April 22 Day 775: Ready for Take-off?

At the start of today’s virtual meeting and I was faced with the following screen.

Umm… OK. But how long do I wait until I start to worry? I emailed the organizer and got a direct link pretty quickly. The session was good although sparsely attended. I chalked it up to the pains of an online conference.

Next up, my plenary presentation. The only problem? I hadn’t received a link to join the session as a panelist. That’s OK. I could join as an observer and the moderator would surely see me in the waiting room and promote me to a panelist. Right?


Admittedly, I was a little flummoxed to start. It wasn’t the slick, prepared image I wanted to portray to the audience. I was anxious. I accidentally closed one of the screens I needed to present. A few deep breathes and a lovely LONG introduction by Section Chair Dan Swenson and I was ready. (Thank you Dan!)

I think it went well. And I must thank the audience participants for all the positive and encouraging comments. It diminished the distance between us and warmed my heart. I saved the chat afterwards. Here is a sampling of the positivity. I started the talk a little after noon Pacific Time. (These comments made a huge difference to me):

12:16:59 From XXXXXXX to Everyone:
12:17:14 From YYYYYYYYYY to Everyone:
I love this!!!
12:21:52 From ZZZZZZZZZ to Everyone:
12:24:09 From XYXYXYXYX to Everyone:
That’s beautiful! Sir Match-a-lot has his work cut out for him.
12:24:39 From YYYYYYYYY to Everyone:
Clap clap clap!!!!!
12:30:57 From AAAAAAAAA to YYYYYYYYY and all panelists:
Ooh… πŸ‘
12:31:08 From YYYYYYYYY to Everyone:
12:41:31 From YYYYYYYYY to Everyone:
12:41:55 From YYYYYYYYY to Everyone:
I love passion.
12:42:50 From YYYYYYYYY to Everyone:
clap clap clap
12:43:00 From XYXYXYXYX to Everyone:
It’s so hard to imagine coming up with a proof like this!
12:43:41 From YYYYYYYYY to Everyone:
I would never be able to do it………A Fibonacci? wtf?
12:46:55 From YYYYYYYYY to Everyone:
This is a great talk
12:52:38 From AAAAAAAAA to Everyone:
Fantastic match!


12:56:43 From BBBBBBB to Everyone:
Thanks! Great talk! The most I have ever been engaged on Zoom.
12:58:23 From CCCCCCCCC (she/her/hers) to Everyone:

I call that a win even though I only got through two of the three planned rounds. Better to leave them wanting more than to rush through to the end.

After that, I just got to enjoy the rest of the day’s meeting.

Roger Johnson needs to send his work to the Tonight Show. All those celebrity guests playing Egg Roulette should demand to go second. The current rules do not favor the first player. Insist on a fair game! Roger knows how to do it!

Dan Swenson used probability generating functions to help us understand an absolutely unintuitive situation with an infinite number of slot machine where the expected winnings goes to infinity but the payout is zero with probability 1. I think it broke my brain.

I really enjoyed hearing from the Colorado Council of Teachers of Mathematics. I was impressed by their strategic thinking, collaboration, and commitment to active participation. We did some math. It was super fun, especially working together.

Try to find the answer. It’s more fun to work with a friend.

The day ended with a social hour on zoom. It was not the same as meeting in person, yet I enjoyed everything I participated in.

My belated optimism from yesterday was well deserved. It was a worthwhile day for me.

Unfortunately the same could not be said for my dear husband. He left Tacoma at noon to travel to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. The plan was to fly to Orange County for a weekend visit to his brother. Throughout the day there were updates and delays until his flight was eventually cancelled.

The cause? A cascade–turning to cancellation in Mark’s case—because Air Force One used SEATAC for President Biden’s visit to Washington State. Over 100 Alaska Airline flights were affected. The customer service line at the airport was toooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo long. So Mark came home and I waited for a call from Alaska Air Customer Service. An hour and twenty minutes later, I rebooked him for another flight Saturday morning. Not perfect but better than not going at all.

I’m looking forward to more of the RMS MAA meeting tomorrow but only after I get my husband to the airport for his 8:30 am flight. The good news is that President Biden departed today a little after 4 pm. So hopefully things are back on schedule.

Published by Jenny Quinn

Mathematician. Mother. Wife. Leader. I am a professor of mathematics at the University of Washington Tacoma. Mother of Anson and Zachary. Wife to Mark. President of the Mathematical Association of America.

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