I'm back in the sweltering STL after a week in Pittsburgh communing with my fellow eco science nerds. I know that the only thing more boring that attending a week long conference is reading someone's recap of it, but there are a few things that I feel I must note about the meetings, the venue, and the host city itself. I'll be brief.
Which way to the conference? Follow the throngs of sport sandals and hiking backpacks.
No one knows how to dress-down the already dressed-down business casual of conference attire like biologists.
How can you tell you're at a ecology meeting? When you're asking yourself "are these flip-flops too dressy?"
Also: I cannot remember the last time I was surround by so many super fit white people. It is making me wonder about the demographic breakdown across scientific disciplines. Is ecology the whitest science?
I was happy to notice that the upward trend in female graduate students and young faculty that I've noticed in my own city seems to carry across the field. But the senior scientists are still largely male. Is it only a matter of time until we all move through the ranks or are we dropping out before we get there? There are books and theses that delve into this topic, so I won't attempt to parse it here, but I remain optimistic.
***UPDATE*** I almost forgot to mention that I got to meet an internet pal in the flesh. Here's to putting faces to pseudonyms!
Pittsburgh? I salute you.
Who knew that Pittsburgh is actually kind of interesting? While I didn't get to explore very much at all, I was lucky to be staying in a B&B in a neighborhood (Lawrenceville) outside of the downtown conference-center area, so I got a small glimpse of the city on my route in. It's like an entire city made out of Greenpoint, Brooklyn. In a good way. In an 1800s-houses-with-1950s-awnings sort of way.
The best part was all of the really excellent murals and street art. Dear St. Louis-- why can't we make this happen here?
Some of my favorites:
This awesome mural is by artist John Pena. lovelovelovelovelove this. passed it every day on the bus.
This one is so excellent in person:
(mural by Brian Holderman, pic via Cardboard Sea)
And there was Shepard Fairey stuff everywhere. Maybe a little played out if you live in LA or NY, but unexpected in Pittsburgh, if you ask me.
(pic via justseeds.org)
ALSO? It was not 105 degrees there. So, that was nice too.