Overhead and down below

I’ve just been catching up on a few of the posts on cosmic variance. Of course their blog is a complete swizz because there are several contributors, which is obviously cheating. However they do manage to cover a lot of ground and provoke a lot of discussion.

One recent theme which has extended over several posts concerns John McCain’s complaints about the cost of an “overhead projector” (about $3M) at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago. Of course this is no ordinary OHP, but a wonderful “Sky Theater” for which the price tag seems actually rather modest.

Of course I could complain about the spelling of “Theater” or the refusal to use the proper plural for planetarium but it would be completely unlike me to go on about such things. Instead, I thought I’d meditate on the theme of old-fashioned proper overheard projectors.

Most people use powerpoint for lectures and conference talks these days, but it’s not long ago that we all seemed to use transparencies (“viewgraphs”) to be placed on the OHP. I was relatively late to switch to powerpoint, but got the hang of it quite quickly having decided to do so. I have, however, resisted the temptation for annoying gimmicky animations and sounds in favour of a plainer minimalist style that draws appropriate attention to the extraordinary level of my verbal eloquence. *Cough*

Powerpoint also means that I’ll never have to suffer the embarrassment I once endured at an international conference (which shall remain nameless). Giving the first talk of the morning session, I turned up with a neat stack of transparencies that I’d carefully written out in my hotel room the night before the talk.

As the audience settled down and the chairperson introduced my talk, I took the first slide and placed it carefully on the glass top of the projector. For maximum impact, I didn’t switch on the light until I was ready to speak. My first slide had just the title of my talk and little else in the way of text or pictures. When I was sure everyone was paying attention, I hit the switch and the light came on. I knew this pause would ensure everyone would be looking. I turned around to glance at the screen and check it was all in focus.

Brightly illuminated, perfectly focussed, projected to an enormous size and plain for all to see, was a single shocking and inexplicable pubic hair.

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4 Responses to “Overhead and down below”

  1. glmackie Says:

    sometimes I almost roll of my chair laughing “ROFL”

  2. “Brightly illuminated, perfectly focussed, projected to an enormous size and plain for all to see, was a single shocking and inexplicable pubic hair.”

    Please remember to shave and shower before preparing your talk in your lonely hotel room.

    I was once at a conference where a speaker had to cancel because he had broken his arm skiing. It was thus obvious to all that his plan was to write the transparencies the night before his talk.

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