Friday, September 11, 2009

DragonCon 2009 Report

I had hoped to post an update while I was at DragonCon but having the family along made that a bit more difficult than expected. I return to find a bunch of unmoderated comments (now published, thanks for your patience).

I gave my talk, “The Cosmos In Your Pocket”, based on my paper, on late Saturday afternoon. The DragonCon science organizers allocated me a full two-and-a-half hours and not only did I use almost the full allotment of time, but actually had many attendees stay for the duration.

I attended a number of sessions in the science, space, and skepticism programming tracks including Kevin Grazier's “The Science of Battlestar Galactica”, Phil Plait's and Kevin's “Myths in the Movies” session, and the “Stealth Science and Skeptical Thought” panel (see image below) with Phil, Adam Savage (Mythbusters), Scott Sigler (science fiction author), Rebecca Watson (Skeptics Guide to the Universe) and Melissa Kaercher (inker for science-related comic books).

Seeing again
  • Phil Plait of Bad Astronomy & JREF: Phil and I have crossed paths briefly a number of times, starting back around 1996 (or was it 1997?) when I invited him to give an Astronomy Day presentation for the Greenbelt Astronomy Club. We also crossed paths with the 2004 Venus Transit. He knows my face but can't quite remember my name. He did sign my copy of his new book, “Death from the Skys!”.
  • Eugenie Scott of NCSE: She spoke at the Goddard Scientific Colloquium in the fall of 2006 where I joined the speaker's luncheon.
Meeting for the first time
It apparently wouldn't be DragonCon without a report of Celebrity Sightings
All in all, it was a good trip for a first-time attending DragonCon.

The only downside was that
registration lines seem to be a persistent issue, even for those who pre-registered. The line was so long Thursday evening that I gave up after about 50 minutes. Friday morning I managed to make it through in just under two hours. The only break in the boredom of waiting in line was someone sent a beachball flying around the room and a free-form volleyball game broke out which was terminated when too many participants were hitting the large chandeliers in the ballroom. While final lines were organized alphabetically, the A-B-C lines were full while later letters in the alphabet had nearly empty chutes. Random clumping or bad planning? Only the organizers know for sure...

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