Category Archives: Conventions

Balticon goings-on

I will be at Balticon this weekend at the Hunt Valley Inn in, uh, Hunt Valley, MD, talking all manner of science-y things. My official stuff includes:

  • Friday, 5:00pmMonsters Versus Aliens – The indefatigable Bruce Press shall lead a panel comprised of A. Kovacs, Scott Sigler, and yours truly on an @Midnight-style competition based off science and skeptical topics recently in the news.
  • Saturday, 5pmIn The Hot Seat – Possibly the most random panel ever, in which a motley collection of authors and science-types are assembled to attempt to answer any question posed to us.
  • Monday, 9amSYPHILIS~!, Or, I Know What You Did Last Night – At long last, I will be giving a solo talk on my all-time favorite infectious disease.
  • Monday, 11amMedicine In Science Fiction – A group of us shall rant/discuss/enumerate on the right and the wrong of incorporating medical science into speculative fiction.
  • Monday, 2pmDealing With Drug Addiction In Science Fiction – A panel of us will chat about the good, bad, and the ugly of dealing with the topic of drug addiction in speculative fiction.

Please feel free to say hello if you happen by, or to track me by my pithy comments and observations.

Dragon*Con goings-on

I’ll be at Dragon*Con for the next couple of days, where I will be participating in several panels on the Science and Apocalypse Rising tracks, as is my want:

Title: Cough and Sneeze: The Science of Epidemiology
Time: Fri 02:30 pm
Description: From “con crud” to zombie viruses, come discuss the science – and likelihood – of a world ending plague.

Title: I (Do Not) Want My HPV
Time: Fri 08:30 pm
Description: An update on the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV): the virus, cervical cancer & other diseases it causes (with pictures!), & the vaccines that prevent it.

Title: Read All About it: Zombies in the Media
Time: Sat 11:30 am
Description: From New Jersey to Miami and beyond… zombies are not just a thing of fiction and fantasy anymore, or so it would seem.

Also, on Saturday at 04:00pm, I will be helping out Laura with the Parsec Awards ceremony. Early Sunday morning, we’re flying to Chicago to catch the Hugo Awards ceremony and the last half of Worldcon because, well, why not.

If you happen to be in Atlanta or Chicago this weekend, feel free to track us down!

Balticon goings-on

Laura and I will be attending Balticon this weekend, as we do. Also, for the first time ever, all of the core staff of The Secret Lair will be present together there as well! Our official stuff includes:

  • Friday 6:00 pmHuman Papilloma Virus (HPV) and Vaccines – What is HPV beyond “that virus that can cause cervical cancer”? What is the latest on the HPV vaccines and the controversy that surrounds them? (M): John Cmar
  • Saturday, 1:00 pmGames for The “Non-Gamer” – Did you ever want to play a game that is fun but does not require too much thinking? Come learn about games that take little or no skill but will make you laugh and have a great time. (M): Ann Rudolph, (S): John Cmar
  • Sunday, 6:00 pmSecret Lair Design For Minions 101 – In this highly informative educational session, the staff of the Secret Lair will work with the audience to design and implement traps and countermeasures to keep those meddling heroes out of The Secret Lair. Special Guest Star Jared Axelrod will play the part of The Hero, describing how he would attempt to break into The Lair. The audience (minions) will have to assist the Lair staff in designing traps to foil the hero. (M): Chris Miller, (S): John Cmar, Jared Axelrod
  • Sunday, 8:00 pmThe Secret Lair Live! – Join Overlord Chris Miller and Doctor John Cmar for a live recording of The Secret Lair. Surprise guests! Games! Shetland-Bonobo Pony rides! Fun for all ages! (M): Chris Miller, John Cmar
  • Monday, 10:00amInternational Space University: 25 years of fostering cooperation in space – The International Space University is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. Learn from a graduate about this interdisciplinary, international, and intercultural space educational program. (M): Laura Burns
  • Monday, 1:00 pmThe Zombie Apocalypse Survival Panel – Stay Alive, Our panel of experts will tell you how they plan to make it through the impending zombie apocalypse. (M): Paul Elard Cooley, (S): Gary L. Lester, Doc Coleman, Brennan Taylor, John Cmar

Please say hello if you happen by, and as always, you may track me by my pithy comments and observations.

Ravencon goings-on

CC BY-NC-ND image by David Abbet via Flickr
CC BY-NC-ND image by David Abbet via Flickr

As is our want, Laura and I will be heading to Ravencon in Richmond, VA, this evening for SCIENCE, podcasting, and self-amusement. We will both be on the following session tomorrow:

  • Saturday, 10:00Parsec Awards: Awarding Excellence in Speculative Fiction Podcasting – Learn about the Parsec Awards from members of the Steering Committee and the help they need from you to find the most deserving podcasts.

My other official stuff includes:

  • Saturday, 12:00pmMacroblogging in the Microblogging Era – Be it for promoting one’s novel or other creative work, or just for fun, blogging seems a necessity in the online world. But when more people are communicating via Tweets and Facebook status updates, are the days of the long blog post falling behind us?
  • Saturday, 1:00pmMr. Adventure live podcast – Amazing Pulp Adventures, starring Mr. Adventure! A campy, comedy/drama reminiscent of early superhero comic books, performed in the style of 1940s radio plays.
  • Saturday, 8:00pmPublish and Perish: Avian Flu – The avian H5N1 influenza virus has nearly 60% death rate in humans, but cannot easily be transmitted from person to person. Recent research has tried to change the virus to see if it could become more transmissible, but attempts to publish that research have created controversy. Should such mad science be done, and should the results be freely published?

Laura’s other official stuff consists of:

  • Saturday, 11:00amInternational Space University: 25 years of fostering cooperation in space – The International Space University is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. Learn from a graduate about this interdisciplinary, international, and intercultural space educational program.
  • Sunday, 1:00pmLandsat Data Continuity Mission: Building on 40 years of Earth Observations – Learn about the history of the Landsat observations, the science they do and how the mission will continue with LDCM.

Please say hello if you happen by, and as always, you may track me by my pithy comments and observations.

Farpoint goings-on

Black Hole specialty cocktail from Farpoint 2011, CC BY-NC-SA image from DocOperon via Flickr
"Black Hole" specialty cocktail from Farpoint 2011, CC BY-NC-SA image from DocOperon via Flickr

This weekend, Laura and I will be swinging by that tiny little con that could, Farpoint. Sunday at 1:00pm, I’ll be giving the State of the Flu address for 2012, where I’ll look at what’s going on with this year’s influenza season (hint – it’s starting now). I’ll also be addressing other recent bits of news, such as the ethical debate behind the attempted publication of the genome for an influenza virus that could be very lethal to humans, and a recent contention in the media that based on scientific evidence, the influenza vaccines don’t work.

Laura will be talking today at 11:00am about the International Space University, and tomorrow at noon on her current project, the Landsat Data Continuity Mission. We’re also both listed as participating in the podcasting roundtable at 3:00pm Sunday. As always, please say hello if you are in attendance, and otherwise I may be sharing pithy comments here.

Philcon goings-on

The Moon Ranger and I will be heading up to Philcon this weekend, which is historically notable this year for being the 75th anniversary of the oldest science fiction convention in the United States. I will be attached to the following panels:

Sat 10:00 PM in Crystal Ballroom Two—How the Internet and Texting Have Changed Sexual Mores

Robert Heinlein famously commented that anyone could have predicted the internal combustion engine would revolutionize transportation, but only a science fiction writer could have predicted how it would influence mating habits. Technologies like the internet and “texting” have been doing the same thing. We’ll explore the impact of instant communication and online presence has had on our society.

Sun 10:00 AM in Plaza V (Five)—Universal Gene Testing: Boon, Bane, or Boondoggle?

Catching criminals CSI-style. Finding kidnapped children. Standardized haplotype-profiles for drug prescriptions at the doctor’s office. Screening for chronic, inherited conditions. Is it time for a universal DNA database? What are the costs? What are the dangers to civil liberties?

Laura will be involved with:

Sat 6:00 PM in Plaza III (Three)—The James Webb Space Telescope

When the James Webb Telescope launches in 2018, it will be able to see the first galaxies formed after the Big Bang. The Webb will be the premier observatory of the next decade, serving thousands of astronomers worldwide. It will study every phase in the history of our Universe, ranging from the first luminous glows after the Big Bang, to the formation of solar systems capable of supporting life on planets like Earth, to the evolution of our own Solar System. Laura Burns is a contract engineer with NASA and worked on the James Webb Space Telescope for 11 years. She will talk about the project and its future impact on our view of the Universe.

As always, I will be otherwise hanging about, and will be posting occasional pithy observations. If you are going, I look forward to seeing you there!

Dragon*Con goings-on

The Moon Ranger and I will be headed shortly to Dragon*Con in Atlanta, GA. We will both be attending the Charity Star Party at the Emory University Math & Science Center tomorrow night, and we will both be participating in the Parsec Awards ceremony late Saturday afternoon. In addition, my schedule includes:

  • Title: These are the ways the world will end…
    Time: Sat 11:30 am Location: 207 / 206 / 205 – Hilton (Length: 1)
    Description: Our panel tears apart the asteroid apocalypse theory, rips into the latest “world enders”, and answers questions. We’re probably safe (for now).
  • Title: XMRV, CFS, and the Internet: How Patient Communities Are Changing Medicine
    Time: Sun 11:30 am Location: 201 – Hilton (Length: 1)
    Description: How the Internet and patient advocacy is changing research and medicine, using the XMRV and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome controversy as a case study.
  • Title: KILLER STAPH OF DEADLY DOOM!!!
    Time: Sun 07:00 pm Location: 202 – Hilton (Length: 1)
    Moderator / MC for panel
    Description: Terrifying developments! New strains jumping from livestock to humans! Antibiotics that don’t work! But don’t panic – yet.

Laura will be involved in:

  • Title: LandSat – The Origins of Earth Imaging
    Time: Sun 04:00 pm Location: 203 – Hilton (Length: 1)
    Description: Before Google Earth or Mapquest , the LandSat program was delivering images of Earth & it continues to be a valuable scientific resource.
  • Title: I Work in the Space Industry, But NOT for NASA!
    Time: Sun 08:30 pm Location: 203 – Hilton (Length: 1)
    Description: You’ve always dreamed of working in the space industry but NASA’s not your thing. We’ve got the people to tell you how.
  • Additionally, Laura is assembling a so-fresh-it’s-not-on-the-schedule panel on Friday at 4pm that will spotlight the James Webb Space Telescope, which will focus on the importance of the mission as well as the plethora of reasons why a loss of funding for the project would be both an epic loss to science and an incredibly bad idea. Co-panelists will include Dr. Pamela Gay, and possibly another special guest.

Apart from these, I will be otherwise hanging about the science and podcasting tracks, and possibly be doing some Bad Doctoring for The Secret Lair. As usual, I will be posting occasional pithy observations, and if you are going, I look forward to seeing you there!

Worldcon goings-on

Renovation, the 69th World Science Fiction Convention

I’ll be headed shortly to Renovation, the 69th (In Reno. With brothels. Yes. Ok, it’s out of my system now.) World Science Fiction Convention. Tomorrow, I have the good fortune of participating in a couple of science panels:

  • Thu 16:00 – 17:00, Space and the Biological Economy: How does space exploration drive the United States’ biological economy? What do the advances in telemedicine and the biological sciences driven by NASA mean to our nation’s long-term economic and physical health? – David W. Goldman (M), Nick Kanas, H. G. Stratmann, John Cmar, Greg Bear
  • Thu 17:00 – 18:00, Infections and Viruses that Could Doom Humankind: What could create the next pandemic? A virus from animals? Food-borne illness? An engineered retrovirus? – John Cmar (M), Vylar Kaftan, Tom Lehmann, Jim Fiscus

Apart from these, I will be otherwise hanging about with the Moon Ranger and other good folk, and possibly be doing some Bad Doctoring for The Secret Lair. As usual, I will be posting occasional pithy observations, and if you are going, I look forward to seeing you there!

Balticon goings-on

Balticon is incoming this weekend, and for the 10th year in a row – that’s rather scary to contemplate, actually – I will be in attendance. According to the official schedule, I will be offering equal measures of wisdom and snark on the following panels:

  • Alien Sex: What Could Go Wrong? – 5/27/11 9:00 PM – No matter what kind of life we find out there, you know someone is going to want to #$%* it. What could go wrong?
  • Extending Human Lifespan – 5/28/11 10:00 AM – Panelists discuss scientific advances in expanding human lifespan as well as the ramifications of humans living longer lives.
  • Unlikely Disasters to Plan For – 5/28/11 10:00 PM – So much attention is paid to how one might survive the zombie apocalypse or robot uprising. But aren’t there a whole lot of other things we should be planning for? How about mole men? Insect sentience? Or grey goo? Join our panel of possible-apocalypses scholars enumerate the conceivable threats. We might even have time to figure out how to survive one or two! Audience participation encouraged!
  • The TRUTH About Adult Content – 5/29/11 3:00 PM – We’ve all seen the signs. “Warning: Adult Content.” “Not Safe For Work.” “Men’s Restroom.” But how many of us know the TRUTH behind these slightly ajar doors of forbidden knowledge? What, if anything, is contained inside an adult? How sexy is danger in the workplace? Does anyone really rest in those rooms? These answers and more will plunged, examined and ultimately ignored as Doctor John Cmar (a real doctor!), Professor Jared Axelrod (not a real professor!) and Commodore Christiana Ellis (up for debate!) bring you the TRUTH about Adult Content.*
  • Medical Studies for the Non-medically Trained – 5/29/11 8:00 PM – Looking at the many pitfalls that go into medical research, why doctors can get it wrong, and why most media gets it worse.
  • Zombie Survival Plan: Have You Got Yours? – 5/30/11 12:00 PM – “They” are coming. Regardless of when the outbreak occurs, “They” will swiftly take over the planet and destroy civilization as we know it. As any movie or video gaming buff knows, “They” are the zombies, and they want to eat your brains. Will you be prepared when the apocalypse happens? Bring your plan so you can compare it with those of the master zombie survivalists on our panel.

If you want to catch the one thing that I’m most enthusiastic for, then please stop by my solo talk Sunday evening on Medical Studies for the Non-medically Trained. It will be far more interesting than the title might lead you to believe, and I expect that RANTING~! will occur. As to the others, I… really don’t know what to make of the alien sex panel, but it should, at least, be entertaining. As to The TRUTH About Adult Content, well, all I will say is that it is the sequel to the Truth About The Universe panel from last year. If you weren’t there to see it, then the best way to explain it is to show you (many thanks to Chooch for getting this online):

Apart from the events above, I will be generally lurking about and posting random things, as is my want. Additionally, you may find me plotting with Overlord Miller and Commadant Moore from The Secret Lair, who will also be attending. If you happen to be in around, please feel free to track me down by the usual methods, and say hello in person!