Long Conversation, an epic relay of one-to-one conversations among some of the Bay Area's most interesting minds, took place over six hours in San Francisco on Saturday, October 16, 02010. Interpreting the Long Conversation in real time was a data visualization performance by Sosolimited; an art and technology studio out of M.I.T.
Long Conversation was presented with a live performance of 1,000 minutes of composer Jem Finer's Longplayer.
Emily Levine: humorist, speaker, radio commentator, Harvard grad, Emily began her career with an improvisational comedy group called “The New York City Stickball Team.” She went on to co-write and perform a series of Emmy-winning commercial satire segments for WNET's “Fifty-First State.” Using the unique combination of humor and real information that was fast becoming her trademark, Levine provided consumer information as a weekly feature of WNBC’s News Center 4 (in New York City).
Though her real ambition was to be an oracle, Levine settled for a career as a stand-up comedian, headlining in comedy clubs and making television appearances on shows such as David Letterman's Late Night. The LA Times called her “a stand-out as a stand-up.” Newsweek called her “one of the new queens of comedy.” Her mother called her every week. As a television writer and producer, Emily worked on shows such as Designing Women, Love and War and Dangerous Minds. She created and produced pilots for new situation comedies for CBS, NBC, ABC and HBO. Norman Lear has said: “Go see Emily Levine at the risk of blowing your mind, splitting your sides, and exiting a better person.”
Astronomer Jill Tarter is Director of the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute's Center for SETI Research, and also holder of the Bernard M. Oliver Chair for SETI. She has devoted her career to hunting for signs of sentient beings elsewhere, and almost all aspects of this field have been affected by her work.
Tarter led for Project Phoenix, a decade-long SETI scrutiny of about 750 nearby star systems, using telescopes in Australia, West Virginia and Puerto Rico. While no clearly extraterrestrial signal was found, this project was the most comprehensive targeted search for artificially generated cosmic signals ever undertaken. Tarter currently serves on the management board for the Allen Telescope Array, a massive new instrument that will eventually comprise 350 antennas, each 6 meters in diameter. This telescope will be able to enormously increase the speed, and the spectral range, of the hunt for signals from other distant technologies by orders of magnitude.
SETI director Jill Tarter stresses the importance of instilling an enthusiasm for the sciences in young students. "Being a scientist is a fantastic privilege," she says. "You never have to stop asking why. You don't ever have to grow up."