Monday, April 17, 2006

NASA: boring meetings

Ok, this one is so weird, that it has got to be true.

I am informed, anecdotally, but from someone who ought to know, that: NASA will no longer sponsor science meetings at "resort locations"!

It is not clear to me if this is specific to one or some divisions within the Science Missions Directorate, or if it is agency wide, but either way it is a stupid idea.
At least one meeting in Hawaii has already been cancelled, allegedly because of this new policy. At a very substantial cost to the organisers because of lost deposits, by the way.

This is stupid for many reasons, not the least of which is that essentially all of Hawaii is a "resort location" by any definition (and, no, I do not know what definition is being used), and Hawaii is a good location for astro and space meetings. For one thing it is one of the few places where you can actually see the stars.
I would think the good Senators from Hawaii would have something to say about this, it will cost Hawaii and the University of Hawaii plenty.

However. Scientists get really jaded about meetings. There are a lot of them.
To get people fired up and to the meetings it helps to have them in interesting locations. It is not necessary, it just helps.
But, interesting locations are also where a lot of hotels and conference facilties are found. Universities are also often at interesting locations.
Stupid. Stupid enough it almost has to be true.

"Penny wise, pound foolish"


Blogger sara said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ignoring the SPAM above, does a "resort location" include Florida, like upcoming SPIE meeting? Kennedy Space Center is near some pretty nice places after all....

5:01 PM  
Blogger Steinn said...

Ah, that's where it was. Deleted.

Wish I knew. I have not found any actual guidelines anywhere as to how "resort location" is defined.

I'm figuring someone in the bowels of NASA HQ is applying the "porn test" to proposals (can't define it, but they know it when they see it...)

5:12 PM  

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