ScienceOnline 2011 Debrief Part 2: Swag, Science comedy and #ihuggedbora

Jan 23 2011 Published by under scio11, so'11

A few days ago I posted some thoughts on the programming of the recent ScienceOnline 2011 conference. In this post I like to do some quick takes on some of the more pleasurable aspects of the conference.

Some random observations:

  • Amazing organization. What more can be said about Bora Zivkovic and Anton Zuiker and all the rest of the great people they've attracted to the ScienceOnline cause? Not much. They all did an amazing job. Bravo! And yes, #ihuggedbora!
  • My Librarian Superpower. The highlight of the Book Fair on Friday night was getting to pick one of the wrapped books from one of the tables. Of all the amazing books from all the amazing authors present at the conference, the one I'd sort of identified as the one I really wanted to try and get was Scott Huler's On the Grid. I'd seen it in the bookstores and I sort of had an idea of the size and shape. So, faced with a pile of wrapped books I had to try and pick that one out. And guess what? I did it! (And think about it -- someone wrapped 200+ books in brown paper for the event. Wow.)
  • Local Beer. Unlike the hotel from past years which only stocked commodity beers, the bar at the Marriott this year, as well as the venue for the Happy Hour Book Fair and the restaurant I ate at on Friday all had a good selection of local beers. Most of which I enjoyed so much I can no longer remember their names.
  • Friendliness. The great atmosphere of ScienceOnline can't be overstated. The conversations at the social events, at the lunches and in the halls between sessions are one of the highlights. And there's no real "pecking order" at the event. Pretty well anyone feels comfortable talking to anyone else. My older son, Sam, 17, has been coming with me to the conference for the last three years and he feels really welcome and accepted at the conference even though he's "just" a high school student.
  • OMG Swag, or Free Books FTW!. Here's a nice pic of all the stuff in the swag bag. There were also piles of free tshirts, pens, magazines and even a few books to be had. By various means, my son and I ended up taking home 5 or 6 books between us.
  • Up in a Tree. At the Saturday evening banquet Margaret Lowman gave a talk that was both hysterically funny and incredibly inspirational about her work on treetop ecosystems.
  • Science Comedy. Science Comedian Brian Malow also performed Saturday evening and he was just plain hilarious. Check out his stuff and YouTube and be prepared to laugh.
  • The Twitter Firehose. A week after the conference ended and there's still a fair bit of chatter on Twitter. It was simply amazing the comment and interaction online both during and after the conference.
  • The Canadian Invasion. Wow, there were a lot of Canadians at the conference, fourteen of them according to the stats. I won't try and name them all because I'm sure I'll miss a few but it was fantastic to see so many.

Coming up, Part 3 on #scio12!

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