London’s Royal Institution’s Faraday Hall, the main laecture hall, where I was a speaker at Nature Network’s European Science Blogging Conference 2008 (Notice who is sitting at the podium, facing the audience!).
The image above was taken from the front of the Faraday Lecture Hall at the Royal Institution where I was a speaker in the morning, immediately following the keynpote address which was delivered by Ben Goldacre.
It has been an amazing few days already, so much so that I’ve barely had time to sit down (literally!) and then when I have sat down, it was for interviews with the British MSM (unfortunately, I was not interviewed by BBC, though!). I’ve lost count as to how many times I’ve been interviewed, how many podcasts I was recorded for, and I’ve even been asked to write some articles for several publications. This is in addition to being filmed while presenting the panel with my two co-panelists, Jennifer and Anna, and moderator, Mo. It’s really astonishing to see that “my little blog thing” is so appealing to the media and to the public!
One of the things that the media wanted to talk to me about is how I got here. As you know, I was part of a panel that met first thing yesterday morning, right after the keynote address by Ben Goldacre. After the structured part of that session but before the beginning of the audience question and answer portion, I publically thanked my readers — that’s you! — for your $upport by sending me to this conference, and I told the audience that I felt both grateful and honored by your confidence in me. The audience clapped very very loudly and enthusiastically. And interestingly, this became one of “the buzzes” of the conference itself, which then led to the tremendous number of interviews.
One other thing that also got some people talking were some of the things I said, especially my response to a question from an audience member as to whether we should be educating more scientists. That is a hot-button issue for me anyway, but the passion borne from my life experiences and those experiences of other scientists who write to me came together into an empassioned impromptu statement. It was one of those rare moments where I thought I had actually done justice to both my profession and to myself as an individual and as a human being.
Currently, I am sitting in a McDonald’s in Piccadilly Circus, a block away from the hostel where I am staying, using their free wifi services to get this entry finished and published. This wifi is free, but it is terribly unstable and sometimes even causes my web browser to crash, so writing and publishing to my blog from McD’s can be an enormously frustrating experience.
The McDonald’s staff kicked me out of their basement dining area because they are closing, even though I had just arrived, so now I am sitting in a window sill on the main floor, working on a few blog entries. I also bought a large coffee. Their coffee isn’t bad, but they have a weird notion about coffee in general. Every time I have purchased a cup of coffee, they charge me $3.50 for it and fill it only half full. WTF?? So I have been asking them to fill my cup up to the top with coffee. They then ask if I want cream or sugar, and I always say no, I just want pure, unadulterated coffee. Every time I go through this with them, I end up with a large cup of coffee that is half filled. So tonight, I was adamant that I have a full cup of coffee, and what did I get? A cup of coffee filled to the top, but at least half of it was cream. WTF?? Is there a special cult for adding cream to all hot liquids in England?