I have occasionally attended meetings of genetic societies in hopes of stirring up interest and making contacts.  I have longed to present my data in a platform talk.  It seems to me that this has the advantage of either drawing a valid challenge or pointing out that there appears to be no valid challenge.  One on one generally results in a person staring at me and then walking away, presumable wishing he or she had never been collared. 

The meeting of the American Society of Human Genetics had been recommended to me.  Many of the meetings are clinical in tone taking a greater interest in the occurrence, nature, appearance and treatment of genetic diseases.  This meeting I am told is more scientific in tone, taking a relatively greater interest into causes and scientific principles.  That’s my interest of course.  Accordingly I arranged to go to the meeting in San Francisco this November, and goaded by my wish to make a platform presentation, a talk, or at least to be able to present a poster, I worked up some new material with my trusty computer, taking a slightly different theoretical line from before and gauging the results.  I managed to show a similar effect within the new theoretical framework and although I could demonstrate at least one effect I had never demonstrated before, the overall mechanism seemed to require some unrealistic assumptions so that I have concluded that it does not represent nature as well as the earlier model.  At least I leaned something. 

This took months of work, square yards of source code taped to the walls, hours spent punching in parameters, following time courses and averaging results with the calculator function of the computer’s operating system.  I never ask a computer to do anything I could do myself.  I always have this sense of unreliability about them since I have burnt out so many and on at least one occasion had a very embarrassing error made.  It was the computer’s error.  It just pooped on the parapet.  My problem was that I believed it without sufficiently repeating the results with slight alterations in the parameters. 

I had thought that the deadline for submitting an abstract was in September, so the end of August seemed like a good deadline to get my material worked out and begin on an abstract.  I made it with a couple of days to spare and had the abstract half written.  I consulted the meeting web site to see just how much longer I had.

The deadline had been in June. 

Expletive deleted.  Actually I didn’t lose my composure.  I shrugged the disaster off with a faint smile.  If there is one thing I’ve become accustomed to it is failure. 

Some day soon I shall make up my mind as to whether to go to the meeting at all.

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