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March 28, 1964

Darkness at Scientific Meetings

JAMA. 1964;187(13):1034. doi:10.1001/jama.1964.03060260062025

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To the Editor:—  The antiquated and illogical custom of plunging a meeting into stygian darkness prompted an analysis of the periods spent in darkness during the second day of the June meeting of the American Gastroenterological Association. On this day 14 papers and one panel discussion were on the program. When the periods without light were timed, it was found that impenetrable darkness was present 74% of the time required for the presentation of the papers. The panel's discussion reduced the total blackout time to 64%, still an inordinately lengthy period of darkness.One picture (or slide) is still worth a thousand words, but not when darkness negates learning. The caliber of modern slides and the capacity of current projectors permit viewing the vast majority of slides with lighting quite adequate for note-taking and dispelling somnolence. It would seem proper, that at future meetings only the lights near the screen

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