Cory Efram Doctorow is a Canadian-British blogger, journalist, and science fiction author who serves as co-editor of the weblog Boing Boing. He is an activist in favour of liberalising copyright laws and a proponent of the Creative Commons organization, using some of their licences for his books. Some common themes of his work include digital rights management, file sharing, and “post-scarcity” economics. Doctorow began selling fiction when he was 17 years old and sold several stories followed by publication of his story “Craphound” during 1998. Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, Doctorow’s first novel, was published during January 2003, and was the first novel released under one of the Creative Commons licences, allowing readers to circulate the electronic edition as long as they neither made money from it nor used it to create derived works. The electronic edition was released simultaneously with the print edition. During March 2003, it was re-released with a different Creative Commons licence that allowed derivative works such as fan fiction, but still prohibited commercial usage. It was nominated for a Nebula Award, and won the Locus Award for Best First Novel during 2004. A semi-sequel short story named Truncat was published on Salon.com in August 2003. Doctorow’s other novels have been released with Creative Commons licences that allow derived works and prohibit commercial usage, and he has used the model of making digital versions available, without charge, at the same time that print versions are published.
Jeff Jarvis is an American journalist. He is the former television critic for TV Guide and People magazine, creator of Entertainment Weekly, Sunday editor and associate publisher of the New York Daily News, and a columnist on the San Francisco Examiner. He is a co-host on This Week in Google along with Leo Laporte and Gina Trapani, a show on the TWiT Network which covers cloud computing and social networking. In 2009, Jarvis wrote a book called, “What Would Google Do?” In the book, he discusses how companies can become successful like Google, and talks about how Google, and other top websites, such as Facebook, Craigslist, Wikipedia, and Digg, have changed the business model. He gives advice on how companies can copy Google’s success, and how other successful companies have already done so, such a Dell and Apple.
Gertrude Margaret Lowthian Bell was an English writer, traveller, political officer, administrator, and archaeologist who explored, mapped, and became highly influential to British imperial policy-making due to her extensive travels in Greater Syria, Mesopotamia, Asia Minor, and Arabia. Along with T. E. Lawrence, Bell helped establish the Hashemite dynasties in what is today Jordan as well as in Iraq. She played a major role in establishing and helping administer the modern state of Iraq, utilizing her unique perspective from her travels and relations with tribal leaders throughout the Middle East. During her lifetime she was highly esteemed and trusted by British officials and given an immense amount of power for a woman at the time. She has also been described as “one of the few representatives of His Majesty’s Government remembered by the Arabs with anything resembling affection”.
Cameron Bruce Crowe is an American film director, producer, and screenwriter. Before moving into the film industry, Crowe was a contributing editor at Rolling Stone magazine, for which he still frequently writes. Crowe has made his mark with character-driven, personal films that have been generally hailed as refreshingly original and devoid of cynicism. Michael Walker in The New York Times called Crowe “something of a cinematic spokesman for the post-baby boom generation” because his first few films focused on that specific age group, first as high schoolers and then as young adults making their way in the world. Crowe’s debut screenwriting effort, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, grew out of a book he wrote while posing for one year undercover as a student at Clairemont High School in San Diego, California, where he met Geraldine Edwards, who was a student there while he was visiting mutual friends in 1975. He later based part of his Penny Lane character on her in Almost Famous after discovering that she had been going backstage to Rock and Roll concerts. Later, he wrote and directed one more high school saga, Say Anything, and then Singles, a story of Seattle twentysomethings that was woven together by a soundtrack centering on that city’s burgeoning grunge music scene. Crowe landed his biggest hit, though, with Jerry Maguire. After this, he was given a green light to go ahead with a pet project, the autobiographical effort Almost Famous. Centering on a teenage music journalist on tour with an up-and-coming band, it gave insight to his life as a 15-year-old writer for Rolling Stone. Part of the dialogue was inspired by comments that were made by Bebe Buell in certain interviews. Also in late 1999, Crowe released his second book, Conversations with Billy Wilder, a question and answer session with the legendary director.
Robert Anson Heinlein was an American science fiction writer. Often called “the dean of science fiction writers”, he was one of the most influential and controversial authors of the genre. He set a high standard for science and engineering plausibility and helped to raise the genre’s standards of literary quality. He was one of the first writers to break into mainstream, general magazines such as The Saturday Evening Post, in the late 1940s, with unvarnished science fiction. He was among the first authors of bestselling, novel-length science fiction in the modern, mass-market era. For many years, Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, and Arthur C. Clarke were known as the “Big Three” of science fiction. Heinlein was a notable writer of science-fiction short stories, and he was one of a group of writers who were groomed in their writing by John W. Campbell, Jr. the editor of Astounding magazine—though Heinlein himself denied that Campbell influenced his writing to any great degree. Within the framework of his science fiction stories, Heinlein repeatedly integrated recognizable social themes: The importance of individual liberty and self-reliance, the obligation individuals owe to their societies, the influence of organized religion on culture and government, and the tendency of society to repress non-conformist thought. He also examined the relationship between physical and emotional love, explored various unorthodox family structures, and speculated on the influence of space travel on human cultural practices. His iconoclastic approach to these themes led to wildly divergent perceptions of his works and attempts to place mutually contradictory labels on his work. His 1961 novel Stranger in a Strange Land put him in the unexpected role of a pied piper of the sexual revolution, and of the counterculture, and through this book he was credited[who?] with popularizing the notion of polyamory. Heinlein won Hugo Awards for four of his novels; in addition, fifty years after publication, three of his works were awarded “Retro Hugos”—awards given retrospectively for years in which Hugo Awards had not been awarded. He also won the first Grand Master Award given by the Science Fiction Writers of America for his lifetime achievement. In his fiction, Heinlein coined words that have become part of the English language, including “grok” and “waldo”, and popularized the term “TANSTAAFL”.
Brian Edmund Posehn is an American actor, voice actor, musician, writer, and comedian, known for his roles as Jim Kuback on The WB’s Mission Hill and Brian Spukowski on Comedy Central’s The Sarah Silverman Program. In 2006, Posehn released his debut comedy album Live In: Nerd Rage. Posehn participated in the Comedy Lineup of the 2008 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, which included Louis C.K., Janeane Garofalo and Zach Galifianakis. Posehn performed as part of the Rock N’ Roll Comedy set with Jim Norton and Michelle Buteau. During his 2008 routine on Comedy Central Presents he referred to his Wikipedia article, which he supposedly vandalized. In 2010, Posehn released his second album Fart and Wiener Jokes. In 2011, Posehn agreed to perform at the Gathering of the Juggalos. Some of his fans criticized this decision as being “not metal”. Posehn countered that “getting a paycheck is metal”, and expressed respect towards the Juggalo fan culture, as well as the independent music success of Insane Clown Posse and Psychopathic Records.
Ernst Walter Mayr was one of the 20th century’s leading evolutionary biologists. He was also a renowned taxonomist, tropical explorer, ornithologist, historian of science, and naturalist. His work contributed to the conceptual revolution that led to the modern evolutionary synthesis of Mendelian genetics, systematics, and Darwinian evolution, and to the development of the biological species concept. Neither Charles Darwin nor anyone else in his time knew the answer to the species problem: how multiple species could evolve from a single common ancestor. Ernst Mayr approached the problem with a new definition for the concept of species. In his book Systematics and the Origin of Species (1942) he wrote that a species is not just a group of morphologically similar individuals, but a group that can breed only among themselves, excluding all others. When populations within a species become isolated by geography, feeding strategy, mate selection, or other means, they may start to differ from other populations through genetic drift and natural selection, and over time may evolve into new species. The most significant and rapid genetic reorganization occurs in extremely small populations that have been isolated (as on islands). His theory of peripatric speciation (a more precise form of allopatric speciation which he advanced), based on his work on birds, is still considered a leading mode of speciation, and was the theoretical underpinning for the theory of punctuated equilibrium, proposed by Niles Eldredge and Stephen Jay Gould. Mayr is sometimes credited with inventing modern philosophy of biology, particularly the part related to evolutionary biology, which he distinguished from physics due to its introduction of (natural) history into science.