Saturday, May 26, 2012

DISC 12 London (24 May)

There were some last minute changes to my itinerary (at my insistence) headed into London.  The original plan was to fly into Heathrow airport, yet the DISC venue and hotel were at Gatwick airport., and the flight to Aberdeen for the next DISC was to be from Heathrow.  Well, getting between Heathrow and Gatwick has been a nightmare for 30 years... the options are: $200 taxi ride (or more), 1 hour bus or 1.5 hours on the tube and train all the while schlepping heavy luggage.  This was all fixed by changing my flights from Milan and to Aberdeen to go through Gatwick.  Thank you SEG for seeing the logic in my argument.


The London DISC was held at a very nice venue in the Sofitel Hotel at Gatwick N. Terminal.  We had 51 in attendance, bringing total worldwide attendance to about 600.  As usual, the major point of discussion was the value of Q --- intrinsic v apparent, Q for processing v Q for modeling, etc. I am still thinking about it all.  Very interesting.

One of the attendees found a bug (thank you, please step forward and identify yourself) in Chapter 5 Figure 12 of the DISC book.  It is detailed here.

About Town

London is one of my favorite towns, especially since living there in 1980-81.  The first day was a hook-up with my old buddy Ian Webster at Victoria station.  But the trains were delayed and the place was filled with 5000 agitated commuters.  It took us an hour to find each other, but then we had a nice beer on the south bank of the Thanes along with a few thousand other folks.  We finished up for dinner at his local pub The Balham Bowls Club (BBC).  The next day, my daughter Samantha (a nuclear engineer working near Toronto) flew in for a visit.  At ian's suggestion, we headed away from the scrum of central London and went to Brighton on the south coast.  This is a great little seaside resort that for a few days a year (like the one we saw) is warm enough to get people out on the rocky beach.  The Brighton seawall stretches for a few miles and at its base are a long succession of outdoor-seating pubs, cafes and various oddities.  Here is a photo of me with an oddity:

I am told it is a lobster.

Our other interesting activities included a performance of Agatha Christie's The Mousetrap and a visit to the London Dungeon (Sam's idea, but I enjoyed it).

But I have to say the biggest thrill of all (for me) was the coincidence of being in London during the Antiquarian Book Fair.  I went to this once back in the 1980s and here was my second chance.  Sam went along and even pretended to enjoy it.  We saw a $190K Copernicus, a series of four beautiful world wall maps from the early 1500s (only $500K for the set), and a $25K first edition Harry Potter.  My tastes are a bit more modest, I picked up two  nice first editions; The Little Sister by Raymond Chandler (1949) and a 1952 history of British Golf.

One happy book collector.

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