Baa Camp 2009

Baa Camp 2009 by Adam Shand

I was lucky enough to be invited again to the yearly Baa Camp / KiwiFoo Unconference. It's funny, each year I wonder if I should go, and each year I come back thinking it was the best conference I've been to in ages. Major thanks to Nat and Jenine for getting it done, and to everybody else for showing up and making it a worthwhile event.

This year had a different feel to it then previous years, it's not that the crowd was less technical but the weekend had a less technical focus. My guess is that this was in large part due to peoples preoccupation with the effect the financial crisis is going to have on little old New Zealand and with the awful copyright changes which take effect on February 28th.

The copyright changes have been well covered in this blog and elsewhere on the net. The only thing still worth saying is to please come along to the demonstration tomorrow. That's Thursday the 18th of February, beginning at the steps of Parliament.

The discussion around the financial crises was heated, with a lot of differing opinions. There was even an organised debate Saturday night with three people on each side and a topic of "Is New Zealand Fucked?" Though there were worthy efforts all around, in my opinion the show was stolen by Rod Oram. His reading of James K. Baxter as rebuttal was genius.

I think that there were actually two discussions going on and that they got mixed up in the process of the debate. The first question was actually "is everybody fucked?" The second question was, "if we're all fucked, is New Zealand going to be more or less fucked than everybody else?" I got the feeling that the "we're fucked" people were talking about the first question and the "we're not fucked" people the second. Regardless, my resounding impression after it was all done was pride at the amount of hope and courage that was shown by the majority of the people present. Amazing.

I've been passed a couple of links (apologies, I can't remember names!) about the crisis. The Conde Nast Portfolio has a great description of how we ended up here. Stuff has a great article by Rod Oram with a bit of a New Zealand focus. Finally, a friend just passed me a fascinating piece of pure pessimism from a Long Now Foundation talk by Dmitri Orlov. Dimitri grew up between Russia and the United States and draws comparisons between the collapse he witnessed in Russia and what he sees as the "collapse in progress" of the United States.

There's a lot more to say, but it will have to wait, thanks everybody for a great weekend!

commentary posted on 23 Feb 2009 in #nerding, #travelling & #working

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