NECSS

I started writing about CSIcon but it wasn’t the first skeptic convention I attended. I also went to The Northeast Conference for Science and Skepticism or NECSS. I’m trying to compare the two but it doesn’t really seem fair since I went to NECSS without knowing a single person there in anyway and I went to CSIcon with lots of Facebook friends who I then met IRL.

The speakers were certainly good at NECSS so there was no disappointment with that. Brit Hermes was fascinating with her story of how she ended up in Naturopathy and how she escaped. David Gorski was his usual smart, cynical self. Summer Ash’s talk on what is hidden in photographs of the cosmos in visible light was a highlight. The photos she showed were so gorgeous.

The whole event just wasn’t as social which was one of the things I enjoyed so much about CSIcon. I really didn’t meet anyone until the second evening when I found myself in the bar with the emcee Leighann Lord. She is a delightful person in every way and I am trying to get her a speaking gig at the next Special Library Association annual conference. She really would go over with that group because she tweets about her love for libraries and of course she is hysterically funny! I just never saw any of the speakers in the evening. The only organized evening event was at a bar and I think all of the speakers just went to the VIP party that I did not pay for. I certainly never saw any of them. I did meet some very nice people before the party who refused to let me be introverted and just dragged me around with them! I’m talking about you Michael Sofka. I think I eventually was dragging him around with me but he was very patient about it!

I was especially glad I went because I did get to see the Amazing James Randi. He was as amazing as his name implies. I imagine it would take him a month to expound on even a tenth of the interesting things that have happened to him in his life. I regret forgetting to take my husband’s Dunninger’s Complete Encyclopedia of Magic for him to sign. I hope I still have the chance next year.

I came to skepticism by finding the Skeptics Guide to the Universe podcast randomly on iTunes so it was great to see them in person and watch a live show. I had been listening to it for over a year before the conference so their voices were so familiar. It was surreal seeing them in person. I’ve got those voices in my head so much that when I read Steve’s Neurologica Blog, I hear it in his voice! Weird, no? I also got to meet Richard Saunders for the first time at NECSS. He caught me off guard by dropping a microphone on his phone and interviewing me on the spot! I previously did a promo for the Guerilla Skeptics on Wikipedia that plays on the Skeptic Zone podcast occasionally. You can tell I am listening to myself when I suddenly burst out laughing for no apparent reason while I have my headphones on.

I really enjoyed the keynote speaker, astronaut Mike Massimino. He told some hair-raising stories about being in space and was generally charming and funny too. I didn’t get to see most of the rest of Sunday because my flight left too early and getting to the airport in New York is such an ordeal. A great event overall and a good introduction to skeptics in person. Go if you can.

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