SFN: Segways for Neuroscience!

Oct 23 2009 Published by under Academia

Sci is still in SFN recovery. This usually involves attempting to make up for a SERIOUS lack of sleep, and a total lack of healthful eating. I have spent the last four days with a heartfelt salad craving.

Seriously, McCormick Place. We need to talk. About your prices. $12 for a ratty little vegetarian sandwich that is soggy and gross?! NOT COOL. For the next conference in Chicago, Sci personally recommends stopping by your local whatever (this year, Sci used Starbucks, Walgreens, and the Corner Bakery) and picking up a prepackaged sandwich or fruit and cheese on your way to the conference. Sci did this the instant she realized what McCormick Place was up to, and lo, her per diems were met! Save money, save your tummy some pain.
Anyway, Sci often has ideas while at conferences, and these usually occur whilst I am on my way to the conference on the shuttle, or even more often, while I'm trudging dazedly across the poster floor, completely at a loss to contemplate WHY two closely related topic fields are at poster row C and poster row EE, respectively. Not fair.
So Sci was trudging, and dodging and weaving around all the SFN n00bs, who somehow feel it is totally ok to stop in the middle of the walkway and gape at your booklet, causing people who KNOW where they are going to have to make emergency detours. Seriously, kids, you are stopping in the middle of what is essentially a crowded busy street in a temporary neuroscience town of 30,000 people. You get THREE poster sessions to figure out the difference between row A, G, and DD, and if you cannot seem to keep moving by then, Sci's bowling you over, and throwing some elbows in her wake. If you really are lost, for the love of neurons, pull over!!
And as I dodged and wove, and contemplated how much my feet hurt and whether Starbucks in McCormick Place charges more than their national prices for a latte, I had the solution.

Seriously, this is a GREAT idea. They should come relatively cheap, apparently everyone loathes Segways on sight. But scientists don't care. We're nerdy, it's cool, we own it. And think of the problems they would solve!
Picture this, you enter the conference, you pick up your packet, and the keys (or whatever) to your temporary Segway! The Segway could come equipped with a little pouch for your booklets, itinerary, and netbook, and a nice big coffee cup holder. No more trudging around the poster floor trying to balance all your stuff! Perhaps even somewhere to put your coat.
And then. zooooooooom. So easy. Traffic could be easily controlled, going smoothly across the poster floor in both directions. Stop signs at the exit of every row. Saves money on shuttle rental, as you could ride your Segway to your hotel! And think of how much WALKING it would save.
I think I walk easily about 5-10 miles per day every day at SFN. Poster session to meeting room, meeting room to nanosymposium, nanosymposium to speaker and back to the poster session. And then you get back to your hotel and walk around in search of dinner, which on the last night of SFN took Sci a good 20 blocks in the wrong direction (post-doc who led me wrong, you KNOW who you are, and if you hadn't found that tapas place stat, Sci would have been laying the hurt on your appendages). Altogether, it's a LOT of walking, and often in dressy shoes that, even if they are flat, cause suffering after a while. Think how comfortable we'd all be on a Segway!!! I wonder how the makers missed this huge niche market.
SFN, take note. Segways for Neuroscience!
Aw heck. I love this song...

5 responses so far

  • Simon says:

    but you are still standing ALL DAY. Perhaps a sit-on electric scooter thing would be preferable. A cattle prod for those "get out of the way" moments. Boudica style wheels.... mwah ha ha

  • x-ine says:

    Love "White & Nerdy"! Sometimes I feel like it should be my theme song.

  • Ewan says:

    I was curious, so I actually wore a pedometer for one day of SfN: just over ten miles.
    This was the first year I have worn trainers for the meeting - and I am never failing to do so again. My feet were *so* much happier after the five days were up. So much so that I could still go running after those ten-mile days :).
    [Oh, and: absolutely to your food comments. The coffee price at Starbucks was silly - although I did like the 'Starbucks Express' option - and food horrific. Best example: $3.75 for a *plain bagel* at the stands by the poster session. I found a great artisanal cheese/bread store over on Lake, a few blocks from my hotel, and bought supplies there: yum. Mind you, my per diem was already completely destroyed by the Alinea meal..]

  • Katie says:

    Ewan: you went to Alinea?? I'm so envious. Seriously.
    I don't know that I would have minded the walking so much had my cute, comfortable-looking Sketcher dress shoes not SHREDDED my feet the first day. But Segways would be nice.
    Also, I had a $10 turkey sandwich at the cafe above the posters and I thought it was delicious. Not worth $10, but damn good. Then again, I was starving so it may have tasted like crap and I just thought it was good.

  • Hell yes, segways solve EVERYTHING

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