Evan Williams is an American entrepreneur who has founded several Internet companies. Two of the internet’s top ten websites have been created by Evan Williams’ companies: Blogger, weblog-authoring software of Pyra Labs, and Twitter, where he was previously CEO. Evan Williams and Meg Hourihan co-founded Pyra Labs to make project management software. A note-taking feature spun off as Blogger, one of the first web applications for creating and managing weblogs. Williams invented the term “blogger” and was instrumental in the popularization of the term “blog”. Pyra survived the departure of Hourihan and other employees, and was eventually acquired by Google on February 13, 2003. In 2003, Williams was named to the MIT Technology Review TR100 as one of the top 100 innovators in the world under the age of 35. In 2004, he was named one of PC Magazine’s “People of the Year”, along with Hourihan and Paul Bausch for their work on Blogger.
Bill Corbett is an American writer and performer for television, film and theatre. He was a writer and performer on the cult television show Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K), for which he voiced the robot Crow T. Robot during the show’s later seasons on the Sci Fi Channel and played the character Observer and other minor roles. In 2001, Corbett co-wrote the Sci Fi Channel miniseries The Adventures of Edward the Less with several other former MST3K writers. Since 2002, Corbett has been a member of The Film Crew, a movie-riffing comedic team comprising former MST3K costars Michael J. Nelson and Kevin Murphy. The Film Crew occasionally hosts segments between movies on the aMC, Starz/Encore and Sundance Channel cable channels in the United States. The Film Crew also maintains an infrequently-updated website (see External Links). Corbett also records audio commentary tracks with Nelson and Murphy for Nelson’s RiffTrax service and contributes regular humor posts to the RiffTrax Blog. In March 2006, it was announced that Eddie Murphy would star in the sci-fi comedy Meet Dave (formerly Starship Dave) from a screen-play by Corbett and Rob Greenberg. Brian Robbins directed the film, which debuted in theaters on July 11, 2008.
Michel Ancel is a French video game designer for Ubisoft. He is best known for creating the Rayman franchise, for which he was the lead designer for the first two games, and the recent Rayman Origins. He is also known for the cult favourite Beyond Good & Evil and for the video game adaptation of Peter Jackson’s King Kong. He is currently working on a sequel to Beyond Good & Evil with a small team of developers, using development tools specially designed to make game development more accessible to a greater audience. Ancel’s first demo, Mechanic Warriors, was developed for software house Lankhor. Ancel then joined Ubisoft as a graphic artist after meeting the game author Nicolas Choukroun in Montpellier at the age of 17. He made the graphics of Nicolas’ games such as The Intruder, Pick’n Pile before doing his first game as both programmer and graphic artist Brain Blaster published by Ubi Soft in 1990. In 1992, he began to work on Rayman, his directorial debut. It was originally released in 1995 for the Atari Jaguar, and in 1996 for PlayStation and Sega Saturn. Ancel was also heavily involved in the development of Rayman 2: The Great Escape, but had only an advisory role on Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc. Although he praised its development team, he claims he would have “made the game differently”.
Daniel Clement Dennett is an American philosopher, writer and cognitive scientist whose research centers on the philosophy of mind, philosophy of science and philosophy of biology, particularly as those fields relate to evolutionary biology and cognitive science. He is currently the Co-director of the Center for Cognitive Studies, the Austin B. Fletcher Professor of Philosophy, and a University Professor at Tufts University. Dennett is a firm atheist and secularist, a member of the Secular Coalition for America advisory board, as well as an outspoken supporter of the Brights movement. Dennett is referred to as one of the “Four Horsemen of New Atheism,” along with Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and the late Christopher Hitchens. Dennett sees evolution by natural selection as an algorithmic process (though he spells out that algorithms as simple as long division often incorporate a significant degree of randomness). This idea is in conflict with the evolutionary philosophy of paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould, who preferred to stress the “pluralism” of evolution (i.e., its dependence on many crucial factors, of which natural selection is only one).
Sir John Edward Sulston is a British biologist. He is a joint winner of the 2002 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. He is currently Chair of the Institute for Science, Ethics and Innovation (iSEI) at the University of Manchester. Sulston was educated at Merchant Taylors’ School, Northwood and Pembroke College, Cambridge graduating in 1963. He joined the Chemistry Department in Cambridge, gained his PhD degree for research in nucleotide chemistry and devoted his scientific life to biological research, especially in the field of molecular biology. After working as a Postdoctoral researcher at the Salk Institute, USA for a while, he returned to Cambridge to work under Sydney Brenner at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology. Sulston played a central role in both the Caenorhabditis elegans worm and human genome sequencing projects. He had argued successfully for the sequencing of C. elegans to show that large-scale genome sequencing projects were feasible. As sequencing of the worm genome proceeded, the project to sequence the human genome began. At this point he was made director of the newly established Sanger Centre (named after Fred Sanger and now the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute), located in Cambridgeshire, England.
Steve Maury Gibson is a computer enthusiast, software engineer and security researcher who studied Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of California, Berkeley. Gibson lives in Laguna Hills, California. In 1985, Gibson founded Gibson Research Corporation, which is best known for its SpinRite software. An avid sci-fi fan, he has been known to be jokingly referred to as Steve Tiberius Gibson, an obvious poke at Star Trek’s most famous captain of the Enterprise, James T(iberius) Kirk. Gibson Research Corporation or GRC is a computer software development firm founded in 1985 by Gibson. The company is registered in Laguna Hills, California. GRC has created a number of niche utilities over the years, the foremost of which is SpinRite, a hard disk scanning and data recovery utility. Gibson co-hosts a weekly computer security-focused podcast with Leo Laporte called Security Now!. Gibson has appeared on Leo Laporte’s technology podcast, This Week in Tech. and also used to occasionally appear on The Lab with Leo Laporte on G4techTV Canada. Steve Gibson was a contributing editor to InfoWorld magazine. He reported on the world of hackers and crackers.
Ricky Dene Gervais is an English comedian, actor, director, radio presenter, producer, musician, and writer. Gervais achieved mainstream fame with his television series The Office and the subsequent series Extras, both of which he co-wrote and co-directed with friend and frequent collaborator Stephen Merchant. In addition to writing and directing the shows, Gervais also played the lead roles of David Brent in The Office and Andy Millman in Extras. Gervais has also starred in a number of Hollywood films, assuming leading roles in Ghost Town and The Invention of Lying. He has performed on four sell-out stand-up comedy tours, written the best-selling Flanimals book series and starred with Stephen Merchant and Karl Pilkington in the most downloaded podcast in the world as of March 2009, The Ricky Gervais Show.