As is our habit and tradition, please do consider this our semi-open weekend/Sunday thread.
I spent the last few days at CHI-FI 2015. This is a nice regional convention that has a good amount of upside once they get some of the kinks worked out. I can only imagine the challenges involved in planning an event at a major hotel and having to coordinate all of the many elements necessary for it to cohere nicely.
Moreover, and it must only come with practice and experience, little things matter at a convention in terms of procuring talent, guest speakers, and the like. I am sure that the organizers of CHI-FI 2105 will improve their logistics for what will be a great event next year.
[Obvious suggestion and question for all folks planning a "con": please make sure that the chairs of the individual panels adhere to the times listed on the schedule.
At this year's CHI-2015, the schedules allotted 30 mins more to the panels than what was detailed on the schedule. In addition. some of the panels seemed happy to end early. Perhaps this is a function of nerves by the panelists and chairs? Based on my experience of having been on quite a few panels as a guest and chair, always plan to go over time as opposed to planning to end early. This makes for a huge difference in terms of energy for the audience.]
As a "ghetto nerd"--speaking of which, much love to the folks who have said kind things about the last episode of The Chauncey DeVega Show with guest Dr. Adilifu Nama--I want to see more and better science fiction, comic book, cosplay, popular culture, and other like events as opposed to fewer of them.
CHI-FI 2015's heart is in the right place. I wish them the best going forward. I look forward to next year's con.
I had a good time at the event. Some of the standout panels I attended included the following:
1. The BDSM and kink panel featured some great sharing by the panelists. They deserved to have many more folks in attendance.
2. The panel on being an outspoken woman online was excellent too. Their insights into the bad behavior and immaturity of the sexists and misogynists who routinely harass women both online and in other spaces was very instructive. The panelists were honest, direct, and spoke with a perspective born of direct experience.
3. The panel on human augmentation was also very good. Smart folks doing smart things and talking about neuroscience in a way that is accessible to interested laypeople always earns a plus from me.
4. The "Beast Women" burlesque show was very enticing. As a man who appreciates the beauty of the female form I was transfixed, titillated, and much impressed by the skill on display. I will definitely be attending the "Beast Women" burlesque show in the future. I was so fascinated, and my attention riveted to the beautiful performers, that I was (almost) able to ignore the silly chatter of the sad souls and caricatures of lonely adult male virgin nerds who were sitting next to me. There is a reason that their beds are empty and cold at night...beautiful women are dancing in front of them, yet they would rather make stupid comments instead of figuring out how to up their game.
5. I enjoyed all of the panels I attended. However, my favorite was Science of the Apocalypse: From Armageddon to Zombies.
From my learning there, I offer the following observations and sharing for our weekend salon.
Apparently, the pharmaceutical industry is integrating nano materials into its products. This has the potential to cause no small amount of harm to the environment--and by extension humankind--as discussed by Dr. David Grainger.
There is a metric called The Torino Impact Hazard Scale. I can now quantify my worries about the end of the world and the probability of an object hitting the Earth from outer-space.
Syphilis is really bad. I knew this to be true...and not from personal experience. But after being relatively controlled for decades, antibiotic resistant syphilis is on the march across the former Soviet Union.
As reported in Science magazine, the Earth has now exceeded four of the nine limits for hospitable life. I wonder when Gaia (assuming she has not already) will decide to eliminate our intrusive and destructive species from the planet?
Any issues of public or private concern to share?
Question: if a small number of scientists or other researchers discovered that the end of the world was near, and nothing could be done to prevent it, should they share this information with the general public? Is the greater good served by silence or instead sharing this knowledge even assuming for the potential chaos that could likely ensue?
The Coventry moral dilemma is one of my favorites.