M. Sanjayan Was Condemned to a Drowning Death

“Your child is going to die from drowning.” That’s what some astrologist prick told M. Sanjayan’s family when he was a little boy. So they kept him away from water and wouldn’t teach him to swim. Sure it defies logic, but the death of their child was foretold. What’s a freaked out parent to do? It’s several decades later, and the child has outlived the astrologer (suck it, pseudoscience). Now he’s on live television responding to questions that he wasn’t prepared to answer. Dr. Sanjayan is on the David Letterman show discussing climate change. If you watch the interview, you’ll see an admittedly skeptical Letterman challenging the optimism of a well-informed, charismatic scientist, but Sanjayan didn’t see it that way. He says he left the interview thinking, “Damn, I gotta learn about this.” During his presentation at SXSW Eco, Sanjayan explained what he decided to learn and how his work on an eight-part series for Showtime helped him do it. Despite the big names involved with the Showtime project, Sanjayan was reluctant to participate. He didn’t want to contribute to “just another show about climate change.” He told the producers that he would contribute only if the show was compelling and creditable, so they promised to do three things. First, to tell real human stories. If the story sucks but the people in the story are compelling, people will watch it. Second, to focus on things that are happening right now. Most people think that climate change is something that’s gonna happen at some point in the future, so they need to see current events. Finally, to send Sanjayan...

Joseph Dumont “Can Advertising Save the World?” SXSW Eco 2013

Joseph Dumont is a co-executive producer of the documentary “The Naked Brand.” In a 15 minute short talk, Joseph asked these questions: – In advertising what is changing for us? – How do we communicate with people moving forward? – How has advertising changed? We were then shown a pretty cool and amazingly old “The Flintstones” cartoon. Joseph quipped that Fred Flintstone had the first environmental car. (It’s cuz, ya know, they used their legs to power their cars made of stone and wood…ya get it? ya get it?) After showing cartoon footage, he then showed us a clip of Fred and Barney smoking cigarettes. It’s kind of amazing to think that this kind of advertising took place…though of course, I’m sure we have shitty advertising going on today as well. The following was taken directly from their site: “The Naked Brand is a story about how corporations can help save the planet one small step at a time. It’s an introduction to a bright new future where companies tell the truth and work hard to create better products and a better planet.” Anyway, that commercial was broadcast many a year ago, when many people really did think cigarettes were not bad but good for you. But even in 1994, Joseph reminded us, we had the 7 major tobacco CEO’s testified before Congress stating that nicotine was not addictive. I guess they were all on something a bit more potent than tobacco to say something as insane as that. So now we have today, where only (according to Dumont) 20% of the people trust in advertising as we’ve known it. What...

Surprise Live Blog: “Peak Stuff, Baby Pigeons and the Heartbeat of Cats” presented by Adam Werbach

We did another round of live blogging today, this time on keynote speaker Adam Werbach. Following are the results (in reverse order): Surprise Live Blog: “Peak Stuff, Baby Pigeons and the Heartbeat of Cats” presented by Adam Werbach 14:53 aaand the lights are on. – Stupidgregg 14:53 “THE HOPE of the human race lies in its generosity.” 14:52 AW has been using computer printers, and their immediate obsolesence as an example of a horrible product that shouldn’t besold. – Stupidgregg 14:52 14:51 Let’s see if Yerdle can help out with this. 14:51 He has found that a lot of things you want to buy are probably already available and unused by a friend. 14:51 People don’t realize how much stuff they have that they don’t want, and how much stuff they want, that their friends have but don’t want.  – Stupidgregg 14:50 Good point, this is hitting home. I need to look at all the stuff that I have that don’t use. 14:49 We had some slight technical difficulty there. 14:49 * Technical difficulties * 14:49   Sharing is important because many things that we use are designed for obselesence, and we have a lot of crap on our shelves. The lead designer from Braun was an icon of Jony Ive (Apple Inc.). His design principle was “Less is Better.” – Stupidgregg   14:48 14:42 Updated : 14:49 A concept from Mumbai inspiring Yerdle, a simple sharing platform. Which you can download from iTunes, here. 14:42 They want Yerdle to be used as a means for people to share all that junk that is sadly sitting in storage…alone, unused, unandled. 14:41 It’s available...

SXSW Eco Shepard Fairey keynote (Live Blog)

The live blog is done! SXSW Eco Shepard Fairey spotlight  Following is what transpired (in reverse order): 15:03 15:03 That was fast. Big standing ovation.   Well Jeremy, how bad did we screw that up? 15:02 “We’re frequently made to feel inferior if we don’t overconsume.” — fucking brilliant   15:01 15:01 Earlier Fairey said, “Urban Outfitters are conservative assholes.” That’s good to know, Damn, he’s almost out of time. – Stupidgregg   15:01 15:00 Awesome – he’s a philanthropist AND he made some artwork showing non-threatening polar bears.   14:59 Fairey ijoked about how “Communal Use” is frequently condemned being labled as “communism.”  – Stupidgregg   14:59 14:58 14:57 Rock Hill Preservation   14:57 Fairey explained his belief that sometimes it’s really important to do the right thing because it’s the cool thing to do, not because they feel guilty. Edit: I totally effed this. He was talking about motivating people. He explained that using “cool” as a motivator, instead of guilt, is important. – Stupidgregg   14:56 14:55 One of my favorites, “The Toxicity Inspector” (below) was inspired by the way politcians (Cheney)  misrepresent “things.” Kinda’ like the Patriot Act? – Stupidgregg   14:55 14:53 “Sometimes you have to laugh to keep from crying.”   14:53 Philosophy 5: Sometimes the most powerful weapon against propaganda is absurdity.   14:52 On his piece for Smashing Pumpkins, Zeitgeist. He doesn’t do commercial art very often, but when he does, he tries to sneak his agenda into it. The work has two meanings, violations of what the Statue of Liberty symbolizes, and global warming. – Stupidgregg   14:52 He doesn’t need to do...
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