It’s that time of the year! Linucon 2 — a joint Linux and science fiction convention — is upon us! After spending a frustrated half an hour trying to find the Austin Ambassador hotel, I made it to the opening ceremony.
As in the last year’s Linucon, liquid nitrogen ice cream is a star in this one too. It has already accrued a layer of lore. Chase Hoffman, the convention chair, says that when he ran a convention in Dallas not long ago, the convention shared the hotel with FEMA workers. When Chase brought a can of liquid nitrogen into the hotel, the hotel employees thought it was a giant keg, so they didn’t mind. Then the FEMA saw them and yelled: “Why are you carrying dangerous chemicals around?” Chase replied: “To make ice cream.” “To make WHAAAT?” Chase then told them about the art of making of ice cream with liquid nitrogen. The FEMA guys said, but you realize that the nitrogen vapor will push all the oxygen out of the room and you’ll die? I didn’t catch Chase’s reply, but anyway… I think he reassured them that they knew what they were doing.
He told another liquid nitrogen story at the Linucon closing ceremony. At the end of a convention in Dallas (perhaps the same one?), he had to decide what to do with the unused liquid nitrogen. He didn’t want to drive it back to Austin in the front seat of his car (apparently no other arrangement was possible) just in case it splashes. He said he was already an ugly man (though I disagree), and he didn’t want to make himself even uglier by having his skin slough off. And the parking lot at the convention hotel was conveniently empty. So he thought he would dump the remaining liquid nitrogen right there. He started to do that. This, however, is not an inconspicuous action, as it generates lots of impressive vapor. Suddenly the hotel guard (or something) comes out running, yelling, “what the hell is that?” “Really cold water.” The guard didn’t believe that at first, but as he saw the stuff evaporating on the scorching hot pavement, he mumbled, “hmm. Cold water.” and went back inside.
I brought E to Linucon, and that lead to some amusing moments. If you nurse a baby in a convention room, it confuses people. They poke their heads into the room, immediately assume that they are in the wrong place, and walk away. Linux, science fiction, and… nursing babies? The cognitive dissonance is just too much.
Rob Landley (with his back to the camera) and a guy who called himself Big O are testing a can of liquid nitrogen, which will be used to make ice cream and to do other neat things with food — e.g. freeze coffee or strawberries.
Howard Tayler in the Artists’ Alley, where he was drawing caricatures.
Stu Green, who used to be in Austin Linux Group years ago, and Cathy Raymond, wife of Eric Raymond, who was one of Linucon 2005 guests.