Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Caring for the Land and Serving People IV

I'm at the HJ Andrews Experimental Forest for a meeting of scientists from 3 research stations and land managers from several regions of the Forest Service. The purpose of the meeting is to put together a video short course about climate change and how it might affect forests across the western US. The HJ Andrews is a beautiful place with a great meeting facility. The meeting room has windows (!) and when breaks come around I can walk outside and be in old growth forest in a couple minutes.

It's interesting to listen to the talks given at this oasis in the woods. Lots of top notch science. Science that has been going on for a quarter-century sort of sub rosa. Sort of because the world's scientific community knew about it, but it wasn't de rigueur for the government.

Meetings have changed a lot in those 25 years. There's no sound of slides dropping into a Carousel projector. Slides now fly into the screen from the left, dissolve into checkerboards, float in spirals, and do all sorts of other weird things. Half the people today had laptops on the table (Are they really tabletops? Mine is too hot to hold on my lap), taking notes, revising talks, checking emails, surfing the web. The whole Experimental Forest compound is bathed in wireless internet, even though there is no cell phone service. The speakers are recorded with a digital camera directly to a computer. The talks recorded today will be seen around the world tomorrow.

I guess change is global and real.

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