Sunday, July 6, 2014

TAM bound and Exposing PseudoAstronomy

Like a significant portion of those in skepdom, I and the editor are preparing to attend The Amazing Meeting 2014 at the South Point Hotel Casino and Spa right outside of Las Vegas, Nevada.  While this is my third trip to Las Vegas, this is my first trip to TAM.  I have discussed TAM with a number of people on what to expect and how to plan for the long weekend in the desert.  I am not sure if I will end up attending nearly every lecture planned, or just a few and spend the balance of my time just hanging out.  Overall, I am a bit nervous.  Will I enjoy it?  Will I be overwhelmed?  Am I worthy to even attend?   I have no idea.  Yet, I also know that since I have begun to consider myself a Skeptic starting in late 2005, it's high time to attend what is still, in my estimation, the premiere skeptical event of each calendar year.  So if you run into me, please feel free to introduce yourself.  I am not the best with introductions and small talk.  Consider yourself warned.

I believe as noted in the latest Exposing PsuedoAstronomy podcast that Karl Mamer of the Conspiracy Skeptic podcast, and Dr. Stuart Robbins of the Exposing PseudoAstronomy podcast and blog will at least have some form of informal meet up during TAM.  If you catch us there, you'll have a trifecta of skeptics in one swoop.  I look foward to meeting up with old acquaintances... the editors from Doubtful News Sharon Hill and Torkel Ødegård...and hope to meet and share my appreciation with a frighteningly large number of people such as any of the Virtual Skeptics in attendance, Shane Brady, among others.

So before you board your plane, or hop in a car, train, or bus to travel to Las Vegas be sure to download the latest episode of the Exposing PseudoAstronomy where Dr. Robbins interviews Dr. Robbins.  The topic is the Facebook Experiment with a focus on how ethical was this experiment.  Oh yes, the Dr. Robbins being interviewed is none other than Dr. Jeffrey Robbins, a research medical scientist at the Children's Hospital on the East Coast of the United States.  Robbins the elder shares his views on what is expected of a research protocol to be considered at least minimally ethical, how his institution tends to handle informed consent of the subjects, and what FaceBook did wrong.  After Dr. Robbins the Elder's interview is completed by Dr. Robbins, the Younger gives his compelling opinion on how Facebook went off the ranch, and why it offends him to a great degree. 

While one might be able to quibble with minor points of the Robbinses, what FaceBook did crossed a line, and this episode does a nice job on framing the issue.  It's an hour in length and well worth the listen.

*edited for font*

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