#TAM9 – Some Images


I’ve plucked out a few of my favorite pictures that I captured while at TAM and added a few thoughts. Oh, and least you wonder, yes you can indeed click on any of the pictures to see a larger copy.

I’ve also been advised that all the talks will be made available for free, so as they become available, I’ll post the links.

Where is Randi?

You know the game “Where is Waldo?”, well here is the TAM equivalent called “Where is Randi?”. OK, its a bit of fun, but a serious point can still be drawn from this.

James Randi has an international reputation as a magician and escape artist, but today he is best known as the world’s most tireless investigator and demystifier of paranormal and pseudoscientific claims. In this role over many years he has had a profound influence on countless lives.


You can read more about him here.

Meet the SGU

If you are in any way into skeptical podcasting, then I’m sure you must have come come across the Skeptics Guide to the Universe podcast. It is quite simply one of the best and also most influential out there.

When you talk to those who come to TAM and ask “how did you hear about all this?”, a common answer is, “Well, I was listening to SGU and …”. They do not in any way hold themselves aloof and make themselves accessible to all. As proof, they even tolerate weird eccentric folks such as myself popping up and asking for photos (yes, I’m in the middle in there).

You can read more about them here.

Meet Joe Nickell – Psychic Investigator (a real one)

Joe Nickell is a detective, a real one. He worked for a well-known agency that he is not permitted to name or use for publicity purposes. But least you wonder and don’t know him, the name of the agency starts with a ‘P’ and they were famous for going after Jessy James.

What makes Joe fascinating is that he has taken the rigor he picked up in that role and has applied the discipline to the investigation of ghosts, monsters, UFO’s, psychics and has successfully uncovered many frauds and fakes. He is perhaps one of the most famous skeptics in the business.

You can read more about him here.

Penn Jillette

Yes, its Penn as in Penn and Teller. Penn is known as an magician, comedian, illusionist, juggler, bassist and writer, and also for his advocacy of atheism, and scientific skepticism.

He threw a fantastic party for us all and also (as can be seen) played as well. Ask him to whom he owes it all and he will point to James Randi … who was also there and declared it to be a “swellegant” party.

You can read more about him here.

Richard Dawkins vs Chuck Norris

Richard Dawkins gave us a fabulous talk  all about his new book (due out in October) … sorry no details, we have been sworn to secrecy until its out.

Once his talk was done, they decided to have an extended Q&A. Apparently Chuck Norris was holding a meeting just across the hall, and all his folks had spilled out clogging up our exit (so yes, Chuck Norris trapped us all in a room with Richard Dawkins). Best moment was when Richard commented, “I really have no idea who Chuck Norris is”.

Now least you wonder, during the Q&A nobody mentioned elevators, the community had successfully moved beyond all that nonsense. Richard did however announce that his foundation would be funding childcare at future meetings to enable those with young children to attend.

Panels

Lots of other Amazing panels (yea OK, pun intended) and speakers abounded,  too many to mention here. In fact the interaction generated was fabalous. With quite different views some very healthy and insightful debate resulted.

With over 1600 folks there I suspect we all have our individual favorite, but if pressed, I’d opt for the space panel.

Pictured here you can see Phil Plait (the Bad Astronomer) moderating the space panel that included Bill Nye (the science guy), Neil deGrasse Tyson, Pamala Gay, and Lawrence Krauss (theoretical physicist).

PZ

PZ (of Pharyngula fame) also gave us a great talk about aliens.

But then TAM is not just about going to talks, it is also hanging out with all these skeptic super-stars as well. PZ kindly tweeted an invite to all the folks who hang out in Pharyngula to join him (and his son and trophy wife) for dinner afterwards. Which I did indeed do … it was a privilege and an honor.

So finally, … as the talks become available on-line, I’ll be posting links … watch this space.

Leave a Reply