I'm sitting in the Faraday Theatre at the Royal Institution right now, at the Nature Network's Science Blogging 2008 conference. There are about 100 people in the room, 90% of whom I don't recognize at all. 90% of the people I do recognize are people I've met for the first time somewhere in the last two days. There's a list of the attendees and their blogs on the conference website. I'm ashamed to admit that I haven't had the chance to read all of those blogs yet.
At the same time, it's also great (in a way) that I don't know who most of the people are or where they blog. If nothing else, it shows just how large the science blogging community has become. It's going to be interesting to see what comes out of our interaction and conversations.
As the day goes by, I'm going to try to update this post with bits about who is saying what at the conference. There's good, free wifi here, so I'll go on at least until the battery runs out. At that point, with 100 bloggers in the room, there may be a Darwinian struggle to see who gets a power outlet.
The updates will be below the fold.
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The Democratic nominee for President is giving one hell of a kick ass speech at the moment. I really hope this is the Obama we see for the rest of the campaign.
Only now, as I sit here in my hotel room eating a cheddar and roasted tomato sandwich, with a packet of Worcester Sauce crisps on the side, is the fact that I'm in London starting to sink in.
In a few minutes, I'm going downstairs to meet up with Mo, and we're going to stroll over to the Jeremy Bentham, which is the first stop on a tour of scientifically-connected pubs that the Nature Network's Matt Brown has arranged. I'm bringing my camera, and I'll try to remember to let the autofocus take over from me as the evening progresses.
Congrats to John Lynch for quickly coming up with the correct answer to the previous picture quiz. The man in the statue is Richard Owen; the statue sits inside the Natural History Museum in London. Since that quiz was taken care of so quickly (and I'm going through pictures anyway), let's try another one.
This is a picture I took this morning. What's wrong (or at least atypical) about this shot?
Just the statue of some dude.
I went birding again this morning. There's a nice, peaceful nature trail on base that's usually deserted if you're there before 7:30. The trail runs near the shoreline, and there's enough beach access to make it easy to watch the various shorebirds.
Anyway, I've been slowly wandering around on the trail and on the beach for a while when my morning coffee finally starts to catch up to me. I casually stroll over to a secluded clump of dense bushes, and start to take care of things.
No sooner have I begun than there's this massive rustling noise, as an extremely irritated - and wet - rabbit erupts from the foliage. Scared the living daylights out of me.
...and all the whos down in whoville,
the tall and the small...
If you're going to read anything today, you should read Amy Harmon's article on teaching evolution in Florida. I haven't taught high school, but I've had similar experiences teaching evolution in an introductory level college course.
Evolution shouldn't be this hard a subject to teach, but it is. It could be worse, of course. Keeping it from getting worse is the reason we spend so much time trying to deal with the narrow-minded bigots who fight so hard to keep our children in the dark.
I've only recently started birding with any sort of regularity or enthusiasm, and I'm not all that good at it yet. I snapped a couple of pictures of a bird in flight the other day, and I've been trying to figure out what species it is ever since. Despite my lack of expertise, I think I've got it narrowed down to two possibilities. Of course, it's also possible - again given my lack of expertise - that I've managed to totally miss even the family identification.
With that in mind, I'm turning to all of you for help. I've got two pictures, both taken through a 300mm telephoto lens. One of the two pictures is decent; the other is out of focus. I'm going to post the two pictures below the fold, and then I'll run through my thinking as I try to id the bird. I'd really love to get feedback from the rest of you on how well I've done.
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I know I'm far from the first to go off on this commercial, but...
No, vehix.com commercial lady, you cannot go online and "literally take a test drive". It doesn't work that way. The tubes that connect your computer to the interwebs aren't big enough. The wheels get stuck every damn time. So stop saying that. Or at least learn to stop overacting first.
And lose the hat. It makes you look like a moron.