Due South, December 2020
Howdy, y’all. As I write this, it’s late October here in South Texas, and we finally had our first fall-like temperatures (for Texas) with highs around 20°C (as opposed to mid-30s).
I hope you are keeping well in these strange times. I’m really missing Tim Hortons, and it doesn’t look like we Yanks are going to be allowed into the Great White North (cue Doug McKenzie singing the SCTV theme song) anytime soon. In July, Texas was the epicentre of the US COVID-19 pandemic. Things have improved somewhat here, but they are worsening elsewhere in the US.
Health Physics Society (HPS) Annual Meeting
The Health Physics Society (HPS) cancelled the in-person meeting that was scheduled for July and pivoted to an online version using the GoToMeeting platform. The event was unique in that it was divided up into several three-hour chunks scattered from early September through late October. Most sessions were recorded so they could be viewed asynchronously.
Overall, it was a good opportunity to earn some continuing-education points. Attendance was much higher as the registration cost was about half of the normal in-person price.
Some drawbacks included illegible slides (or maybe I just need to buy a larger computer monitor), and questions from the audience had to be typed out and then read by a moderator.
All in all, it was not too bad of an experience. I really enjoyed the three-hour timeframe; I find that is about my upper limit for Zoom-type events.
Upcoming HPS Meetings
Check the HPS website for upcoming meetings. The next scheduled annual meeting will be in Phoenix, AZ, July 25 to 29, 2021. If this meeting occurs in-person, daytime temperatures above 40°C are virtually guaranteed, but “it’s a dry heat,” as the Arizonians say.
State of Texas HPS Chapter Student Meeting
My home chapter, the State of Texas Chapter, cancelled its two scheduled in-person meetings for the year. They pivoted to a virtual all-day meeting in late September (also using GoToMeeting). The meeting had no theme, just topics presented by available speakers. A couple of students gave talks, but we had well below the normal 20 or so talks. I prefer the three-hour upper limit for virtual events.
Sasky Pack Update
As you might imagine, Sasky didn’t travel much this year, but we did manage to drive five hours to the south. This photo was taken on South Padre Island, which is very near the mouth of the Rio Grande. The river also serves as the Texas–Mexico border.
In the photo, Sasky is lounging on the balcony overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. Hopefully Sasky will be able to do more extensive travelling in 2021.
(“Sasky” is what Scott affectionately calls the backpack he received when he attended the CRPA annual conference in Saskatoon in 2017.)