Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Canadian Astronauts, Nobel Economists

Continuing my WorldCon diaries, there were some pretty prestigious performers:

20:00 (That’s 8:00 pm)

Canadian Astronaut and Member of Parliament, Mark Garneau, gave the keynote for the opening ceremonies. He mentioned Ursula K. LeGuin’s The Left Hand of Darkness, a book I read once upon a time after another ebullient recommendation. I don’t remember it much at all, other than that it wasn’t my favorite.

The entertainer was Sabrina Argonier, a contortionist in a hula hoop, a very strong hula hoop, she was all over inside and out of that thing, on the ground and suspended in the air. The “Guests of Honor” were introduced, including Élisabeth Vonarburg who’s birthday apparently is today and Neil Gaiman, who gave a three minute impromptu prepared speech.

Paul Krugman and Charles Stross in Conversation.

This started out with the “where’s my flying car?” discussion, but included some other interesting points, like that the “Military Industrial Complex” has been supplanted, or joined, by the “Communications Complex”: telcos and intelligence agencies and what not. Another was that somewhere in the past 30 – 50 years people getting rich switched methodology from “Wealth Creation” (Carnegie, Rockefeller, etc.) to “Wealth Concentration” (Warren Buffet, Bernie Madoff, etc.)

Walked on the street from the Palais des Congres to the Delta Centreville Hotel and a party for Vonarburg (let there be cake). “What’s this knot of 20 or so people out front of the Intercontinental Hotel?” I asked myself enroute. “Oh, there’s Neil Gaiman (so it’s his crowd); and he’s doing introductions! ‘This is Karen Somebody, Karen, this is So-and-so.’ Poor lucky bastard (meaning Neil).”

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