The annual botany meetings are in Columbus Ohio, so no big change of scenery for the Phactor, but honestly, sometimes you don't even leave the hotel-conference center. The best part of these meetings is reconnecting with your longtime friends and colleagues, meeting the new young ones, and that feeling that you belong to an organization, a profession. So far, so good. Having been fatigued from driving, and with no cat alarm, one time zone to the east, the Phactor is refreshed but running late. The first action will be the quest for coffee, and then fortified, figure out when and where everything is happening. Conference centers are not known for their logical organization. Last night the kickoff lecture, a rather standard sounding retrospective but embrace the future type of thing, was quite well done by Sir Peter (yes, a knighted botanist!). Here's an interesting note for people who wonder about how well women fare in science: all of the botanical society's new officers are women, and botany has the highest percentage of women of all the sciences. Now time to go to a symposium on gnetophytes, those 3 enigmatic genera: Gnetum (silent G), Welwitschia, and Ephedra.