Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Enough w/ the good: here are the top10 problems w/ the #scio10 meeting

Well, the blogosphere has been all atwitter with glowing feedback about the Science Online 2010 meeting (see Bora's collection here). I even wrote some nice things (see "Top 11 things I learned at Science Online (#scio10) " and "And the real mission of #scio10 is fulfilled: kids play with educational freebies". Well I for one have had enough. Thus, even though this meeting was the most exciting meeting I have been to since Science Foo camp, I think we all need to put on our snarky hats and point out some general flaws with the whole #scio10 enterprise. And here are but a sampling of some of the unpleasant things about the meeting.
  1. There were many people at the meeting who, like some sort of celebrity, are known either by just one word or by their first name. Bora. Dr. Kiki. The Skloot. Dr. Isis., etc. (though I note, there was an actual Hollywood actress at the meeting). There were multiple people who went by "Goddess" in one way or another. There was a GarbageGirl a Spiderman, a Pharmboy and a DrugMonkey and yes, even a Pervwank. There was even someone who goes by the kind of shoes he wears and another by the color of her lab coat. And not only were there nerds galore, there were people who wanted to be called a nerd or just let it be known they were "curious". There was even extensive discussion of scientists giving someone else a nickname to try to hide their identity. And so on. I mean, come on. We all know that the only way to keep track of scientists and people contributing to science is by formal full names right?
  2. There were not an even number of males and females. Sure it was just a difference of one (133 men, 134 women). But come on that is so biased.
  3. There were some sessions where some of the people attending the session were not live blogging or tweeting. I know, how could they? Well, it is possible their batteries ran out on their phones, but I mean, really, this is a meeting called "Science Online 2010". If you are going to go to such a meeting you must bring the right tools.
  4. Someone bumped into the light switch during the keynote talk and shed light on it right when it was getting juicy. The atmosphere was crushed.
  5. There have not yet been any books published about the meeting. It's true, in the sense that I did an Amazon search and did not find any (note to fact checkers - check that please).
  6. Though they indeed did provide free coffee and espresso drinks - but the bar at the hotel was unable to make mojitos. Bad hotel. Bad hotel.
  7. The hotel had sleep number beds but did not provide any Youtube videos for how to use them. How are we expected to figure out what to do?
  8. Nobody sequenced any genomes at the meeting. Yuck.
  9. Some people took notes on paper. How on earth are they going to tweet while writing stuff down?
  10. A new flu strain was created by all the recombining ideas and discussions of the sexual behaviors of ducks, cuttlefish and other organisms at the meeting. It is now known as scion flu, or H10N10. At least something form the meeting went viral.
  11. (Yes, this one goes to 11). The even allowed people under 18 to the meeting. Creepy and unacceptable.

Friendfeed discussion here:



And thanks to many for comments / retweets on twitter including:




And here are some related blog posts:

23 comments:

  1. best conference post-mortem I've seen so far.

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  2. Finally, someone tells it like it is. Sheer brilliance. <3

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  3. there *were* mojito Locopops ...

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  4. mojito locopops? that only makes it worse - nobody told me

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  5. Sci holds herself responsible for the brilliant recombination resulting in H10N10. Y'all always knew I was really a virologist.

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  6. Errrr...I was hoping you were going to make us jealous non-attendees feel better. Instead you just poured salt on the wound. ;)

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  7. Worse yet, I woke up in a tubful of ice and missing one kidney!

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  8. Well.. I WAS a Jonathan Eisen groupie... until you knocked the color of my lab coat... SO Uncool.

    Totally agree with you on the no genomes sequenced... and no mojitos... next time... ?Miami?

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  9. So who said scientists have no sense of humor?

    Signed,
    A note-taking Luddite

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  10. hey drdrA - I only wish I could get away with wearing a blue lab coat - blue is not my color

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  11. there, there. Next time we sequence a genome. Choose a species and we'll use the bar's blender....

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  12. Presumably we will not find mint in the bar anywhere. Maybe we will have to simply do another yeast genome.

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  13. As far as #7 goes ... if you happened to share your room with certain 4-year-old and 7-year-old boys, you might return to your bed only to find that it had turned to the consistency of melted ice cream. Just sayin' ;)

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  14. Note to self:
    Make video on how to use a sleep number bed and then sell ad on said video to hotels. Use proceeds for #scio11.

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  15. Next year, we shall sequence a genome: a Friday Morning Citizen Science Project (it will be that quick and easy by then, right?)!

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  16. Actually, Bora, we almost sequenced a genome at the ASM meeting this year w/ Roche. Definitely doable next year at scio11.

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  17. "The hotel had sleep number beds but did not provide any Youtube videos for how to use them. How are we expected to figure out what to do? "
    Tweet @Sleepnumberhelp

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  18. Damn you guys had a harsh time there -- my condolences!

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  19. Jonathan- If we hook you up with Dr. Isis she can find your perfect color and suggest fierce looking shoes for you.

    And- a single genome, phuleez... so passe... if you are not doing 1000 at a time, you are not doing it right! ;-)

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  20. Single genome or more? Depends if its only Miss Baker's students doing the sequencing or everybody....

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  21. No sequenced genomes? Glad I didn't bother going. ;)

    Among all the high-falutin' talk of how Terribly Terribly Important this conference was, I'm glad to see and read your redux. Thanks for the chuckle.

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  22. The whole thing was terrible. Truly ghastly. Someone Should Do Something About It.

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  23. Yes - it was. We should have a conference next year just to talk about how bad it was. Maybe we should call it Science Online 2011.

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