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August 2nd, 2013

Un-live non-Tweeting of MetSoc

Friends of mine are fantastic at live-tweeting conferences, and I really appreciate it. If I am in Rome and the meeting is in Hawaii, I can still get the flavor of what's going on -- along with the latest results. So I really had high intentions of live-tweeting the Meteoritical Society annual meeting this week. Alas, those good intentions didn't survive past the opening remarks.

Part of it is the very flaky way I attend meetings. Where Emily Lakdawalla apparently goes into a talk thinking, "what do my readers need to know that's new?" my reaction for every talk is usually a combination of, "boy those are terrible slides... didn't Clayton present this same work in 1977? ... hey, that guy whose work she's trashing is someone I knew when I was a post-doc, I remember going to dinner at a meeting with him in Hawaii in 1980 where we had burgers topped with pineapple slices... how long is it until the coffee break?"

These are generally not thoughts worth tweeting. Indeed, most of them are better left unsaid. And usually it takes me a day or twenty before I can finally digest what I heard and decide what stuff seemed significant.

That said, there have been a couple of interesting results that my fellow planetary scientists might like to know about.

1. Mike Gaffey presented spectra of a handful of small asteroids near the 3:1 resonance that have bands very similar to 6 Hebe, which he has touted for years as the parent body of the H asteroids. Of course, with his technique of hand-crafting every spectrum with loving care, it will be another 20 years before he has a statistically significant number of these spectra.

2. Ed Scott, who usually has results that I find fascinating but infuriating, shocked me by presenting a paper on a controversial topic that I completely agree with. He thoroughly demolished the over-simple "onion skin" model of asteroid metamorphism by showing a number of different ways to estimate cooling rates in ordinary chondrite meteorites, all of which agree with each other and none of which correlate at all with petrographic class.

3. Several Grand Old Men in the Field gave talks on topics outside their field of expertise. The less said about them, the better. I am rethinking my ambition of becoming a Grand Old Man in the Field.

I am sure there are other talks I will refer to in the future that I am forgetting at the moment.

Meanwhile, at the banquet I went up to an old friend whom I hadn't seen since last year's meeting, to tell him some news I thought he'd find interesting. He listened politely, and then said, "When I see [redacted] I'll let him know." The person I was was talking to was a different old friend from the one I thought I was talking to. They are both bald, and both are people I had met in London, but the resemblance ends there. (The one I was talking to is about a foot shorter than the guy I thought I was talking to.) Maybe if I were a Grand Old Man I could claim memory loss...

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