I type this during the last act of TAM London, Alan Moore, who is being gnomic in a basso north English working-class accent. Interesting character, a little perversely irrational (“I worship a 2nd century snake goddess”) while leaving no doubt that he’s keen as a whip.
The day began with a talk by Randi where I learned that he was friends with Richard Feynman! I knew that though my acquaintance with the Amazing One I’m only two steps from Alice Cooper, but Feynman as well – wow!
Science writer Marcus Chown then gave us his ten most mind-boggling physics facts. Good stuff! He could have skipped the scifi slide show and 70s pop tunes though.
D.J. Grothe gave a long “skeptics policy” talk, outlining his position in the accommodation/confrontation debate and taking a centrist stance. He suggested that what really unites the skeptical movement isn’t shared opinions about factual matters but shared moral values. Does a pro-science critical-thinking approach automatically lead to liberal humanism? Maybe.
A panel about the new media chaired by Rebecca Watson gave us the views of Tracey Brown, Gia Milinovich, Kate Russell, Martin Robbins and Neil Denny. Interesting stuff, though I was seriously distracted by Mrs. Milinovich’s looks. That woman should wear a burqa! No, I mean, really I don’t expect her to wear anything. Errr, that didn’t come out right either. Anyway…
An interview with feminist erotic comic artist Melinda Gebbie came across as completely irrelevant to the conference’s theme. But it was interesting in itself and I’m sure it helped the conference’s demographics greatly, so I’m all for it.
We then saw a new video “interview” where Tim Minchin and Stephen Fry were talking at the same time, both coming across as highly intelligent and well-read and funny skeptics, though hard to make out individually.
Jon Ronson interviewed Graham Linehan, writer of hit TV shows Father Ted and The IT Crowd, and they talked largely about Twitter. Fun and interesting!
PZ Myers gave an excellent talk about the accommodation/confrontation debate, one of the few during which I felt no need to fiddle with my smartphone. He recommended ridiculing stupid adversaries. I agree, though I prefer to do so in a quieter and more ironic manner than he does. Of course, my road to work isn’t cluttered with anti-abortion billboards like his is.
And then on came Alan Moore.