Photo: Lymay Iwasaki
So glad to have my Uncle Steve present at Xhurch. Rumors had been circulating in the family that Steve was writing a book—apparently he’d been developing a new “theory of everything.” As it turns out, Steve’s theories are more developed than anyone realized! His talk, “The Nexus of Science and Belief…” is in fact the working title of his new book, one which he hopes to see published in roughly a year’s time. Steve’s humor and passion were evident in his lecture, which prompted many questions from an intrigued, albeit “non-technical” audience. An elegant hypothesis has taken shape in Steve’s mind. One which looks to common wisdom for clues and seeks to reduce all manner of complexity to just three primary fundamentals: Matter/Time/Destiny. To take a trinitarian view of Steve, one could say he’s one-part Joseph Campbell, one-part Richard Feynman, and one-part essential Steve Agnew.
View the presentation at Vimeo: http://vimeo.com/26184192
On Tuesday, April 19th, just as the sun was starting to set, a small crowd assembled at the Xhurch for A.J.s Gambling lecture. It was a particularly lovely atmosphere in the Xhurch, the first lecture on a warm Spring day while it was still light outside giving the windows a chance to emit their signature green glow. By the end of A.J.s talk the sun had set as it was a lengthy presentation. Topics covered included True Odds vs. Given Odds, Standard Deviation, Varience, traits of unsuccessful gamblers, traits of successful gamblers, aka, casinos (basically the best strategy for winning is to emulate casinos which are engineered for success in the long term). The losing gambler is at times hubristic, at times too timid; they are limited by their short bankroll, fail to generate action when needed, and are obsessed with short term results.
J. Bradley Nutt’s Introduction to Analogue Synthesis was a well structured overview of the key ingredients of analogue synthesis. Utilizing the Xhurch’s charming (read: faint, underpowered) projector for visual aid, Bradley explained waveforms, signal paths, frequency modulation, LFOs, envelope filters—bringing to bear his degree from Cal Poly’s Electrical Engineering school in fielding audience questions.
Barbara Conable, founder of Andover Educators and an internationally renowned teacher of the Alexander Technique, took a break from retirement recently to present Body Mapping at the Xhurch. Developed for musicians by Barbara’s late husband, William Conable, professor of cello at the Ohio State University School of Music—Body Mapping teaches that each of us has a self-representation of how our body is structured, and that how we use our bodies follows accordingly. Consequently, musicians with a faulty or inaccurate body map are prone to inefficiency and injury. Body Mapping is a technique to consciously correct and refine one’s body map to produce efficient, coordinated, effective movement.
Dayn’s suggestively titled “Presence Envy…” talk was a cool, collected, highly intelligible overview of what it is to be a “brand” online today. Having followed the arc of social media from its primordial beginnings, Dayn has an easy time contextualizing the emergence of what he likes to call “Web Pie” (Not Web 1.0, not Web 2.0, but Web 3.14159…)
Web Pie is the next phase of the web. It has laid waste to the old days of top-down advertising and made way for a new model—one built around more meaningful, less “interruptive,” real-time interactions.
(UPDATE – View Dayn’s slide presentation at SlideShare.)
On Tuesday, December 21st, Jon Murphy, a PhD student in Neuroscience at the University of Colorado Denver gave his much anticipated “Brains” talk to a lively and inquisitive crowd at Portland’s, The Xhurch. Outlining his talk as both a general overview of brain physiology, as well as a case study of glam rocker (and noted pedophile) Gary Glitter, Jon aimed to show correlations between brain activity and behavior, particularly with regard to the use of language, and incidentally, pedophilia.
On Wednesday, November 17th, Melissa “Missy” Ward gave the first Expert Series talk on the evolution of book technology, starting with the earliest letter forms, on through Gutenberg’s press, and ending with an appraisal of today’s hyper-media. Missy is the editor and designer of the new literary journal, HABIT.