First of all, thanks so much to those who could join us at some point over these last two years in either Thailand, Panama, or both! We really appreciate you taking time out of your busy schedules to join a weird, experimental community of neat folks in interesting environments. It has been wonderful and magical, and it makes me so happy to see the wonderful projects, collaborations, and friendships forged, and fascinations with non-human environments and creatures that were developed.

Unfortunately, at the beginning of November, the place we were counting on having for DINACON 2020 fell through. You may not realize it, but a big weird event like DINACON is a year-round job, and before we start accepting people, or even open applications we need to have a sure-fire place lined up, and this happens after many months of scouting and comparing places. Missing out on a spot at the last minute like this puts a major crunch on us because we also need to leave time for applicants to consider and prepare themselves, their travels, and their funding.

Since then, me, Lee, and Sid gave ourselves an extra month to see if we could hunt down a spot meeting our multifaceted criteria. Many of you gave great suggestions and contacts, and we have a great document we have been compiling of cool venues that might good for future DINACONS. We have zero funding for actually being able to scout out any of these places, but hopefully some serendipity will bring us by.

So for now, we have decided to call off DINACON for the year 2020. We are aiming to have the next DINACON set sometime in June or July, 2021.

This will give us time to hunt down a great venue, connecting with a good local team, and work out the logistics for a terrific DINACON 3. Most importantly it will give us a much-needed break to work on our own projects and personal sustainability. I spent the entirety of 2019 pretty much getting the lab together and prepped and ready for DINACON and cleaning it back up after, and going through the resulting documentation. It was a terrific massive stress-test of the facilities and everything DINALAB should be. It worked perfectly to connect us up with locals, and demonstrate the possibilities of our new jungle lab. Now it will be exciting to spend some time in DINALAB and actually get to crank on some projects myself too! Also, considering most conferences last 3-5 days, over the past 2 years it’s kind of like we ran over 15 conferences!

Common Questions:

“Andy, why not just do it at your house again?”

– the entire goal of DINACON as an experimental conference is to create a gathering of people that very much focused on connecting people and technology deeply with a specific, contextual place. A disadvantage to this is that, unfortunately not everybody in the world has access to all the other parts of the world. So I wanted to make it a goal that our Conference would move to different places and allow others the opportunity to join us. We will likely have DINACON in Panama again, but I wouldn’t want to hold it there without bouncing around to some other hemispheres a bit.

“Andy, why not just make it like 2 weeks! Go easy on yourself!”

-For me, one of the key features of DINACON was its extended duration and inter-generationality. I want to give people the opportunity to slow down, experience a place, and intermesh with their surroundings and each other. I also feel that there is a certain magic in groups that comes from not having everyone begin and end at the same time. It simulates longer term communities and projects. It forces people to take on responsibilities, help others, make key decisions, and understand that the fear-of-missing-out is inevitable as nobody will really experience the whole thing. It also makes people reflect on their own work and communication, and prepare their ideas and knowledge to be passed down to the new generations. That might be one of the most important skills there is.

So, I don’t think I would consider doing a DINACON shorter than 3 weeks, and I feel that 4-5 weeks is a good sweetspot.

“Oh, I know the best place to have a DINACON!”

-Cool, let us know! send us links to the place, a contact person, what facilities are available, when it might be available, a rough idea of prices, and we can add it to our document of potential places in the future.

“We should run our own regional DINACONs all over the world!”

-Sure thing, go for it! A big reason I do this is to try to demonstrate that you can pull off meaningful, productive get-togethers with people and neat places without much costs or getting big institution funding or permission. It’s been great seeing all the meetups people have already organized as they travel around the world. My only request is that if you organize something yourselves, you are clear about who is organizing it and responsible, and who is NOT organizing it (e.g. Me with Digital Naturalism Laboratories).

While we are all a bit dismayed that we won’t have a DINACON for 2020, we hope we all can direct that extra energy to helping out each other and all the living creatures around us.

Enjoy the fossil-life,


Dr. Andrew James Quitmeyer

Director of Digital Naturalism Laboratories

Andrew Coates

Andrew Coates is a specialist in Tropical architecture that is sustainable (Cresolus.com). Gamboa is home, office and inspiration since 2002. Cresolus moved to Panama from East Africa.
Andrew, his wife Beth and their team work around the tropical world creating infrastructure and buildings that function well in hot humid climates.
Cresolus’ main focus is on National Parks facilities and systems. Other projects range from low income housing, schools, all the way through to very high end eco resorts.
We have completed projects across Central America and Africa. Currently working in Panama, Belize and Gabon.
Andrew is passionate about creating buildings that keep the occupants comfortable even on the hottest, steamiest day during a power cut.
He also loves camouflage, and helped design the one in the photo for the Gabonese National Park rangers’ uniform.
In 2015 Andrew and Beth founded The Gamboa Discovery School (www.gamboaschool.org) for ages 4-10. Which takes advantage of the natural and scientific assets of Gamboa.

Free, Open Saturdays

In the spirit of sharing our work at the conference with the community and beyond, each Saturday (starting August 10) will be a public, open day. Come from 5-8pm to DINALAB (Casa 123B), to see exhibitions, performances, talks, or whatever the conference participants want to share!

August 10, August 17, August 24, August 31

Join us! (and maybe bring a snack or drink!)


En el espíritu de compartir nuestro trabajo en la conferencia con la comunidad y más allá, cada sábado (a partir del 10 de agosto) será una jornada pública y abierta. ¡Ven de 5 a 8 pm a DINALAB (Casa 123B), para ver exposiciones, presentaciones, charlas o lo que los participantes de la conferencia quieran compartir!

10 de agosto, 17 de agosto, 24 de agosto, 31 de agosto

¡Únete a nosotros! (y tal vez traer un bocadillo o una bebida!)

Biobang! 008: “Muir’s Tears/Sexy Soil” Quitmeyer, Alex Hedgpeth, Existential Dread. (feat. DJ Dez + JPOM)

Andy accidentally hops off the DIVA as it travels through the panama canal and ends up stuck in a strange place filled with biologists and weirdness! Giant crystal statues of John Muir’s tears welcome him to gamboa along with guest Alexandra Hedgpeth. She talks about her fascinating research with carbon dating soil, and we go into topics such as how the horrors of nuclear weapons became a surprisingly useful biological tool. Then we are greeted by the Muse of all Scientists, Existential Dread, who helps us (?) question everything.

They plug:

PARCHED Panama research group


Valerie Milici’s instagram



Andy Quitmeyer


Alex Hedgpeth, Existential Dread (Valerie Milici)

Music by:

Dj Dez (https://dezmediah.bandcamp.com/album/beep-boop)

and JPOM (https://jpom.bandcamp.com/)

Subscribe on iTunes:


Get it on stitcher:

José Alejandro Riascos Ramírez

I am an undergraduate biology student from Colombia and an illustrator by hobby. Although I am focused on learning more about birds and mammals, I always try to escape to draw my own version of reality and share it with others, because personally, I think that it is the best way to spread knowledge, ideas and emotions… and honestly, there are things that must be shared. 

Jorge Medina Madrid

Jorge Medina Madrid, es un estudiante de 24 años que cursa el último año de la carrera de Biología Animal en la Universidad de Panamá. Mi interes está en el grupo de las Aves, especialmente las Aves Nocturnas.

Jorge Medina Madrid, is a 24-year-old student who is in the last year of his degree in Animal Biology at the University of Panama. My interest is in the group of Birds, especially the Night Birds. He’s an expert at taxidermy, and costume designer for one of the larger Carnival events in Panama!

Open House Birthday Party!

We invite you to come to Dinalab, our house, maker space, and art gallery! Invitamos a todos a nuestra casa!

123b Humberto Zarate, Gamboa

Friday, April 5, 6pm

Kitty and Andy’s birthday is coming up in April! This is a combined housewarming and birthday party, but instead of gifts, we’d like you to bring something you’ve made that we can exhibit in our little gallery space for the party.

It can be anything – drawing, photograph, origami, pottery, a scientific tool – as long as you made it! We can display the creations during the party, and you can take yours home at the end of the night 😊 . Message us if you have any questions about the thing you want to exhibit!

Also please bring a snack or a drink.

ART±BIO Collaborative

ART±BIO Collaborative is an artist and scientist-led nonprofit organization based in Cambridge, MA that fosters the integration of Science, Nature, and Art and is focused on broadening participation and accessibility in the Arts and Sciences through novel collaborations, public engagement, education, and research.  Stephanie Dowdy-Nava, M.A., artist, arts administrator, and art educator and Saúl S. Nava, Ph.D., biologist, artist, and Professor of Biology at Massachusetts College of Art and Design, are the Founders. The ART±BIO Collaborative values diversity, equity, and inclusion and strives to create and develop accessible and collaborative opportunities for historically underrepresented and marginalized communities and populations; their work utilizes the intersection of the Arts, Biology, and Natural History as a catalyst for social dialogue and creative exchange of ideas with artists, scientists, and the public.  As DiNaCon Node Leaders, Stephanie and Saúl will bring an international, core group of ART±BIO Collaborative artists and scientists participating in the ISLAND LIFE: Tropical Field Studies of Art+Nature in Puerto Rico program (IslandLifePR.org) to DiNaCon to utilize the natural habitats of Panama as a STUDIO+LAB.  The Field Studies group will lead an open, Art±Bio public engagement and community outreach event in Gamboa that will creatively highlight the local ecology, herpetology, animal behavior, and natural history of Panama through artmaking, and take DiNaCon participants out of the conference and into the community.  Website: ArtBioCollaborative.org

Rob Faludi

Robert Faludi is an advisor and consultant for connected device companies. He is currently head of product for Perceptive Things, a startup in the Smart Buildings space. For six years, he was the Chief Innovator at Digi International, working to forge strong connections with the maker community, uncover new innovation methodologies, support outstanding new work and create prototypes that spur new product development. Faludi has also been a professor in the MFA program at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan and in the Interactive Telecommunications graduate program at NYU. He specializes in behavioral interactions through physical computing and networked objects. Rob is the author of Building Wireless Sensor Networks, with ZigBee, XBee, Arduino and Processing published by O’Reilly Media, 2011. He frequently consults on interactive projects including recent work in entertainment, architecture and toys. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Wired Magazine, Good Morning America, BBC World, the Chicago Museum of Science & Industry and MoMA among others. He is a co-creator of LilyPad XBee wearable radios, and Botanicalls, a system that allows thirsty plants to place phone calls for human help.