The Week in Innovation: July 30-Aug. 5

Pistorius’s prosthetic, Craigslist—innovation stifler?, Lehrer resigns—and what else to expect in the 120 hours ahead.
  • Thisweekininnovation


Oscar Pistorius debuts at the Olympics | Aug. 4 | London South African 400-meter runner Oscar Pistorius will be the first amputee track athlete to compete in an Olympic running event. Van Phillips, the man who invented the sprinter’s prosthetic legs, took concepts from pole vaulting, the spring of a diving board, and the C shape of a Chinese sword. Read more about his invention here.

Phil Kline’s dreamcitynine audio treasure hunt | Through Aug. 2 | New York Composer Phil Kline celebrates the centennial of late American composer and music theorist John Cage with a re-interpretation of his work, Indeterminacy, a collection of one-minute stories. Scattered around the Lincoln Center campus are 60 audio clues and riddles recorded by the likes of Jim Jarmusch and Philip Glass, ready to be unlocked with your smartphone and a free, downloadable audio app.

BlogHer ’12 | Aug. 2-4 | New York BlogHer, a community (and company) created for women in social media, hosts its 8th annual conference. Join thousands of female bloggers as they convene in New York to discuss book promotion, search-engine optimization, and how to navigate the tricky intersection of life, business, and politics.


Does Craigslist stifle disruptive innovation? Craigslist’s lawsuit against apartment listings site PadMapper—for mass-harvesting Craigslist data—has sparked a debate in the startup community about the role of online networks. Should companies like Craigslist behave as platforms, allowing newer startups to build upon them? Or should they behave like private companies, protecting their data and refusing collaboration? Read both sides of the story on The New York Times’s Bits blog and TechCrunch.

Jonah Lehrer resigns from The New Yorker Journalist/author Jonah Lehrer resigned from the New Yorker after it was revealed that he had fabricated quotes from Bob Dylan in his popular book, Imagine. Lehrer was a regular on the innovation circuit, making keynote speeches at Pop! Tech, the Aspen Ideas Festival, and the 99% Conference; his stories—which combined sentimental anecdotes, highly polished storytelling, and hard science—were representative of a form of idea packaging that has become popular at ideas conferences and has been criticized by some for emphasizing style over substance.

Twitter's #NBCFail Journalist Guy Adams of The Independent was suspended from Twitter after criticizing NBC’s Olympics coverage and tweeting the work email address of NBC Olympics President Gary Zenkel. While Twitter claimed the tweet breached its guidelines, the social network was condemned for protecting the image of its corporate partner in covering the Olympics. As Jeff Sonderman of points out, Twitter failed to censure similar indiscretions in the past (Spike Lee tweeted what he believed to be the home address of George Zimmerman, Justin Bieber tweeted the phone number of a Detroit teenager). While Twitter has since reinstated Adams’s account, many fear that the company has abandoned its founding principle of freedom of speech.

FROM the greenhouse