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? =================== Friday, August 31st =================== 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! ======================= 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.