Again a lot of talks today, but again I could not catch all of them. However, this time I heard the session of so-called "lightning talks", seventeen talks in one and a half hours, each of them about five minutes long and without discussion time. The experience has left me doubtful about the idea of lightning talks. Such a short time is not at all adequate to present scientific results. It may work for putting ideas out there, for presenting projects still at their beginning to ask for feedback or collaborations, or for advertising new methods or software tools as long as they are not too complex. But in those cases a question or discussion time afterwards is all the more important.
Most speakers managed to finish their talks in time but one of them had a ridiculously large number of slides prepared which looked as if they would have been hard to cover in a standard twelve minute talk. The topics varied widely - from identifying prey items by genotyping predator feces or stomach contents to the exploration of the invertebrate fauna of Antarctica - and were mostly interesting despite few of them being directly related to my own research interests.