Daily Archives: July 2, 2009

Greg is at Connie

The con, as in this con. The convergence con (known as “connie”) is a science fiction convention, and this is the first time I’ve ever been to one. It is just like such things are depicted in the movies and on TV with one minor exception: On TV and in the movies many of the actors playing Con visitors are dressed as Star Wars characters, and today I saw only one Star Wars character and it was R2D2

But I’m not here for the funny costumes, I’m here for the science.

And, I got to meet some of by blogospheric heros! The Skepchicks are here, and I’m at the conference as their guest (as organized primarily by Carr2d2). The Skepchicks are setting up Skepchickcon at Connie, and today they were rigging up the party room with black lights, astronomical displays, and by coating everything in plastic (just in case). Room 227 at The Con. Each night of the conference there will be different theme, but the same plastic coating.

Tonight’s theme is space. Wear rubber gloves and goggles just in case.

Most of what I’m involved in will happen on Saturday where the Skepchickcon runs as a skeptics “track” addressing evolutionary biology, skeptical blogging, and so on.

I also had a very pleasurable dinner with Bug Girl, who is also a Skepchick and one of my hero bloggers. We ate at a small out of the way French Restaurant near the convention. The service, by the pastry chef herself, Nichole, was excellent, and the food quite well done with reasonable prices considering that it was Le Cuisine Francais, which tends to run a bit higher than yer average joint.

Tomorrow, there is a meet up in the evening that if you are going to Connie you should not miss.

See you at the party! Or, the panel (Atrium 7, Saturday).

Biology Never Was The Same: Mark Borrello

The best of last June

i-68efa548cdb44e33126c5936c96fe3ed-evolution_2008.jpgContinuing with our discussion of the Evolution 2008 conference, I’d like to relate at least the essence, as I saw it, of an excellent talk by Mark Borrello.

I’ve seen Mark speak at least three times including yesterday, and soon after his talk we continued on the topic in a conversation over lunch and beers, so my comments here are less a summary of Mark’s talk at the Evolution 2008 conference than a more general reaction to what I believe to be his main points.

i-283f125a753886df1095ced6cfeaf735-BorrelloMarkbw.jpgEveryone knows that history repeats itself. Or, at least, as per Samuel Clemens, if history does not repeat itself, at least it rhymes. But more importantly, if we engage in research, theoretical or empirical, we often find that similar work was done in the past. And this should lead us to wonder why we are still doing it. And, why we will do it again. And the answer is very simple: There are only a few questions. Very rarely does a new question emerge. And we ask the same questions again and again, with methods that vary (sometimes only a little) and answers that are sometimes novel and sometimes not.

But why would we do that?
Continue reading Biology Never Was The Same: Mark Borrello