Fair warning to convention attendees

So I just got back from CSICon, which was great fun. I gave a talk on the role of chance in evolution (it’s more important than many think), and I think people recorded it. I also have a rough summary that I’ll polish up and post to Pharyngula. But…

You’ll have to wait a bit. This year I’ve decided I can no longer drive myself into total mental collapse by doing new talks all over the place, so I’m going to be recycling a fair bit. I’m going to use this same talk at Skepticon and Eschaton 2012, so if you’re going to those events too, you might want to skip one of my sessions. Except that at CSICon, I had to compress it down to a half hour, so there will be some additional stuff at those two meetings.

I’m also scheduled to do two talks at Eschaton, so I’m not going to give that same talk twice. It’ll be a talk on science education on Saturday morning, and one on evolutionary theory on Saturday evening.

And then in December I’ll post a written summary of my talk, and try to come up with something new to say for Spring meetings.


  1. frankathon says

    Fantastic! I was wondering if you’d give 2 different talks at Eschaton 2012, even though I would have gone to see you talk about the same thing twice. I don’t think I’ve been this excited for an event since my rave days!

  2. chigau (棒や石) says

    So, you have people who follow you from conference to conference?
    Like Deadheads?

  3. birgerjohansson says

    “the role of chance in evolution”

    But if you have read “At The Mountains Of Madness” you will know that life as we know it was created as a morbid joke by The Old Ones instead of by chance.

    And in the first story in Stanislaw Lem’s anthology “The Star Diaries” the creation of life is attributed to two aliens named Gord and Lod, who deliberately ignored quarantine rules and dumped tissues on Earth after they had used them to blow their noses.
    — — — — — — — — — —
    By the way, why are there no physics or evolution fans following, say, Freeman Dyson around?

  4. says

    “By the way, why are there no physics or evolution fans following, say, Freeman Dyson around?”

    Freeman has a restraining order and he’s not afraid to use it. BTW, PZ, I got your CSICon talk on video and I can provide you with a copy of you like. Not what you might call professional quality, though.

  5. says

    No, they aren’t following me around — but there’s a limited number of conferences available on skepticism, atheism, and science, so I see a lot of familiar faces. And a lot of new faces every time, too.

  6. says

    Unless you read your presentation, it’s going to be different every time you give it.

    I do a fair bit of public speaking, myself. A decade or so ago I was scheduled to do two talks (on different topics) at the same conference. I was eating breakfast with one Dan Geer (one of the most interesting speakers and thinkers in information security) who has always been one of my heroes – I still want very much to be like him when I grow up. Anyhow, Dan taught me a really important thing about presenting:
    Dan: “I see they have you on twice.”
    Me: “Yeah, one on the technical track and one on the management track.”
    Dan: “Did you make up two sets of slides?”
    Me: (smug) “I finished them on the plane on the way out.”
    Dan: “Amateur.”

    I once saw Dan do a brilliant 1 hour lecture using a single viewgraph slide that he wrote with a sharpie while they were introducing him.

    My favorite musician, Ray Wylie Hubbard, has been telling the same stories for the 20 years I’ve been following him, and probably a good long time before that. The stories are still funny because they are inherently funny. In the same way that “Stairway to heaven” is inherently listen-to-able. I don’t think anyone’s going to say, “Oh, Purple Haze? Heard it once. Thanks, I’m good.”

    The point is not that we’re drooling fanbois who will eat up anything you say, but rather that you have interesting things to say so nobody’ll mind at all.

  7. says

    No, they aren’t following me around

    I dunno — for the last few years spouse and I have managed to be in the same place as you almost once per year, even though that required driving out to Morris in 2007 and subjecting ourselves to the Creation “Museum” in 2009. And this year we’re dragging you to our environs.

  8. onion girl, OM; social workers do it with paperwork says

    We would much rather have a sane and mentally (as well as physically) healthy PZ than Bright! Shiny! New! presentations. :)