[Coral-List] What we can do

Mark Spalding mark at mdspalding.co.uk
Wed Jan 2 12:58:35 EST 2008

After reading the ongoing debates which appear to be straying quite far from
the subject of the list-server I have a suggestion that perhaps points us
back a little towards our chosen subject. 
How many of us flew to Japan for the last ICRS? ...or are planning to fly to
the States (or within the States) for the next one? For a conference that is
so large and so over-crowded with parallel sessions that it is nigh-on
impossible to meet anyone for our precious networking nor attend more than a
tiny fraction of what's available.

Scientists, especially reef scientists, should surely lead by example - I'd
like to see the next ICRS streamed online in real-time allowing reduced-fee
paying participants to attend from their desks and even to raise a digital
hand to ask a question. And if talks were kept online and down-loadable
those desk-lubbers among us could actually watch other sessions later and
wind up attending more of the conference than the real world attendees,
while consuming less fuel (not to mention over-wrapped food on disposable
plates with unrecycled just about everything that still seems to be de
rigeur in these meetings). 

The advantages could be huge. Students and under-funded persons from all
over the world could attend. Chat rooms could continue disscussions and
enable introductions and the flow of new ideas. No jet-lag. You could walk
out of the bad talks without causing offence. Viewing and down-load
statistics would also be a pretty interesting form of peer-review for the
published proceedings. I haven't found a decent virtual beer yet, but
there's some of the dark English stuff (cool, but not cold) just downstairs!

Happy New Year to you all


Mark Spalding
Senior Marine Scientist
The Nature Conservancy
Conservation Strategies Division 

93 Centre Drive

Tel: 44 1638 661961
mspalding at tnc.org

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