Looking east

I sat in on only 11 sessions today, down from 24 yesterday and 21 on Monday.   (The coolest thing was  seeing work on modeling turbidity flow in Monterey Canyon.   Mentioned in another session as an example of how boiling water can instantly freeze was this video.)  Indeed, most of the day was spent wandering the poster hall, not just because there was a lot of job-relevant stuff, but also because the vendor section was opened. As Susan knows, that means tchotchkes. Geek tchotchkes.

I was keen to exercise some discipline at what I picked up, so I passed on fancy pens, plastic propellers on a stick, and squishy foam toys. Among the things I couldn’t resist:

  • A NASA calendar of pretty images (like Victoria Crater)
  • A Lockheed-Martin calendar of heliospheric images. Since it’s so dark this time of year, having pictures of the sun will help me remember what it looks like when it returns.
  • Post cards with geological map of California, cloud formations, antarctic wildlife, rocks and holograph depictions of animated, contoured planetary data.
  • An icosahedron globe kit (some assembly required)
  • Maps and charts. USGS was giving away relief maps of Yellowstone National Park. NCAR had a beautiful (and large) map of the world that I’ll have framed. Another vendor was giving away charts of different things (geological eras, condiments).  [It’s been theorized that in the bizarro universe, Bizarro Jim has a Periodic Table of the Elements tattoo on his back.]

In the pay-for category were a lot of specialized technical books. Priced at 10x the threshold of any impulse purchase, they were easy to pass up. More affordable were fossils: trilobytes, ammonites, fossilized clams, fish, petrified wood, and insects encased in amber.


Trilobyte (not a flying cockroach)

petrified wood. The samples offered were about the size of my thumb.

Sand dollar
(or Sand 0.6 Euro)

During the latter cretaceous period, when I still believed there was a tooth fairy, the prevailing wisdom was a kid could expect either a sand dollar or money. I wanted, but never received, the sand dollar. I have the opportunity to change that.


  1. Oh, the calendars are too nice to pass up. Totally understandable. And obviously *I* would not be able to go past any postcards at all!
    Enjoy the rest of the conference! Rach.

  2. Rachael: Rumor has it that a uniformed government employee will be delivering one to you.

  3. Well, I wouldn’t want to interfere with a uniformed government official, so I shall receive it with pleasure! 🙂
    (I sometimes wonder if I am just a little dyslexic… I often read “uniformed” as “uninformed”). 🙂

  4. Is it better for a government official to be uninformed or misinformed?

Comments are closed.