Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Reason Weekend report

I can't say how much I enjoyed the Reason Weekend. Not only was it intellectually stimulating and informative, the hotel where it was held -- the Montage Resort in Laguna Beach -- is one of the nicest hotels I have ever stayed at. The setting, on a bluff overlooking the ocean, is spectacular enough, but almost everything about the hotel is tasteful and the staff is as attentive as any I have ever seen. And the food was terrific.

I especially enjoyed Chris Anderson, editor-in-chief of Wired magazine and author of "The Long Tail," which notes that with virtual outfits like Amazon.com, Netflix, and various music sites, serious inroads are being made into the "blockbuster" phenomenon whereby the most popular moves, albums, etc. are what you can get at brick-and-mortar stores. Now retailers willing to stock everything online are finding the niche markets can be profitable too. One music site has found that 40 percent of its sales are for titles that are not available in most stores or catalogs.

Adam Savage, co-host of Discovery Channel's "Mythbusters" program also spoke, telling a few anecdotes but focusing on the importance of failure and the willingness to try things that ultimately fail in scientific discovery and personal growth.

The panel in which I participated, on medical marijuana, also featured Steph Sherer, executive director of Americans for Safe Access, a patient advocacy group, and Joanne LaForce, one of the proprietors of the Farmacy in West Hollywood, which I have mentioned visitng in a previous blog. These two ladies are on the front lines, helping patients and developing knowledge about the therapeutic uses of cannabis -- about which more is known than most people have any idea of, but into which much more research is warranted, especially considering that the federal government has stymied almost all scientific research into cannabis in this country for decades.

Many thanks to Paul Feine, Don Heath, Jennifer Cohen, Jennifer Kambara, Melissa Palmer and other Reason staffers for making the weekend a success. It was especially good to see Bob Poole again -- since he moved to Florida I've missed seeing him more often -- and Ted Balaker, Manny Klausner, Lisa Snell, Adrian Moore (with whom I watched SpaceShip One make its successful flight), Sam Staley and others. It was also nice to get to know John Stagliano a little better, as well as Fred Young, Greg Stock, Lou Carabini and so many more.

David Nott, Reason's prsident, whom I have come to like very much over the last several years, was gracious as always. From what I can tell he's doing an excellent job.

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