This morning I have to go into the lab and do upkeep on the spider colony and then I come back, put a big diet Coke by my side, and settle down to this schedule.
It’s time for the grindy part of the meeting! See that “contributed talks” bit? That’s 5 hours of 15 minute talks, one after the other, with occasional breaks during which, in a normal meeting, you’d mill around and talk to other people, but here in Virtual World I’ll just get up and stretch and walk in circles in my little office, I guess. They have concurrent tracks, so I can’t possibly see all the talks and have to miss half of them, so I think I’ll have to focus on the evo devo stuff, and then behavior, and then ecology & diversity. It’ll be a grueling session, but I’m looking forward to it.
Then we do it all again tomorrow.
Then again on Wednesday morning.
There are conveniences about online meetings, but I’m still hoping to go to the in-person meeting next year at UC Davis.
But harvestmen aren’t spiders. They’re cool though.
PZ Myers says
This is the American Arachnology Society meeting. Opiliones are arachnids. The arachnids include Acari, Amblypygi, Opiliones, Palpigradi, Pseudoscorpiones, Ricinulei, Schizomida, Scorpiones, Solifugae, and Thelyphonida, not just the familiar Araneae. So yeah, there are talks about vinagaroons and camel spiders and ticks and mites today.
Some of the things you mentioned could be vastly improved when having a conference online and I am not sure why the American Arachnology Society does not seem to do it. For example, talks could be recorded, so people would not be forced to chose one lecture and miss others in concurrent sessions – just watch them afterwards. Or, when you don’t have to travel to a meeting and need to squeeze everything into 2-3 days, why not have the conference stretched out over more days and only have lectures maybe for 4 hours each day? I experienced both things during the past months and it was more enjoyable that way.
Anyway, I hope you have an interesting and stimulating conference, PZ!
Well, personally I love online meetings in general. The savings on travel time alone are worth the occasional annoyances.
Even for clients that are close by (30 min. by car), an online 0.5 hour meeting is 0.5 hour, not 1.5 hours for a physical meeting. Not to mention customers that are 5-8 hours away by car. I don’t mind going there every now and then. But not every week.
As strangerinastrangeland@3 says, the AAS could e.g. look at the Python conferences (“pycon”, not about literal snakes BTW.). All the talks are recorded and available on youtube. You never have to miss an interesting talk because you’re in another track.
Arachnids radiated from arthropods that came up from the sea, so the ecological niches in water were already taken. But have any spiders managed to colonise freshwater habitats during a phase of their lives, or are they too dependent on making webs in dry air?
Rich Woods says
You need a bar. Admittedly a home bar doesn’t tend to offer the same level of craic as a convention bar, but at least there’s the guarantee of a refreshing swift half.
@5 there’s at least one spider that lives mostly under water: