And Then There Was This Skepticamp Thing

Which I really should have posted about before I went in to full-on Loki fangirling mode yesterday, but what can I say. I must be true to my inner fangirl.

Skepticamp Colorado (the sixth?) happened on Saturday, and I made certain to be there from the start. The event was at CU again, though this time we used one of the business school buildings, which I’ve never been in before. It was nice, and new, and there were pop machines that took credit cards, which I’ve never seen before.

The event was a lot of fun, as usual. The individual talks that stand out most in my mind were:

– Kim Saviano on the science of intersex. In her presentation she said that she has a blog, but I haven’t been able to find it and can’t remember the exact title – so if you recall or have the link, please let me know. Anyway, this was a very interesting talk and definitely a new topic for our Skepticamps, and Kim got some extremely good audience response. She made a lot of good points and had a lot of good, basic information in her presentation, but her point that struck me the most was: “We’re all assigned a gender at birth.”

Karen Stollznow on Braco the Gazer was just a lot of fun. I’d only heard of this joker in passing (since he was mentioned in a meetup), but the more Karen talked about him, the more absolutely ridiculous it got. Braco supposedly heals people with the power of his gaze, which amounts to him standing on stage and blankly staring at adoring crowds for minutes on end. It’s hilarious, and also a bit scary because people really do buy this, and he seemed to be making a tidy living. Braco (pronounced more like “Bratzo”) also is now the default toast for the Denver skeptics. Blame Rich Orman, because it really is his fault.

Bryan and Baxter from Rocky Mountain Paranormal were absolutely hilarious, as always. I’m not going to say too much about their presentation since they will hopefully be releasing some awesome video in relation to it soon, but it did involve Joe Anderson with a pornstache at one point. And Rich Orman. And Froot Loops. And that’s all you get for now.

DR. Stuart Robbins did an overview of physics for skeptics, which was useful – particularly since he tried to explain some basics of quantum mechanics. And I just love Stuart to bits anyway.

– And Shawn Yasutake finally did a presentation! Yay Shawn! He did a slide show about his trip to a low-budget Creation Museum in California, which was another funny but also sad thing to see. My favorite bit from his presentation was the museum sign that claims thermodynamics is God’s punishment on the world for sin. I swear I’m not making that up!

This year’s event was smaller than last year’s, I think – we were all just in one room for the day. I think that was nice, though, since it meant not having to choose between speakers. I also noticed that this was definitely the most argumentative year yet, mostly with the audience going back and forth with speakers about either logical fallacies, or the definition of energy. This occasionally caused some audience squirming, but I think the interaction is also sort of the point… if it can be conducted in a less squirm-inducing way. Though Joe, monkey suit and all, did his best to keep things from becoming completely derailed. But being able to address disagreements directly is valuable, since it’s too easy to get into a lecture mode where you just sort of absorb what you’re told by a speaker, whether it’s right or not.

I didn’t speak this year, mostly because I just wasn’t motivated enough to get my shit together in time. I will be signing up for sure next year, since I’m going to want to do an awesome “What I did over my summer vacation” slide show about the BBCP and paleoclimate change. So we’ll see how huge of a presentation that ends up being. And if I get to pick a fight with anyone in the audience when the time comes.

Can’t wait for next year!

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