Skepchick Schedule for ChiFi

Starting tomorrow, all of your favorite Skepchicks will be at the historic Palmer House in Chicago for ChiFi. We also have a ton of friends of Skepchick joining us for Skepchick-themed programming all weekend. Online registration is currently closed, but you can still buy tickets at the door.

Here is our Skepchick programming schedule for this week. All panels will be in room D-Clark 5 unless otherwise noted. Clicking any panel will take you to the list of panelists on the official con schedule.

Friday March 20, 2015

  • 8:30 am Giving Proof: How do you know your charitable donations actually improve the world? The panel will center on answering this question of how to know which charities are effective, why you should care and the social movement of people trying to use evidence and reason to do the most good with their lives.
  • 10:00 am Why Skeptics Need Philosophy: Don’t know the difference between post hoc and ad hominem? Never heard of Hume, Wittgenstein or Russell? We’ll fill you in on the philosophy of skepticism.
  • 11:30 am Contagions: Join us as we discuss the science and fiction of the spread of infectious diseases. How do different contagions, like ebola and malaria, really spread? Is a zombie virus really possible and is that a zombie right behind you right now?!? Probably not but you should check with us to be sure.
  • 1:00 Being a Good AllyAnyone can call themselves an ally but doing things that actually work against oppression is more difficult. Our panelists will help you learn how to support social justice causes without distracting from or silencing the voices of the people most affected by those issues.
  • 2:30 The Science of Orphan BlackHow difficult is it to make a human clone? How different would two human clones really be? Is it really possible to patent a person? The panelists answer all your science questions about Orphan Black.
  • 4:00 Mental Health Myths“Just get over it!” “It’s all in your head!” “What do you have to be depressed about?” “That’s not even a real thing.” “Doesn’t everyone feel that way sometimes?” Mental illness affects an estimated one in four Americans, and yet this wide category of illnesses is frequently misunderstood by the media and by friends, family, coworkers, and partners of sufferers. We’ll discuss some of the most common myths surrounding mental illness, how to help your loved ones understand, and how to be a helpful ally.
  • 5:30 Human Augmentics:Using technology to transform and overcome our biology and produce the next human evolution.
  • 8:30 Skepticism 101 with the SkepchicksWhat’s a skeptic? Why should you be skeptical? Join the Skepchicks as they explore some incredible claims, scams, fads and pseudoscience.
  • 10:00 Demystifying KinkAs subcultures go, Kink can be intimidating and mysterious. Come join us for a straightforward introduction and a safe place to ask those embarrassing questions. We’ll talk about consent and risk awareness in kink cultures and ponder how some issues in kink intersect with skepticism (ZOMG, MAGIC! Err, no, just endorphins).

Saturday March 21, 2015

  • 8:30 am Anyone Can Do ScienceAnyone Can Do Science: Science doesn’t just occur in the “ivory tower.” Citizen science, hacker/maker spaces, and pro-amateur collaborations make science far more accessible than it has been in the last couple of centuries. Find out how you can do science and see what scientific discoveries have been made outside the traditional laboratory.
  • 10:00 am Nature is Trying to Kill YouBecause, well, it is. Just because something is natural doesn’t mean it’s good for us as humans.
  • 11:30 am (A-Adams Main Stage): The Battle for the Future of Video GamesGames are growing up, but not without a fight. Industry insiders and fans talk about the past, present and future of games and game culture and why, at the intersection of tech and pop culture, games might just matter more than you think.
  • 11:30 am Ask a ScientistEver wonder how black holes work? Want to know why we get brainfeeze? Do you really know why the sky is blue? We have you covered from asteroids to zoology as our panel of science experts answer your burning questions.
  • 1:00 Star Trek: The Skeptical ParadoxBoldly go where no SkepTrekker has gone before as we discuss the unusual, yet amiable marriage between secular humanism, religion and spirituality within the Trekverse.
  • 2:30 Food FrightA discussion about pseudoscience in the world of nutrition — including false claims about “organic” food, GMO hysteria and misinformation about food allergies — and resources for evidence-based advice and information about nutrition.
  • 4:00 How to Survive as an Outspoken Woman OnlineIt’s hard to voice your opinion on the internet as a woman knowing you’ll be facing a torrent of harassment merely for daring to be both outspoken and a lady. Our panelists will tell their stories of fighting for social justice issues online and give advice to aspiring activists.
  • 5:30 The Science of StargateBlack holes, wormholes, naquadah, and symbiotes. It’s fantastic science fiction, but how do the stories of Stargate fit in with real science? Find out!
  • 7:00 The Science of the ApocalypseThis is the way the world ends! Or is it? We’ll explore some of our favorite ways the “end of the world as we know it” might happen and the science behind these fantastic scenarios.
  • 8:30 You Got Art In My Science with Mad Art LabFrom satellite images of algae blooms that look like impressionist paintings to song lyrics that accidentally describe neurological processes, science and art are constantly blurring boundary lines without even meaning to. We explore fascinating examples of this phenomenon and discuss the ways they happen.
  • 10:00 The Science of Sexual Fluidity: Are we all “Born This Way?” The assertion that sexual orientation isn’t a choice was crucial to building support for the LGBT rights movement, but many people misunderstand a key aspect of sexuality, gender identity, and sexual attraction factors such as kinks: they can be fluid, and don’t necessarily reveal themselves early in life. Whether you’re a “late bloomer,” you’ve been told you’re “just experimenting,” or you’ve adopted a partner’s kinks with more enthusiasm than expected, this panel will challenge assumptions that identities must be claimed early and held for life.

Sunday March 22, 20

  • 8:30 am Evaluating Parenting Information with Grounded ParentsParenting-related information abounds, but much of it is untrustworthy, and we don’t always have time to sort through it all. What’s the bare minimum you can do to at least make reasonably sound judgments? What topics are more important than others to look into more thoroughly? We’ll share tips, strategies, and resources.
  • 10:00 am Communicating SkepticismEver had a conversation with a friend or family member, and they start going on about how a psychic Bigfoot is responsible for the 9/11 conspiracy? We feel your pain. How do you talk to people about skeptical topics while trying to avoid the label of being a “know-it-all” or “one of those curmudgeony skeptics”? Come to this panel to learn some of the basic do’s and don’ts of advocating for skepticism and spreading critical thought.
  • 11:30 am Science versus the HumanitiesSome people think that science and the humanities are destined to be in conflict. From postmodernist nonsense to looking at science as “the only way to know anything about the world,” there are many times when the two fields of study appear to be at odds. But does it have to be that way, and how can they get along? Come to this panel to hear a variety of perspectives on this question.
  • 1:00 Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary EvidenceIn a world of smart watches and robots on comets, many people still ignore or reject even the most well-established scientific conclusions from the safety of vaccines to the age of the earth. Join this panel as we discuss this troubling culture of science denialism, how people come to this mindset and what we can do about it.

On Friday and Saturday evening we will be running the Skepchick Space Lab party room, so don’t forget to stop by and drink a Buzzed Aldrin with us!

On Sunday afternoon just after the end of Chi-Fi Rebecca will be hosting her famous Quizotron with panelists Peter Sagal, Paul & Storm, Steve Gadlin, Brian Babylon and Lucianne Walkowicz. Even if you are coming to Chi-Fi you need to buy separate tickets to attend Quizotron. You can also join us at Quizotron even if you are not attending the Sunday or ChiFi.

Hope to see you all there!

Featured photo by Jamie Bernstein. All rights reserved (don’t steal).

Jamie Bernstein

Jamie Bernstein is a data, stats, policy and economics nerd who sometimes pretends she is a photographer. She is @uajamie on Twitter and Instagram. If you like my work here at Skepchick & Mad Art Lab, consider sending me a little sumthin' in my TipJar: @uajamie

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