
ISS Gets Resupplied.
ISS Parking Problem.
Does whats in your PC mater anymore?
iMovie for iPhone 4
EFF + ACLU + Time Warner – Judge = Major Loss!
The Math on iPhone 4 Antenna Loss!
Tweet do and don’ts.
Trillian 5!
Good Genes in your Family?
Instaload Batteries.
Tracking your Movements by your Hair!
Shuttle Launch Schedule.
Plagiarism Cheating Guide to College.
TwitPics looses their minds!
No Fly List what would you do?
Flying Car a Go!

Send in your stories to geeknews@gmail.com and be sure to provide a link to your websites!

John Edwards talk at Gnomedex

I am not surprised that most of the conversation were democrats standing up and asking what they can do to beat the republicans. There were a few good questions on net neutrality, but I am sure that the republicans in room felt pretty uncomfortable. But the session was in some people’s in the room opinion almost content free.

Net Neutrality: This is serious, No it’s a National Emergency

If you don’t know who Tim Berners-Lee then I encourage you to click on the link, and read his Wikipedia entry so I will say he is justified in making the following statement.

“When I invented the Web, I didn’t have to ask anyone’s permission. Now, hundreds of millions of people are using it freely. I am worried that that is going end in the USA.”

If you think that my standing on a soap box, and screaming at the top of my lungs for you to get active politically has been a lot of Hype, then I would like you to read the linked article and watch the video.

I will say it again. The Telcos by technology advances are being made irrelevant, the only business model in their future is that of moving bits and bytes. In 20 years no one will have a hard wired copper based telephone in there home, everyone will be using IP or similar technology, and people’s primary data provider will either be the cable company or the company that has purchased the telco, and converted all of it’s infrastructure to IP based technology. Current and Future technology will eliminate the need to have a hard wired phone in your homes and this has them scared to death.

No some will argue my economic outlook on this but because the telcos are positioning themselves to be the traffic cops setting speed limits and how much the tool booth charges are going to be they are angling to make sure that they are still in business in 20 years and that they can control the flow of data.

They know if they don’t squash Net Neutrality they will be on the loosing side of the equation. This is why they have spent millions on a advertising campaign to hood wink the general public, we know it, they know it, they are using Congress to save their business model. They will do everything in their power at any cost.

This is why Net Neutrality is not only serious but a National Emergency. [dig.csail.mit.edu]

Senator John Edwards to Keynote Gnomedex

I am not sure what I think about this, I have had 24 hours to let it sink in, and received a reply to a message that I sent to Chris about it. The only Politics I talk about on this Blog, is how it seems that a great number of senators, and representatives have not a clue what they are doing in some of these tech bills they have supported.

I have been around politicians all my life, and honestly most of them tell ya what you want to hear, while trying to sell you a bill of goods. I swear though if he starts getting political I’m not sure I will be able to sit their and listen. But I am going to dig around on his voting record on key items that are important to the readership of this blog, and I am gonna ask some hard questions.

But the verdict is still out on whether it is a good idea to bring a speaker in that at least half of the people in the room do not care for. At least if you follow general wisdom that the political split in geeks will be pretty much down the middle risky and yet very interesting pick to say the least.