Given my woes traveling in 2012, I've been nervous making the trip to San Francisco. My first scare was that my flight to Houston was overbooked, and I was wondering, "Am I getting bumped off the plane?" The second scare came when the plane from Houston stopped on the runway, and the Captain informed us that they was a computer problem that was requiring them to restart the computers on the plane. Fortunately, both were resolved without incident, and I was on my way to San Francisco.
I also took my own advice to talk to someone I spotted with a poster tube. As a result, was rewarded with a nice chat with someone from Texas A&M Galveston. He will be showing a poster on the biomechanics of sea lion feeding that he did at Vancouver, near my old stomping grounds.
At the hotel, I discovered that there is free wi-fi in the lobby... but not in the conference rooms. Or my room. While there was grumbling about the unsuitability of this on Twitter, in one way, this is kind of brilliant. It forces a lot of people to be in one central location, and this creates more opportunities for meeting up with people you know, or want to know. It enhances personal networking, even though there is a cost in online networking.
At the plenary session, it was mentioned that this was the largest SICB meeting EVAH. No actual attendance numbers were given, though.
Rich Satterlie gave the plenary talk, which was great for me, as he did invertebrate neuroethology. The introduction mentioned he was criticized for him leading SICB in a very public stand against Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal over teaching of evolution, and refusing to hold SICB in Louisiana (applause). "Some things were said about him that were not true; others that were not possible."
When RIch started, he said, "You might want to move to the side. One reasons is to see the slides, the other is that when I get excited, I start to salivate." That was about the funniest Rich got. I loved the work he presented, but I think I've seen him give better presentations.
After the plenary was a nice opening social, with a layout of resolution-breaking deserts. They were positively deadly for anyone with anything like a sweet tooth. San Francisco, what is it with you and your delicious cupcakes?
I had a good talk with Justin Scioli (https://twitter.com/justinscioli/status/287077446057095169). You should follow him on Twitter and pester him about when he's going to start his blog.
Talks start in earnest on day 2, with an embarrassment of riches. I think I will be spending most of the day in predator/prey interaction talks.