23 January 2011

Deconstructing CES

I'm still recovering from the whirlwind three days that was the 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, January 6th through the 9th. It's one of the most intense conference experiences you can imagine... 1.6 million square feet of conference space, 120,000 people from all over the world in attendance, all against the backdrop of Las Vegas and its endless amount of hotel rooms and casino floors.

I was there to see consumer-facing energy efficient devices and appliances, and I did. The photos that I took were mainly of oddities or cool stuff that I saw, some of which are shown below.

They had a Chevy Volt at the GE Ecomagination pavilion to tout the electric vehicle charging stations that GE is manufacturing.

CNET was broadcasting live from the conference, and they were discussing Lady Gaga's new Polaroid Camera/Sunglasses.

I think Audi was there to showcase their new electric vehicle, but I didn't care, because I thought it was it was the coolest pavilion in the entire show! It was like a space ship had landed in the middle of CES.

I guess this is Audi's new EV. Couldn't get close enough to it to learn about it.

The LG pavilion was awesome as well. They had these new monitors, much like the ones in this photo, that were only a centimeter or two thick. There were pretty amazing.

The Intel pavilion was nuts, and full of people at all times.

With a conference of over 100,000 people, the best way to get around - in theory - is the people highway!

11 January 2011

1/11/11

I wish there were good news to fill up the airwaves on the 24-hour news networks.

Instead, a lunatic tried to assassinate the popular and hard-working Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, and what happens? The Chaos machine is set into motion... the butterfly flaps its wings, and we're left with a hurricane.

A young 9-year-old girl is one of the six caught in the crossfire. Her birthday? September 11, 2001. She was born on the day that America cried, when extremist terrorists attacked us, and she was taken from us by... an indiscriminate, extremist domestic terrorist. And America cries again. If there ever were an angel, surely Christina Green is one now.

...That butterfly flutter just turned into a strong breeze.

A judge who is friends with Congresswoman Giffords randomly visits her during her public event, and he also loses his life. Chief Judge John Roll was the chief federal judge in the state of Arizona. The entire federal bench in Arizona - his friends - recused themselves from the bench in the trying of the man who killed him.

...The strong breeze just joined the jet stream.

Meanwhile, the Congresswoman is shot in the head, and is it a miracle that she survives? Not only is she alive, but she is responding. Her astronaut / Desert-storm veteran / Navy-captain husband is by her side, holding her hand and helping her recover. Three months from now, he was due to captain the very last Space Shuttle mission. Right now, his twin brother is on the International Space Station.

...And the jet stream picks up moisture, and a storm is born.

The night before she was shot in the head, Gabby Giffords sent an email to a Republican colleague asking for help in toning down the noxious rhetoric infecting the public discourse. Was it the rhetoric that influenced this young man's mind? Perhaps. But a series of events was set into motion far before this event. Gun laws were lax, ammunition was available to a person that scared his classmates, nearly 50% of mental health service recipients in Gabby Giffords' county were dropped in 2010, and a catastrophe was born.

...And the storm becomes a hurricane, and destroys everything in its path.

As my hero Jon Stewart said, "It would be REALLY nice if the ramblings of crazy people didn't in any way resemble how we actually talk to each other on TV ... Let's at least make troubled individuals easier to spot..."

How do you clean up after a hurricane? You don't. You rebuild. Here's to hoping we can build stronger than the house of cards we were sitting on before.