Thursday, June 15, 2006

Dwarf Protest

"Even when laws have been written down, they ought not always to remain unaltered"

Aristotle, Greek philosopher and scientist (384 BC- 322 BC)

Upon my return from Northern Wisconsin this week I attended my friend Cecily's annual conference in Minneapolis -- -- which is focused on "futurist" (my term) themes, not just fads but exploring entirely new markets and ways of doing things.

What I most enjoy about attending a conference such as this one is that I get exposed to an entirely different set of speakers and perspectives from my normal routine. Cecily's contacts in the arts community really opens doors for her to secure some very creative thinkers. Following below are random quotes and observations made by the conference speakers:

"Gold Farmers" -- sometimes my ignorance amazes me!! Who knew that some people work full-time "harvesting" items of value found on online games (like a magic sword in some fantasy game) so they can sell them via services such as ebay. You can see more at -- , a documentary by Ge Jin

"the concept of 'play' in the 21st century will be what 'steam' was in the 19th century......." -- Julian Dibbell

"just knowing that Hubbell (the astronomer) started as a lawyer but became an astronomer gives me hope for humanity.........." :) Lawrence Krauss, Professor of Astronomy

"Dwarf Protest" -- sorry I did not catch the name of the online fantasy game that Katie Salen (online game designer) mentioned in her speech but I was really struck by her example of why companies should be prepared for customers altering and utilizing products in ways the original manufacturer never intended simply by working outside of the rules/regulations/laws. Ms. Salen's example is called the "Dwarf Protest" where a group of online gamers playing the role of dwarfs were upset with what they perceived as "inferior powers" in the online game. So what did the dwarfs do? They set a time and place for all dwarfs to "meet" in the game to jump up and down as a sign of protest and to demand more powers to play the game more effectively. The result? The computer servers hosting the game crashed due to the jumping dwarfs.

"Architecture for Humanity" (AFH) -- Cameron Sinclair is the co-founder of this organization focused on sustainable building design that is specific for local, native populations and their environment. Yes, I am completely biased against government "assistance" so I was very excited to see Mr. Sinclair's Power Point presentation contrasting AFH's schools versus school built by a UNICEF program which were beyond laughable -- the UNICEF people in charge of these schools should be prosecuted for fraud!!!

Overall a very good use of two days of the work week. The 2007 theme for the PUSH conference is "SuperPower" so I encourage you to watch their website for the program details.

Enjoy your own future,


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