Keeping current in wellness, in and out of the water
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If we were having coffee I would tell you about my exciting week attending events at the TenWest Festival. This Tucson startup/tech conference is a tiny infant version of South by Southwest, the festival in Austin that has grown exponentially. The 30 year old Austin festival is the Tucson Gem Show of trendy startup tech parties. I have not attended, but would no longer really want to go just because it is so crowded and popular. Our own home grown business incubator has organized the Tucson festival around our unique qualities.
The keynote I attended was the one about our designation by UNESCO as a city of gastronomy. I knew about it, but was interested in how it came into being and what it would mean for the city in real terms. A well known local chef, an archaeologist, a writer, a tourism PR professional, and the director of the Mission Garden spoke on the subject. We received the designation because a group spearheaded by the archeological interest group proved to UNESCO that Tucson had the oldest agricultural history in the country, documented to be more than 4,000 years in existence. The first application was rejected, but the committee gave some guidance about how to strengthen it in order to be designated. On the second try we got the coveted city of gastronomy designation. It is much more than just a vibrant restaurant scene, as our speakers explained. Food and sustainability are big interests of mine so the presentation fascinated me. I took my neighbor Heidi to that day because she is also a food diva.
Heidi and I attended two workshops before the keynote that pretty well blew our minds. The first on 3 D printing was presented by an architecture professor from U of A and an engineer currently engaged in the field of 3 D printing. We saw examples both on the screen and on the display table of objects created by 3D printers. The capability to produce small individual manufactured products has become not only affordable but incredibly controllable. I was highly enlightened by this class because my previous understanding was zilch.
After a delicious lunch we went to a presentation by Jerzy Rozenblit, PHD, a professor of surgery at the medical school at U of A. He is developing a simulator for surgeons to practice laparoscopic surgery. This is needed because it takes time and practice to become proficient in this art. Currently this practice takes place on live humans. The obvious benefit of more training before reaching into a living person became clear when we saw examples of the training data. The students “under the hood” have to learn to smooth out their movements while maneuvering two long instruments to do an operation. The tracking device on the simulator shows how erratic and out of control the student can be on initial attempts. Over time (an estimated 300 hours is needed to become really good at this) the sensor shows the device going smoothly and directly to the target organ in the body. This work will definitely save some lives.
I took two very well presented workshops on podcasting. We learned both about the popularity and effectiveness of the trend, but the specifics of getting started. Our teachers were working professionals in the field of marketing and audio engineering. The sessions were jam packed with information, and like all the presenters they invited the audience to visit them in person or on line to stay in touch. They could not have been more cordial. The fellow participants I met were equally charming and insightful. I feel sure this even will grow. I am pleased I went to see what they are doing this year. I am proud of my city’s efforts to stay on the cutting edge of technology, art and community. The major funding comes from Cox Business, which deserves a lot of credit for serving our local businesses so well. They gave away $50,000 in a shark tank style contest as well as funding much of the activity during the festival. I am their customer, so i like seeing some of the profit be plowed directly back into innovation in Tucson.
Tomorrow is Cyclovia, a super fun bicycle event taking place close to my home. I don’t always go on my bike, but this time it starts at my beloved Tucson Botanical Garden, where all participants will be invited to see the Frida Kahlo exhibit gratis. I am a local first kind of person. I like to support my local merchants and non profits because my own quality of life depends on it. I have been very uplifted by my city this week, as I will be tomorrow biking around in summer weather with my fellow Tucsonans. We live in a fabulous city with diverse cultural and commercial interests.
I am serving both coffee and tea this weekend. Please help yourself. I am drinking medium roast coffee right now to jump start this day. There is a lavish buffet of finger sandwiches, potato salad, raw vegetables, the pickles I made last week, stuffed peppers, and vegetable stew. I picked up another 60 pounds of produce again today and can use your help in eating it all. I am starting my first fermented pickles later from the beautiful pickling cucumbers I just scored. I have fermented lots of foods, but never tried pickles. Wish me luck with this chemistry experiment. You will be able to taste them some weekend soon. I am going to focus on heavy garlic and dill flavors.
What has been happening in your part of the world, gentle reader? If you want to share, or read personal tales from writers visit our group here, at Diana’s weekend international coffee share. Pour yourself a cup, fill your plate, and stay a while. Tell us what is on your mind.