Overheard at ideacity: Day Two

This image is no longer available

Photo by Hazel Picco

Here, memorable quotes from the second day of the annual ideacity conference.

If there’s one way to ensure the audience shows up on time for your conference’s 9 a.m. start, it’s naming your first session “Love & Sex” and including talks like “Sex and the Self-Driving Car.”

Over the course of day two of ideacity talk shifted from sexy rides to everything from the Canadian government to the mysteries of icicles. Below are some of the best quotes overheard throughout the day.

Matthew Barber

“If you ever find yourself in a folk song, don’t go down by the river”

The Toronto singer-songwriter brought his “Lovelorn Balladry” to ideacity, offering the above advice before strumming his guitar and serenading the audience into the day two proceedings.

Andrew Clark

“A sports car says I’m fast & a pick up truck says I’ll never outsmart you”

Andrew Clark showed off his comedy chops with one of the day’s most unique talks: “Sex and the Self-Driving Car.” The Globe and Mail’s “Road Sage” columnist kept the crowd laughing while giving statistics about Canadians’ predisposition for sex in cars, as well as explaining the correlation between sex and cars.

“We’ve gone from the car making you loveable to you making love to your car,” he noted before showing clips of highly sexualized car commercials. By the end, Clark offered a bold prediction for the grand scale effect how the arrival of the self-driving car will have on humanity.

“Like how bench seats contributed to the baby boom,” Clark declared, “I predict self-driving cars are going to re-populate this nation at an alarming rate.”

Simon Garfield

“You’ll never find someone’s old love emails in the attic.”

Best-selling author Simon Garfield brought the audience back in time for a look at the lost art of love letters.

“How are we going to tell our history from just texts and tweets?” he lamented. “A handwritten letter has an incredible value, weight of history, it tells you so much more about the letter writer.”

He compared the decline of letter writing to an English summer, “it’s there for a short while and then it disappears.”

“A world without letters would surely be a world without oxygen,” he concluded. “And we’re just about breathing…”

Jim and Jodi Young

“The geek got the cheerleader. I win!” – Jim Young

Jim and Jodi Young’s plaid prom photo helped inspire this year’s ideacity Sweet 16 theme. Now 60 and 59, respectively, and married for almost 40 years, the Minnesota natives offered some advice for maintaining a loving union.

“We keep the communication going, we go with the flow, we have a sense of humour and a lot of trust,” Jodi Young said. Jim then chimed in with one more important point. “I always let her get in the last word.”

Stephen “Dr. Freeze” Morris

“My main motivation is simply that I like the look of (icicles). It’s very much like an artist painting and they like the look of the paint. No one asks them, ‘What’s the application?'”

Not everyone could give an entertaining, 17-minute lecture on icicles, but then again when you’re nicknamed Dr. Freeze chances are you’re just enthusiastic enough to pull it off.

Morris, a professor of physics at the University of Toronto, discussed his study of icicles, the icicle machine he built to study them and even showed off a pair of 3D printed icicles based on ice that melted years ago.

“A lot of people ask the obvious question of, ‘What’s the application of this?’ And the answer to that is basically just aesthetic: we think icicles are a beautiful, natural phenomenon and we don’t understand them. And in effect it helps us to appreciate them, to understand them.”

Conrad Black

“Let me put this swiftly in the brief time envelope that I have here.”

This is Conrad Black’s elegant way of saying, “I’ll be quick.”

Rick Hansen

“Continue to remove barriers that don’t have to be there – to break down those barriers one good move at a time.”

The famed Paralympic athlete and disability advocate came to ideacity to discuss visible and invisible barriers to success. When discussing his accident, and whether he would trade the life he’s had in return for the use of his legs, he said, “It’s not what happens to you. It’s what you do with it that counts.”

Moses Znaimer concluded Hansen’s portion by exclaiming, “I think the word ‘inspiration’ was invented for this guy.”