Sunday, April 26, 2009

ACCU conference 3 of many (Friday)

Friday opened with something completely different for an ACCU conference: Neuroscience and women. Baroness Greenfield spoke on the subject of women in science and technology. Much of her talk was given over to exampling the neurological differences between men and women and why they don’t matter. Great stuff - enough to persuade me to buy her book(s).

After that I started to slack off a bit, miss sessions and arrive late. The effects of two late nights and lots of beer. Plus a need to talk more to people outside the sessions.

Several activities this year were designed to support Bletchley Park]. A donation scheme, a raffle, challenge puzzle and a sponsored bike ride (thereby hangs a long story.) In keeping with this theme Simon Greenish from the Bletchley Park Trust and Dr Sue Black from Westminster University gave a talk at lunch time.

The history of Bletchley Park is increasingly well known. Simon and Sue focused on the future, how they trust wanted to improve the park and the difficulties that stood in the way. The key point was that the trust is now in a race against time, the buildings are decaying and need repair if they are to be preserved at all. There are still enough Blethchley Park war veterans alive to make historical projects based on the park worthwhile. Before long much of our history will be lost if we do not act now.

Certainly it was enough to persuade me to make a donation to the Park, and hopefully I’ll go and see it this summer. And....


Friday’s sessions ended with the Pattern Buffet. Anouther innovation, this time from Kevlin Henney and myself. With help from Linda Rising, Michael Feathers, Peter Sommerland, Jim Siddle and Klaus Marquardt we presented 7 patterns in 90 minutes. Each speaker had 10 minutes to tell the audience about a pattern of their choice.

Friday closed with the traditional speaker banquet dinner. As usual this saw conference attendees swapping tables between each cause. After dinner there was the now traditional ACCU Boat Race.