DragonCon Agenda

This year I will be a guest speaker at DragonCon (science/futures track) in Atlanta, GA. They gave me a choice of panel discussions.  Which ones seem fun and interesting?

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Friday, August 31st
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time: 10:00am
talk: The Genetics of ALS: Insights for a Rare and Devastating Nerve Disease
desc: The proceeds from this years charity auction and other charity events at Dragon*Con will benefit the Ga. Chapter of the ALS Association.

time: 11:30am
talk: DARPA (the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), Computers and You!
desc: Computers are built requiring us to adapt to them. We will discuss how DARPA is working to change that paradigm - by making computers adapt to us.

time: 11:30am
talk: Lights! Cameras! Explosions! It's the Rocket City Rednecks!
desc: See an episode & then have your questions answered by the National Geographic Channel's resident engineering geniuses.
NOTE: Hilton, Crystal Ballroom (1st floor)

time:  1:00pm
talk: Spyplanes and Fighters and Drones, Oh My!
desc: Lockheed Martin's Advanced Development Programs (aka the Skunk Works) - Past, present, and a glimpse at the future.

time:  2:30pm
talk: Spent Nuclear Fuel: Can Humanity Think That Far Ahead?
desc: The US has ~70,000 metric tons of spent nuclear fuel; can it be stored safely? For centuries? Do the cons outweight the pros for making this stuff?

time:  4:00pm
talk: Open Source Civilization: the Remarkable Potential of a Collaborative Existence
desc: Members of the Freeside Atlanta hackerspace discuss the tools, goals, and politics of the emerging open source civilization, and its opponents.

time:  5:30pm
talk: Memory: The Good, the Bad, and the..um...what was I saying?
desc: Myths and truths about memory - how it works, what it can do, what we can do with it, and what we can do to it.

time:  5:30pm
talk: Hollywood Science: The Process and the Results
desc: The panel will examine how Hollywood incorporates real-world science into its productions, and how real science influences the viewing audience.
NOTE: Hilton, Crystal Ballroom (1st floor)

time:  7:00pm
talk: Up and Down the Dial
desc: What messages are floating by you in the ether? Find out in this intro to short wave listening and scanning.

time:  8:30pm
talk: I (do not) Want My HPV
desc: An update on the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV): the virus, cervical cancer & other diseases it causes (with pictures!), & the vaccines that prevent it.

time: 10:00pm
talk: Cryonics - 2012 Updates and Open Discussion
desc: Live fast, die young (or old), leave behind a good-looking liquid nitrogen suspended corpsicle, and maybe get revived at some point in the future!

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Saturday, September 1st
=======================

time: 11:30am
talk: Gene Trek - The Next Generation 
desc: Discussion of "Next-generation Sequencing" technologies applied to disease and other human traits. Case study: discovery of the Weaver Syndrome gene.

time:  1:00pm
talk: Curing Disease with Viruses 
desc: Viruses have been used in parts of Europe to cure bacterial infections in humans. Bacteria-killing viruses may be our only hope.

time:  2:30pm
talk: Evil Geniuses for a Better Tomorrow 10th Anniversary MegaMayhem Destruct-o-Fest! 
desc: Amateur nuclear reactor demo (Yes! It's really real!) and other unsafe acts, plus surprise guests! And liquid nitrogen ice cream! Bring the kids!
NOTE: Sheraton, Capitol Ballroom - Come one, come all! Anything science-y and weird/entertaining/evil is welcome!

time:  4:00pm
talk: Chemical Warfare - an Introduction
desc: From mustard gas to VX - an introduction to the mechanism and execution of chemical warfare agents used in the 20th century.

time:  5:30pm
talk: We're All Doomed, DOOMED!!! Or Are We?
desc: What are some real or imagined doomsday scenarios, how dangerous and likely are they? It's eschatological fun for everyone!

time:  7:00pm
talk: The Higgs Boson - So did we actually find it? If so, what's the big deal?
desc: What is a Higgs boson? How does its discovery fit into our physics theories? And have we reached the end-of-physics upon finding this "God particle"?

time:  8:30pm
talk: Beyond the Baking Soda Volcano: Fun Experiments Created at Home for Pennies 
desc: Science experiments, demos, visual illusions, & other cool things you can create at home or on the go without spending a fortune on a microscope.

time:  8:30pm
talk: Fusion Reactors and Space Robots
desc: DIY Fusion Reactor presentation and informal chat on what it's like being a summer intern for NASA.
NOTE: Hyatt, Hanover C-E; 2.5hrs

time: 10:00pm
talk: Up and Down the Dial: Field Trip, Scavenger Hunt & All-Night(?) Listening Party
desc: What messages are floating in the airwaves around the con? We'll find out via some short wave listening and scanning.

=====================
Sunday, September 2nd
=====================

time: 10:00am
talk: Turning Sci-Fi into Reality: Who Funds the Research?
desc: Modern research requires big labs and bigger budgets. With spending cuts and redirected priorities, who funds the next wave of inventions?

time: 11:30am
talk: Disasters Past, Present, and Future - Hear from the Feds
desc: Ever wonder if the U.S. government is truly prepared to respond to a mass-casualty emergency? What if 2, 3, or 4 occurred simultaneously?

time:  1:00pm
talk: Creating a More Deadly Influenza
desc: How two sets of experiments have changed virology, what we can learn from them, and what we do if these viruses ever escape containment.

time:  2:30pm
talk: Communications in a Post-Apocalyptic World
desc: What? No Twitter? What will you do when the zombie Apocalypse happens, the grid goes down and all other communications fail? Join us to find out.

time:  4:00pm
talk: From ''American Idol'' to ''Toddlers and Tiaras'' - The Science of Self-Esteem
desc: A brief look at the role of narcissism in behavior. Sometimes amusing, sometimes scary.

time:  5:30pm
talk: The Evolution-Creation Wars: A Discussion and Update
desc: Evolution is one of the core ideas in science, but almost half the population rejects evolution. Why? How do we promote good science education?

time:  7:00pm
talk: Fission vs Fusion - A Knock-Down Drag-Out Brawl
desc: Which type of nuclear energy is best? Two of our resident experts with opposing views will settle their differences via a Thunderdome-style "debate".

time:  8:30pm
talk: A Scientific Study of Polyamorous Families
desc: Results of a fifteen year study.

time: 10:30pm
talk: Not Your Granny's Pot - What's Medicinal About Marijuana?
desc: Q&A with a neuropharmacologist: Cannabis sativa - modern vs. historical potency, "super pot" synthetics, and medicinal applications of cannabinoids. 

=====================
Monday, September 3rd
=====================

time: 10:00am
talk: Using Real Science Data in Your Classroom or Club
desc: Do you work with kids? Do you want to be part of NASA science? Come to this workshop and learn how you & your kids group can explore our solar system.

time: 11:30am
talk: Hacking 301 (continued from 10:00am, EFF Track) and Cannibal Brunch
desc: The EFF Track and the Science Track have spawned an unholy mutant love-child! The mayhem continues! Plus, (ab)using technology to legally eat people.

time: 11:30am
talk: What if StarFleet Academy Ran Our K-12 Schools? A Science Education Panel
desc: StarFleet¹s leadership principles applied to K-12 schools might result in different outcomes than we see in public schools today. Discussion then Q&A.

time:  1:00pm
talk: One Year After Fukushima
desc: The worldwide effects and changes from last year's nuclear disaster.

time:  2:30pm
talk: Transhumanist Open Discussion
desc: Better living through technology! The directed evolution and transformation of the human race via emerging technologies - pros and cons.

time:  4:00pm
talk: Science Track Wrap-Up, Blamefest and Leftover Liquid Nitrogen Disposal
desc: Tell us what you liked, what you hated, and what blew up spectacularly; what you want to see in 2013, and what we should avoid like the plague.
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