Aaron Swartz has a couple of recent posts on good and bad lecturers. Among the good, Edward Tufte, Scott McCloud and Lawrence Lessig. As I commented there, I’ve not seen Tufte, McCloud or Lessig in the flesh, although I have read them.
But the lecturer who really blew me away was Leroy Hood. This was before the days of presentation software and projectors tied to computers. He used two Kodak Carousel machines, a remote in each hand, and gave a simply spell-binding explanation of how and why we could, if we wanted to, sequence the human genome. (It was that long ago.)
The thing that totally amazed me was not his lack of notes; that part is easy. It was that he was not simply alternating projectors. There would be a little run on one, then the other, then back. I have no idea how he kept track, and he never faltered once. Of course, he may be aware that he’d made a mistake, but I certainly wasn’t.
Webmentions allow conversations across the web, based on a web standard. They are a powerful building block for the decentralized social web.