Floor 13 and the Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting

October 14, 2016

When the neuroscientists in my audience show up in San Diego next month for the Annual Meeting, they will not be assigned a room on Floor 13 of their hotel. How do I know this? Because in the US of A we are so frickin’ superstitious about a number that we mis-number hotel floors. Oh, there will be people on the 13th floor of hotels all right, it is just that we call it the 14th floor.

Because, reasons.

A notification of poster locations came out today from the SFN and it provides the convenient navigational advice about how to locate the boards for a given poster assignment.

Hall B: Poster Rows AAA-OOO

I didn’t think that much about this until a tweep noted that assignment to any of the boards in section KKK raised an eyebrow.

Is it a little thing? Yeah, it probably is. Is it silly? No, not if it bothers anyone.

But what I take away from this is yet another reminder that there are probably very few black people in the Society for Neuroscience in any sort of position to notice this sort of business in advance and say “hey, maybe we can just skip KKK like the way a hotel skips floor 13?”.

I dunno. Maybe I’m just sensitized because we have a main stream Republican candidate for President of the United States who is overtly courting the vote of the KKK.

12 Responses to “Floor 13 and the Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting”

  1. qaz Says:

    Is there a row KKK? I can’t find the floor plan maps anywhere to find out.

    But I remember that at baseball games when fans would put up K’s for strikeout pitchers, they’d put the third K in the fourth position so it would say “K” to “KK” to “KK K” to “KKKK”. I don’t know if they still do.


  2. drugmonkey Says:

    Huh. I didn’t know baseball fans were that aware


  3. Draino Says:

    I always skip KKK when I’m putting together panels for my figures.


  4. DJMH Says:

    It’s gross, and it’s easy to fix. There’s no reason not to; even at this date, they could just redub it something cheeky like “3K” or “K^3” and not have to change anything else.


  5. Jonathan Badger Says:

    I pretty sure it is pretty customary already to skip “embarrassing” 3-letter combinations like “ASS” and “FUK”, so adding one more doesn’t seem hard.


  6. Grumble Says:

    Why should a bunch of dumbasses hiding in bedsheets own those three letters? I say SFN should take KKK back and use them proudly.


  7. Zuska Says:

    That’s a nice thought Grumble but SfN doesn’t have the cultural capital to redefine KKK. When a term or word or phrase has a social/cultural existence, meaning, history, and significance, you can’t just wave a wand and undo all of that. Meanings do evolve and change over time of course but it seems unlikely that KKK will ever sound innocuous in the foreseeable future.

    I like the idea of something like K^3 – it actually does several things at once. Acknowledges the racist taint of KKK and mocks it with nerd humor. Much better than silent shamefacedly skipping the letters – “too awful to see the light of day”.

    Make it even better & add three short bios & pics of scientists whose last names start w/K to the row marker sign.

    Send a memo to the organizing committee. It’s not too late for them to do something!!!


  8. dsks Says:

    ”Definitely do away with it, completely inappropriate, of course. It’s not like anybody in this racket can be accused of profiting from the exploitation of cheap labor while entertaining the fervent belief in one’s ultimate intellectual supremacy over all the other bums and drifters stinking up the funding study sections . Not us, no!” scoffed the cynic. ;P


  9. qaz Says:

    Welp, I just checked the meeting planner, and there is a row KKK.



  10. Anon Says:

    I’m in row KKK 😦


  11. jmz4 Says:

    You should go and glue all the posters to create an hypercube (k-cube), lock the organizers in the room, and then find someone to lecture about n-dimensional geometries until their brains explode.


  12. Bagger Vance Says:

    “overtly courting the vote “
    [citation needed]

    srsly, even you must realize the KKK is a ghost, at most a couple thousand LARPers and a contrived distraction from real issues and solutions.


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