I'm sure my loyal fan base (both of them) are wondering why the silence here for the last week or so. Well, I spent a few days in scenic Salt Lake City at the 50th Annual Biophysical Society Meeting. Five thousand or so of the geekiest science geeks descended like flies upon the city of Mormons. Just think of the possibilities for clashes between these two exceedingly different cultures!
There weren't any. Interculture clashes that is. At least not that I saw. Interesting place though. It's a(n unnaturally) clean, very modern city with wide streets and rather striking architecture. Although the city itself is quite flat, it is surrounded by very beautiful mountains. The people are friendly, in a somewhat plastic way. Despite the common perception, alcohol is readily available (trust me, if it weren't the meeting wouldn't have been held there). Oh, and my room-mate determined that there was plenty of porn available on the hotel TV. No, we didn't watch any - he had a bet with his wife over whether or not Mormons allowed porn. She lost. And they have homeless people just like any other US city. How the homeless survive the cold is beyond me - I'm not sure it really got above freezing while I was there.
The meeting itself? I enjoyed it. The talks were almost uniformly abysmal, with just a couple of exceptions. However, the schmoozing went well. And that, after all, is why we go to these things. I may even have picked up a new collaboration (a good thing). All in all a successful trip.
And now I'm back.