Sunday, July 11, 2010

A Few TAM thoughts from many miles away

Lady and I are back from Virginia wine country and a visit to the birth place of President Woodrow Wilson.  He was not one of my favorite Presidents of the United States, but there was no way we were going to make it in time to Poplar Forest, Thomas Jefferson's getaway home, so Woodrow had to do.  It was actually quite interesting.  Over the weekend, I followed the general Twitter buzz about #TAM8, and Karl's insightful posts about what it was like to be an attendee at The Amazing Meeting.  I also followed along on my TAM iPhone app to see what folks would tweet over next.


I must admit I was disappointed that I could not watch on a live stream this year.  I would have enjoyed watching the live recording of the Skeptics' Guide to the Universe, trying to spot where in TAM is Karl Mamer, as well if I lucked out watching Prof. Dawkins speak when he apparently advocating limiting the amount of fantasy books read by children.  The Twitter-rotti was in quite in uproar with this topic.  Also, there was another minor blip in the twitter-verse when Prof. Massimo Pigliucci took Penn & Teller to task for their stance on global warming/climate change.  The never ending debate between how polite/sensitive ought skeptics to be when discussing issues with believers also came up on twitter.  This bit of tweeting seemed to be triggered by a speech given by Prof. Phil Plait.  (Or is he just Dr. Plait?  He has latter at the end of his name, and he's smart.)  Unless and until I break down and buy the DVDs of the conference or it all goes up on YouTube I will withhold judgement on these topics.  Although Kylie Sturgess had an interesting piece in this topic  knee jerk reaction on her PodBlack blog, and she like myself was not an attendee. (edited from original)

All in all, I must admit it all seems so overwhelming.  The lecture and presentation schedule seems so tight that I fear that a lot is said but nothing can be gone into great depth.  I have attended a history conference* a few times, and there on paper at least more time was given to each speaker.  Being 2,407 miles away, I could be completely wrong, but it just seems to be a whole lot to take in without your brain swimming.  Yeah, I still want to attend someday, and Karl can travel down to wine country.  (The Pinotage around Charlottesville is amazing.)

I would be remiss if I failed to mention that Karl did a wonderful job blogging from TAM, and I have a world of gratitude for it.  I am sure he could have spent his busy time there doing much more interesting things than be tied to a netbook blogging.  Lady and I most sincerely thank him.

On the drive home I listened to the Skeptics' Guide to the Universe and Point of Inquiry.  I will post a few brief thoughts on each tomorrow.

*The excellent Gettysburg College Civil War Institute is a mecca for serious amateur and professional War of the Rebellion History buffs.  I highly recommend it.  I volunteered for it a number of times while a student at the college.  It was the best week of no sleep I ever experienced.

2 comments:

  1. "Although Kylie Sturgess..."

    Excuse me?

    Try reading what I wrote again and adjust your blogpost phrasing about what I wrote accordingly, thank you? The VERY first sentence reads that I was responding to Dr Pamela Gay's comments from Facebook, and that is what I'm doing. Every point I raise is a general summation about what the overall attitude of 'fantasy is bad' can lead to. Don't call it 'knee-jerk', please, I've been working on unpacking that issue for quite some time. The links to 'Skeptical Books for Children' and the interview with Dale McGowan, indicates that.

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  2. I stand corrected. I changed a few words and left in the most offensive part struck out. It was poor wording. However, I do think it is fair to say that this post was triggered by Dr. Dawkins lecture, and the commentary on your post is a running commentary on Dawkins. Again, I believe the correction should suffice.

    I hope it is obvious that no offense was intended, nor was it meant to be a belittling of your work or thoughts.

    With humble pie

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