Last week was a pretty busy week as I was trying to finish my October What Works Beauty, Cosmetics & Fashion Review Column http://www.advicesisters.net/whatworkscol3.html and also I was putting the finishing touches on the Advice Sisters Enews, a bi-monthly newsletter that goes to anyone who asks for it, for free (if you want to subscribe, go to the Advice Sisters Web Site http://www.advicesisters.net and you can see several places to subscribe from the home page.
Anyway, I took a few hours to go to the Jacob Javits Center to go to WIRED’s NEXTFEST, a sort of new milennium world’s fair, featuring four days of viewing for the public of innovative products and technologies that are transforming our world. The first thing I loved about NextFest was the press badges, that were small squares of plastic that could be lit up in a glowing purple, or made to flicker. Exhibitors had green ones, and there were other types of badges including some others for sale at the Wired booth. These just looked so great…modern and hip…I kept mine until it fell off my handbag about a week later (obviously, they were not meant to be worn indefinitently). The entire exhibit floor was sparked with these little bits of color from the badges. It really was so cool!
Anyway, there were about 130 interactive exhibits from leading scientists and researchers around the world set up in about 10 distinct areas covering such things as exploration, entertainment, transportation, health, communication, design, security, green living, and even a robot row. At one of the NASA exhibits, I met a man who was involved with the Mars Rover (I think it’s name is “Opportunity”) that had just travelled 21 months over the terrain of Mars to the Victoria Crater to it’s rim. When I told him that I though the photos from the rover inside the crater looked like a sunflower, or a big dahlia, his face broke into the widest smile as if he’d never considered this before (even though it seemed so obvious to me as writer). I guess there really are left and right brain people! Hopefully, we need them both.
I was particularly interested in some of the design exhibits, and stopped to talk to an exhibitor about a platform shoe, worthy of Sir. Elton John, that had a video screen and a camera in it, and lots of other things, including GPS and a way to call for help….not actually available in PayLess just yet (or anywhere) but what I great idea! I also liked a round “bicycle” that has a small motor and pedals. The sphere with the seat in the middle looks so amazing you’d want it just for that. The company (originating in Amsterdam, I believe) is offering them for under $5,000. I did think about it at least for a few minutes….I wonder if they’d be allowed on City Streets? There were plenty of other exhibits equally eye catching, some quite amazing, including robots that were so lifelike you might not blink if you saw them on the street. So I kept wandering through the exhibits, but I had unfortunately chosen the first morning of the show, and literally hundreds, maybe thousands of school children were there as well. They were well behaved for the most part, but they overwhelmed every exhibit, crowding out the adults, and making a lot of noise and pushing and shoving a great deal. I can see why children would be the perfect audience for this show even though most of it was fascinating to adults. I am assuming that knowing real people created these wonderful things will inspire them to try harder in school so that they too, some time in the not too distant future, will be the ones showing off what they have created to help make the world a better place. But after trying to hip check my way through flocks of kids for a few hours, I’d pretty much had it.
I will definitely go next year…it’s cool, it’s informative, it’s worth going even if you aren’t much into science.