Seriously, I can't go through the motions of that conversation any more. The one that starts out with a backhanded joke about the science of someone who gets Moore Foundation money (or other equivalents) and proceeds into a discussion (or monolog in some cases) about how much better their science would be in they took X or Y into account. The most popular target seems to be Craig Venter, of the human genome and Global Ocean Survey fame. Sure, he's a narcissist and yes, it's a bad idea to only sample the world's oceans at 2m, but we know this and I can't take rehashing it again. The most prominent offenders are almost always people who use the massive amounts of data Venter has been a force in creating, in their own work. Could it be a better resources? Probably, but I find myself feeling like I'm talking to people who don't vote but complain about politicians. If you don't like it, do something about it and stop complaining to me.
Can we institute some sort of licensing for the use of AV projection equipment that needs to be renewed every couple of years? It could be like a diver's license, where one would have to show functionality with the equipment at first, but then occasionally re-demonstrate their ability to use said equipment safely. After the age of 55, maybe it's important to demonstrate this more regularly, so that you don't get up in front of an audience and cause some massive technology pile-up. No! Don't hit the "black screen" button and then look bewildered for 30 seconds before a grad student fixes it, again!
Like I said last night, this isn't my crowd. What has been really interesting is the importance of lineage in this group. "Who did you work with?" is a regular question if the information isn't volunteered early in conversation (often it is). I can't figure out if I'm noticing this more because I don't know a lot of these people or if this behavior is indeed, unlike the circles I normally travel in, but there is no question there is huge importance on who knows who here. If someone's supervisor is not quickly recognized, a long explanation ensues to place the person's supervisor in the greater context of the field. This is curious behavior to me, but I suspect fairly common.