Michael Stewart: Fuel Tax, the Future, and Oh Yeah . . . Holograms!

The current highway system is largely funded by fuel tax, a tax collected on the sale of gasoline on a per-gallon basis.  The fuel tax had its place, but it’s quickly becoming obsolete.

Gasoline powered vehicles are becoming more efficient, and hybrid powered vehicles are becoming more widespread.  The auto industry is also seeing an emerging market of vehicles powered entirely without gasoline, such as all-electric powered vehicles and compressed natural gas powered vehicles.  The combination of all of the above is creating a growing hole in the tax revenue collected for roads, as fewer gallons of gasoline are being purchased.

This is currently a minor problem, and luckily it can be fixed before it gets out of hand, but it requires a proactive approach.  Americans have always had a clear vision of the future and the fortitude to make that vision a reality, from John F. Kennedy’s challenge to reach the moon, to Steve Jobs’ and Bill Gates’ race to put a personal computer in the American home.  This nation has made history by looking to the future, and it will continue to do so in the 21st Century with further advancement of an array of technology such as weaning off of fossil fuels; building electronic data infrastructure that provides infinite storage & transfer speed; and oh yeah, Holograms!

The fuel tax is a real problem with a real solution.  Fixing it will require leaders to look to the future, like Americans always have and always will.  In the process, maybe those visionaries will find something more inside of each of them that will change the World.

Sarah Smarsh: Why Most News Stories Aren’t True Stories

Sick of the news? Sick about the news? Maybe it’s not the content that’s exhausting or depressing but the way it’s conveyed. Journalist Sarah Smarsh reveals the missing element in your fast-flowing information stream, the nature of true story, and a new media landscape that will transform your relationship to the world.

Jarrod Guth: Improvisation and Opportunities: The Quick Thinking Performer

I will plan on talking about not being scared to take the next step as a performer and that some shows are best when they are not planned. My performances are 80% improvised on stage. I will talk about making sure you have the right tools to improvise when on stage in order to avoid being scared to perform from not having enough material.

Drew Blas: The Rebirth of Board Games and the New Social Revolution

Technology has powered a whole new paradigm of virtual “social” interaction and Facebook and its ilk are common household names that pervade our culture. But at dinner tables, coffee houses, and bars all across the world, a completely different social revolution is taking place: Board gaming.

These are not your parlor table staples, like Candy Land or Monopoly. Instead, find out what mechanisms the genre has discovered that capture our hearts and minds. Deception, cooperation, and quick-thinking are all skills that are rewarded in various ways.

Learn how this industry has revitalized itself with new titles that have broad appeal for both the young and old.  Finally, see how they’re helping to bring us closer together by closing the generation gap and making face-to-face entertainment cool again.

Phillip “Brail” Watson: Giving Back

The idea of this presentation would be to illuminate the mystery of why crime is so prevalent in our city, and give people an idea of what they can do to stop it. Speaking from the point of view of the “hood” I hope to bring an often unheard voice, and perspective to the idea of giving back to one’s community, and what that REALLY means.

Brendan Wiley: Consider Saying Yes

That’s not our policy.  We have always done it this way.  We have all heard these road blocks.  We have all heard conversations ended.  What if no’s became yes’s.  What if road blocks became opportunities.  What if we considered saying yes?