Afternoon Inquisition

AI: SkeptiCal and other Conferences

Yesterday we held our inaugural Northern California Science and Skepticism conference, SkeptiCal.

It was a wonderful success, and we’re all coming down after a long, hard day of skepticism.

I presented a talk about psychics, and I’m relieved that I packed out the room despite the lure of concurrent talks by the charming Seth Shostak and the delightful Chris Hoofnagle. I caught up with lots of skeptical friends, and finally met lots of Facebook ‘friends’!

But the best bit was when a guy approached me and asked, “Are you the girl from that Ghost Hunters show?”

What do you love or loathe about conferences?

What conferences will you/would you attend this year?

Do you have any amusing conference anecdotes you’d like to share?

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  1. I will be attending GenCon Indy this year, as part of this year’s Skeptic Track (

    In addition to all the wonderful gaming and events that happen at GenCon every year, we’re running a series of panels and talks (including a workshop with Skepchick’s own Jen Myers). You can check out our lineup here:

  2. No conferences. Only furry conventions.

    Although there are skeptical talks at fur cons.

    I like the getting drunk and making money part.

  3. I love getting together with other skeptics at cons.
    I loathe not getting to go to more cons because of my work.

    We am going to:
    1) SkecpChiCon in Minneapolis;
    2) TAM 8 In Vegas
    3) TAM London (If Surly Amy goes & we can get tix)
    3) Hopefully, things Elyse plans for WTF in Chicago.

    I have many amusing stories from TAM 7. Unless I am properly compensated, they will be made available at TAM 8 :)
    j/k – Cannot wait for TAM!

  4. 1. Loathe: everything I want to go to always seems to be at some ungodly hour of the morning.

    2. TAM Vegas, baby!

    3. I was amused that anyone actually showed up to my talk when I presented at CATESOL a few years ago.

  5. Been to both episodes of NECSS.
    Would love to go to TAM but it’s out of the ol’ price range.
    I may end up in Chicago at some point, for some thing…
    I love meeting new people or people I have only met online. That’s been a cool part of going to NECSS.
    Amusing anecdote from NECSS last weekend: Someone sitting next to me didn’t know that Randi had come out. So when Randi brought it up, and got a HUGE round of applause, the person next to me shouted “He’s GAY?!” HE’S GAY?!! Wow!!! *applause*
    It was very sweet and funny.

  6. Already have my tickets, booked my flight, and made my hotel reservations for TAM. Can’t wait to see everyone there! I’ll be the one with the semi-purple hair. I’ll be going with a non-skeptic, so this should be interesting. I will also be eating macaroni and shopping at the Goodwill for the next year in order to afford it.

    I’ve never been to a convention before, so I have no likes, dislikes, or amusing anecdotes yet.

  7. The great thing about conferences (and when I say conferences I mean nerd conferences of course) is the fact that the whole experience is just an overdose of totally being myself, together with a huge bunch of people also being themselves. Nothing can beat that. The bad thing is that I use up all my savings on these events (see the below paragraph), but the benefits definitely overshadow the risks in this case. ;)

    Ignoring an upcoming IT conference through work, first off for me is Gods&Politics in Copenhagen ( And I’ll be attending TAM London this year as well (traditiooooon *singsong*). Then there’s this thing I’m involved with in November which is not yet announced but which is going to be extremely awesome. YAY!

  8. Sorry, I can’t talk about nerd conferences (that must, by definition, be awesome), only professional conferences in my area of study… My greatest beef with conferences, particularly large conferences, has always been parallel sessions – which invariably have at least two talks, that I desperately want to listen to, scheduled at exactly the same time!

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