Posted by: Ticktock | September 7, 2009

Dragoncon Skeptrack (Saturday and Sunday)


Saturday was not really a good day for me. I was running on fumes after being out until 4 a.m. the previous night.

Dr. Rachel Dunlop mentioned me during her panel on Friday, but I missed it so that I could attend the one across the hall about vaccines. So, I was intent to make it up to her by bringing Sasha to the Mystery Investigators. To make a long story short, Sasha’s first trip on a subway involved being packed on a crowded train car between the buttocks of a Virgina Tech fan and the buttocks of a Georgia Tech fan. We ended up being 30 minutes late to the show – totally totally bummed out (literally and figuratively).

Then, I stupidly thought that Sasha would be a good girl during the Alien Hunter panel with Phil Plait and Seth Shostak, but it turned out that she wanted to roll around on the floor and act like a spastic caterpillar. Even though Sasha was a distraction, I still spoke on the microphone to correct a previous commenter on a mistaken fact about amniocentesis (again with a nerve-rattled voice); it probably came out sounding unnecessarily righteous or annoying, but what can I do? Other than shut up next time, right?

I attended half of the skeptic zone podcast before Sasha needed to be taken home. Once again, I disappoint the amiable Australians!


I’m back now from my last day at Dragoncon. Part of the disadvantage of being a parent is that I must return to my domestic duties while everyone else continues to party on Monday. No big deal, but I’ll miss everyone.

Today started off super well when Steven Novella mentioned my blog on the live taping of Skeptics Guide to the Universe podcast. Welcome to those new listeners who heard him reference us. He was saying that a good way to re-brand the term skepticism is to change the name to something more palatable, such as  “science-based”. Dr. Novella touched on the very reason why I co-opted the name of his medical blog (Science-Based Medicine) . By using the term “science-based”, visitors understand the definition of skepticism by simply looking at the title. There are many who think of the term “skeptic” means a doubter or cynic, rather than a science advocate.

My day went even better when I met Jim, the Teacher Ninja, this morning after the “how to combat woo” panel with Dr. Phil Plait and DJ Grothe. Jim is a frequent commenter here, and it was great to chat with him about skepticism and education over a dinner of sushi rolls. For those who are interested in skepticism and education, I recommend checking out the Teacher Ninja blog and the Critical Thinking Education Group. finished my day by attending the Scott Adsit panel over at the Toon Track. I went to see Adsit (of 30 Rock fame) because he is an improv legend and a comedic performer whom I greatly admire, but it turns out that he is also the creator of the clay animated series called “Moral Orel”. For those atheists who have yet to check out this irreverent series based on religious hypocrisy, I highly recommend buying the DVD. And, if you want to see Adsit doing comedy at Second City, go to the previous link, click on video, click on the 90s decade, and click on the sketch called “Gump”.

I plan on going back to Dragoncon every year! It was so great to meet everyone, to hang out with fellow skeptic parents: Rob, Laurie, John Paul, Jason, Jim, Heidi, and so many others that I’m forgetting. I’m bummed that this is the end, but I’m pumped to get back out there and take my activism to the next step.

For now, it’s time to return to being a family man. My side of the bed is cold.




  1. Thanks for the shout out an the help ordering that yummy sushi! The intertubes have conspired against my blogging recently, but I will be doing many posts about Dragon*Con and some of the things I learned there. Thanks again!

  2. I saw you correct that dunce at the panel with Phil Plait, Seth Shostak, and Joe Nikel. I thought you did fine. I just could not believe that guy was trying to defend Betty and Barney Hill. That’s been thoroughly debunked so long ago it’s like claiming the Sun goes around the Earth. Anyhow, I am an Air Force Pilot so the wife and I move around the country raising a daughter and soon to be second child (due in May) to be critical thinkers. I don’t know if you are in the market for additional contributers we would love to submit some writing for you to take a look at. We apply critical thinking and doubt to every aspect of life, not just religion and medicine and would like to write about these things. You have my email, please let me know if you’d like a submission. Additionally, how awesome was Dragon*Con?

  3. I would have loved to see the spastic caterpillar! I saw that panel too, it was great! I was actually surprised at the lack of true believers participating. Given the nature of Dragon*Con, I was expecting more fun discussions. Apparently those happened at a later panel with Joe that I unfortunately missed, but it sounded like a lot of fun.

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