Blogs & Comment

Talking Sex, Bombs and Burgers

Just a quick heads up today about a couple of conferences I’ll be speaking at in the next little while. The first is the ORION summit, which takes place in Toronto on April 18 and 19, while the other is the Mesh conference, also in Toronto on May 25 and 26.

If you’re not familiar with it, ORION is Ontario’s Research and Innovation Optical Network, or in layman’s terms, the advanced internet network that universities and other researchers use for their work. I’ll be opening the summit with the keynote speech and I’ve been asked to talk about how the themes of my book – namely war, pornography and fast food – figure into innovation.

Just as with my speech at Google’s Waterloo offices a year ago, I’m a bit nervous about this one because I’ll be talking to people who are infinitely smarter than I am, given that most of them will be scientists and academic types. Still, if you’re a teacher, IT professional or scientist, you should consider checking this conference out, and not because I’m speaking. There are going to be a lot of great speakers and panels during the event, if the program is anything to go by.

Mesh, meanwhile, is equally cool – I’ve been before as an attendee, but never as a speaker. It’s a conference that deals with all things online, divided into four categories: media, society, business and marketing. I’ll be involved in a panel discussion on how porn is changing the internet and vice-versa, and how that’s redefining sexuality. What’s even cooler are my co-panelists – Allison Vivas, president of porn company Pink Visual, and Patchen Barss, author of The Erotic Engine. Notwithstanding their actual product, I’ve become a fan of the people who run Pink Visual; they’re just generally cool, tech nerds with great senses of humour who also just happen to sell porn. As such, they’re one of the more progressive adult companies out there. Patchen, meanwhile, is my arch-nemesis since he has a competing book out that also deals with porn and technology. Just kidding – we’re actually sort of friends and I highly recommend his book.

Needless to say, I’m really looking forward to that discussion – it’s going to be good. I’ll post further details when the Mesh organizers make them available.

Peter Nowak is an award-winning journalist and author of the best-selling book Sex, Bombs and Burgers. He has been a staff writer for the CBC, National Post and New Zealand Herald, while his work has appeared in the Boston Globe, South China Morning Post, Sydney Morning Herald and the Globe and Mail, among others. His personal blog can be found at