Monday, June 23, 2008

TAM 6: Just amazing!

So, I'm in my hotel room at the Imperial Palace Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas basking in the afterglow of TAM 6.  For the uninitiated, TAM 6 is the sixth full installment of The Amazing Meeting.  This is the brainchild of the extraordinary magician, and skepticism activist, James "The Amazing" Randi.  http://www.randi.org/  Its a place for all those interested in reality, skepticism, science, and public education about those subjects, to come together and learn, share, celebrate and, most importantly, plan to take over the world!  Ha, ha, ha!  (Think evil sounding laugh, here.)  Yes, plan!  That's what we did, here.  We skeptics refueled our batteries.  We had lots of really good laughsat the expense of all the charlatans and con-artists, at all the crap and woo out there.  We made new important contacts.  We plotted and schemed about new ways to organize our thinking and activities.  Oh, what a glorious weekend!

This year's meeting was at the Flamingo Hotel, right next door.  The speakers were fantastic!  The keynote speaker, Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, was outstanding. He brings an energy and passion to his speaking that I would like to clone for my use, and to lend to all the science teachers in this country.

Adam Savage, of MythBusters, gave an excellent talk on his particular neuroses, and obsessive compulsive disorder, and then, he showed us a really cool video of things having the snot blown out of them.  I mean real KABOOMS!  What a rush!  My kids can't wait to get their hands on a couple of the ping pong balls used to raise a sunken ship in an episode.  If only Buster could have been there.
I bought a copy of Flim Flam, by Randi himself and asked him to sign it.  Of course, I used the moment as a photo opportunity.  I realized afterwards that ever picture of me at this thing features me grinning like a three-year old on Santa's lap.  I have to admit, I was very star-struck.

I think my favorite moment from the entire meeting, though, actually happened after 
hours.  A bunch of fans of the Skeptics' Guide to the Universe podcast (see the link in the links section) got together at a local restaurant for a wonderful evening of wine, and talk, and skepticism.  I have never felt so thoroughly a part of an extended family as I did that night.  Rebecca Watson, one of the Skeptical Rogues in the podcast, did a wonderful job setting that up.  It was so much fun to talk to Bob, and Steve, and Jay, as well.  I love to be around people who fight the good fight, and do it with passion!

So, now, I go back to Maine.  I'm already working on my list of topics for this blog...


2 comments:

TROY CUTLER said...

RICH, GLAD TO SEE YOU ARE ENJOYING YOUR SUMMER. KEEP YOUR SKEPTICISM GOING STRONG. TALK TO YOU SOON, TROY

Sisyphus said...

The Manufacture of Madness: A Comparative Study of the Inquisition and the Mental Health Movement by Thomas Stephen Szasz

Against Method (Paperback)
by Paul Feyerabend

Discipline & Punish: The Birth of the Prison by Michel Foucault

Dancing Wu Li Masters: An Overview of the New Physics by Gary Zukav

Victims of Progress: Fifth Edition
by John H. Bodley

These have all been really valuable to my own thinking about thinking. Calling into question the discourses that I privileged. Perhaps if you haven't already read them they might contribute to your skepticism. Cheers.