Follow Friday: A Vancouver science diary
The AAAS meeting took place at the Vancouver Convention Center. Yep, that's the view. Yep, I want to go back.
February 24th, 2012
09:50 AM ET

Follow Friday: A Vancouver science diary

Editor's note: Elizabeth Landau (@lizlandau) is a writer/producer for

Meat from stem cells? Singing without your vocal chords? I'm still trying to mentally process all of the cool research that I learned about at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting.

Last weekend, @AAASMeetings drew about 8,000 scientists, journalists, educators, policymakers and communicators came from all over the world to idyllic Vancouver, British Columbia.

For someone who misses the knowledge-thirst-quenching aspects of college, it's pretty blissful. You choose between dozens of subjects to learn about during the day, and then you get to hang out with fascinating people in the evenings. And you're tweeting the highlights to thousands of people, some of whom will want to meet up with you later. Of course, you'd better get those tweets right, or you'll get a #FAIL.

Here's a very condensed version (sorry for not mentioning everyone & everything):

WEDNESDAY 2/15– Met @erikstokstad and @wilsondasilva at University of British Columbia while learning about sustainability efforts @SustainUBC.

Tour of "world's greenest building." Sewage plant has no smell!

Tour of TRIUMF particle accelerator laboratory. When big magnets are turned on, paper clips stand up.

Mmmmm Japanese food. Take that, jet lag.

THURSDAY 2/16– Sea plane! Went to visit researchers at @UVic. Took ferry back.

@VancouverAqua event for reporters, sharks and dolphins.

FRIDAY 2/17– America in 2035, learned about challenges of aging society.

Why does education stop at 22? Maybe learning and work should both last throughout life.

News about bird flu broke: @WHO committee said two studies on mutated H5N1 should be published in full, just not yet.

Vancouver Science World for @KavliFoundation awards. Lots of great work gets recognized.

Had bad allergic reaction 🙁 Gold star ★ to @rowhoop for moral support and Gatorade. Thanks! 🙂

SATURDAY 2/18– When is late talking a problem for kids? 4/5 of children will recover from late talking; we just don’t know which ones.

UBC researchers working on musical instrument that lets you sing with your hands.

@HansRosling: "We have to plan for a future with climate change with 9 to 10 billion people." Shows this with toilet paper rolls. Check out the full presentation.

@MarcAbrahams showcased IgNobel Prize winners and @IvanOransky discussed Retraction Watch at @ImprobResearch event.

Great conversations continue; @nardwuar performs.

SUNDAY 2/19– The consensus is that the balance of genetic and environmental contributions is about 50-50 in autism, says Scott Selleck of Pennsylvania State University.

One cat can produce up to 100 million egg-like structures; each one can lead to toxoplasmosis infection. Scientists talk about marine life and cat poo.

Researchers are working on creating a stem cell burger!

Dinner excursion with @FoxTongue, @EricMJohnson, @shaunabkanel, and physicist Carolyn. Impromptu swing dancing.

MONDAY 2/20– Primatologist Frans de Waal explored the origins of morality in chimpanzees, monkeys. Here's some more from him.

Also, elephants seem to recognize themselves in the mirror, as @edyong209 has reported.

Would love to have seen @maggiekb1 speak about upcoming book, but flight home interfered.

Back to Atlanta to ponder all these things and so much more!

Follow @CNNLightYears on Twitter

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soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. Xochitl Wessler

    Most people will have some problem with allergies or allergic reactions at some point in their lives. Allergic reactions can range from mild and annoying to sudden and life-threatening. Most allergic reactions are mild, and home treatment can relieve many of the symptoms. An allergic reaction is more serious when severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) occurs, when allergies cause other problems (such as nosebleeds, ear problems, wheezing, or coughing), or when home treatment doesn't help.

    June 7, 2013 at 1:50 am |
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    April 8, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
  3. DoTheMath!

    To "spent": If it weren't for science, we wouldn't have electricity, fuel-powered vehicles, modern plumbing, vaccinations againt one commonly fatal diseases, the computer you typed your message on, and your life expectancy would be in the 30's. Yeah, science sure sucks, doesn't it? As for the people freaking about stem-cell generated beef: (1) they didn't use ANY human stem cells for this one, and (2) wouldn't it be nice to have a safe source of meat proteins that didn't require the slaughtering of animals? It would also cut down on deforestation and over-grazing of land currently used for livestock. As for human stem cell research, 99.999% of female ovum go wasted, and an even higher percentage of human sperm. A few day old human embryo is about as much a whole person as is your fingernail. The goal is to save human lives from tissue that would otherwise be wasted. It might save YOUR life, or more likely, YOUR CHILD'S life someday in the future.

    February 26, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
  4. Marlee

    Soilent Green. Just say no to harvesting human embryos.

    February 26, 2012 at 9:46 am |
  5. 4commonsensenow

    The stem cell burger idea has got to go.

    February 25, 2012 at 6:35 am |
    • Elizabeth

      I agree: no neurons in it; lacking balanced nutrition; bound to cause massive allergies.

      February 25, 2012 at 11:55 pm |
  6. spent

    Let's see! Science and the advent of R and D got us into the mess we are in now Science is going to spend the energy to get us out of what they put into the problems we have today. Interesting, just a twist on it, that is all.

    February 25, 2012 at 1:03 am |
  7. ChrkeePrde

    What about engineers? Where are the engineers?

    February 24, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
    • Carlis

      Beste Ilse,Dank voor je reactie, die wij heel goed iperbjegn. We vertellen daarom ook duidelijk dat onze wetenschappers speciaal vergunning hebben om onderzoek te doen. Voor alle andere duikers geldt: niets aanraken. Voor het onderzoek moeten de marien biologen soms inderdaad koralen aanraken en zelfs stukken meenemen. Alleen dan kunnen ze precies te weten komen welke soorten er leven onder water. Met die kennis kunnen organisaties als het WereldNatuurFonds (mede-organisator expeditie) en overheden hun voordeel doen bij het beschermen van dit soort gebieden. Wees ervan overtuigd dat de wetenschappers zeer respectvol te werk gaan. Ik hoop dat je voor dit bijzondere werk begrip kunt opbrengen. Heb je nog vragen, laat het ons dan weten.Met vriendelijke groeten,Astrid KromhoutRedactie NCB Naturalis

      April 9, 2012 at 12:55 am |


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