While I'm readjusting to my own time zone (just in time for the start of spring semester -- whee!), I thought I'd share some pictures from the Science Blogging Conference. Here, for example, is intrepid conference organizer Bora Zivkovic. He could have sat back and just enjoyed his pre-conference dinner, but instead he stayed busy taking pictures and circulating to greet the conference-goers and find out what was going on with them. Actually, in real life Bora seems a bit more laid-back than he does on his blog. Still, compared to my typical energy level? He could be a hummingbird.
Another dinner, another opportunity for Zuska and Bill to try to sort out the ways the culture of science could be transformed for the better. It was a thrill to spend time with two people who have given the issue as much thought as they have. Also, they're both tremendously fun to hang out with.
Someone who is thinking specifically about how to improve conditions for the government scientist is Rep. Brad Miller from North Carolina's 13th district ("The fighting 13th!"). Yes, the Congressman joined us for dinner and nibbled on my hush puppies while he waited for his order to arrive. He spoke eloquently about his own concerns for the scientific climate under the Bush administration, but he also spent a good deal of time listening to us. (Yes, he really was listening -- it was clear from his follow-up questions to us that he was engaged in what we were saying.)
I also had the pleasure of meeting some more Boyz from the Thumb -- the Panda's Thumb, that is. Pictured here are Reed Cartwight and Burt Humburg with my old pal Prof. Steve Steve. Did you know that, at the very mention of Panda's Thumb, they throw a simultaneous salute? Burt and I had an interesting conversation about the ethical dimensions of information and uncertainty (especially in medical contexts) before they swept out to the dinner for which they were official signed up.
And, I finally got to meet fellow former Bergen County resident Abel Pharmboy. Among other things, we discussed the challenges of parenting in a world that is not yet in the kind of shape we'd like to see it in for our kids. There is progress, but boy is it slow sometimes!
The problem with big groups at dinner is that you end up missing out on conversations that are happening in the parts far from your seat. Here, for example, I can tell that Christina Pikas is making some important point to Adnaan Wasey, but I couldn't make out what it was. (Was it a LIS rant? Will someone from that end of the table blog the salient details?)
Luckily, we were able to reshuffle nearest neighbors when a bunch of us went to the excellent 3Cups cafe after dinner. There, I caught up with Lab Cat (and asked the predictable, Top Chef-motivated, question of what her opinion was of molecular gastronomy) and Elf Eye. Cool fact about Elf Eye -- she's an English Lit person by profession and science is her avocation. We need a world where science is the most natural avocation for folks in humanistic and artistic fields!
Fellow coffee-house carousers included Rob Knop and Eva Amsen, each of whom is more fun than words can properly express. The lot of us had a fine rollicking discussion about student life in its various guises. We drank really good coffee (although some people had tea and others hot chocolate, I think). We probably scared at least one local out of the cozy confines of 3Cups (sorry, dude!). And then Rob made an important discovery.
The wall of the impeccably clean and well-appointed restroom at 3Cups features a map of the world. Rob called our attention to some fine print that seems especially important in a restroom:
After they've drunk lots of coffee, you don't want you patrons looking for "physical relief" someplace other than the restroom!
A most excellent summary of two wonderful evenings! How do you do it? I'm still trying to figure out what the heck I think I want to say...and I don't even have sprogs....Thanks for the pictures!
You're all so adorable, I don't know where to look first.
Well, look at the first picture first, i.e., me, me, me!
Great pictures! I really had fun on Friday and Saturday with everyone. I wish there was more time to talk longer with everyone. We'll have to come up with these meetings more often!
I *must* have been on quite a rant because I didn't even know you took a picture! These are great. Sorry I missed out on the coffee house.
You, too, are more fun than words can properly express!
Look, I used the spinach dip in a food-themed write up of the conference over here: http://www.inklingmagazine.com/articles/science-cocktail-party-and-the-…