Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Thoughts on TAM7 from 2,406 or so miles away

I was not able to attend TAM7. I have not attended any TAMs. I blew my big chance when I was married in Sin City last year, and planned the wedding three months too soon to combine the events. (I probably would have been divorced before I was married for showing up late to the wedding after chilling with my new best friend Jay Novella after hours at the Blackjack tables.) I do have day dreams of attending someday.

Anyway, here are my thoughts on TAM7 based upon Twitter feeds, video feeds, just listening to the TAM7 round up on Skepticality episode #106, and my imagination. I am sure a flurry of great interviews are going to be pouring forth and overflowing my iPod in the coming weeks, causing my dog, Bernie, to walk many extra blocks, but why let a little thing such as a lack of information stop a blog entry.

First, Randi has cancer or hopefully had cancer. The guy beat heart disease, so I'm hoping he beats this too. "Who wants to live forever" is an old Queen song, and that may be true, but I want Randi to take a good crack at it.

On a brighter note, Rebecca Watson was freaking married live on the internet in front of a surely stunned and sleepy audience of hundreds at 8am. The whole getting married with the web watching is no big deal, my wife and I were married in Sin City with a host of people watching from back East. Still, I along with about a thousand or so strangers tuned in to watch an episode of the Skeptics Guide to the Universe, only to watch Ms. Watson become Mrs. Rodrigues, or Mrs. Watson-Rodrigues, or Mrs. Watson, or still just Ms. Watson. I dunno. She married. I wish her and her husband the best wishes and a happy marriage. I suppose that means Mr. Watson-Rodrigues is moving to the States, or is she moving to Britain, or they are moving to somewhere in the middle such as fiscally bankrupt Reykjavik?

The thing is I am now questioning my skeptical chops. My baloney detection kit might need some additional tools. I thought at the time, they (her husband to be, the Rogues, the Skepchicks, and about a score of other people) just sprung this whole wedding thing on Rebecca. Somehow, I thought the couple would get the license and all that legal trifle done at the office between Lewis and Clark Avenues after the fact. But after after reading Mrs. Watson-Rodrigues's blog today, and some other twitter post a couple days ago, it turns out it was all a sham. The getting married part was real, but the whole "Surprised Rebecca" act was a sham. My wife Hermione claims she knew it from the first, and I'm an idiot. She might be right. Anyway, bully for Rebecca and to a long happy marriage.

The million dollar challenge - was both fascinating and boring. I was transfixed the entire time to my Mac's screen. I keeping thinking "Well, I was stunned by watching a completely surprised Rebecca getting hitched, maybe I'll be stunned again and this lady will pass the test." Alas, the thorough and methodical experiment put Sonne's skills to the test and she failed like all the rest. I was wondering if she was going to freak out at losing the million dollars and command Banacheck to go stick those envelopes where the sun don't shine. Instead, she just awkwardly and sheepishly left the stage. The unfortunate excuses came later -that dirty rascally Banacheck befuddled her or some such tripe.

I loved watching ever minute of it, and I was amazed how quiet the audience actually kept. However, I was glad for the ability to sip a beverage and munch on crackers, because it was also boring. Swoopy's commentary on the boredom expressed by some of the online viewers as evidence of why we are losing kids in math and science classes was a bit of a Debbie Downer moment on the show. Swoopy opined that it revealed a lack concentration in modern folk, hence less kids in Math class. I just do not know if it follows. When Banacheck was starring at Sonne dangling her metal bobbed thingy over the cards it was a bit tedious. At the time I did not conflate my own boredom as a reflection on how kids today cannot put up with boring and tedious law school classes, and therefore, we have a dearth of law graduates. This is because it is not true. I can tell you from experience that law school classes are boring, and due to the numbers churned out by law schools each year, that I can't throw a rock in my town without hitting an attorney. This is especially true if I accidently hit my wife with the projectile. While science and its processes can be boring in parts, there also are lots of boring tasks that people endure in ever increasing numbers to obtain some profession. Therefore, I do not think it is the boring parts of science that are keeping their numbers down. I think Swoopy was just being a tiny tad curmudgeonly.

But damn, Derek got a ride with Adam Savage in a van to the Mall for a trip to the Apple Store. How cool is that to tell your grandkids, or the neighbors kids, someday that you road in a van with a minor public, but major geek celebrity, to the freaking mall. The stories I'd tell, "I was with a television personality Adam Savage, and we went to the Apple store together. He bought me a JuiceBox, and himself a Mac Pro. It was wonderful." The grandkids would bitch how they have heard the story a hundred time before, and then I tell them to show me some damn respect. It would be great!

Needless to say, I really want to get myself to a TAM. I know there is the Northeast Neccess or Nexus, or Nccess conference coming up in September as well as DragonCon. I cannot make either of them. Anyway, going to DragonCon instead of TAM is the same as going to Cancun instead of going to Hawaii. There is only one Hawaii and there is only one TAM, and the black volcanic skeptic beaches of Las Vegas shall be mine, oh you shall be mine.




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