SXSW has come and gone! This week I have received a few email messages from organizers, companies, and musicians highlighting what happened at their events and thanking customers and fans for being a part of it. So hopefully Part 2 of my fun is still timely. (Here is Part 1 if you missed it!)
After my purrfect cat weekend, I went to some panels with more serious topics.
You might wonder how social media and technology might help address issues like poverty in America.
Megan Kashner of Benevolent.net explained there are many reasons why some people have a very hard time getting ahead despite working hard (a common myth that people believe about the working poor.)
Some common roadblocks for people are:
1) Special equipment or skills after getting a job that the employer does not pay for
2) Reliable transportation
3) School needs for kids
4) Housing deposits
We have all heard of Kickstarter and other crowd funding for startups/businesses. Benevolent.net lets you know about a person’s story and real ways to help them get on their feet. A couple people asked how the need for good food would fit into this picture. We know that most people in America are getting enough calories, but many are starving nutritionally. Personally, I am trying to find more ways to serve a greater part of the Austin community. My clients are all affluent enough to afford my services and at times I want to add a way to help people who really are having a hard time eating healthy. I think Urban Roots and the Sustainable Food Center are some of the best of what Austin is doing to support healthy food initiatives.
So along with food, what are some ways to promote health and wellness for a long life?
I went to a panel by BBC’s Peter Bowes where he relayed his experiences in a 2 year long quest for a healthier, longer life. Here are some interesting ideas he picked up on his journey:
*SITTING is KILLING us: He suggests getting standing desks or working treadmills and cutting sitting to under 3 hours a day
*Calorie Restriction and Periodic Fasting
*Low or no animal protein – lowers cancer risk (mentions Dr. Colin Campbell’s work)
*Testosterone supplementation for men
*Better brain health via screening
So how did you get around if you were at SXSW? After sitting in panels, it was great to get up and move.
We rented Tern bikes near the Seth Meyers tent and liked them so much that we got a couple of them!
Since they were already used they gave them to us for half off! These origami bikes made it easy for us to park at the Palmer Center for $7-10 a day and get lots of exercise. It took a little getting used to the coaster brakes but being able to fold up your bike when needed was so awesome! We could get back to downtown from across the river faster than the SXSW shuttles. I highly recommend them to festival goers for next year.
So having the bike made it easier to get to some of the farther panels. The Radisson was the headquarters for panels called “WTF and Beyond”. The stamp was the cutest thing of a cat riding a bike!
IEEE Tech for Humanity Series featured a talk about future foods like Beyond Meat and if 3D food printers in the average person’s kitchen could be a reality.
Glenn Zorpette was really knowledgeable of the energy inputs for the creation of certain foods (how much grain to produce 1 lb of beef). To veg people who understand the environmental impacts of industrial animal agriculture, this is not new news. He was proud to admit that he enjoys the Beyond Meat protein analog and believes that making more tasty plant based protein choices will be important. He laughed and said it would take a mental shift for most people to want to eat bugs. Entomophagy – eating insects – was another panel but I chose not to go to hearing about mealworm breading and BBQ crickets. Glenn sent me a copy of IEEE’s Spectrum magazine issue : Age of Plenty. Lots of great food + tech articles to read, including Beyond Meat’s extrusion process and IBM’s cognitive computing.
At a panel about 3D Printing Chocolate, I was able to learn about a new Food + Tech meetup group here in Austin headed up by Daniel Heron at Tech Ranch.
Their next meeting is April 23rd and I hope to bring some vittles for everyone while we investigate about robotics in the kitchen.
Did you know that IBM’s Watson (super computer) powered the technology behind IBM’s food truck? I got to meet Florian Pinel and he walked me through the Cognitive Cooking interface. I put in cilantro as my ingredient and got to choose some other flavors and also a country. I picked Uzbekistan since that is a place I know nothing about in regards to food. I picked a cake. Then the interface connects with the cloud that contains thousands of possibilities. I ended up with a Uzbek style cake that was flavored with cilantro, dried fruits and nuts. Florian said it should be a hit as the flavor profile calculated was supposed to be favorable. I hope I can get to play with Cognitive Cooking again! The chefs in the truck were able to veganize the Peruvian Potato Poutine for me, but unfortunately it ended up just being french fries with some fried cauliflower bits on top.
Besides the panels, we actually got to have some evening fun. We were laughing and tearing up as Bill Cosby told us stories at Lustre Pearl on Monday night.
His “Hello Friend” sweatshirt made me feel back on the 80’s again!
We also were fortunate enough to get VIP lounge benefits to the Pandora Discovery Den and see Shakey Graves do his thing. That pink suitcase foot drum is so awesome! My husband made me this LED choker for fun.
I would say I had a great time at SXSW and my overall feeling was that of being youthful. Hope to see you next year while bike riding around the venues, in some sessions, and eating yummy food!