ScienceOnline: As the Minnesotans Say, "Uff da!"

By Carl Zimmer | January 18, 2010 1:49 pm

I’m just back from ScienceOnline 2010, a conference unlike anything I’ve been to before. I usually go to conferences where my role is the journalistic fly on the wall, gathering story leads from presentations and hallway chats. Sometimes I go to meetings of fellow science writers, where it’s mostly hard-core job talk (with sporadic wailing and gnashing of teeth). ScienceOnline was a strange merging, where scientists talk about how to blog from a research vessel in the middle of the Pacific and journalists talked about how to teach Hollywood producers about quantum physics.

It is futile for me to distill all the stuff I learned into a blog post. There’s just too much, from the inspiring to the mundane. For example, for good podcasting sound quality, why not sit in a closet with a towel draped over your head? I’m also spending much of today surfing around to new web sites I heard about. Allow me to give a shout-out to fellow Discover-ite Darlene Cavalier’s newly launched Science For Citizens. It’s like Amazon.com for all sorts of possibilities for doing cool citizen science (such as studying fireflies).

Fortunately, later this week you can watch just about all the sessions on this YouTube channel. In the meantime, some audience members have already started uploading their own recordings. Embedded below is my seven-minute spiel. I was part of a panel on “rebooting science journalism.” Moments before I stood up to dispense my wisdom, I decided that nothing summed up the situation today with science journalism better than duck sex. And, as I discovered, ScienceOnline is just the sort of place where the audience gets it.

[More on Uff da here]

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Evolution, Meta, Talks

Comments (7)

  1. The reason I’m chuckling to myself in the clip is that I’ve just noticed Carl had a flyer about bonobos in his back pocket. Some people think Carl is just parasites and tattoos, but he’s also all about animal sex.

  2. Thanks, Carl! We’d love feedback on the site as we continue to build out the beta. Thanks again for the shout out (glad you like it). Always great to see you.

  3. @Ed Yong: considering that we were trying to figure out the precise meaning of “zimmer” as a verb, (I zimmer, you zimmer, he, she, it zimmers…) your observation is…helpful.

  4. Ed, you know that fundamentally, ALL biology is really about sex.

  5. Delighted that you chose my YouTube video to illustrate your illustrious talk. Really enjoyed this panel – one of the best at Science Online 2010. Vive les rapports sexuels des canards!

  6. Greg Peterson

    With respect, Carl, I’m a native Minnesotan who has lived here for 48 years now and I’ve never once said Uff Da. But there is something we Minnesotans have been known to say. Ready? Here it is: Go Vikings.

    [CZ: Some of my best friends are native Minnesotans, and they say Uff dah! They're the only people on Earth I've ever heard say it. Maybe you live outside Norwegian circles...and inside Viking circles...]

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The Loom

A blog about life, past and future. Written by DISCOVER contributing editor and columnist Carl Zimmer.

About Carl Zimmer

Carl Zimmer writes about science regularly for The New York Times and magazines such as DISCOVER, which also hosts his blog, The LoomHe is the author of 12 books, the most recent of which is Science Ink: Tattoos of the Science Obsessed.

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