Convox 2014 Costanoa

Convox 2014 took place May 17 & 18, 2014 at Costanoa Lodge, near Pescadero, CA. It was a friendly, relaxed day full of talks by a small group of attendees who were invited to give a 20 minute talk or other sharing experience on the topic of their choice.

Interested in attending Convox 2015 in May? Tickets are on sale now!

Videos and slide decks from the event are embedded below - enjoy!

Practice Doesn't Makes Perfect...Because You're Doing it Wrong - Jesse Bridgewater - Malcolm Gladwell researched and popularized the notion that you need 10,000 hours to master a subject. It is really easy to blow through those 10,000 hours without much greatness to show for it. There are a few really simple things that I do to try to make my hours of practice count. I'll touch on some theory, give some examples, and make some connections between practicing well, quantified-self and multi-armed bandit machine learning. Actually this sounds hard, I better start practicing.
A Dash of Realism - Using Engineering to Unlock New Frontiers in Storytelling - Brett Sikola - Interactive discussion.
Tilings in Math, Art and Science - Bob Culley - My talk will focus on plane tilings, how they have historically connected art and mathematics, and more recently have been connected to chemistry. What did the 2011 Nobel Prize in Chemistry have to do with medieval Islamic mosaic patterns? I will try to fit these pieces together.
Cultivating Equanimity - Chris LuVogt - Being calm and composed in difficult situations is not only an immensely useful life skill, but a learnable one, "in just 15 minutes a day!" In this talk, you'll not only learn about the what, why, and how of equanimity, but also get an interactive lesson on just how easy it is to cultivate it in your daily life.
The Matter of Choice: on the Neuroscience of Free Will - David Noelle - In most cases, when you choose to act, you are responsible for your decision. If the decision is a good one, you deserve praise. If it is reprehensible, you deserve blame. To many, these assertions are foundational for matters of ethics and law. Modern cognitive neuroscience, however, is increasingly uncovering how your choices arise from the structure and function of your brain. Since the structure and function of your brain has been determined by factors beyond your control, ranging from your genetic inheritance to your developmental experiences, it is hard to understand how you can be reasonably held responsible for the choices that emerge. This is the philosophical problem of "free will". When our choices are the result of the physical laws that govern the development and activity of our brains, in what sense can we be said to be in control of our own decisions?
Language Contact and Its Outcomes - Kyle Shiells - Languages have been coexisting and influencing each other since long before history was recorded. What are the situations in which contact can arise, how are the languages and communities changed in the process, and how can we learn about histories of contact from the languages themselves?
Gaining Perspective on Your Perspective - Olga Bergstrom - Have you ever drilled down on your own perspective? Each of us has a view of the world that is as unique as a fingerprint. In this talk, we'll discuss how gaining perspective on your own perspective can help you cultivate relationships with others and the person you are around everyday - you! Pondering your thoughts and influences can lead you to a new normal - that you are special and unique, just like everyone else!
Emotional Intelligence in Education - Noa Mendelevitch - Interactive discussion, not recorded.
Adventures of a Chess Dad - Ofer Mendelevitch - Chess is a fascinating game, and one that is said to have many benefits for kids at an early age. But what are those benefits? In this talk, I will describe my own journey with my son Daniel in the chess circuit and what I've learned about life, chess and everything.
Sticker Shock - What is Life Really Worth? - Pravin Mahajan - Establishing the value of life is a problematic exercise at best. A mystery billionaire recently insured himself at $201million as distinct from his net worth, prompting me to reflect on the monetary value of a life. In this talk, we'll explore various methods used today to put a number to life. But are they correct? In this age of limitless data are we using the right metrics? Are there other ways to measure life, and not just the human one? Should we even try? I'll assemble some findings and my thoughts for a topic that continues to perplex me.