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NECSS Successes

The 2010 Northeast Conference for Science and Skepticism was a very successful event. Successful in that we sold out the house again this year, and successful in the comments and feedback I’ve received so far from the participants and the audience members.

On a more personal note, it was a success for me, which I have a tendency to say anytime The SGU partakes in a live-audience show. Frankly, I like the immediate feedback to any quips or cracks I interject into the discussions – it’s a good way to judge my efforts against what I usually sample with just the other Rogues. It is nice to know when humor is working.

While it was an overall success for The SGU as a whole, we could not help but miss Rebecca Watson’s presence along with her witticisms, charms, and insights. That we were able to get Rebecca to record a quick message for us about 10 minutes before we took the stage was a fortunate happenstance, and helped ease the pangs of her not being there. On a related note, one can not help to admire the bravery of Liz Gaston of The Boston Skeptics in the Pub, who had a few hours to consider and accept our offer to come on stage with us to pinch-hit for Rebecca. As you will soon hear, Liz held her own and shone during our ‘Science or Fiction’ segment. Well done, Liz.

One of the most gratifying aspects of my participation in NECSS this year was the honor (and I do mean HONOR) to sit onstage directly next to The Amazing James Randi. I have been in Randi’s presence twenty or so times since 1999. In every one of those occasions, I have had to mentally pinch myself so as to not “glaze over” too much while basking in such rare proximity to, as Jamy Ian Swiss called him, the single most important person in all of skepticism. Receiving Randi’s unique education so up close is a brain-searing experience. These are some of my most treasured moments as a skeptic.

Meeting new faces in the audience and re-aquatinting with some faces that I have not seen in a while is a big factor in the success of the event. What a terrific blend of veteran listeners along with the newer listeners of The SGU. I have said it many times before, and I will say it again: without our audience, the SGU would not amount to a grain of sand on a beach. Socializing with our audience before, during, and after the event is always tremendous fun, and this time was no exception. Thanks to everyone I had the pleasure of dining and conversing.

In conclusion, thanks as always to Michael Feldman, Jamy Ian Swiss, Adam Magazine, Page Van Meter, all of the volunteers, directors, and members of The New York City skeptics for carrying the workman’s load in making this all happen – in a scant 6 months of planning. Just think what these talented and dedicated people can accomplish with 12 full months of leading this annual conference. We at The New England Skeptical Society and The SGU are very proud of our affiliation and co-operation with the NYCS.

So allow me raise my glass and toast: Here’s to NECCS Successes, both past and future!

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