PopTech 2010

At the PopTech conference this week in Camden Maine. A small gathering of people conspiring to generate positive world change. The format is TED-like, but the demographic seems about 15 years younger, which is a welcome difference. You might enjoy a couple of videos filmed this week at Poptech. The first is a very funny guy named Reggie Watts. The second is from our sail around Camden Harbor with adventurer David de Rothschild, leader of the Plastiki Expedition. David talks briefly about Plastiki and the essential power of storytelling. Enjoy. Reggie Watts: Part 1 from PopTech on  

Over-Leverage / De-Leverage

Timely and fascinating paper by Carmen and Vincent Reinhart at the University of Maryland, which shows convincingly that major economic collapse is almost always preceded by an excessive easing of credit. Today it’s much harder to borrow and everyone is trying to pay down debt (aka, de-leveraging). The Reinhart’s point out that periods of de-leveraging normally last almost as long as the boom years that preceded them. They show that this most recent period of over-leveraging started somewhere around 1997 and ended in 2007-8. If their thesis is correct, get ready for a protracted de-leveraging period lasting nearly the rest of this  

The Perception of Worth / The Consumption of Memory

Mentioned in my last post, Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman’s 2010 TED Talk was among my favorites. In the context of behavioral economics, Kahneman takes us immediately to the heart of what it means to be human – to question and probe the very nature of self and memory and experience, ultimately revealing ‘economics’ in the larger picture of relationship, value/worth, and our questionable notions of perceived reality. Is the consumption of memory the consumption of reality? Considering spirituality, do we place more value in experiencing or remembering, and how do we define the differences? Are well-being and happiness synonymous? Are there really two selves at work here? You will find yourself challenged and asking questions you’ve probably never considered after viewing this must-watch TED Talk. ADDED: After you view the video, don’t miss this surprisingly thoughtful article from Norman Lear in today’s Washington Post religion section: “the ‘What’s it all about?’ question is the best conversation going. Just plain folks, unfortunately, can’t get into it, because the rabbis, the priests, the ministers, mullahs and the reverends — the professionals — have a corner on the subject… And so, the sectarian rivalry and sanctimonious bickering about moral superiority and spiritual infallibility that occurs among the professionals often assumes a greater importance than the religious experience