The What If...? Conference (SD)

Oct 15 2014 8 mins 49

The What If...? Conference is a gathering of curious minds interacting and growing through a series of eight minute 'What If...?' propositions, inspiring interest in our current world, where we've been and where we might be going. We will break down barriers with active curiosity. Join us.
















What If I'm Wrong?: Ethan Porter, He Who Dared to be Wrong (02013)
Jul 17 2013 8 mins  
We all exist in and interact with the same universe. This universe is constant and does not change from one individual to the next; yet, despite this fact, there is always disagreement amongst its inhabitants as to what the nature of reality is. There are things to know of this world, but we as humans are not really very good at knowing them. If we are to place a high value on truth and the degree to which or beliefs track it, as I believe we should, then we must fight the urge to assume that we have already found truth. We must ask ourselves What if I'm wrong?. Future man will likely divide time into two eras, before the time of Ethan Porter and after (BEP and AEP, respectively). When he is not making ridiculously hubristic statements he can be found making other ridiculous claims, usually, but not always (sometimes for fun), designed to get his interlocutors to stop, think, and justify their position. These question topics include, but are not limited to, philosophy (of mind, meta-ethics, ethics), science (genetics, evolution, evolutionary psychology, neuroscience), politics (as a Libertarian he must defend attacks by both fronts), religion, and anything else that sounds interesting or could be made to sound interesting. When he is not arguing with others (he prefers the term "discussing") he spends his time weight lifting (he is particularly enthralled with Crossfit at the time), reading, t'workin noobs on Halo, and enjoying a well balanced beer.


What If There Had Been No Religion?: Dr. Cliff Chalmers Cain, Jerusalem-Athens Straddler (02013)
Jul 24 2013 9 mins  
Historically, religion has been a tremendous force for good, and a terrible impetus for evil. Religion is a world-wide phenomenon that has stimulated good, healthy, moral behavior. And it is simultaneously a world-wide phenomenon that has promoted evil, unhealthy, immoral behavior. On balance, and ultimately, has religion been a \good"thing or a \""bad\"" thing? Would the world have been better-off without religion? Or would the world have been worse-off without religion? What if there had been no religion?""" Cliff Cain cannot decide whether he is a resident of Jerusalem as a person of faith or a resident of Athens as a person who thinks. So, he has dual citizenship and carries a passport that allows movement between the two areas. A university basketball player as a student, he was also an NCAA coach of the year when he was starting his professorial career. He also played in a symphony and a rock group to work his way through grad. school, but it was so long ago that he cannot remember whether he played first chair, second chair, or just set-up chairs. He still enjoys playing the trombone as a member of the Westminster College Pep Band. He is currently Harrod-C.S. Lewis Professor of Religious Studies at WC and went a long time to school to receive a doctorate in religion and a doctorate in science because of his intention of delaying getting a real job for as long as possible.


































What If NYC Resources Were Brought to Rural America?: Jennifer Shaw, Equal-Opportunity Geek (02014)
Jul 16 2014 11 mins  
What originally started as a forum for women who were active and passionate about technology and it's powers to change our lives, and the world, quickly became so much more. Since December 2011, NYTechWomen has been changing the environment for women in NYC, but it quickly became incredibly clear that the environment needed to change for women outside of NYC as well. For many mid-career women, technical literacy is not a given, but great minds are. What if city-based resources were taken to rural areas? Would women find a new self they never new existed? Would women open new doors they never thought possible? Would women transform from consumers to creators? Jenn Shaw is Founder of NYTechWomen and Bella Minds and former Senior Data Analyst for comScore. Jennifer hales from rural Nebraska, and uses her All-American roots as fuel for empowering people to leverage technology and improve the state of STEM education and workforces in the US. Ms. Shaw quickly established NYTechWomen as the authority for women in tech in the NYC area. With Bella Minds, she is leading the way to educating rural areas of the US and tackling the urgent need of increased participation and attainment rates. Jennifer is a recognized innovator by several NYC-based ventures, and has spoken at TEDxHobokenWomen. Her mission remains focused in mentoring opportunities and empowering women who are serious about the technology sector.















What If The US Had Less Privacy Than The USSR?: Dr. Richard Stallman, Free-Software Crusader (02014)
Sep 03 2014 9 mins  
Thanks to digital technology, companies and the government have an ever growing reach into our privacy and software freedoms. Free software means freedom. Stallman talks about the four essential freedoms and gives examples of how others are watching us. Democracy is in danger when the government is more invasive than the USSR. Richard Matthew Stallman is a software developer and software freedom activist. He worked at the Artificial Intelligence Lab at MIT from 1971 to 1984. He wrote the first extensible Emacs text editor there in 1976, and developed the AI technique of dependency-directed backtracking, also known as truth maintenance. In 1983 Stallman announced the project to develop the GNU operating system and has been the project's leader ever since. With that announcement he also launched the Free Software Movement. In October 1985 he started the Free Software Foundation, of which he is president as a full-time volunteer. The GNU/Linux system is used in tens or hundreds of millions of computers. However, the distributors of these systems often disregard the ideas of freedom which make free software important, and even include nonfree software in those systems. That is why, since the mid-1990s, Stallman has spent most of his time in political advocacy for free software, and spreading the ethical ideas of the movement, as well as campaigning against both software patents and dangerous extension of copyright laws. Stallman pioneered the concept of copyleft, and is the main author of the GNU General Public License, the most widely used free software license, which implements copyleft.











What If Green Nanotechnology From Your Kitchen Is A Panacea For Cancers?: Dr. Kattesh V. Katti, Nanotech Scientist (02014)
Oct 08 2014 9 mins  
By using things found in many kitchens, Dr. Katti creates nanoparticals on stage. An outstanding leader with sustained international acclaims for his work in biomedical sciences, Kattesh V. Katti is the first immigrant American to receive the Sate of Missouri's highest civilian honor of 'Outstanding Missourian' award from the Governor of Missouri State in recognition of his contributions in Nanomedicine and Green Nanotechnology. For his stellar scientific contributions and ground breaking inventions in chemical, green nanotechnological and nano- biomedical sciences, which have made transformative differences in cancer diagnostics and therapy, Dr. Katti has been awarded a number of international awards and citations which include: one of the '25 Most Influential Scientists In Molecular Imaging in the World' award by RT Image, the 'Father of Green Nanotechnology' citation by the Nobel Prize Winner Norman Borlaug, Gauss Professorship from the Gottingen Academy of Sciences, 'Outstanding Scientists Fellows' award and induction as a Fellow of the Academy of Science, St Louis - one of the oldest scientific academies of the world and many more. In 2013, Dr. Katti was elected as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science with a citation "for distinguished contributions encompassing main group, transition metal and nanoscale chemistry, particularly for ground breaking discoveries enabling application of chemical concepts for biomedical applications" (SCIENCE : 30 NOVEMBER 2012, VOL 338, ISSUE 6111, PAGES 1117-1248). His unprecedented discovery of the production of tumor specific gold nanoparticles through 100% green processes have been cited as the Editor's choice in Nature, Future Medicine, in Science (AAAS), in Popular Science, by the Discovery Channel and have been highlighted in scientific/medical programs of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC, London).




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