Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Conference

Currently, most people are off in Green Point for the mid-conference excursion. I am sitting here doing some much needed email catch-up, as well as just generally getting some actual work done [and by work, I mean ordering of new vials]. The conference has been going reasonably well. Yesterday we ended up running an hour late, but we kept to time today. A number of papers were very interesting, surprisingly, this included one on rock art. Generally I'm not overly fond of rock art as it's not really useful [it doesn't tell us anything, except that at some point someone painted pictures on the rock - we can't tie it to anything, it annoys me intensely].
JG & JW gave a very interesting paper on rock art digitisation that was well put together and full of pretty pictures. Of course, it didn't go into any sort of interpretation of rock art, it was talking about ways of using digitisations to study and possibly restore rock art sites.
JS gave a very interesting paper on isotopic stuff, looking at herders in the southern Cape. Also on isotopes, was MM's paper involving reconstructed diet of people from the Kalahari [specifically looking at the difference between people buried very close to the Okavango River and people buried further away].
It was, however, LR & TM's paper at the very end of the day [or the conference, that is, there was another, public lecture afterwards] that I found most interesting, for two reasons. They were talking about the formation of the African Forensic Anthropology Team , why it's important and what they're doing. They were also looking for more people with more diverse skills to get involved. Button and I have both spoken to them about this [my sister is very excited]. The other reason that their talk was so fascniating to me is because it involved a picture of a freezer mill. Apparently it's the same model as ours, but about 8-10 years younger. The freezer mill is at UWC, but I'll be getting in touch with them about getting access to it soonish.
Today, there were two very interesting talks about radiocarbon dating. TR's was in relation to finding proxies to use for the dating of rock art [which if we could do it, would make rock art actually useful]. SP & GD were talking about whether or not there needs to be calibration in the Late Holocene [there does] and how to do it [more data - we need more data].
WB's talk about teeth was interesting - I thought she did very well. Even though I don't know too much about teeth.

And then, of course, there was the most important talk of all. Mine. Apparently it went very well. Considering that the exact same talk [give or take a couple of words] took 7 minutes on Monday evening, I was a little worried. Button tells me that I made 11 minutes. This surprises me, as I didn't see the '5 minutes' sign go up, but perhaps she was just so enthralled by what I was saying she lost track of time. Everyone seems to be fascinated and I've had a number of people telling me that they want to talk to me in more detail about it. It's very exciting.

Afterwards, while chatting to various people, DM came up to me and informed me that we were distantly related. I have discussed the matter with my sister, who is more aware of all that genealogical stuff than I am. It was most curious, especially since TC has been talking about him for ages. Button was also talking to him because he's very knowledgeable and important.

There's not much other news, since I missed my game in favour of the conference [and it sounds as if Yaeji is very lucky - although, I imagine Kamenosuke is too clever to go around hugging untrustworthy women when Ishie's around]. The only other thing going on is packing. There was a rather monumental 'discard'. A whole bunch of jewellery I don't like and never wear is being given away [along with other things I've been given that I detest] and a large amount of clothes are boxed, to go sit in my cupboard at my parents' house for 6 months before someone quietly gets rid of them without me noticing. On that - why do people give other people such horrendous things? I have friends who, having known me a couple of years, give me nice jewellery that I actually like and have worn fairly regularly. Then I have friends I've known for a very long time, who give me absolutely hideous stuff that I will never ever wear and prefer to pretend I don't own. Why is this? Why do people who profess to be my best friend [I'm sorry, isn't that my choice?] completely fail to understand the kind of person I am and the sort of jewellery, etc, that I'd like?
On a similar note, why do people keep giving me hand cream? I don't use it and I have enough to last me for several years. So, seriously, stop with the hand cream already.

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