Thursday, July 14, 2011

A bit on the Skeptic Zone, Skeptics with a K and Skeptical Conference musings.

Week two of Richard Saunders beginning the Skeptic Zone with a bit of a yarn, and it really works.  It makes a nice hook.  Keep it up.  I normally do not enjoy the archive segments of the Zone.  I alway get the feeling that it is just a time filler to avoid uploading a twenty-five minute episode.  I expected that same vibe from the audio of a television segment on astrology from a Australia Broadcast Corporation show on astrology that aired twenty years ago.  However, I was transfixed.  The skeptic/rationalist who sounded as if he were surround on all sides by astrology followers did a great job fending off his adversaries.  It was a nice pick from the time capsule.

It was a sad day at Skeptics with a K.  The final Giant Book of Fantastic Book game was played on this episode.  It was actually a best of FBoF.  We now take a moment of silence.  What's next the SGU dumping "Science or Fiction?" On a strange note during the episode Marsh nearly agreed with an entire article on the Health Ranger web site of medical nonsense.  There was just enough disagreement to not question if Marsh had flipped or decency and thoughtfulness had come to the Health Ranger.  Shew-w-w-w for a second on the episode I thought the world had flipped.  Anyway, many nice and well deserved things were said about Microsoft found Bill Gates during the discussion on the Health Ranger article on his world wide vaccine crusade.  Still, I can never forgive Mr. Gates for Vista.  My god, what a train wreck.  

In non-podcast news it's The Amazing Meeting time.  If you are reading this blog and are not aware of what TAM is then you should try reading another blog.  It is the largest TAM yet and it is at sold out capacity.  Hopefully the "Don't Be a Dick" sh-t storm that hit last year during and after TAM has already spent itself out with "elevatorgate,"  and everyone will just get along in peace and harmony.   Then again it is a conference full of skeptics.  I would not count on it.

I have been following the tweets on and off all day with the #TAM9 tag.  So far, it basically people packing bags, and noting they have made their connection in Denver so Las Vegas is next.  Folks with the JREF giving hints to pick up "First tammer" buttons for first time attendees, and requests to buy novelty t-shirts with depictions of James Randi upon them.  Exchanges of meet ups at various watering holes and saloons, and a few on an early panel discussion.

On the one hand I am quite envious of all the hubbub and activity, and really think "I've got to go to this thing."  On the other hand, I wish I could compare the tweets from the previous two TAMs, but it seems to me TAM from a Twitter perspective might be getting a tad more savvy in the commercial aspects of convention holding.  I am all for making a buck, and exchanging some hard currency flowing into Las Vegas like the Pound Sterling for our crappy greenback.  (These are desperate time in America.) Yet, might it be that for a guy like me who basically is not the most socially skilled, and relies upon his socially skilled wife to get him out of the house that TAM would just overwhelm me?  Might I be turned into a cringing mass of goo if I were to attend?  Should I have gone to TAM 7 when things were smaller?  Well, I'll never know.  I really ought to attend for good or for ill.  It is a skeptics Mecca.  I might just have a blast.  (Then I'll hooked on going as I have been hooked on Disney World the last few winters.)

It makes me think that QED Con might be a better fit for me.  What?  You have not heard that QED 2 is occurring this March in Manchester, England.  It is true.  Not much is known about it this year, incluidng the speakers, any possible theme, nor the price of admission.  It is at the Ramada again, and it is in Manchester.  It is likely to be more cozy than TAM for what that is worth to the reader.   Then again by the time I get to say, QED 7, it'll be bigger than TAM, and I'll be a ball of goo once more.

It will be interesting watching from the other side of the country what topics trend up and down this year.  And if anything catches my fancy I just might comment upon it.  

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