[ Note that all these initial posts were written while I was in transit, several days ago... ]
I suppose I should explain why I'm going to Austria. In a nutshell, it's to do research related to my PhD. You can google "IIASA YSSP" and that might shed a bit of light. It's a three-month research project, basically, working directly with one of the leading lights in my field, Ulf Dieckmann (you can google him too, no doubt). I'll be working on a computer simulation model to test out some ideas regarding how spatial complexity (think of the transitions from one type of environment, such as desert, to another type of environment, such as grassland) affects evolution. You may be able to track down a 2009 paper by Heinz, Mazzucco and Dieckmann, if you know how to use Web of Science or Google Scholar; that paper is the foundation for the work I'll be doing.
So I'll be in Austria for three months working pretty intensively on this project, and at the end of that, the goal is that I'll have a publishable paper and a chapter in my thesis. Then I'll take two weeks off to skip gleefully through some Alpine meadows, and then, volcano willing, I'll return to Montreal. But first, I have a 10-hour layover in Amsterdam! It's time to get some sleep, so I have the strength to do what needs to be done tomorrow.