I went to a Story Swap the last Thursday of May. The next day (i.e. the last Friday) I went to a Profs and Pints lecture about cats in folklore, which was pretty entertaining, though a bit Eurocentric. (There was some material about Japan, but I don’t recall anything about Latin America or Africa. However, I was tired, and it is always possible I just zoned out.)
The weekend was occupied with my (virtual) 40th college reunion. Actually, I dialed into the graduation ceremonies on Friday, which was surprisingly moving,, with an especially good speech by Admiral McRaven. Saturday was Tech Day, with talks about current research and a theme of Geniuses and Game Changers. The most interesting talk was about food safety by Deborah Blum. She talked about some of the horrible history of food adulteration, e.g. “preserved milk,” which had formaldehyde added to it. Other talks had to do with nanoparticles, AI, and brain complexity. After that were several overlapping sessions and I chose one on experiential learning (including undergraduate research) in the time of COVID-19. I was, frankly, too tired at that point to really listen well. There really needed to be breaks between sessions to get up and move around, but the Q&As tended to un all the way to the end of the time slot and there was barely time for a bio break,
My class didn’t participate much in the Tech Challenge games. I usually enter a lot of haikus into the poetry competition, but only managed 3 this time:
My world’s moved on-line
Instead of face to face life,
I’m a box on zoom.
upended all our lives. Mask
wearing’s now routine.
Zoom's gallery view?
Or is it the opening
to Hollywood Squares?
That last one did get read out when they were reviewing results, which is about all one can really hope for in this sort of thing.
Later in the day, my class had a get-together, which featured a couple of space-related talks. One of my classmates was an astronaut and was quite entertaining. The other talk was about TESS, a mission to search for exoplanets. I’ve heard several talks before on that subject, so it wasn’t as interesting. We had a brief around-the-room catch-up for everyone after the talk, which was nice. It was a good event, but I really would have liked more social time.
The annual meeting of the alumna group (i.e. women graduates) was on Sunday. Aside from the business meting part, there was a keynote speaker, who talked about COVID-19 vaccine development. There were also break-out sessions. I went to one that had a topic about self-care, which proved to be rather too new age woo-woo for my tastes. Fortunately, the break-out sessions were short, and we reconvened for a closing ceremony, I should also mention that my freshman year roommate was on the call, but I didn’t talk with her. Which is kind of like our actual experience sharing a room. Let’s just say, we were remarkably incompatible roommates, but we got along okay by ignoring one another.