Colorado 2010 Skepticamp

Sunday, June 27, 2010
So Colorado Skepticamp is over for another year. This year's event was advertised as being "lean and mean," as that relieves the organizers of the burden of finding sponsors and such. From a facilities standpoint, I didn't really notice a difference - the event was held at the Duane Physics Building on the University of Colorado Campus, and since lunch was not provided, the location totally worked because there were many restaurant choices within walking distance. So a big thank you to CU for providing the facility for free.


This year I listened to talks by Reed Esau, the founder of Skepticamp on "The Rationale for Open Events in Skepticism;" astrophysicist Stuart Robbins on "Apocalypse 2012: Death by the Mayans, Pole Shifts, or Galactic Alignments;" Alan Eliasen, creator of the really impressive conversion software Frink on "Skepticalculations;" Duff McDuffee, personal development skeptical blogger on "What Happened to the Stars of The Secret?;" author Matt Young on "Why Evolution Works (and Creationism Fails);" Morgan Levy, MD on "Constitutional Sex;" and the Rocky Mountain Paranormal Society on "'Proof' of the Paranormal." There were additional talks, but I had to leave after the RMPS talk, as I had another commitment.

In terms of my favorite talks this year, Stuart Robbins again made the final cut with his humorous and informative talk on the panic and ridiculous claims associated with our upcoming destruction in December of 2012. Using actual science and interesting graphics, Stuart proved that many of the claims made by 2012 doomsayers are just plain wrong. Science FTW!



My other favorite was the always entertaining Bryan and Baxter of the Rocky Mountain Paranormal Society. Their talk was about how the so-called "proof" of the paranormal wasn't really proof at all, and how true scientific inquiry always looks for the natural explanation of events before the supernatural. I thoroughly enjoy their banter, and I'm always impressed by how their investigations are about the people they help, rather than about self-aggrandizement or "proving" their preconceived notions. Good skeptics, and apparently decent human beings, as well. Except for that guy in the middle. He was a little shady.


Of the three Skepticamps I've attended, I still believe last year's event was the best. The choices this year were not as scientifically centered as the offerings last year, and being the science fan-girl that I am, I was a bit disappointed about that. Of course, the organizers have no control over the variety of the talks - this is a 100% volunteer event, and if fewer scientists choose to come and talk about science, that's just the way the event shakes out.

It was still a worthwhile use of my time, and I saw some folks I hadn't seen since last year (Hi Rachael! Hi Reed! Hi Rich!) and met some new people, as well (Hi, Erik! Thanks for the ride!).

I'm actually considering giving a talk next year myownself. Yeah, I know - shocking. I may lose my nerve and pretend I never wrote this, of course, but for right now, I'm CONSIDERING IT.

Thanks organizers!

10 comments:

mom in northern said...

Remember me if you need graphic for your talk next year... :-)

Rachael said...

HAH. Your thought about doing a talk next year has now been written in indelible ones and zeroes on the internet. We shall not forget! :D

My talk was basically nothing but science, but it sounds like you had to leave before it. :( I, too, would like to see a few more super sciencey talks, but we didn't have a whole lot of luck on speaker wrangling this year. I'm thinking maybe next time I should try to arm-twist one of the geology faculty in to it.

Nathan said...

You teased us yesterday and after two posts on the subject, you've still neglected to tell us what food items you brought for everybody!

(Yes, I do always zero in on the most salient point.)

Janiece said...

Mom, I'll keep that in mind. I may even volunteer you to design the new logo, in all your SPARE TIME. Hehehe.

Rachel, I think the involvement of the MSCD Physics department last year made the difference, at least from my point of view. Getting participants from academia to drag their friends and colleagues along seems to do the trick.

Nathan, I brought bananas, apples, oranges, bagels and way too much cream cheese. Probably not the quality of bagels you're used to, but good enough for us cowboys.

Stacey said...

JR suggested maybe you should speak to the Al Queda plot to disrupt the earth's magnetic field during periods of high sunspot activity, disrupting western commmuni..buzzz....buzz....buzzz.. oh no, it's happening!

Janiece said...

::snerk::

I'm actually considering discussing the UCF's Internet take-down of He Who Must Not Be Named Because he's a Litigious Douchebag.

With disclaimers, of course.

Tom said...

That's a grand topic. All you research has already been done! :)

John the Scientist said...

Not yet, Tom, not yet. It would be soooooo sweet if she could write "convicted" after the pending proceedings were done, wouldn't it?

John the Scientist said...

Not yet, Tom, not yet. It would be soooooo sweet if she could write "convicted" after the pending proceedings were done, wouldn't it?

Janiece said...

John, schadenfreude of the highest order, to be sure. I have a year - hopefully things will be settled by then.