IT Conversations News: December 12, 2005

(Hear the MP3 version with additional commentary in beautiful monophonic audio.)

New Programs Last Week

Listed in increasing order of listener rating.

  • Theo Jansen – It’s Alive! (rated 3.3 by our listeners) Theo Jansen is a Dutch artist who makes wind-powered robots. These remarkable creations, made principally from PVC electrical insulation tubes, are developed using computer simulations and then evolved by turning them loose on a beach to see which variants succeed. In this talk Jansen discusses his methods. From Pop!Tech 2005.
  • Bruno Haid – Educating our Machines (3.6) Social software, the Semantic Web, and information retrieval are useful and powerful technologies each on their own. From Accelerating Change 2005, Bruno Haid of System One discusses how, when merged together though, the whole becomes greater than the sum of these parts.
  • A Conversation with Omid Kordestani (3.7) As Google’s phenomenal growth rate continues it must face a raft of challenging decisions, such as choosing in which direction to point the company, how to exploit whatever potential remains in its advertising business, and how the company can keep fostering innovation while remaining agile. Omid Kordestani, the person responsible for keeping Google profitable, discusses these issues and more with John Battelle.
  • Joe Whitley – Frontline Security (3.8) How can the U.S.A. protect private data and improve security without blocking progress or harming the economy? Former General Counsel to the Department of Homeland Security Joe Whitely discusses these questions, and more, with Sondra Schneider.
  • Anders Zachrisson (3.8) On BioTech Nation, Dr. Moira Gunn speaks with Anders Zachrisson, vice president of the Swedish firm BioGaia. He tells us what they’ve discovered about "pro-biotics" and gum disease.
  • Don Gould – Pure Water 4 All (3.9) When people ask Don Gould how he knows that his product works, he answers: "Because babies stop dying." As part of a social enterprise consortium, Gould, who is both a product designer and ceramicist, helped to design and deploy simple, effective water filtration devices to the developing world. He talks with host Tim Zak about both the traditional production techniques and the new economy models for collaboration. Together, they deliver simple, life-saving solutions that are as robust as they are elegant.
  • Ronald Ondrejka – The Role of the First Spy Satellites (3.9) In the Cold War era, Ron Ondrejka was on the photoreconnaissance front lines. He oversaw the development of the mapping element of the first military spy satellites to observe and target within the Soviet Union. In a compelling recollection, Ron lifts the curtain on the super secret world of spying from the sky.
  • Anne Thomas Manes – Security in an SOA World (4.5) Anne Thomas Manes tells how best to implement security in a SOA (Service Oriented Architecture) environment. She explains why the end-to-end security of Web Services is better than the SSL point-to-point method still used by most sites, discusses the various WS security standards and makes practical recommendations. If you suffer from "WS vertigo" this should help.
  • Michael Stone (4.7, but only a few votes) Moria also interviews Michael Stone, Former Managing Editor, Whole Earth magazine, and Zenobia Barlow, Executive Director of the Center for Ecoliteracy. They are the co-authors of"Ecological Literacy: Educating our Children for a Sustainable World" and take us on a tour of ecoliteracy. From Alice Water’s edible schoolyard to planting trees for watershed, kids have a new vision of their relationship to the planet.
  • Graeme Gibson (5.0, but only a few votes) Dr. Moira Gunn speaks with environmentalist Graeme Gibson, author of "The Bedside Book of Birds." He tracks the historic perception of human’s relationship with birds, and also his work on the preservation of wetlands in Cuba and beyond.

The O’Reilly Pick of the Week:

This week’s IT Conversations/O’Reilly Pick of the Week is a great one from last year:

  • Doug Engelbart – Large-Scale Collective IQ (3.3) From 2004: Dr. Douglas Engelbart invented or influenced the mouse, hypertext, multiple windows, bit-mapped screens, shared screen teleconferencing, and outline processing. But his ideas transcend technology and computer science and reach into the humanitarian. In this presentation, he tells how can we construct a collective vision as to where we are headed and where we should best be headed.

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