That is to say I still don't understand all the aspects of the problem. In fact, I am even more confused now. There's nothing as great as explaining why a problem is or isn't a problem without explaining the problem. I had been counting on Andreas Albrecht's talk, but he changed the topic and talked about something completely different (I forgot what). I will tell you some details about the talks I kept in good memory maybe next week, e.g. Gia Dvali's talk was really neat, and besides giving a very entertaining presentation Paul Davies made some interesting points.
At the workshop, I further met the inimitable Mike Kavic from Virgina who wants me to mention him "in a favorable light", and doesn't want me to mention he found at least one of the speakers on the panel discussion must have been drunk, so I won't. He reported from a dinner (which I unfortunately missed but couldn't have afforded anyhow) that another workshop speaker had sufficient drinks to underline arguments by throwing with rolls. See, some academics know how to deal with temporary withdrawal from their guilty pleasures, like new texbooks and other illegal substances.
The photo below shows the view from the New York Academy of Sciences where the workshop was held, 7 World Trade Center, 250 Greenwich Street, 40th floor
Since it was my first time in NYC, I stayed a day longer to do some of the tourist stuff etc. In the morning I had received an email from D. who wrote me she went into a bookstore, saw Lee Smolin's book, bought the book, did a Google search, came on my blog, my website, and found the link to my gallery is broken. After we exchanged some emails about this and that, it turned out she lives in Manhattan, and was about to go to the library - while I was in the Museum of Modern Arts just across the street. So I was lucky to have a local tourist guide for the afternoon, and quite an interesting discussion in addition. She also took the photo below, in front of the ice rink at Rockefeller Center
Yesterday I unfortunately missed my flight back to Toronto due to a series of mishappenings caused by my own stupidity and my inability to understand the announcements in the train. Next to me sat a guy who talked to himself all the time, and didn't look like a reliable source of information. Across me sat a black women with a pile of leaflets featuring suspiciously happily smiling people. Upon my question how I get to JFK she said she don't know nothin sista, but if I give her 5 bucks she'd pray for me. Well, maybe I should have done that because the result was I had to sit around at JFK for the rest of the day, where I spent an awful amount of time trying to recall my t-mobile password.
But the most fun was the US border post who checked my documents. He flipped through the expired US visas in my passport: "If you don't mind me asking, miss, what field is it you have your doctorate in?" - "Physics," I said, "Theoretical physics." He made big eyes and said: "Ooooh, theological physics, you must be really smart then."