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PopTech 2010: We're Not In Maine Anymore...

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Like the great Buckminster Fuller quote ''you only know what it is when you know what it isn't"--you only truly appreciate the ramifications of a unique event like PopTech once it's over. For me it's about the combinatorial effect: all those radiant brains and remarkable people gathered together, knee to knee in cozy landmark theater, in one tiny, polymorphously charming place. Stir in some lovely foliage, a little locally sourced clam chowder, and you've got one very special experience.

See PopTech.org for the full range of speakers, but in the interest of brevity, my fave this year had to be the pungent marriage historian Stephanie Coontz, author of "The Way We Never Were" and "How Love Conquered Marriage." In an era when many are demagoguing marriage as a ancient tradition in peril, Coontz points out that the institution as we know it today, a beacon to the power of love, is a relatively young construct. Marriage used to be about.. securing better in-laws. It wasn't long ago that many feared that a romantic definition of marriage would allow poor people to couple! Think about that before you say "I do," no matter to whom you're saying it. Again, knowing what something isn't -- whether it's marriage or a banner ad -- is the first step to better understanding what it is...