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Cafe Scientifique

Revolution Cafe & Bar is starting monthly Cafe Scientifique meetings. We went to the first one last night, which was pretty entertaining if not well organized. Basically, the idea is that someone will give an informal talk of around twenty minutes on something going on in science and technology--in this case an anthropology professor gave a talk on "the evolution of cooperation" among this group of island clans somewhere who were also whalers (I was distracted by a really cute dog border collie who kept wandering around the room so probably didn't pay as close attention as I should've). Then there was about an hour of informal Q&A and discussion from allcomers, but unfortunately the last twenty minutes degenerated into anti-war anti-Cheney snarks which the moderator should have put a stop to. I'm all for snarking, but during a science talk I'd really like to hear more about what "kin selection" is and the role of game theory in corporate determinations and other stuff I don't quite get. Though I understand that basically all the town's liberals were in one room and we were all frustrated with fuckin' Texas, but still, Science, people!!

At any rate I really like the idea and setup, particularly if the organizers can get their act together. I was annoyed that after the intro, one advertised that they had calendars with their schedules of speakers, and when I went to get a couple since I was sitting with like five people, she got all twitchy and said she wanted them back when we were done with them. ?? I *think* the next talk is Nov. 20, but what a way to advertise!

The whole thing reminds me of the philosophical salons that were popular from the 1600s-1800s. I once read an interesting book on salon culture and think it's a really cool way for the Vox Populi to gather steam.

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