Posts Tagged 'TAM7'

Grand Canyon Pereidolia

When we were in Vegas for The Amazing Meeting 7, we went on a day trip to the Grand Canyon. At one point I noticed a rock formation that looked like a statue:

God...or James Randi...or Moses...or Charles Darwin...or rocks...

God...or James Randi...or Moses...or Charles Darwin...or rocks...

Saturday Salute to Scientists…The Science and Entertainment Exchange

At the Amazing Meeting 7 in Las Vegas, we got to see Jennifer Ouellette, a science writer and director of the Science and Entertainment Exchange (SEE), speak about the quality of the science that’s portrayed in popular culture (from Wikipedia):

The Science & Entertainment Exchange (the Exchange) is a program of the United States National Academy of Sciences (NAS) developed to increase public awareness, knowledge, and understanding of science through its representation in television, film, and other media. The Exchange provides entertainment industry professionals with access to appropriate scientists and engineers who help to encourage effective representations of science and scientists in storylines, special effects, contextual background, and other elements in popular media. The Exchange also helps the science community understand the needs and requirements of the entertainment industry.

Officially launched in November 2008, the Exchange arranges direct consultations between scientists and entertainment professionals who develop science-themed content; it also provides a variety of other services, including scheduling briefings, brainstorming sessions, screenings, and salons. The Exchange is based in Los Angeles, California.

So often, movies and television shows get the science so wrong, and they perpetuate certain myths and untruths about how our universe really works. But there are an increasing amount of shows that are making an effort to get it right, and the Science and Entertainment Exchange is making it easier for writers to have access to scientists in several fields that can inform the scientific aspect of the script.

SEE, I salute you!

Science and Entertainment Exchange

Jerry Andrus, Remembering the Magician/Inventor

Before The Amazing Meeting 7, I had never heard of Jerry Andrus, but I’m glad I learned about this fascinating man. Stephen Bauer, the attourney who administered Andrus’s estate, spoke in memory of Andrus who died in August of 2007.

Bauer “managed the labourious step-by-step decompilation of Jerry’s famous 118-year-old Victorian household. Located in Albany (Oregon) and popularly known as the ‘Castle of Chaos,’ Jerry’s house sheltered an 80-year collection of personal property – a staggering array of magic paraphernalia, optical illusions, inventions, and surprises large and small.” -Quoted from the Speaker Biographies list at TAM.

Here‘s a cool video of The Amazing Randi speaking about Jerry Andrus.

Andrus was a really interesting guy, I encourage you to google & youtube him because I promise you you’ll be entertained! But before you do that, see if you can figure out this illusion created by Andrus:

Jerry Andrus Illusion

Bill Prady, Executive Producer of the Big Bang Theory at TAM7

Bill Prady, the Executive Producer and co-creator of one of my favourite shows, the Big Bang Theory, was the keynote speaker at The Amazing Meeting 7 in Las Vegas.

He said something that surprised me, and I think most people who wereBig Bang Theory there: the show has not received any hate  mail! One would think that a show called the Big Bang Theory would have tons of angry letters from creationists. But Prady said he looked, and couldn’t find a single one. He took the time to hunt for them, but the only bad mail he found were creepy letters  to the show’s female lead Kaley Cuoco…yikes!

I’m afraid I can’t recall what Prady said about the lack of angry mail, but I think it’s just because the characters are so likeable. The show follows a group of friends who are also scientists, and it’s full of physics and science fiction references. But the science/geek culture isn’t forced on the audience…The show is more about a group of people just living their lives. The characters have problems with love, family co-workers, you name it. Although they aren’t typical people in that they’re brilliant scientists, they are extremely easy to relate to.

Prady also dealt with the criticisms of the show, which are that the four scientists are huge video game-loving, comic book-reading geeks, and Penny, the main woman on the show, is a ditzy blonde.  I liked what Prady said, and that’s that this is a show about characters. It isn’t meant to give the idea that all scientists are awkward geeks. The show is about geeks who also happen to be scientists. And Penny is not a ditzy blonde. She’s an intelligent woman who is good at life, she just doesn’t have the same interests as the scientists.

I absolutely love this show, and it was a pleasure to learn about how it came to be and how the characters were developed straight from Prady. I hope it has a long run!

The Amazing Meeting 7 in Las Vegas

I haven’t posted much new lately, but I have a very good reason for that!

I’ve been in Las Vegas for the past week for The Amazing Meeting 7 (TAM 7), an annual conference on critical thinking.

It was a fantastic experience! I met some cool people, saw some of the skeptics I admire most speak, and also had a fun visit to Vegas.

I’ll be posting lots about what I learned at the meeting, so watch for that over the next couple of weeks!


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