Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Secret Science Club, After Action Report

Last night's lecture was primarily about perception, not vision per se. Ben Backus' loverly assistant handed out dark gray filters to attendees for a demonstration of the Pulfrich effect, and Dr. Backus gave a quick overview of the visual cortex, with particular emphasis on the V5/MT region. He also provided a program of videos, with which to illustrate precepts of perception, and explained how perception can be changed using variable visual cues.

The highlight of the night, though, was meeting frequent "Sadly No" commenter N__B and his lovely wife. I have to confess that N__B is bigger than the bastard (I am of strictly average height for a North American male, though thick, broad, and girthsome, while N__B is decidedly taller than is the norm). While conversing over pints of Six Points brewery's Winter Ale, I discovered that N__B is a consulting engineer on an expansion project being undertaken by one of my employers, so we know some folks in common. As Stephen Wright would put it, "It's a small world, but I wouldn't want to paint it."

After the lecture, local band La Strada played a set. I enjoyed their sound (tight vocal harmonies, accordion, violin, and cello in addition to the more traditional rock-n-roll lineup) enough to purchase a CD for eight bucks. Talking to a couple of band members, I found out that they will be embarking on a tour of Canada. They come across as a really nice bunch, and I wish them success.

Finally, Secret Science Club co-host Dorian Devins informed me that she will be singing at Gizzi's Coffee in Greenwich Village tomorrow night. I hope to be able to attend, but I have a family obligation that may not wrap up in time. If hearing an amazing woman sing standards for a crowd of interesting people while drinking quality coffee is your thing, you should check out her performance. As an added bonus, Gizzi's isn't too far from Mamoun's, should you need an after-performance falafel fix.

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