Thursday, August 4th, 2005 - Glasgow

This was the first day of the convention but it started quite relaxed with my first panel being at 12:30. This meant I could sleep in a bit before heading over to the SECC (and grabbing a bite to eat along the way).

It is the 63rd World Science Fiction Convention. For your information, I will indicate each day what panels I attended and some brief observations. I think they were all interesting…Between panels I would browse through the “dealers room” where a number of booksellers, magazines sellers, etc, etc had set-up stalls selling all manner of SF material.

Glasgow Convention Centre (SECC) and Moat House Hotel

Convention Items Attended

Time Description Comment
12:30 Reading - Joe Haldeman I have always enjoyed Joe's work. In this case he was reading from his new novel “Old Twentieth” which is an interesting take on the future eugenics wars and what the survivors do for entertainment…Also a bit bloody and hard-hitting which makes his works that much more interesting to read.
14:00 The Limits of Open-Source Knowledge This panel focused in on the idea of “if information can be provided by anyone, what is it's value?” particularly talking about WikiPedia, the Internet encyclopaedia that anyone (literally) can update. It was an interesting conversation but led me to think that this is not all that different from what happens now with the information we receive from newspapers, television and magazines – A few people provide their version of “truth”. Who is to say that what someone puts on WikiPedia is any less valuable than that? It was agreed that there is some merit to the idea that the source of information actually attaches value to the information so, something coming from a (perceived) “reliable” source is more valuable than something from somewhere else. Interesting indeed.
17:00 Physics and Astrophysics Year in Review A panel that brought up various topics of interest in the field of physics and astrophysics (though they tended to be biased towards the later). In short: there are a lot of things going on particularly in long-range telescope exploration of the universe (including the discovery of planets).
18:00 The Digital Divide
19:00 You Can't Copyright My DNA, Can You? This was an interesting panel in that it showed the differences in copyright law between the US and Europe. Interestingly it seems that the European laws seem to be set-up a bit more flexibly to allow new discoveries to be used but in US the big pharmaceutical companies are far more protective. My understanding was that the method can be patented (in the EU) but not the discovery. It was also good to have an EU copyright lawyer on the panel which made sure that we were on the right track in our discussions…The US sounds particularly scary when it comes to this sort of thing.
22:00 I'm Sorry I Haven't an SFing Clue A quiz show that tested the Science Fiction knowledge of the various panelists (who had all had a bit to drink). I was not all that impressed…

We attended a couple of parties tonight but not a lot going on this night. There are far more parties in the coming days.

⇒ Continue to Friday, August 5th, 2005 - Glasgow