Skeptech Game-A-Thon Is Now

Amy Roth, Rebecca Watson, Jason Thibeault, Chelsea Du Fresne and Brendan Murphy are currently Google Hangout-ing and killing things in Torchlight II. Ostensibly  to raise money for SkepTech, the incredibly awesome student-organized free-to-attend skeptic conference that’s happening on April 4-6th, but also because killing video game bad guys is just good clean fun.

I’ve attended Skep-Tech – and presented! – and it’s a stellar, well-attended conference. This year they’re bringing in Ian Cromwell, Heina Dadabhoy, Tim Farley, Jesse Galef, Debbie Goddard, Kate Greene, Jessica Kirsner, Hemant Mehta, David Tamayo and Rebecca Watson as speakers and panelists. Head on over to the Skep-Tech website for more details about presentations, panels and speaker bios.

Aaaaand:

A screenshot of Torchlight II with the text "Click here to watch the live gaming and to donate to Skep-Tech"

Skeptech Game-A-Thon Is Now
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SkepTech is This Weekend!

The past month has been super busy, but this week I’ve been even more blog-lax than my usual – my mom had to remind me that I hadn’t posted our Cross-Country Connections! I’ve been obsessed with reading and preparing for my talk at the community’s newest skeptical conference:

SkepTech Banner reads "SkepTech"

It’s being held at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and is sponsored by the peeps at Campus Atheists, Skeptics and Humanists (CASH) and the Secular Student Alliance Affiliate at St. Cloud State University ([email protected]).

I’m giving a talk on the Food and Drug Administration. When I started thinking about topics to present I found myself gravitating toward my favorite skeptical topic: alternative medicine. I wanted to understand WHY, when I walk into Walgreens, do I see homeopathic preparations in the same aisle as cold medicine – you know, things that (for the most part) do what they claim they can do? Why hasn’t the FDA – a regulatory agency charged with making sure our food and drug supply is safe and efficacious – done anything about these “natural remedies”? Thanks to groups like Science-Based Medicine and CFI articles like this, I had a casual understanding of the FDA and why things like alternative medicine and dodgy “healing devices” like this are on the market, but I wanted to know more!

The title of my talk is FDA – Where Are You? and I’m scheduled for the the bright and early Sunday 9:30am time slot. But the fun actually starts on Friday evening at 5pm: There’s going to be a gaming fundraiser, some mind-reading by David Gamut, and two talks that night – Jesse Galef and Zach Weinersmith. Speaking on Saturday and Sunday is this rockstar lineup: Ben Blanchard, Greta Christina, JT Eberhard, Tim Farley, Geeks Without God, Maggie Koerth-Baker, Scott Lohman, Hemant Mehta, Brendan Murphy, PZ Myers, and Stephanie Zvan.

You can view the entire schedule and get descriptions of the panels on the SkepTech website’s schedule page.

EDIT: I’m also participating on two panels on Sunday! I’m a panelist for “Real World vs. Cyberspace Activism” and I’m moderating “The Implications of Brain Tech”.

So that’s where I’ve been. Oh, and Cross-Country Connections will be up in just a few minutes 🙂

SkepTech is This Weekend!