Here is the tenth and final week's team of guest bloggers: Allen, Friedmann, Toyama, and Travierso.
David Allen. Yes, the David Allen, of Getting Things Done, the David Allen Company, and what I referred to in an Atlantic article
as "The David Allen Way." Since reading his book, attending one of his
seminars, and writing about his approach to life seven years ago, I have
stayed in touch with him and have felt fortunate to become a friend.
I've seen him perform in venues large and small -- including one two
years ago, where he said he'd just gotten interested in a new system
called Twitter. He has something like 1.3 million followers there now
(@gtdguy). I expect that he'll tell us whatever is on his mind.
Julio Friedmann. Yes, the Julio Friedmann (I'll retire the "Yes, the.." joke at this point). I wrote about him several months ago in an Atlantic cover story about "clean coal" as a source of environmental hope in a dirty world. It included a picture of him at Lawrence Livermore National Labs, where he is Carbon Management Program Leader.We met in Beijing several years ago when he started telling me about projects like those I described in the article, to coordinate clean-up efforts between Chinese and American groups. He has been a university research scientist, and a researcher for Exxon and ExxonMobil. I expect that he will tell us how to think about energy and climate issues, and about the timetable and practicality of steps America and other countries can take.
Kentaro Toyama, a Japanese- born, American-raised and educated computer scientist whom I first met several years ago in Bangalore, at the Microsoft research lab he had helped set up there. (I was in India to visit my son; I learned of Kentaro and his work through our mutual friend, the Atlantic's Scott Stossel.) The picture is from a 2008 NY Times story about him and his projects in India. At the time he was mainly working on technology projects meant to improve the prospects of the world's rural poor. Despite that experience, or because of it, he became skeptical of whether technology could really do much to end poverty (as he has written here). He has left Microsoft and is now at UC Berkeley writing a book on what the solutions are, if they're not technology. I expect that technology-and-life's-problems will be his theme.
Michele Travierso, originally from Milan and now based in Shanghai, became a friend when my wife and I were living in Shanghai in 2006 and 2007. He juggles a variety of identities and passions. He has worked as a freelancer for the Economist, the NYT, Wired.com, and others, plus some Italian publications. He is an entrepreneur and technology project manager. And -- the way we originally got to know each other -- he is an aviation buff and glider pilot. As he puts it about these and other interests: "I have lifelong passion for skiing and flying (or more broadly put: mountains and everything that flies). I dabble with photography. I'm always torn between the craft of journalism and the art of entrepreneurship." He is based for the moment in Hong Kong on an internship for Time magazine, where "I find myself staring at the great view of the old Kai Tak runway 31 in the in the Victoria Harbour, that seems to be floating like a pontoon from the Kowloon peninsula, more than I should."
Here is the ninth week's team of guest bloggers: Bonabeau, Cham, Hall, and Larson.Eric Bonabeau, originally from France and now of Santa Fe, NM, a mathematician and physicist who is the founder and chairman of the Icosystem company. If I tried to get too specific about what Icosystem does, I would no doubt trip over a detail. For now I'll leave it at saying that Eric's recent professional life has involved various aspects of artificial intelligence and predictive analysis. At an "isn't that cute!!" level, this includes his renowned "Ominous Panda" image-generating system (right) plus an addictive baby-naming system, Nymbler. He also is responsible for the Infomous idea-visualizing device you see on the Atlantic's home page. We met years ago, when he was working on "Swarm Intelligence" concepts at the Santa Fe institute and I introduced him to the late Michael Crichton, who had cited his writings in Prey. I expect we'll hear from him about how we can (begin to) make sense of an overly info-packed world.
James Cham, of Silicon Valley, was introduced here several weeks ago but has had to postpone his actual blogging until now. He is a principal with Trinity Ventures, a venture capital firm in Menlo Park, Ca. He previously was part of Bessemer Venture Partners and is generally in the middle of the culture of high-tech startups that we all hope will improve our lives. That's how he's known to the world. He's additionally known to me for having taken time years ago to set up an early pre-Atlantic version of this site. I expect he will be describing the nature of start-up culture now, whether we're in another tech bubble, and related topics.
Glenna Hall, originally from New Jersey, now lives in the the (incredibly beautiful) San Juan Islands northwest of Seattle. (Hey, nothing against Santa Fe or Silicon Valley.) Like many people who have appeared here in previous weeks, she has had a lot of different roles over the years. She has been a political scientist, a researcher at an organization funded by the CIA, an editor, a private-practice lawyer, and for a dozen years a judge. She has retired from the bench but is still a mediator -- and an active pilot and a software buff. I came to know of her though a software-fanatics forum on, gasp, Compuserve, back at technology's dawn. Her topics could range from the state of the courts to the state of aviation, with other subjects in between. And:
Christina Larson. Last week, there was no China person in the rotation! Thus I am all the more pleased to introduce Christina Larson, who was traveled extensively in China and Southeast Asia and written often about environmental issues there, including in this recent post here on the Atlantic's site. She is originally from Atlanta, is now based mainly in Washington, and has experience with a number of great journalistic and policy institutions, including the New America Foundation and the fabled Washington Monthly magazine. Her reporting from Asia has mainly been bottom-up, covering the local organizers, administrators, researchers, and plain citizens who have tried to address Asia's environmental emergencies. I expect that we will hear some of these personal views of China and its environs.
Here is the eighth week's team: Donham, Garau, Hayduk, Raz, and Roggeveen.
- From Nova Scotia, Canada, we are joined by Parker Donham. I met him eons ago on the college newspaper, until he dropped out of school in 1968 to join the Eugene McCarthy presidential campaign. His account of his journeys since then: "That same year, he bought an exotic vacation property: a farm on Nova Scotia's Bras d'Or Lake [where he now lives]. In the early 2000s, he led communications for a long stalled cleanup of industrial waste left behind by a defunct coke ovens plant, putting him at odds with many local environmental activists, and spurring an interest in how we face risk. Other interests range from make-and-break engines to American Chestnut trees and organ and tissue donation. He is the grandfather of identical twins with Down Syndrome, and this has led him to appreciate men and women with developmental disabilities. He runs an independent film series and blogs at Contrarian.ca." I expect he will write on political and environmental topics.