I am very excited to invite everyone to a fantastic event: RocketFest, a field day at Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama!
Rocketfest is a celebration of Space Camp and what it does to inspire kids to explore space. It’s open to families and kids of all ages, and it’ll be on Monday, September 3rd, 2012 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Space Camp itself. All proceeds raised go to the U.S. Space & Rocket Center Foundation.
I’ll be giving a short talk there about space exploration, and a few geeky friends will be there too: George Hrab, Molly Lewis, Ken Plume, Joseph Scrimshaw, and Marian Call! Marian organized this whole thing because she is constructed of awesome. Also, ThinkGeek is donating prizes for it, too.
The event will be streamed live on the web from the Space Camp page. I’ll try to tweet it and all that (but bear in mind we’re leaving straight from Dragon*Con to Hunstville, so my ability to internet may be limited – so follow Marian, Molly, and George on Twitter just to be sure).
We also have this cool retro poster:
I hope to see lots of BABloggees there, or on the live stream. You’ll love this, I promise.
[Oh my. I wrote this back in February, and could've sworn I posted it! But I just found it in my drafts list, and sure enough it never went live. My apologies to Geo and everyone else from the concert! But my feelings expressed here have not dimmed one iota since that weekend in February.]
Last weekend I was in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania to be a part of my friend George Hrab‘s concert he called 21812: A Gneiss Night Out. The number was an homage to the date (February 18, 2012) and the name, well, he does the Geologic Podcast, so you figure it out.
Geo is a dear friend, but he’s more than that. He’s one of the smartest, cleverest, nicest, and most generous guys I know. We’ve been friends for a while now, but I see him all too rarely. So when he invited mt to not just attend his concert but also be a part of it… well. That was an easy decision.
The concert was awesome. Geo wrote all the songs, and most came from his latest album, Trebuchet (which I’ve written about many times before). One of the tracks on that album is "Death from the Skies", based on a brilliant book by the same name. The song is way cool; while Geo plays the music, I do a voiceover reciting the odds of getting killed by various astronomical events. We’ve performed the song a few times live, too.
While I was there, we got together at Geo’s place. Now you have to realize, the cover art for Trebuchet was a picture of a wall in Geo’s apartment, which he covered in the song titles and lyrics. It was an amzing effort (you can watch a time lapse of him constructing it) and the results are amazing. I was so chuffed to be there that I got a picture of the two of us posing in front of it:
It was so great to see so many old friends, if only for a short time. My deepest and most honored thanks to Geo, Donna, and especially to all the fans who came to the concert. It as so great to meet so many of you and get a chance to chat.
And one last thing: the concert was recorded, and Geo will be making a DVD from it. That’ll be a while, no doubt, but also have no doubt I will be shilling it here. And after being there live when it was filmed, I also have no doubt you’ll want one.
I’ve known the skeptic, musician, and bepated bon vivant podcaster George Hrab for many years now, and it is truly an honor to call him my friend. He’s smart, wise, a natty dresser, and very, very funny. His music is brilliant, which you already know if you’ve heard it.
And hey! Here’s your chance now: Geo’s throwing a concert! He’s calling it "21812, A Gneiss Night Out", and it’ll be on February 18, 2012 (hence the name) and it will be in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
But he’s had concerts before, I hear you thinking. What’s so special about this one?
Well, for one thing, he’s recording it so he can release a complete DVD of the whole thing, which is pretty cool. And for another, he has invited a special guest, someone so amazing and awesome that no one could possibly resist buying tickets! Sadly though that person couldn’t come so he invited me instead.
That’s right! I’ll be there (w00t!) and we’ll be doing his song "Death from the Skies" (based on my book) live on stage. If you have no clue what I’m talking about, perhaps this will help. This song will change your life, or at least make you cringe for fear of it.
This concert will be epic. Seriously legendary. Tickets are on sale now. You should come. I’d love to see lots of BABloggees there!
Image credit: Terry Robinson’s Flickr Photostream
… are something you won’t be getting from me with this post.
Instead, here’s a video of George Hrab and me watching a shark balloon at Dragon*Con earlier this year.
Because why not?
Now, thanks to Dana Peters, you can see them together:
After all, these are the real ways the world will end.
When I was at the Northeast Conference on Science and Skepticism (NECSS) in April, my epidermically bepated pal George Hrab and I performed an acoustic version of his song "Death from the Skies", based on my book. We actually did it twice; once at a bar where Geo was playing with his trio, and again at the conference to close the whole thing out.
People seemed to like it. Geo certainly did, so much so that he wanted a nicer version to release. He therefore did such a thing and made it available to you, the science-loving throng out in the vast BA sphere of influence. He included the song in Episode 212 of his Geologic Podcast, and the skeptiliciousTM MsInformation put it into a feed of its own for you to download and keep in your digital music storage device.
I love both the original version of the song with its funky beat, but I also love this new version. The tongue-in-cheek lazy Sunday feeling of the soothing music coupled with me talking about the statistics of getting wiped out by a gamma-ray burst appeals to my sense of irony. Hope it does yours, too!
And go buy his album. It’s great.
Image credit: Terry Robinson’s Flickr Photostream
Last weekend I was in NYC attending the Northeast Conference on Science and Skepticism, aka NECSS. It was a lot of fun, as I kinda figured it would be. Skeptic conferences usually are! And of course it was a chance to catch up with a lot of old friends.
Attendees are writing their opinions of the meeting all over the place (like here, here, and here for starters). I’ll spare you the recap, which would boil down to how awesome my talk was, and cut to the chase which is to thank Michael Feldman from the New York City Skeptics, and all the folks from the New England Skeptical Society for inviting me and throwing such a fab conference.
I’d be remiss, though, if I didn’t include this little bit of funnery. Skeptical singer songwriter and BA friend George Hrab was at NECSS. On Geo’s last album, "Trebuchet", he wrote a tune called "Death from the Skies" — based on the brilliant book of the same name. He plays the funky beat, and I read statistics of getting killed by various astronomical events. We performed this song live both at Paddy Reilly’s, a bar where Geo had a gig, and to close out the ceremonies.
Here’s the recording of the latter, which is pretty laid back considering how many octillions of Joules of energy I’m talking about:
And what the heck, here we are at the somewhat more rambunctious bar the night before:
See? If you go to skeptic meetings you can experience stuff like this live. It’s way too much fun.
There are photos of NECSS popping up all over the place (search Flickr), including for example a nice set by Bruce Press. I also like this shot of Geo and me taken by Brian Engler. Apparently I had just stubbed my toe.
NECSS really is a terrific event. I hope to see you all there next year!
The critical thinking meeting season is about to kick off, and the first big one in the US is NECSS: The Northeast Conference for Science and Skepticism. It’s from April 9 – 10 in New York City, and has a pretty cool list of speakers. I’m honored to be giving the keynote address, and there are lots of fun extracurricular activities planned as well.
Still not convinced? Then listen to the smooth basso of my pal George Hrab in this promo he put together for NECSS. He’ll be there too, and I bet we can convince him to do a song or two from his latest album.
UPDATE: George just let the cat out of the bag on this, too: we’ll be doing a live performance of his song "Death from the Skies!" Saturday night at the reception. Here’s a taste of what you’ll get:
My friend, Daniel Loxton, is a skeptic, a writer, and a deep thinker. He has a habit of taking contentious issues and wrestling with them, then writing them out in enough detail that an interesting discussion can ensue. We’ve tussled over one or two topics before, but in general I find myself agreeing with his stance on things.
He’s written a good two-piece article on skepticism. They were inspired by an article written by a believer who is a friend of the skeptic musician George Hrab (Geo’s a friend of mine too). This believer attended a meeting George was at, and wrote a lengthy piece about how he saw the skeptic community. The author said he finds he loves his faith, and while he sees some merit in skepticism, he doesn’t think he’ll ever become a skeptic. He may be right… but I wonder. While some people dismissed his article as being just another mushy-headed piece on faith (some people on Twitter said as much), I actually found his thinking to be heartening. He is just the kind of person who might actually turn to critical thinking given the chance. At the very least, he’s not prejudiced against skeptics, thinking we’re all a bunch of curmudgeonly nay-sayers. That’s a necessary first step.
You know what’s cool? This:
I love this song. And yeah, that’s me doing the voiceover for it. You should buy Geo’s album "Trebuchet", too. It has that song and lots of other cool ones, too.