Lessons From Last Night's Lecture(s)

FabLabABQ's Sparkplug Talks at Launchpad

Katie Rast is the coolest nerd in town. Except for me, of course.

A couple of weeks ago, I gave you the particularly fascinating summary points from a May Ray lecture at UNM. And some of you – three of you, by my estimations – appeared to be compelled by the thought of thinking. So for those three of you, a reprise:

Last night, I attended the first ever Sparkplug Talks, organized by the imminently-opening FabLabABQ (an amazing Downtown venture that is yours for exploring, experimenting, exploiting*) and hosted by the always wonderful Launchpad.**

The ST, as I will now refer to Sparkplug Talks, follow the Pecha-Kucha format, which basically means that each speaker has 20 seconds for each of his/her 20 slides, which equals six minutes per person, which translates to awesome.

In my own little take on Pecha-Kucha, here’s what I learned from each presenter in 20 words or less not including name and affiliation (in order of appearance):

Grady Jaynes, MC: It’s tricky to be the MC. People usually stink. But not Grady Jaynes. He is an ST MC Superman.

Katie Rast, FabLabABQ: At FabLabABQ, we can “dream, think, design and realize.” In other words, make badass shit right in our own backyard.

James Smart, Cuatro Villas: We must implement collaborative approach incentives to achieve water sustainability in our region!

Jared Winchester, Entropic Industries: Natural disasters illustrate how “static infrastructure has failed.” Jared’s soil-nail-tethered houses illustrate how creative thinking will succeed. And save us.

Matthew Bandy, Environmental Archaeology: Accounting for relative time (dt) demonstrates how the old world conquered the new. (Guns, germs and steel, if you’re wondering).

Antonio Garcia, Zuk Design: Light! Design! Engineering! With our powers combined, we are Captain Planet! Wait, no. We are LED-lit furniture, like Zinc’s tables.

Tanda Headrik, Vanguard Designs: The average U.S. house holds 190 computers. Didn’t hear the rest of Tanda’s talk. Distracted trying to count mine. Oops.

Kenji Kondo, Open Source 3D Printing: Kenji = wizard. Printer = fabricator that makes flashlights out of nothing but a tool that looks suspiciously like a magic wand.

Michelle Melendez, Women’s Design Collective: St. Joe’s Hospital believes “health is not all about medicine;” it’s about women’s economic success. Plus some. (Read more about Women’s Design Collective here.***)

Ellen Berkovich and Conrad Skinner, Adobe Airstream Webzine: We live in a “mega region” of art and culture; webzines let us strut our stuff for a global audience.

Chris Goblet, Downtown Action Team: Cross your fingers! Show your support! Downtown Growers’ Market may be the first solar powered farmers’ market in the country!


*Exploiting as in using. Not as in abusing. I thought about saying ‘utilizing,’ but then that great alliteration of exp, exp, exp wouldn’t have existed. And that would have been a shame. A real shame.

**Ummm…. Did you know that Launchpad has $2 beers? I didn’t. But I do now. And I will be back to experience that loveliness again. Soon.

*** This parenthetical does NOT count as my 20 words or less.