Winding up for a knock-out set of speakers at Skepticon

Skepticon is announcing their speakers for this year’s conference, and they started with the least of them. The roster gets better, I promise!

Oh, they’re also organizing rideshare for the event. I’d offer to help out, but I’m planning a spider-collecting trip around the drive, and I’ll be annoying with frequent stops, and then the car will be full of spiders.


  1. birgerjohansson says

    Can you please recruit some non-crazy British speakers to the event? Partly for the accents and partly to show Dawkins is not representative of the Europeans.
    There is the cool skeptic that uses to pop up at God Awful Movies, Michael something. And there must be a ton of others over there.

    If you cast your nets more widely, there is Ian Hislop, the guy from the magazine Private Eye (also seen at ‘Have I Got News For You’) -he is not a classic religion-skeptic but more of a muckraking journalist; he is also very funny. And the physicist Jim Al-Khalili has been a host for a ton of BBC science programs.

  2. says

    I’m not a con organizer!

    You are incorrect, however. Brits elected Boris Johnson, so I assume they’re ALL nuts.

  3. René says

    @2: Applying that ‘logic’ to USAnians: You’re nuts yourself. Americans voted Trump into office and later a stumbling granddad. You’re American. All Americans are nuts. YOU”RE A NUT.
    Let me add there is nothing nuttier than ‘Murricans.

  4. birgerjohansson says

    More from the nuttyverse!
    Boris Johnson won the vote by 59-41 % but this is not enough to go on.
    Thatcher got exactly the same result and was unable to continue.
    Theresa May got a slightly better result, and yet she had to go.

    Boris does not give a fuck, he will go on as Prime minister until he is dragged out.
    And the rules do not permit a new vote of confidence for the next 12 months, so he could grab the queen’s ass in public and they would not be able to get rid of him. He never learns anything so the scandals will keep coming.
    In a way it is good news: the tories will not have time to distance thenselves from the crook before the next election.
    Using a whole nation as a prop for a surrwal black comedy is horrible, but this is what the voters get.

  5. billseymour says

    birgerjohansson @8 beat me to it.

    It should be noted that this was a vote of Conservative MPs only, so it was 41% of his own party that voted against confidence.  A commentator on DW News is pointing out that Theresa May had a slightly better result but still had to resign a few months later.

  6. birgerjohansson says

    Lightbulb moment!
    If we are to compete with Jordan Peterson, we need to get Cheech and Chong back together. Homer Simpson thought of it first, so we know it is a good idea.

  7. birgerjohansson says

    Billseymour and others may recall ‘Oops, Apocalypse’ from the 1980s. Fiction is turning into horrible reality. Next up: “PM suggests creating vacancies by having people jump off the white cliffs of Dover”.

  8. billseymour says

    And speaking of Skepticon, I retired just under a week ago, and I live in St. Louis, so I’ll be happy to drive some folks from the airport to the hotel.  I’ve left a phone message with the Skepticon folks in St. Louis but haven’t heard back yet.  This should probably be organized in some way, at a minimum, so that it’s official and I’ll have some badge or something so that potential passengers can believe that I am who I say that I am.

  9. azpaul3 says

    PZ, does skepticon stream their talks live, I would assume for a participation fee? Can I listen in?

  10. birgerjohansson says

    Billseymour @ 14
    Congratulations for your retirement!
    (Clearly, you escaped getting ‘reaganized’ in the 1980s so you don’t need to work until your death, and after.)

  11. robro says

    …and then the car will be full of spiders.

    Any of those Spiders from Mars?

  12. says

    #15: Skepticon is totally free. I don’t know if they’ll be streaming, but they do record the videos and post them to youtube.

  13. says

    @9: Hmm, Monty Python seems a bit tame for this. Perhaps… striking him off the (in)civil list would be more appropriate, after we call upon the Leader of the Opposition to test him on his Latin vocab.

    Generally: Somehow, PZ’s post leads to visions of a VW Beetle stuffed with spiders wearing clown costumes, legs hanging out the window… or maybe it’s the flexeril.

  14. James Hammond says

    I’m an organizer, and so’s my wife!

    birgerjohansson @1: Skepticon rarely books speakers from other countries due to the travel expense. If the person will already be in the country (book tour, etc.), or if someone sponsors their travel (employer, organization, or individual), we’ll be happy to take a look!

    billseymour @14: Hi! The dinosaurs monitoring the voicemail box forwarded your message. We’re not looking to organize an official airport shuttle service, mostly for liability reasons (We have event insurance! It doesn’t cover volunteer drivers! Yay?) We much appreciate the offer to help, though, and recommend that you try starting a discussion in the rideshare group PZ linked in his post. We also need more volunteers to help organize Skepticon. If you are interested in getting involved, please drop us a line at info at skepticon dot org.

    (The hotel for this year is a block from the nearest metro station, and three blocks from the central transportation hub of St Louis where you can catch an Amtrak, Greyhound, Metro Rail, Metro Bus, or Downtown Trolley to anywhere they go. A metro rail trip to or from the airport is $4.)

    azpaul3 @15: We livestream all of our main stage events for free, with live captioning provided by a human! (We use White Coat Captioning and love them).

    All Skepticon programming has been 100% free for attendees from the beginning, and we’re not changing now. Skepticon is entirely supported by voluntary donations from attendees, fees for tabling, merch sales, and sponsorships from other likeminded organizations.


  15. birgerjohansson says

    I have heard of the group Evil Giraffes From Mars. Spiders From Mars sounds like a tribute band.
    I get visions of a Gary Larson drawing, with spiders hanging out in the con hall, signing autographs and taking pictures.

  16. yaque says

    ” … I’m planning a spider-collecting trip around the drive, and I’ll be annoying with frequent stops, and then the car will be full of spiders.”
    Uh … what would be the downsides?

  17. birgerjohansson says

    James Hammond @ 20
    If Jim Al-Khalili or Sabine Hossenfelder are touring the country, bring a butterfly net and drag them to whatever con is going on!
    The best of all would be getting Svante Pääbo as speaker. Tempt him by the prospect of studying archaic humans (MAGA enthusiasts) in their natural habit.

  18. billseymour says

    James Hammond @20:  yeah, I thought about the insurance issue after making the phone call and the Pharyngula comment.

    IIRC, MetroLink (not “Metro Rail”) tickets are more expensive when purchased at the airport, so folks might want to get just a one-way ticket on arrival.

    Also, the walk is a bit more than Hammond suggested.  It’s a long block, gently uphill, to Market Street, turn left, and go another half of a long block to the hotel’s front door.  The hotel check-in desk is on the second floor, but IIRC, there’s an elevator you can use.

    I hosted a meeting of an ISO standards committee at the hotel back in 2014.  The only way into the meeting area, if you didn’t have a room key, was through the hotel’s front door because the hotel folks were afraid of homeless people stealing the mid-morning and mid-afternoon refreshments (or something).  I don’t know whether that’s still the case; but note that you might have to walk all the way around back to the front door after, e.g., going out for lunch.

    Google map.  The Union Station MetroLink station is at 18th and Clark.  The main city bus terminal is on 14th Street just south of Spruce, right across the street from the hotel where previous Skepticon meetings were held; the Civic Center MetroLink station is right behind that; and the Amtrak and Greyhound stations are just west of that and a little south, almost under the overpass for what we locals (or maybe just old farts like me) still call Highway 40.

    Everybody come to Skepticon!

  19. johnniefurious says

    If you have a folder full of possible memoir/autobiography titles, “The Car Bill Be Full of Spiders” ain’t bad.