Daily Archives: March 28, 2014

Have a Great Weekend

And for the 1000th Triffid Ranch posting, have some music.

All-Con 2014: The Aftermath – 2

All-Con tyrannosaur

This year, in addition to the usual vending appearance, I was invited to suggest possible panels and lectures for the convention. Last year’s general lecture on carnivorous plants was so successful that I was asked to reprise it for Thursday night, but Friday night was special. This year was the first public test of the ultraviolet laser array I put together to view the fluorescence in various carnivores, and it worked even better than I’d suspected. Some of the most UV-fluorescent species in my collection were still in winter dormancy, such as the various Sarracenia, but enough tropicals were out to make up for it. Among other things, we all observed that not only does the wax on the inside of Brocchinia bromeliads fluoresce, as I already knew, but that the plant has distinct bands in UV that are impossible to see in visible light.

All-Con 2014

The real surprise? I had one Mexican butterwort, Pinguicula moctezumae, in the middle of an early bloom. I knew from experience with other butterworts that this one’s trapping surfaces wouldn’t fluoresce, but the attending audience still got to see the slight fluorescence from chlorophyll, like the last light from formerly red-hot steel. However, its sole flower fluoresces like a sign, with a distinctive white stripe in the upper portion of the bloom apparently intended to attract hummingbirds. Obviously, a lot more work needs to be done on fluorescent attractants in carnivorous plants, both in the traps and in the flowers.

All-Con 2014

All-Con 2014

More to follow…

All-Con 2014: The Aftermath – 1

Texas Triffid Ranch booth at All-Con 2014

Four days. Two lectures. More attendees than I could count. In many ways, in years of Triffid Ranch shows, All-Con X was the best one yet. All-Con already had some of the most enthusiastic crowds I’d seen in thirty years of attending, appearing at, and vending for science fiction conventions, but this year? For the first time since the 1980s, I was glad that the show was ultimately over, but I also wished that it had been able to run for another week. For those with familiarity with convention organization or vending, you’ll understand why this is saying something.

All-Con 2014

Suffice to say, the number of people coming by the Triffid Ranch booth was simply phenomenal. This year, instead of the usual three-day event, the organizers decided to take advantage of Spring Break, and offered free admission on Thursday to anyone who wanted to show up. Since so many liked the taste and bought passes for the rest of the weekend, the hotel and immediate environs were absolutely packed. And since half of the attendees were out in costume…well, All-Con continued its reputation as a perfect place for people-watching.

All-Con 2014

All-Con 2014
More to follow…