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DragonCon 2009

The long weekend is, sadly,  over. The SGU had a wonderful time in Atlanta at DragonCon (hence the absence of blog posts) but we are now back to the grind and gearing up for the first NECSS conference this Saturday.

For those who don’t know, Derek and Swoopy from Skepticality run a podcasting and skeptical tracks at DragonCon – a convention that is mostly filled with science fiction and fantasy. There is also a science track – the three together make for a full schedule of science, podcasting, and skepticism (OK, that was a bit circular).

I gave talks this weekend about the neurology of skepticism, the swine flu, vaccines and autism, and we recorded a live SGU podcast (which will go up this Saturday). We love the energy of live recordings, and I think it was a particularly good show.

There were also live shows by the Skeptic Zone, Skeptoid, Astronomy Cast, and Geologic, the Skepchicks held a panel, and Adam Savage made an appearance. Many of our fellow skeptics were there including Phil Plait, Richard Saunders, Brian Dunning, Joe Nickel, Seth Shostak , Eugenie Scott, and many others. It was a full weekend of skepticism.

And, of course, it’s always fun to give a talk about neuroscience with elves and Darth Vader sitting in the audience. The Alien asked a very cogent question during our live show.

The Skeptic track at DragonCon had double the space this year as last. This is definitely growing into a major skeptical event, and the SGU is already making plans for 2010.

It seems that in the US we now have the potential for three regional skeptical events each years – TAM in Las Vegas, DragonCon in Atlanta, and NECSS in New York. These are nicely geographically spaced out, although at present they are temporally bunched up. We really do need to space them out more throughout the year.

For next year we will definitely move NECSS farther from DragonCon, but it’s in New York so we can only go so late in the Fall, or we can move it to the Spring. A conference in January would be perfect, but I would not want to count on the weather in New York in January.

This is a nice problem to have. The skeptical movement is growing, conferences are spreading, and we need to arrange them strategically.

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