SkepchickCon was a track at Convergence in Minneapolis. Convergence is a science fiction and fantasy convention with about 5,000 participants. A track is a temporally aligned series of panels or similar events with a theme. Skepchick is a reality-based skeptic blog entity with several fine writers from a diversity of backgrounds but mostly chicks. SkepchickCon is all this and more put together into a fine piece of meet-up, conversation, social intercourse and slack-jawed gawking at zombies and stuff.

(Bug Girl returned yesterday from The Con and reports on it here.)

The panels included Skepchicks Rebecca Watson, Maria Walters, Bug Girl, Carrie Iwan, Elyse Anders; and guest panelists Melissa Kaercher, Pamela Gay, Stephanie Zvan, Karl Wolf, Charlotte Nickerson, Matthew Bannerman, the diembodied voice of PZ Myers, and myself. (Have I missed anyone?)

Many of these people really are my blog heroes, and it was my great pleasure to meet some of these folks for the first time. As I mentioned before, it was a great pleasure to spend some quality time with Bug Girl. We had a nice dinner and a really good conversation. Pamela Gay is a hoot. There is a 99 percent chance you already know all about her interesting and important work in Astronomy and education. Elyse Anders is focused like a laser beam on skeptical issues and mixes an incredible Buzz Aldren. OMG I am totally in awe of Melissa Kaercher. How do I not already know this person? (Few people know that my super power is cables. I have met my match.)

It was really nice to spend a good chunk of the day today hanging out with Maria Walters as well as mutual Friend of the Skepchicks Kammy Lyon. Maria (skepchick and indy blogger ) is not only a brilliant implementer of skepticism but she has an interesting past that overlaps (indirectly) with mine, which made for some interesting conversation.

I can’t say enough about Carrie Iwan‘s contribution to all of this. As a Twin Cities area Skepchick she organized this whole event. Having been there and seen it I can testify (if I may use that term) to what was involved with that and she deserves the highest kudos. (Can “kudos” be “high” or is it really more of an amount thing?) Thank you Carrie for doing all of that.

You know Stephanie quite well.

I, as would be true for most people, was already pretty much in awe of Rebecca Watson, founder of Skepchicks. But now times ten. Rebecca is extraordinarily talented in ways that I do not have space to describe but if you see her in action, trust me, you will be impressed. She is very smart (as in smarter than you), very fast (as in she is ahead of you, don’t even try), has a killer sense of humor (as in hold on a sec, this is going somewhere), and she knows how to use all of this. I love the way she uses white space. And I’m not talking about a sunken living room with a shag carpet and white furniture.

But what about the content? Well, I actually don’t want to say much about that at this time. The various panels covered the gamut from psychics to evolution, the audiences were fantastic, and other than PZ Myers not showing up, then showing up only as a disembodied voice coming from the ceiling (like Ceiling Cat) then disappearing again, there were no glitches. The party (parties) were … interesting. Even the lockdown was kind of fun…

I thank the skepchicks for including me, and I hope we can do this again!


  1. #1 carr2d2
    July 6, 2009

    you, sir, are too kind. thanks again for participating. it was a blast. can’t wait to do it all again next year, but right now, what i mostly want to do is sleep until thursday.

  2. #2 Stephanie Z
    July 6, 2009

    SkepchickCon was a hoot. Must go find coffee.

  3. #3 Maria Walters
    July 6, 2009

    Greg, it was fantastic to meet you. What a wonderful weekend. I can’t wait to do it again next year.

  4. #4 bug_girl
    July 6, 2009

    It was wonderful to meet you, and to talk about sciency things! looking forward to next year 🙂

  5. #5 Mike V
    July 6, 2009

    Warm body count at Convergence this year was 3801 (3966 registrations), which was a jump of about 700 people from last year. Afraid I really didn’t make many panels (kept getting dragged off to play games or eat dinner). Maybe next year. 🙂 Skepchick party was fun though.

  6. #6 Harold
    July 6, 2009

    You all have to come out to Rocket City USA sometime. I just moved here from Los Angeles and can’t afford to travel for awhile…

  7. #7 Ken
    July 6, 2009

    Loved the witty coversation. Wish I could have made more of the panels. And see, the advertising tang test tubes worked. I found your website.

  8. #8 Kammy
    July 7, 2009

    It was good for me too. 🙂

  9. #9 Melissa Kaercher
    July 7, 2009

    As one of the CONvergence volunteers who helped Carrie put the Skeptics programming in motion, I found it incredibly vindicating to see how full all those panels were. In the past, CONvergence’s weakest programming point has always been the Science track, and the Skepchicks (and you and PZ and everyone else) turned a weak track into an incredibly strong one. I’d love to see everyone back next year, and I know I’m not the only one who feels that way. The convention surveys also gave you guys plenty of kudos.

    As for cables, you have no idea the sort of Frankenstein’s monster I’ve created out of my home entertainment center. It involves three televisions, a G4 Mac Mini, a LaserDisc player, a Firewire drive that contains every single Godzilla film and MST3K episode, and at least 20 other components. My wiring zeal knows no bounds.

  10. #10 Greg Laden
    July 7, 2009

    Melissa, I have a collection of cables that have a 9 pin serial (usually but not always male) on one end and something … different … on the other end, but never a serial cable, and which can not be named unless you happen to see that product appear on the market before disappearing days later. Someday I will donate it to the SHC.

    (SHC = Smithsonian Hall of Cables)

  11. #11 Melissa Kaercher
    July 7, 2009

    Okay Greg, that is truly nerdy. I applaud you!