A nice place to be this week, starting two days ago and running through July 5, is the Aspen Ideas Festival. A large and diverse group of big thinkers from academia, business, law, science, government, nonprofits, the arts, architecture, media and more have converged in Colorado for what looks to be a highly stimulating event. Since most of us can’t be there, the next best thing is following it online at the festival’s website and on the blogs from Atlantic Online. The Atlantic is a co-sponsor of the event, along with the Aspen Institute. Just a handful of the more recognized names from the 200 speakers and moderators: Madeleine Albright, James A. Baker III, Stephen Breyer, David Brooks, Marian Wright Edelman, Thomas L. Friedman, Howard Gardner, Frank Gehry, Alan Greenspan, Sandra Day O’Connor, Tim O’Reilly, Susan Rice, Charlie Rose and Eric Schmidt. You can see the entire list of the speakers and moderators, with photos and thumbnail descriptions, on the festival site. The Aspen Daily News has an interesting piece reflecting on the first day of the festival, and looking to possible highlights from the upcoming speakers. You can view videos from the festival on the Audio Video Library portion of the festival site. One of the several that are available now is Google Looks at the Economy: In Conversation With Eric Schmidt, in which Google’s Chairman of the Board and CEO is interviewed by Kai Ryssdal, host of “Marketplace,” on American Public Media. We are fortunate to live in an age where we can have a virtual experience of these major events (including music and literary festivals, and to some extent, professional conferences) that we can’t attend in person.

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