I have proof I have been in the U.S. - See Fig. 1 which depicts a pedestrian crossing. Note the helpful and considerate count-down informing people exactly how long they have left to dither about in the middle of the road (taking pictures and whatnot).
Fig. 1 Crossing the road Washington style
Here in the U.K. it is conventional for drivers to signal to pedestrians that their road-crossing time frame is coming to an end by revving their engines and creeping slowly forward. It's not as precise but it seems to work ok.
As you can imagine, much of the discussion at the conference was given over to this year's trends in conference fashion. While trying to figure out if I could subsist entirely on free conference pastries and cakes for the rest of my stay (apparently there's some sort of economic problem happening at the moment and my credit card was shivering at the prospect of check-out), I was interrupted by an enthusiastic Italian epigeneticist (don't ask) who wanted desperately to impress upon me that a) she owned the same dress as the one I was wearing and b)I look almost as fabulous in it as she does.
She told me I should come to an epigenetics meeting in Lille. But I don't know anything about epigenetics. It makes my head hurt. So? Lille is beautiful and the food is amazing.
Is this what they call networking? If so I love it. She cooed some more about the other dress I'd worn the previous day and I decided that I totally rock at networking.
I'd also like to give a special mention to the conference bags which, at every other conference I've ever been to, have always looked like this or a variation thereof...
Not at this, the best-dressed conference of 2008. Oh no. Behold eco-friendly and bang on trend, the Nexus conference bag made from jute canvas, complete with a clasp made from finest coconut shell. Biodegradable and sustainable. Round of applause please...