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Posted at 01:09 PM ET, 02/18/2012

Science everywhere

I’m in the Aging Brain seminar at the AAAS meeting in Vancouver, and really should be Exhibit A. They should call me up front, open my skull, shine flashlights inside and show how this particular brain needs new spark plugs. At the very least an oil change.

(Bulletin: The guy on stage says overeating is a risk factor for brain diseases later in life. This talk is a reminder that food is poison. Food kills. “Health food” is an oxymoron. The only thing I eat is raw kale, and then just one individual leaf, unsalted, choked down with distilled water while I pedal the exercise bike. Caloric restriction: Catch the fever.)

Science meetings are tricky: There are lots of concurrent sessions, and you don’t want to get stuck in one that is completely incomprehensible when there’s another, right next door, that’s merely befuddling. There’s just so much to choose from. Next I’m going to a session on catastrophes and resilience. They’re going to talk about the tsunami and the oil spill, topics that I know a little bit about (which will be an unfamiliar feeling).

Last night I emceed the AAAS Kavli awards for science journalism. Lots of great journalism honored — it made me want to be a science writer when I grew up. The series by the reporters at the Milkwaukee Journal Sentinel, “One in a billion,” won in the large-newspaper category, and I found it compelling. If you start reading it you’ll need to set aside some time, because you won’t be able to stop.

Vancouver is spectacular, when not completely submerged by moisture. When the air clears you notice that we’re in the mountains here, but also by a working Pacific harbor, with giant ships coming in, and patrol boats, and seaplanes landing. The convention center is amazing, and so spacious that as I walk around I feel like I’ve shrunk, that I’m a tiny person again in a strangely vast world. The walls are made of glowing wood from what I’m told are sustainable forests. If it would stop raining I’d go look for redwood trees, which supposedly can be found in the park just down the road. (Though why do I suspect I’ll just go to the Starbucks across from my hotel?)

By  |  01:09 PM ET, 02/18/2012

 
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