The art of academic conferences

Having just spent the last few days at an academic conference in Seattle, I am once again reminded how bizarre such things are. Tonight, however, I ran across a nearly perfect description of one of the more bizarre aspects of such get-togethers: post-paper question and answer sessions.

“Colleagues stand at a microphone in the middle of the aisle and, using the polite code phrases of science, ask the presenter if he has considered the possibility that his head has unaccountably become entangled in his ass.”

The above text is from a Wired article about the proposed new Cable Science Network (C-Span for scientists), but the snippet originally comes from Brian Alexander’s book, “Rapture: How Biotech Became the New Religion”.