Day: May 4, 2018

Convention Time is a-Coming, Ha-HaConvention Time is a-Coming, Ha-Ha

I’m all kinds of happy about convention time this year. It makes up for a lot of crummy stuff that happened in my little world in the first third of 2018.

BayCon programming liked some of my program ideas.  They even put some of them on the program! Even better, though a little scarier, they plunked me down as a panel member on two of them and asked me to moderate a third.  I’m getting better at this panel thing, though.  I’ve discovered I do have a few things to say, and I have managed to steer a group around to keep the panel on track or at least bring the quietest panelist back into the conversation.  I’m solidly on science track this year, so I will make sure to brush up on my Real Facts before I show up.

Here’s my schedule, just in case anyone’s looking for me.  Or at least so I have a place I can look this stuff up, myself:

Sunday, May 27 at 1 pm
Science and Politics in the USA: Latter Day Lysenkoism?

Can US science recover from the anti-science policies of politicians? Where will the damage be most significant?
Edward Kukla
(educator, biologist, mathematician, a moderator who knows how to make Ph.D.’s behave themselves)
Bradford Lyau, Ph.D.
(historian, political activist, literary analyst)
Vanessa MacLaren-Wray, Ph.D.
(science activist, writer, engineer)
Howard Davidson, Ph.D.
(turns science fiction into real-world stuff)
Sunday, May 27 at 4 pm
Bad Science: Pseudoscience, Hoaxes, and Illogical Thinking

When we’re reading or writing science fiction, we’ve got some poetic license, but we want the science to be fundamentally right.
When looking for science resources, how do we winnow the chaff from the wheat?
As a bonus, really bad science and hoaxers provide excellent fodder for parody SF.
(I’m a big fan of Phil Plait, whose “Bad Astronomy ” column is a good example of this kind of thinking.)
Vanessa MacLaren-Wray, Ph.D.
(writer, mechanical engineer, writer, used to managing a roomful of smart guys)
Howard Davidson, Ph.D.
(physicist, inventor)
Arthur Bozlee
(aerospace entrepeneur, oughta have a Ph.D., should hire the rest of us)
Jim Doty, Ph.D.
(writer, electrical engineer)
Monday, May 28 at 11:30 am
Wild Weather

For the first time, science can show
that three extreme weather events would not have happened without global warming,
including the rain bomb that drowned Houston.
We’re also seeing tropical cyclones cross into the Bering Sea,
and cold snaps bringing snow to the deep south.
What can we expect to happen with tornadoes?
Patricia MacEwen
(writer, physical anthropologist who also uses her knowledge for our kind of stories, all-around awesome person)
Vanessa MacLaren-Wray, Ph.D.
(writer, engineer working on energy efficiency to fight climate change)
Heidi Stauffer, Ph.D.
(real-life educator and environmental geologist, i.e., this stuff is her field exactly)

My BayCon program schedule has some holes in it, so I plan to take some time and scoot down to Fanime that same weekend.  I love the costumes, and I’ve lately acquired a taste for Japanese pop music, and have even watched some of the anime (especially, of course, the science fiction) that rolls through on Netflix.  I have an in-house anime expert who can give me insider tips so I don’t have to watch everything to find what I’ll like.

WorldCon is in San Jose this year!  I am so stoked!  I submitted some program ideas to that group as well, though haven’t had any feedback from them.  Though I don’t expect to actually be on program, if they use any of my ideas I will be sure to go around claiming credit for them.  I’m finally paid up on my membership (thank heavens for installment plans).  My last WorldCon was in Spokane, and that trip was super-fun, but it kind of broke the family bank.  With the con in San Jose, it’s an easy daily commute.  Niiiiice.

Al Gore sitting with Angie Coiro on a stage with a screen behind them and cups on a table in between their chairs. Angie is holding her laptop computer as she listens to Al answer a question.
Climate science advocacy up close and personal. (Al Gore and Angie Coiro, December 7, 2017)

Al Gore won’t be coming to BayCon, but we’ll do our best to cover for him.