Can You “Sex It Up” a Little?

Volume 7, Issue 52; 30 Mar 2004; last modified 08 Oct 2010

I’ll be speaking about semantic web technologies at Berkeley’s Center for Document Engineering on 12 Apr 2004.

Science is like sex: sometimes something useful comes out, but that is not the reason we are doing it.

Richard Feynman

What happened was, Alex Milowski asked me if I’d come and give a guest lecture about RDF at Berkeley’s Center for Document Engineering. I was going to be in the area so I was predisposed to accept. We chatted a bit in IM and I concluded that I could probably reprise some of the material I presented at XML 2003 which meant I could pull together a 45 minute presentation without too much difficulty. I decided to do it.

It’s not like I get asked to speak all that often, so when I do, I almost always accept if the venue fits in my travel schedule. How do you get to be a better public speaker? Practice. How do you get practice? By speaking in public. Natch.

A few days later, Alex asked me to send an abstract of my talk. Dutifully, I banged out a paragraph or so and send it along.

Another couple of days go by and I get a message from Bob GlushkoBob also graciously consented to attribution of the remarks, something I had been unwilling to do without permission as they came in private email. Thanks, Bob., the Center’s Director, suggesting that “it would also help a bit…if you ‘sexed it up’ a little”. Really, it said exactly that. Now, I’ve known Bob for years and I thought it was quite funny, although I can’t claim to have immediately made the intended connection to recent allegations that Tony Blair had “sexed up” intelligence data on Iraq. I fear Bob’s ironic sense of world affairs is keener than mine.

Sex up the abstract? Alex suggested that I paste my head on some super model’s torso. Me? All I could think of was Fat Bastard’s line from one of the Austin Powers movies, “I’m dead sexy!” I may be scarred for life.

With a little help from chat on irc://, I came up with this description. It’s as sexy as I get.

It’s open to the public, so feel free to come and down and heckle if you’re interested. I promise not to model any swimwear.


I don't think anyone took in a single word I said, but this slide went down extremely well:

—Posted by Danny Ayers on 30 Mar 2004 @ 08:38 UTC #

Is there going to be a web version/recorded version for us distant folks....?

—Posted by Christopher Brooks on 30 Mar 2004 @ 10:09 UTC #

I'll post the slides when they're ready, that's probably the best I can offer.

—Posted by Norman Walsh on 30 Mar 2004 @ 11:15 UTC #