Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Chicagoland for ICAAC

Well its four days of fun and science in Chicago for the 47th Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, or ICAAC for short. I got in early last night on a United flight (757) that was effortless and actually ten minutes ahead of schedule. I am normally a Southwest flier, but I guess United is the Federal Government contractor. Very impressive. I can only hope the return trip is equally uneventful (Airbus).

I really love this town, or at least the safe and clean downtown areas accessible to the convention goer. I guess I am a bit jilted by the war zones back east (Philly, DC, etc.) where most normal family people live in the burbs and and only the nut cases, wealthy, and Diplomaggots live in the downtown areas. Chicago is packed with all sorts of ordinary people. There are apartment and condo towers everywhere. Perhaps it is my agrarian Virginia up-bringing, but there is just something different about people in the heartland and I think that is reflected here in the Chicago population. Of course this could all be an alternate convention reality that could only be confirmed by living here for an extended period.

Now to ICAAC. This is a very large meeting and I've written about past ones on the Medicine Vault. Just about everyone who is anybody in the realm of infectious disease and antimicrobial chemotherapy comes to this meeting. It is an interesting mix of discovery scientists, clinicians, and pharmaceutical development types. It also seems to be a major American vacation excuse for Europeans and Asians. The Asians can't speak English for shit making their talks particularly painful to sit through, and the Europeans (or at least the infectious disease scientists) have impeccable English skills but are some of the rudest people I've come across. These are the guys who are supposed to have invented kindergarten right? You would think they would understand the basic concept of waiting in line for shuttle buses, not running over people, keeping some level of situational awareness (even though I didn't see too many of them plugged-in to IPods) and have rudimentary manners or home training. About the only thing I can say for them is that on average they have a very low level of obesity. Of course this could be a by-product of being in the scientific class which on average seems to be a bit more health conscious. Scientifically they appear to be a bit dim, particularly the British.

After day one, the meeting looks to be a snooze. Judging from the abstracts, it doesn't appear that 2007 will be a year for major product launches or discoveries. Most of this meeting will be an opportunity for me to stay in touch with the network. I hope to take tomorrow afternoon off for a few hours at the Field Museum primarily to see the Tsavo Lions. These two cats are credited with hunting down and eating nearly 140 Indian laborers in east Africa in 1898. I've also come across a very nice Oktoberfest lager from the J. Leinenkugel Brewery in Chippewa Falls Wisconsin. When in Rome.................


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