I went to Interesting2008 on Saturday and it lived up to it's name. I saw Russell Davies speak at dconstruct2007 and think that he is a inciteful thinker, so when I saw that he runs a mini-conference every year to which he invites 'interesting' people to speak for 5, 10 or 20 minutes I jumped at it.
I'm going to list a few of the highlights for me, but really it was a "you had to be there" thing:
Roo Reynolds spoke about his love for Lego (which is only referred to as 'Legos' in the US before anyone comments). I liked the way that his slides were on a slideshow and that he wasn't triggering them. This kept it quick and punchy. The slides themselves were pictures, so there wasn't a need to process them too much. Enthusiasm about the subject helps too.
This presentation by itself has inspired me to run some sort of Interesting at work.
Horses can't see in front of their noses and have a fight-or-flight instinct. Gemma told us about why horses think that rustling crisp packets are lions or bears dues to the blind spots behind them and in front of their noses, plus the fight-or-flight instinct. This immediately made me think of peripheral vision for characters in Zombie Attack (the game that my team are writing as a Gold Day activity. I see another post there)
This connected as well with an article in the Saturday Times magazine about how to survive disasters. We should really speak of fight-flight-or-freeze instinct as a captured animal may play dead to put an attacker off (some attackers are wary of already dead prey as it might be diseased or off).
I was surprised by the subject matter and liked the presentation.
This speaker (James Wallis) carried out a geographical survey of World of Warcraft. By knowing how fast a character can walk and having a straight line to navigate he was able to put a scale to the map of Azaroth. This put it at roughly the size of the Newcastle (JN: changed after a comment from James on my Flickr picture) and about 10% the size of the Death Star (generally reckoned to have a diameter of 120kms).
Further experiments with jumping from comparing the known height of a character to a tall building and then jumping from said building and timing how long it takes to hit the ground showed that gravity is 1G, the same as Earth. This means that the planet(oid) must be extremely dense at 5850g/cm3 (Earth is 5.5 g/cm3) which may explain why dropped items are hard to pick up again as they may be covered in very heavy dust.
There was a final anomoly though. It seems that the planetoid may be flat as you can get to the edge.
Matt Dent won a Royal Mint competition to design the reverse of British coins. Each will have part of the design of a heraldic shield on.
George Oats from Flickr talked about:
Many users like to get awards/badges on Flickr. These have value as they are public recognition. I wonder whether there is a difference in value because they are awarded by other users rather than being official.
I liked this analysis of a form of naive art, scribbles.
This rang true for me as I was earlier inspired by rememble.com to draw some cartoons of my recollections. I found it a lot easier than just writing about them.