14 December 2010

AGU; Days -1, 0, and 1

Posted by Callan Bentley

San Francisco is great. I got out here Friday night and spent a lovely day Saturday hiking over the Golden Gate Bridge and through the Marin Headlands with my fiancee. That evening, for my 36th birthday, we went out to the Tadich Grill, source of the best cioppino (Italian seafood soup) in the city. Sunday, I enjoyed a geology field trip with other two-year-college geoscience faculty courtesy of Katryn Wiese of San Francisco City College. We visited Marin Headlands again (but different parts than I went to the previous day) and then to a couple locations on the west coast of the San Francisco Peninsula, concluding at Mussel Rock, which means something to anyone who’s ever read John McPhee’s Assembling California. (The vignette about Mussel Rock opens the book.)

Yesterday was the first real day of the AGU Fall 2010 meeting. I joined the throngs of geologists pouring south through the streets towards the Moscone Center, stopping en route to stand in line at Starbucks for 10 minutes. I spent the first morning session in a tectonophysics session, and then browsed posters for the second part of the morning. I viewed cursorily approximately 1/3 of the total Monday posters. It would be impossible to see them all without sacrificing at least half a day of talks.

I got a bánh mì Vietnamese pork sandwich for lunch (so good!) and read David Montgomery’s Dirt over the meal. Afternoon: saw John Holdren (President Obama’s science advisor) deliver a lackluster talk (Edward Tufte needs to go over Holdren’s PowerPoint slides with a machete), then back into the science fray with a few sessions on ocean acidification, glacial dynamics, and more tectonics. The legendary afternoon beer break rolled around and I shmoozed with some of my GSW compadres, then it was into the first half of a session on the Colorado Plateau, but I had to duck out of that to squeeze in a few more posters before Erik Klemetti’s talk about using blog user comments as a source of volcanological data. Then back to the hotel for a rest, and at 7:30pm I headed down to the fun Social Media Soiree, orchestrated by Maria-José Viñas, the same AGU visionary who organized the AGU Blogosphere. I had a nice time there chatting with blogging friends old and new, though too many to list here in the brief amount of time I have this morning before heading back into the Moscone Center for a second full day of geoscience!

Over and out. Catch you later.