Saturday, July 30, 2011

7th time's a charm: Ignite Phoenix After Hours #2 recap

I love Ignite Phoenix. I've never missed one, and have had the extreme pleasure of presenting at seven various permutations therein. Last night was no exception, and I'm still coming down from the high that I always get.

[caption id="attachment_1718" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Me, at IPAH #2. Taken by Joseph Abbruscato"][/caption]It was Ignite Phoenix After Hours last night, an evening that tends to get a little raunchier and rawer (more raw?) than the "normal" Ignite Phoenix evening. Kids aren't allowed, and the whole point is to present topics that blow past the idea of "family friendly". I went very blue last time, and decided this time to stick to my skeptical bent.

My talk was well received.

OK, my talks typically are pretty well received. I bust my ass to make a great Ignite presentation, then I rehearse like a madman. Even though it's just 5 minutes, I feel that if someone is taking time out of their busy schedule to watch me perform, I owe it to them to knock it out of the park. There are plenty of things in life I take the half-assed approach to. This is not one.

Back to my skepticism. My four prior "normal" ignite presentations have been crafted with critical thought in mind. But they've been a soft-sell. They've been setting the foundation, if you will, for last night's talk. Where before I simply helped people understand that they've got a problem with scale, this time I gave it teeth. I showed, if the accolades I received were any indication, that our ignorance and scientific illiteracy are having dire consequences. Were I Phil Plait, I'd have a picture of a cat and with DOOMED written on it. But yeah... he's spot on. Me? I said the word "fuck" and associated it with religion. Hey, we play to our own strengths.

Borrowing heavily on groundwork laid (lain?) by George Hrab, a fellow fan of science like myself, I aimed squarely at fundamentalists (less fun, more mental) and their inane assertion that the world is 6,000 years old. It's not. You know this. I know this. And my goal last night was to arm people with three overly obvious ways to really know this by examining the world around them. Not necessarily as a scientist, but by having an understanding of science and critical thought.

So that's what I did. And rather than keep writing about it (I tend to ramble), I'll just direct you to watch the video of Parables vs Facts: Why we know the earth is older than 6000 years. Because the audio of the video isn't fantastic, I spent the time (cripes, and what an amount of time it was) to add in closed-captions. Or, if you want less crowd and more of me reading from a script, you can check out the SlideCast I recorded the night before as I was rehearsing. Heck, might as well watch them both.

Thanks to everyone who watched and cheered at the right spots. And an extra helping of thanks to those of you who sought me out afterward to say thanks or just hello. I never, ever grow weary of that happening. So please, keep it up. :)


  1. Great, indeed INSPIRING, to see some unbridled skepticism thrown out there for popular consumption. Nice to hear it was well received. It was certainly well delivered.

  2. Thank you, sir. It's great scientifically friends I have -- present company included -- that inspire me on a continual basis!

  3. You just rock. Thanks for spreading the good word!

  4. Aww... shucks. :)


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.