In contrast to that, most of the talks here at SciFoo are semi-prepared. It's thus somewhat different to the SciBar Camp I attended in March in Toronto, where at least all sessions I went were completely unprepared up to the point that the person proposing it said I don't know what to do, lets just talk about something. The result were sort of group-therapy session that though nice were almost content free. The SciBar camp thus struck me as an intermingling event meant to make connections. Which isn't bad if you're looking for that kind of thing.
Here, the sessions are all one hour, and there's either one or a few people who give a brief talk (with or without slides) followed by an extended discussion. It works very well - I haven't witnesses a single instant of somebody trying to show off with some unrelated explanation nobody was interested in. A lot of people add experiences from other fields. There is a substantial amount of science meta-talk here, i.e. questions of how science works, or how its relation is to the public. Some people have brought demos like science toys and there's some interesting looking sports cars in the yard, plus a car with wings, no seriously (see terrafugia.com). Being here is as exciting as inspiring.
We're surrounded by a group of very efficient Google-employees who take care of anything. Their average age seems to be in the twenties, probably people working here just don't grow up. Another thing that is remarkable is that though here is a free wireless throughout the whole building, indeed very few people use their laptops during the sessions, and those who do are taking notes as far as I can see. Here is a photo of the camp:
For some more photos, see Mario's blog.
More about yesterday's sessions later.