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Sunday, July 12, 2009


Semi-Liveblogging the Festival of Ideas

10:15 am: I'm currently having coffee in the booksellers tent at the entrance to Elder hall, while waiting for Simon Singh's talk to begin. As typical, there are lots of things I want to see that are all on at the same time. Climate change and Drug Prohibition for instance (hey, I'm a Pharmacologist), then Life: It's Origin and Evolution is on at the same time as New Directions in Astronomy and Darwin's Armada (sobs).

1:15 pm: I suck at this. But I got to talk personally to Antonio Lazcano and Alex Wodak, that was brilliant. If you want to listen to these talks Radio Adelaide will be streaming audio from the sessions, and podcasts will be eventually available here.

First off, my (very brief) talk with Antionio Lacanzo. I was waiting to get into the session on drug prohibition with Alex Wodak (see this youtube Video) when I notice that the tall (at least to me) figure standing next to me was awfully familiar form varuious book covers, I introduced myself and established that he was indeed Antonio, and then I went all fanboy. Look, this man is one of the top origin of life researchers in the world, and I've been following his work for years. He said that Australia was one of the leading places for Astrobiology, and we had an advantage that the US didn't, our secular society and low level of creationism. I had to point out that we export our creationists to the US.

Yikes, it's almost time to go into the session on Origin of life, I have no idea how PZ Myers can liveblog conferences. Gotta rush.

2:52 pm: Antonio Lacanzo's session was brilliant. Did you know the first letters in ribose stand for Rockerfeller Institute of Biology? I didn't. Seesh, by the time the computer boots up it's time for the next session, "Beyond Evolution". I'll have to wait until I get home to write propper descriptions of these talks.

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