I’ll be on with Chris Samples tomorrow morning on 98.3 KXDA radio out of Perryton, Texas, talking about the current state of the influenza season, and the 2009 H1N1 virus in particular. I’ve had the pleasure of being on Chris’s show twice last year, and our conversations have been both fun and insightful – I’m looking forward to it.
My segment will go on at 10:20 EST (09:20 CST). You can listen to the live stream here.
What was set to be an epic return to post-blizzard life after Farpoint ended up becoming a week-long boss battle with a stealthy fever plague-demon. While some point and invoke the word “irony” when I become ill, remember that my job is killing diseases for a living, and given that they take a dim view of this, means that they send assassins after me on occasion. I take these bullets for you, people.
Farpoint was simply brilliant fun, and some notes on the proceedings will be coming shortly. Those of you who didn’t go (yes, you) missed a seriously good time. And Viking midgets.
We received just a tad more snow. One upside of being trapped in the house for several days was the enhanced opportunity to actually cook (my brother contends that most of what I do is more “heating” than “cooking,” while I contend that “heating” is, in fact, “cooking”). While nothing recipe-sharing-worthy emerged, I gained enough XP to level up in the Culinary class.
And so it came to pass that con season truly gets into swing with Farpoint. I will be trolling about, looking for mischief, and pontificating on influenza and other science-y topics, as I am want to do. My schedule:
H1N1: State of the Influenza, Saturday 3pm (Ridgely 2) – Flu season isn’t over yet, but this current lull in activity is an excellent chance to look back on some of lessons learned, both on the science of influenza as well as the failure of communication to the public by medical professionals/government/media.
Science in Social Networking, Sunday 1pm (Ridgely 2) – Science communication has always been something that is often done poorly, and we’ll be examining some of the positive and negative ways science is interfacing (or not) with the booming area of social networking.
And, when Laura is not plotting the Redhead Global Domination Effort with Felicia Day, she can be found here:
Social Media 101, Saturday 10 am (Ridgely 1) – 2010 sees use with a metric buttload of social media programs in existence, with Google Buzz being the latest. A review of what’s out there, what’s useful, and how designer intent doesn’t always match up with what the users do.
Citizen Scientists, Saturday 6pm (Ridgely 2) – Anyone can be involved in cutting edge research projects, and it’s not only a blast, but easier than you might think… Laura will tell you how.
Science and Social Networking, Sunday 1pm (Ridgely 2) – As noted above, except that Laura is both more attractive than I am, and likely has more interesting things to say as well.
James Webb Space Telescope, Sunday 3pm (Ridgely 2) – JWST is moving into the ground assembly phase, and Laura will give us an update on the the latest with this amazing project.
The snow is melting away, and things are shaping up to be an excellent time, so if you are in the area, stop on by. Directions are here, and the full programming list is here. You can follow events of note with me on Twitter, or better yet, I hope to see you there!
(When the redheads take over the world, it pays to be as close to them as possible. Just saying.)
In which The Secret Lair‘s Secretary of Artistic Propaganda, Natalie, documents what happens when the Overlords get access to an innocuous, quite-satisfying-to-click Button. Also, in my humble opinion, the last panel depicts one of the greatest things it existence. Click here to take in the full version.
Although mired in what the local atmosphere contends is “deep winter,” the con(-vention? -ference? You decide!) season is already upon me, what with the Maryland ACP Scientific Meeting last week, and Farpoint ahead this weekend. The roundup of how my year is looking at this point is as follows:
Farpoint – February 12-14, Timonium, MD – Yikes! This weekend! Must prepare, and dig out, and stuff! I’ll be working the science track, and generally enjoying myself at this smaller, more low-key gathering.
Ravencon – April 9-11, Richmond, VA – Although relatively new as cons go, 5-year-old Ravencon continues to grow as a great regional weekend. The move this year to a better hotel (fare thee well, horrifying board-room meeting places) can only help matters. I’ll be doing the science track thing.
Johncon – April 16-18, Baltimore, MD – It’s named after me. How could I not go? Well, sure, it’s primarily a gaming convention put on by the Johns Hopkins University sci-fi and anime clubs, and they asked me to be a science guest, but really, it’s named after me. ’nuff said.
Balticon 44 – May 28-31, Baltimore, MD – If you’ve been paying any attention to me over the last few years and don’t know Balticon, then for shame. The science and new media tracks will see my hand, and the awesome will be brought.
ReConStruction (NASFic 2010) – August 5-8, Raleigh, NC – When Worldcon takes place outside of North America, that year a North American Science Fiction convention is birthed to sate the Worldcon-need for those unable to travel. It looks like I’ll be involved in the science guest here, in addition to the other festivities.
Aussiecon 4 (Worldcon 2010) – September 2-6, Melbourne, Australia – The World Science Fiction Convention migrates to another continent this year, and Laura and I shall follow, both to attend and for an extended first trip to Australia. At this point, I won’t have any track involvement, which suits me just fine – it’s vacation, dammit.
APDIM Fall Conference – October 14-17, San Antonio, TX – More of the same as the APDIM Spring Conference, except in an arguably more exciting locale than Baltimore.
Philcon – November 19-21, Cherry Hill, NJ – This was a blast last year, and I intend to return again this time around, spouting off my physicianly wit in an official capacity if I can.
That’s… quite a full year, but there’s more that either haven’t made the cut or are only on “maybe” status. Due to saving up both rupees and leave time for Australia, I will sadly not be making the return trek to Origins. Both Dragon*Con and Con On The Cob (which I have long wanted to check out, but never have) are out due to direct conflicts, and my attendance at the big two Infectious Diseases conferences of the year, the ICAAC and IDSA meetings, is going to be dictated by energy and leave reserves as the time gets closer.
All that noted, it’s shaping up to be brilliantly fun and educational year on the con front. Won’t you join me?
Also, therein lies my latest report as the Lair’s CMO, in which I discuss the the reality behind the movie District 9, and take the Overlords to task for their plan to to turn said reality into a seafood feast… and also see Minister Lynn reap his due reward for suggesting such a scheme to them. Additionally, the new Ask the Overlords segment addresses bargain refurbished space shuttle purchases, and there’s a promo for Natalie‘s new webcomic All Write! on Mur‘s I Should Be Writing site.
Go here and listen, else when the Overlords’ time comes, you will be the first into servitude.
It snowed, as some might have heard. All told, Columbia got an average of almost 34 inches, which is some sort of a new record. It’s really too bad I chose a career that doesn’t allow me snow days, for the most part…
Otherwise, this week was about the prep for and giving Obstetrics and Gynecology Grand Rounds at Sinai on “HIV in Pregnancy.” The software aspect of putting the talk together was far more of a fail than it really should have been, mainly because I was consolidating slides from several Powerpoint presentations on my Mac, and chose to use OpenOffice to do it instead of Keynote. For unclear reasons, OpenOffice spit out a corrupt file that could not be opened by Keynote, Google Docs, or Powerpoint on a PC, costing me many hours of work. Lesson: when wading into OpenOffice’s presentation software, proceed with caution. Otherwise, the presentation (given with my sable-haired HIV viral suppressor partner at Sinai, Joanne Hayes) went quite well. We reviewed the philosophy on HIV in 2010 (treat earlier and test everyone), the latest guidelines for managing adults and pregnant women (found here), and the need to focus on education and outreach so that women of childbearing age have the best chance of making intelligent choices regarding sex, pregnancy, and STD prevention, and the resources to support them if they don’t.
Hello Feb 1! Can I pretend that this is the start of 2010 and that January didn’t happen?
And so I shall leave it at that.
Amazon and McMillan publishing had a bit of a tiff over the weekend. While this has inspired much commentary, I will point you to Charlie’s analysis of the business, Tobias’s look at the author-based economics of eBooks, Cory’s take on the art v. money of the publishing issues involved, Matt’s glorious rant in response, and John’s deconstruction on how Amazon is seventy-times seven-times a heavyhanded corporate dick in this whole affair.
Apple also happened to announce a shiny new thing this past week. Ken encapsulates exactly why I’d want one, while Chris examines why the iPad (and, to a lesser extent, the entire Apple product line) are less “computers” and more “appliances”… and why that may be a bad thing.