IF Blog

Why IdeaFestival? Kris Kimel Answers

It's the question we at the IdeaFestival are asked most often.

Our friends at KET recently posted this video of IdeaFestival founder Kris Kimel answering the question, why the IdeaFestival?

UPDATE: Give the gift of the IdeaFestival. Until 5p EST tomorrow, Dec. 19, you can purchase a 2015 Festival Pass for yourself or a friend at the lowest price we'll offer all year!

It's just one of many terrific speaker interviews that KET did during IdeaFestival 2014. This interview, incidentally, appeared immediately after a lengthier discussion with former U.S. diplomat and author of the books We Meant Well and The Ghosts of Tom Joad, Peter Van Buren, that aired on Sunday.

The Van Buren video will air again tonight on KET2. Air times are listed here.

Stay curious.

Wayne

"Temporal Dysfunction" in the Matrix

The festival has a long history of hosting remarkable talks on the nature of time. Physicists Michio Kaku and Sean Carroll have spoken, respectively, about its relationship to the colossal, matter-bending force of gravity and its ultimate end, the dead sea of entropy.

Last month, the author of "Time Warped," Claudia Hammond, memorably spoke on the psychology of time.

Today, I ran across an article that was too good not to share.

Could the physiology of sight also account for the perception of time? Described in Nautilus, a theory of "temporal dysfunction" in how humans see the world may help explain phenomenon ranging from the experience of voices in schizophrenic minds, to ecological niche differentiation, to the psychological state of flow.

Critical fusion frequency, or CFF, is the threshold whereby light stimulation is perceived as a stable and continuous sensation - the effect is related to the experience of watching a film. It depends on eye physiology as well as factors like the characteristics of the light entering the eye. CFF has been measured in a variety of animals. Nautilus:

These differing CFF values seem to offer some fascinating explanatory power. No wonder it is hard to kill a fly with your murderous swatting hand. With a CFF of 240, the fly might well see your approaching hand as though it were muscling through molasses. And how about those aeronautical stunts by birds flying through thickets of vegetation? With CFFs around 100, they are likely visually sampling their surroundings at super-human rates that allow for faster mid-air adjustments.

Moreover, some animals like swordfish can physically deform the eye so that vision itself is altered. Interestingly, CFF has also been measured in human beings. Small differences in the rate at which that stimuli is processed in human brains have been measured.

In humans the "dysfunction" would occur in our wetware, leading some people to experience subjective time at slightly different rates. Researchers, according to the author of the piece, are keen to investigate what difference temporal dysfunction may play in everyday life. Amazing.

Stay curious.

Wayne

Image: AttributionNoncommercialNo Derivative Works Some rights reserved by CC Chapman

Debbie Millman: "When people ask, 'why you?' what do you say?"

KET interviewed speaker and designer Debbie Millman at the IdeaFestival, and has released the edited video on YouTube. I thought I'd post it here in case you haven't yet seen it and note a few things that stood out to me while listening to the conversation with Renee Shaw.

Branding, Millman says, is "deliberate differentiation" of product or service, "a way for people to understand it." Elaborating a bit later on the subject, she said that our choice of brands is an expression of "the tribes we belong to."

"Brand choices are not rational. They're "highly, highly emotional." That understanding, incidentally, parallels a change in the economics, which does not view human choice, solely, as a product of logic that weighs the available evidence before making self-interested choices. Rather, behavioral economics is interested in the emotional content and motivations behind those choices.

In a discussion about our culture of instant gratification, Millman points out that even organizations opposed to consumerism deploy branding in support of their efforts.

As an educator, she uses brand exercises to prompt students to think about their own identity.

"When people ask, 'why you?' what do you say?" And a moment later: "If you don't understand your motivations, whether as a person or a brand, you're never going to make a difference." In a world defined by speed and instant communication, "branding brings together an expertise cultural anthropology, an expertise in behavioral psychology. You need to have expertise in finance, commerce, economics...."

In an interesting detail, Debbie Millman said that the sewing patterns laid out by her mother, a seamstress, were an inspiration for her love of word art later in life.

KET will post its interviews with IdeaFestival speakers on a regular basis. Follow the IdeaFestival @ideafestival on Twitter, or at /IdeaFestival on Facebook and we'll point them out.

Stay curious.

Wayne

Renee Blodgett: IdeaFestival "for Those Who Are Forever Curious"

IdeaFestival regular and founder and editor of We Blog the World, Renee Blodgett, has posted a comprehensive blog entry describing many of the presentations she heard at IdeaFestival 2014, saying:

IdeaFestival is the one event that I’ve jumped on an airplane for every year, bound for Louisville Kentucky to make the time for a four day discussion on creativity and innovation. Last year’s event coverage will give you a taste of who they attract and while the focus may change slightly depending on who’s on the main stage, the mission remains the same: to Stay Curious.

...Think of it as an intellectual playground in one of America’s most interesting southern cities where people celebrate ideas, creativity and transformational learning across multiple disciplines, including science, technology, design, education, philosophy, business and the arts.

Give it a read. You won't be disappointed. Our own round up of stories about IdeaFestival 2014 may be found here.

Stay curious!

Wayne

Image: Geoff Oliver Bugbee

So Many Great Stories! An IdeaFestival 2014 Media Roundup

Here's an incomplete list of stories that have appeared about the IdeaFestival and this year's speakers. I hope you enjoy them.

The well known food and travel writer Renee Blodgett raved about the festival's premier food event, Taste of Innovation, and new local restaurants, adding that if you going to Louisville, "try to plan it in September so you can take in both IdeaFestival and Taste of Innovation in the same week. You won’t be disappointed."

Far be it from us to disagree. She also recaps many of the presentations at IdeaFestival 2014. Check it out!

Simillarly, The Wunderlin Company put its time at the IdeaFestival to great use, describing its takeaways in a comprehensive blog post.

Insider Louisville covered Art at the Edge, Joshua Greene's talk on the the morals of 'Us v Them' and one of those magic moments that happen at the IdeaFestival, the lengthy stage interview and audience interaction with Wynton Marsalis. The entire list articles can be found here.

TechRepublic came to IdeaFestival 2014 and wrote several pieces, including Virgina Postrel's presentation on glamour and the art of persuasion, and another on the philosopher Stephen Cave's talk on the stories we tell ourselves about immortality.

Business First described second day of the festival as "fascinating" and wrote a story about Peter Van Buren's new book and presentation on issues of poverty, "What Would Tom Joad Do?"

Story Magazine writes about a growing, but little known industry in Kentucky that builds and flies innovative small spacecraft and puts science payloads in space.

WFPL conducted a series of interviews with IdeaFestival 2014 speakers, including this one with Tyler Cowen.

Did you try your hand at writing software while at the festival? Kentucky Coders, a public awareness initiative to help promote the value of computer science education, launched at the IdeaFestival. You might also like the digital flipbook done by the Kentucky Center, our home.

We, of course, also blogged the festival, contributing posts on Tyler Cowen, Clive Thompson, Claudia Hammond, Jason Padgett, Debbie Millman and Lee Billings.

And finally, our image pool may be found at Flickr. Relive some the great moments from IdeaFestival 2014 in pictures.

Please like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for stories, links, general nerdery and festival news throughout the year!

Wayne

Image of Creative Capital artist Robert Karimi: Geoff Oliver Bugbee


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