April 3, 2009

AAPAs - Day 2

Yesterday's afternoon poster session was pretty uneventful. I ran out of handouts (all 50 of them) and didn't bother running to the business center in the hotel to make more - just gave out an email address and URL. I should check analytics to see if anyone's been downloading the handout. There were many more people at the 10am session than the 2pm session.

The paper sessions are truly awful, though. There's no real coherence to them. For some reason, there are more coherent poster sessions on ancient health and stable isotope analysis and such. So far, there have been no papers on stable isotope analysis, but there are some on palaeopath or bioarch that I've gone to. Most of the papers I've heard have been from students - and they're not interesting, groundbreaking papers. But at least half of the students have been funded by both NSF and Wenner-Gren, making me feel much less special and wondering if my research is as boring as theirs is.

And I've seen my fair share of terrible slides and posters as well. There are people who forget to put labels on their charts, people who use different fonts/colors/styles willy-nilly, people who don't change the Excel default colors, people who end each declarative sentence as if it were a question, people who can't make boxes line up, people who don't spellcheck their slides (the native speakers - I give the foreigners some leeway)... And then there are the people who think their work is the shit when they really aren't saying anything new at all. I just tend to walk out of those papers. But honestly, in all my years of conferences, I have never seen this large a number of paper slides and posters that are just visually arresting - in a very, very bad way. Are people opting for content over style? Is it a backlash against the over-staturation in our culture of visuals and media? Are people just lazy?

1 comments:

John said...

My favourite comment on PowerPoint is this youtube video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cagxPlVqrtM

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