Came to Baltimore to present a paper at a conference. Baltimore remained this city which I always drove through, on I-95 up and down, never bothering to stop. From the highway, the city looks rundown with the industrial section dominated by ugly looking tankers anchored at the harbor. In my own biased mind, Baltimore ranked way up there with Detroit as the city of murders and robbery. I had a friend who went to Johns Hopkins Medical School in the early 90s. He did his residency in the ER (like our Spiffy friend). Stories of gunshot wounds in scary Baltimore deeply ingrained back in my mind. I thought what’s up with the conference organizers this year? Would anybody sane organize a conference at Baltimore?
The downtown today looked awesome during the sunny day. Actually there’s a beautiful skywalk followed by a boardwalk to the harbor. The day was sunny and bright, and even the dark corners of Baltimore lit up. The hotels are humming, the malls and the Pratt St restaurants looked busy, and the convention center was packed with audience. I took a walk to eat at a seafood place called Rusty..it had a great view of the waters. It was dark when I trudged back to the hotel. Nobody mugged me nor did I run into a street ruffian who was looking to rob me. Am I ashamed of my illogical prejudices?
The morning plenary session had this really boring gentleman who rambled for 45 minutes about his Nanotechnology initiative office. What I really learnt was that this DC office was created in 2003 and it was yet another unfunded empty rhetoric of the Bush administration for science and research. His office had no powers to distribute funds. However he justified the taxpayer funded existence by claiming his office coordinates NN funding between all federal agencies. What BS claim is that? This dude was followed by a gentleman from Cornell U. who was going all gaga over bio/green composites. Fascinating stuff. However the research is still green, miles to go before we leap. And it still does not take into account the land that will be used for farming for parts of the bio-composites and the heavy machinery usage that would lead to more carbon footprint as well. There’s a lot more going on in the area of automated process manufacturing of composites. Obama’s green speech and the automobile fuel mileage benchmarks are going to provide a huge fillip to the lightweight material manufacturing market as the automotives move away from metals. But then I don’t know much about car industry. The commercial aircraft industry is finally catching up with the military aircraft in terms of application of lightweight composites. So here’s a booming industry in the making.
Tomorrow I still need to present the paper and my slides are not done. Well I’m off to sleep, tomorrow is tomorrow, it is just another day..