As I write this, I'm sitting bouncing up and down in a sardine can high above the Atlantic Ocean. If I'm lucky, this state of affairs will continue for another few hours, and be followed in rapid succession by two repeats of the experience, a car ride home, and re-familiarization with my own bed.
The last week has been absolutely fantastic, and there are quite a few people that I'd like to thank for contributing to the experience.
In no particular order:
Matt Brown for composing and conducting two spectacular tours of London - one that focused on pubs, and a second that took us to quite a few sites that are really, really cool if you're remotely interested in science. I'll have more on both of those later in the week.
Karen James of The Beagle Project for helping to contribute to both the science sites tour and the liver damage I sustained over the course of the week.
Maxine Clarke for giving us the grand tour of Nature, and all of the employees there for putting up with the flock of cats bloggers as we spread chaos quietly meandered through their workspace.
Simon Frantz of the Nobel Foundation for several intoxicateding conversations, one of which apparently included the phrase "we should do this as an unconference session". I'd also like to thank Simon for his role in the frantic last second efforts to come up with any sort of unconference plan putting the finishing touches on the unconference, and for running around the lecture theatre with the microphone facilitating the ensuing discussion. More on the unconference session will also follow shortly.
Matt Brown (again), Corrie Lok, Anna Kushnir, the people at The Royal Institution, and all the folks at Nature Network who put the conference together. They did a huge amount of work, and produced an outstanding conference.
David McOrmish and David Field of English Heritage, as well as their two colleagues whose names I never got, for allowing a random tourist to tag along with them as they toured the archaeological digs around Stonehenge. More on that at some point, too.
Mo Costandi, Grrlscientist, and Bob O'Hara for spending time hanging around and touring things after the conference ended.
Henry Gee for introducing me to the wonderful world of unicycling girrafes, and for helping to remind me that everyone can fit in somewhere - it's just a matter of finding it.
And, of course, my wife and children for their extreme kindness in letting me have the time away from them, and for (presumably) taking me back afterward.
Pre-posting update: The problem with foreign places is that they're all so damn far away. I finished writing this thing hours ago, and I've still got something like another two hours left in this winged tin can. I really hate daytime long-distance flights. Sleeping too much makes the jet lag worse. The movies are boring, the seats are small, the food marginal, and as it turns out I'm actually not very excited about the books that I stuck in the carry-on.
Of course, I hate nighttime long-distance flights, too. The seats have all the sleepability of your typical concrete block. There's always someone who snores, and by the time you nod off it's time to wake up and land. It's very rare that you don't wind up walking around like a zombie for most of the day you arrive.
And, yes, I would like some cheese with that whine. Thanks for asking.