Final SfN Neuroblogging Repost: SEGWAYS for Neuroscience!

Nov 18 2011 Published by under SFN Neuroblogging

I have to reblog this to prove to @mocost that I thought of it FIRST. 🙂 Today's repost is adapted from the SfN conference in Chicago in 2009.

Sci is still in SFN recovery, so we're having no Friday Weird Science this week. Recovery from the science hangover (located primarily in the Academic Gyrus of the Scientific Lobe. (right below the Central Sulcus of Nerd). Recovery efforts usually involve 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. While DC is much better for catching healthier and cheaper eats (got some lovely summer rolls in Chinatown and there was a crepe station in the conference center) than when SfN was in Chicago, I was sad to find that the conference center had few salads, and absolutely NO soup. By the end of the week, my voice was so dreadfully crushed from yelling on the poster floor, yelling in the hallways, yelling in the bars, just...yelling...that all I wanted was a nice cup of soup before my poster. Something chicken based to soothe my poor aching throat and prepare me for the trial ahead. And verily, I wandered lo many minutes around the conference center, and there was NOT A SOUP TO BE HAD. WTF. I mean, you'd think that'd be one of the easier "fast" foods (certainly more so than the crepe station I saw!).

However, massive kudos go to the SfN organizers for WIRELESS!!! WIRELESS on the poster floor! It was so nice to be able to tweet the cool stuff I was seeing. Other kudos go out to Cell Press for giving out awesome coloring books of the parts of the cell, Elsevier for giving out brain hats (to the people I saw wearing those OUTSIDE the conference are much braver than I), and Neuroscience Associates for the nice 2012 calendar.

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 WW, 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 the convention center 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, where you usually spend at least 45 minutesd standing around waiting for all the other neuroscientists to eat so you can get a table). 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...

One response so far

  • bsci says:

    There was soup. If you went t the food court in the convention center, there were two kettles of soup every day. There were small signs saying what types of soup they were, but not much to draw your attention to them. That said, they didn't look very good.

    Wireless was amazingly reliable this year!

    I was very disappointed that my toddler had no interest in getting her picture taken with a brain hat on.

    I'll pass on the Segways, but I'd love actual carpets. The 1mm thick carpets on cement floors look ok, but after a day you realize you might as well be walking several miles on a cement floor.