(11.00 AM, 16th October, TAM venue, Edgeware Road, London )
The reason this post is different from the last one is a result of hassle with timings, resources, low battery power, hectic schedule and the incompetence of the author in looking after his stuff, e.g. notes, so this is all based on memory and old tweets. So that's nice.
I reality though, there was literally no break between the Dawkins talk and the ones I describe here. Unless you count Prof. Wiseman's MCing duties, which were excellent as always. I've already mentioned that though, so won't go over that again.
The next talk was from Cory Doctorow. Coroy Doctorow is, as far as I can make out, not a real doctor. But he has 'Doctor' in his name, which is quite cool. Doctor Ow made me think he would be some sort of super villain in a superhero cartoon aimed at the under 5's. This may in fact be the case, but he wasn't there in that capacity, that much is certain.
I hadn't really heard much about Doctorow before the talk, so didn't know what he would be speaking about and in what capacity. One thing I do know is that he has terrible timing. I say this because as soon as he was introduced, that was the moment my bladder decided it was no longer happy about having to act as a receptacle for my waste fluids, so I had to run out and use the toilet. Ergo, I missed the part where he explained who he was and what he would be talking about.
It turned out to be Copyright law in the end. And very interesting it was too, particularly the original story about how Hollywood was originally founded by people who had essentially nicked Thomas Edison's camera technology and used it outside his stranglehold. I was pleased by this, I don't really like Edison for ripping off Nikolai Tesla, the genius physicist who has a cooler name and a mighty moustache.
Doctorow essentially informed us all about the pros, cons and potential impacts of the various different copyright and information controlling plans with regards to new technology. A highlight was the observation of the way that everyone who uses a new technology to share creative works gets called a pirate by those who did the exact same thing previously. Whether or not Eye-patches or parrots were included was not addressed. I like to think they were
Up next was Adam Rutherford, he of the broody byline picture (check the link, it's impressive, or creepy, one of the two). The celebrated Guardian columnist told us all about his experiences with the Alpha Course. When I heard the title, I assumed it was some evening class that taught you how to be more dominant and assertive in your business dealings, some 'release you alpha male' shite. Something that turns you into a vacuous irritating dickhead, in other words. Turns out it's some ongoing course/campaign which intends to subtly convert people to conservative Christianity. Something that turns you into a vacuous irritating dickhead, in other words.
Dickheadedness seemed to a theme for the Alpha course from the off, with a lot of their promotional material being based on the trashing of actual impressive things the world has to offer. There's also the massively weasely manner in which they try to oppress homosexuals without actually saying they're doing that. They clearly want to have their cake and eat it. Don't know why they're bothering, it would probably just turn to messiah flesh in their mouths anyway, and that can't be nice. I've seen pictures of Jesus, he looks quite stringy.
It does have a very culty vibe to it, but then you could say that about a lot of things to do with promoting religion. The most amusing part was when he informed us that the Alpha course uses two texts to underpin much of it's teachings. These are the Chronicles of Narnia and Lord of the Rings. Much hilarity and surprise greeted this revelation. Apparently, people were surprised by the possibility that a Christian group would base much of its ideals on long-winded largely fictional books, which I felt was a little naive.
But, as per, the talk was excellent, but even if it wasn't I would have given it top marks for inclusion of the phrase 'solipsistic wanker'! I challenged everyone to say it at least once a day from now on.
Email: Humourology (at) live.co.uk