At the Lunar and Planetary Science Meeting

Contributed by
Mar 12, 2006

'I am sitting in the lobby of the NASA Hilton (that sounds cool) in Houston, Texas, because

1) I am attending the first day of the Lunar and Planetary Science meeting in Houston, and

2) there is free wireless in the lobby.

I was invited down here by a friend at the Lunar and Planetary Institute (Hi Steph!) who organized a teacher workshop on science misconceptions. She invited me to give my Moon Hoax debunking talk (more on a funny coincidence in a sec), and to help facilitate the meeting. My talk went OK, and my facilitating probably impeded progress. But anyway, the attendees had fun, and they seemed to like the ideas about dealing with misconceptions that were discussed.

One of the other speakers turned out to be a bundle of energy named Claudine, who does research into education and misconceptions. I met her in the lobby this morning when we got picked up to go to the meeting. We were discussing Moon Hoax stuff, and she started talking about this one time when she heard a Moon Hoax believer on an NPR radio show. I laughed out loud; I was on that show! It was "The Connection", and it paired noted journalist and space historian James Oberg against noted goofy Moon Hoax believer and cranky guy Ralph Rene.

So we got a laugh out of that. But what struck me as funnier later is that James is at this meeting! I have in fact never met him before, so that was a cool coincidence.

I didn't think I'd know many people at this meeting, since I do black holes and galaxies and supernovae, and this is a planetary meeting, but in fact I know about a dozen folks here. I was excited to meet another astronomy blogger, Emily Lakdawalla, who writes The Planetary Blog. She is a really good writer, and it turns out she's quite a trip to hang out with too. I think we got along pretty well; our senses of humor are pretty similar. I hung out with her and some of her friends and we had a most excellent time.

Thus endeth the first day of the meeting. I'm only going to part of the meeting tomorrow since I'm heading home, so I may not get a chance to post anything on Monday.'

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