SkepchickCON Schedule & Prize Winners!

CONvergence is only one week away, and the SkepchickCon science and skepticism track is packed with more panels and more interactive workshops than ever before. Just check out the lineup below.

In addition to panels and workshops, we’re offering nightly science-based drink demos by mixologist Anne Sauer, from Mad Art Lab, in the Skepchick Sideshow party room (227, same as last year), which adjoins the Freethought Blogs party room. All ages are welcome! We card for drinks, but you don’t have to drink to join us and chat with Skepchick Network contributors and Freethought Bloggers, plus our special guests Indre Viskontas, Siouxsie Wiles, Shawn Otto, Amanda Marcotte, Desiree Schell, and local scientists J Drake Hamilton, Emily Cassidy, and Kirsten Valentine Cadieux. (See all panelists here.)

We pay for all of this on our own dime. We do not get any part of the CONvergence ticket sales, and we don’t charge anything for the SkepchickCon track. We still need help footing the bill, so if you have the means, please consider donating to our Paypal via skepchick [at], or click on the widget at (Note that there’s something wonky in the widget tallying, so don’t be alarmed if your donation doesn’t show up.) Many, many thanks to those who have already donated and supported our auctions.

Prizes! Last November I asked for your help in brainstorming ideas for the con and promised a free button if we used your idea. So, delphi_ote, Grand Lunar, Kitty Cropper, and celticwulf, please send us your name and address and tell us which button you’d like from Skeptical Robot. We won’t share your info with anyone. In fact, after sending your buttons, we’ll get Will Smith to erase our memories of every detail.

SkepchickCon Panels

(To see the entire CONvergence schedule, click here.)

Thursday, July 4

Your Planet is What You

From vegan to paleo diets, sustainability efforts such as locavorism, industrial farming, GMOs, and more–what does science say about what’s best for our health and our planet? Panelists: Greg Laden, Desiree Schell (mod), Emily Finke, Emily Cassidy, Kirsten Valentine Cadieux

CavemanPsych-SepiaAccentAdd2.smEvolutionary Psychology

Media-friendly evo-psych usually isn’t reality-friendly. What does it take to do evolutionary psychology right, and how can you spot the BS? Panelists: Greg Laden, Stephanie Zvan (mod), Amanda Marcotte, Indre Viskontas, PZ Myers

Palmist-SepiaAccent.smSkepticism 101 with the Skepchicks

The Skepchicks demonstrate the basic tools of skepticism by applying them to the latest scams, fads, and pseudoscience Panelists: Bug Girl, Heina Dadabhoy, Amy Davis Roth, Rebecca Watson (mod), and more


Worldbuilders, you think you have a crackerjack rationale for how zombies work, or how the entire galaxy is populated with humanoids, or how your spaceships can travel faster than light…bounce those ideas off our critical panel of scientists. Panelists: Laura Okagaki, Siouxsie Wiles, PZ Myers, Jason Thibeault (mod)

Prometheus Debunked

One of the most highly anticipated movies of the year turned out to be a colossal pukestorm of bad science. Let’s all share and laugh about our favorite mockable moments. Panelists: Kevin Murphy, Rebecca Watson, PZ Myers, Bill Corbett

Friday, July 5

Philosophy of the Golden Compass

It’s a fantasy novel for atheists! How does that work? Panelists: Ashley Miller, Ruth Berman, Daniel Fincke, Sasha Katz, Chris Stenzel

Bones (interactive workshop with PZ Myers)

Discover what an owl had for dinner! Dissect an owl pellet to solve the mystery and reveal clues about the owl’s diet and predator/prey relationships. What types of bones will you find in your pellet?

Hands-On Astronomy  (interactive workshop with Nicole Gugliucci)

Astronomy is the science of things too far away to interact with, right? Wrong! Participate in hands-on demonstrations of comets, planets, and more, from simulating the surface of the Moon with household ingredients to seeing the invisible universe.

Heroines in Young Adult Literature

Although much YA literature with female main characters has become best-selling in the last few years, the portrayal of the heroines of these stories is problematic. What are examples of good portrayals, both recent and old. Panelists: Michael Levy, Kathy Sullivan, Joan Sullivan, Jody Wurl, Ashley Miller

The Science and Art of Bioluminescence  (interactive workshop with Siouxsie Wiles)

Fireflies, glow worms—how and why do some living things glow? Explore the science behind bioluminescence and create your own glow-in-the-dark drawing with live (harmless!) bacteria. (Note: You’ll need to return the next day to see the finished product.)

Geek Art Workshop (interactive workshop with Mad Art Lab)

Make art and talk about geek culture with some of the Mad Art Lab artists and special guests.

Grosser than Fiction

Since biology is the grossest of the sciences (with its slimy creatures and its unseemly smells), we have called together a panel of experts to tell their true tales of grossness. Panelists: Melissa Kaercher, Laura Okagaki, Greg Laden, PZ Myers

Penises of the Animal Kingdom

They are pretty damn scary. Panelists: Sharon Stiteler, Desiree Schell (mod), Bug Girl, Emily Finke, PZ Myers

Saturday, July 6

Science Resources for Children

What books and activities can you do to promote science understanding in kids? From the best on the bookshelves to how to extract DNA in your kitchen, we talk about great ways to learn about science in the home. Panelists: Matt Lowry, Windy Bowlsby (mod), Brandy Snyder, Nicole Gugliucci

InternetTroll-SepiaAccent.smFight the Trolls

Last year we said don’t feed the trolls; this year we tell you how to fight the trolls. “Don’t feed the trolls” isn’t always an effective strategy, particularly with sexism and online harassment. Learn when, why, and how to fight the trolls instead. Panelists: Nora Last, Stephanie Zvan (mod), Amanda Marcotte, Rebecca Watson, Amy Davis Roth

The Gods of Geekdom

The Avengers movie had several gods, atheists, agnostics, and Christians all mingled together- we comfortably mix up multiple pantheons and a hard-nosed scientific attitudes in comics and SF literature. How do nerds do that without their heads exploding? Panelists: Jason Thibeault, Ryan Consell, Fionnuala Murphy, Nick Glover

Climate Change and Superstorms

It’s real. It’s happening. What is the evidence, and what can we do? Is climate change responsible for the recent spate of massively damaging storms? Panelists: Greg Laden, Shawn Otto, J Drake Hamilton, Paul Douglas, Desiree Schell (mod)

Smart Art

How artists can spread a meme as well as educate and inform about science (IRL and online). Panelists: Ryan Consell, Emily Finke, Amy Davis Roth, Ashley Hamer, Anne Sauer

The Real World vs. the Internet

A line is a blurring and a distinction is fading: social networking and online communities are becoming just as real as face-to-face engagements. Panelists: Jason Thibeault, PZ Myers, Lux Pickel, Stephanie Zvan (mod), Jamie Bernstein

Science of Sex Toys

Porn leads the way! The sex industry is populated with early adopters, from distributors of images to developers of sex toys. And, say, shouldn’t we be a little uncomfortable with that? Or not? Panelists: Anjila Olsen, Mary McKinley, Heina Dadabhoy

Homeopathy-SepiaAccent.smThe British Anti-Science Invasion

What horrors have Andrew Wakefield and Lord Monckton unleashed? Anti-vax, climate change denial, homeopathy, and more. Panelists: Greg Laden (mod), Fionnuala Murphy, Shawn Otto, Jamie Bernstein, Siouxsie Wiles

Sunday, July 7

Stigma of Mental Illness

Many of the people you know (and some of us!) are mentally ill by the standard medical definition. How do we cope? How can it be that people with mental illness are still happy, productive members of society? Panelists: Emma Newman, Ashley Miller, Kate Johnson, Steve Bentley, Molly Glover

Versus-SepiaAccent.smScience and Religion: Friends or Foes?

Science and religion are fundamentally incompatible…or are they? Join the argument. Defend the thesis that science and religion complement each other, or the philosophical impossibility of reconciling faith with evidence. Panelists: Heina Dadabhoy, Bridget Landry, Daniel Fincke, PZ Myers, Debbie Goddard (mod)

Ask a Scientist

A general Q & A with expert scientists from a variety of fields. Panelists: Laura Okagaki, Lori Fischer, Matt Lowry, Tom Mahle, Siouxsie Wiles, PZ Myers, Indre Viskontas, Nicole Gugliucci, Bridget Landry, Bug Girl

UFO-SepiaAccent.smThe Science Behind British Sci-Fi

From the TARDIS to Triffids, where’s the line between science and fiction? The physics of time travel, the biology of carnivorous and ambulatory plants, and more. Panelists: Emily Finke, Nicole Gugliucci, Amanda Marcotte (mod), Ryan Consell, Bug Girl

Other CONvergence Panels featuring Skepchick Network and Freethought Blog Contributors

Movie Sweding and You, with Melissa Kaercher (Mad Art Lab)
Geek Life Live Podcast, with Melissa Kaercher (MAL)
The Rise of Women at Cons, with Heina Dadabhoy (Skepchick)
The War on Science, with Jamie Berstein (Skepchick)
Super-Spy Smackdown (on the Mainstage), with Melissa Kaercher (MAL)
Poe’s Potables, with Melissa Kaercher (MAL)
Why is the Villain Always British? with Ashley Miller (Freethought Blogs)
Once Upon A Time Fan Panel, with Olivia James (Teen Skepchick)
Monty Python, with Melissa Kaercher (MAL)
Kubrick’s ‘The Shining’ In Depthwith Melissa Kaercher (MAL)
Judging a Book by Its Cover, with Melissa Kaercher (MAL)
Comedy on the Internet, with Rebecca Watson (Skepchick)
Science and Rationality vs. Religion and Superstition, with Heina Dadabhoy (Skepchick)
The Movie Year in Review, with Melissa Kaercher (MAL)
What Do You Think Of The New Companion? with Olivia James and Lux Pickel (both TS)
Hitchcock’s Legacy, with Melissa Kaercher (MAL)
Power Point Karaokewith Melissa Kaercher (MAL)
Geeks Without God LIVE with Melissa Kaercher (MAL) and PZ Myers (FtB)
Mega Panel, with Melissa Kaercher (MAL)
Owning Your Sexuality, with Heina Dadabhoy (Skepchick)
Drinking With Geeks, with Melissa Kaercher (MAL)
Behind the Blinds, the Real 50 Shades: A Beginner’s Guide to Kink, with Heina Dadabhoy (Skepchick)
Killer B’s Improv Movie Showwith Melissa Kaercher (MAL)
Hungover With Geeks, with Melissa Kaercher (MAL)
Movie Sweding Festival,  with Melissa Kaercher (MAL)
First Issue LIVE Comic Book Reviewwith Melissa Kaercher (MAL)
Art: Impossiblewith Melissa Kaercher (MAL)
Canines In Fact, Folklore, Fiction, and Filmwith Melissa Kaercher (MAL)
Neil Gaiman’s Doctor Who Episodeswith Olivia James and Lux Pickel (both TS)

Melanie Mallon

Melanie is a freelance editor and writer living in a small town outside Minneapolis with her husband, two kids, dog, and two cats. When not making fun of bad charts or running the Uncensorship Project, she spends her time wrangling commas, making colon jokes, and putting out random dumpster fires. You can find her on Twitter as @MelMall, on Facebook, and on Instagram.

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