Blog: DragonCon2019-Part4

Date: 2019-Sep-02 04:19:22 EST

Things are coming near the end here. This is probably a good thing, as I'm getting pretty tired and a bit socially exhausted and I really miss my cats. Looking forward to heading back home (and getting back to work). I think next year I'm going to need to do better with snacks, bringing granola bars on the trip down and back. I don't have a lot of access to food at odd hours here, and that's a little uncomfortable (and occasionally expensive).


  • My first session was at 10, and it was on Ethics in the Sims. In theory, anyhow. In practice it didn't talk a lot about ethics much, but it talked a lot about the zany reasons people play the game series and what thy do with that power. I've never played the series (although other games, like SimCity and SimEarth, are things I used to love). I enjoyed it.
  • Next was a SpaceTrack presentation about Titan and why/how we'd like to explore it. Very cool topic; was good to get a refresher.
  • After a bit of a break, next was "Devious Science Plans", which was surprisingly all audience participation - people offered ideas for how to misuse science horribly (or pettily). I had a fairly rat-bastard idea of combining deepfakes and swatting. And apparently a lot of people haven't heard either term, so they had to explain it
  • I tried going to a 70s cult cinema session next, but it was in a small room that was entirely full so that didn't happen.
  • Next was a Science Communication Failures panel, which was .. complex. I liked some of it, but one particular panelist had some ideas that I hated - namely, when she encounters people stating objectively false things she said she likes to do "yes, but" with very gentle (or silly) ideas on how to be more correct. I really don't like that, and then later she was giving community guidance on how to deal with people who disagree on fundamentals, and this has been one of my hot-button-anger things for a long time, with her advice on just booting people with views one doesn't want to conquer having me relive many ugly times in my life where I haven't gone along with some set of beliefs that some leaders were pressing onto a group of people, and got booted out for that reason. Socialist groups where I didn't hold with Marxian economics, or (other, more social-justice-y) socialist groups where my disagreement with a simplified historical understanding of how the Mughal invasion impacted Africa, or various groups where my rejection of identity-focused definitions of gender, or general groups of undergrads where I wanted to challenge activists who were radicalising them.. I'm guessing a lot of this will always hurt and I'll always be easily angered by these topics. Or anyone otherwise pushing for strongly moderated communities. I have learned either not to get close to groups, or to always keep an eagle eye out for people who might try to moderate them in any but the most cautious-of-censorship ways
  • I needed to return to my hotel room for a bit to be alone (and get my mild headache to retreat away)
  • Next was a track on Horror Movie Soundtracks, which should have been great - they had a solid panel, but I think they hadn't really thought about how to do this panel very well because their questions were mostly boring and had them repeatedly name-drop horror music that they liked. Once we got to asking questions we (the audience, collectively) were able to make it better. Thankfully.
  • I tried to make it to "Science vs Movies", but it completely filled the large auditorium it had been allotted, so I gave up on that, went back to the space track room, and saw a pretty good talk on two neat ways pairs of stars could have one star killing its neighbours. The second example was novel to me - it involved a neutron star entering the body of its companion star. Whoa.

Anyhow, before I left on this trip I was down to having about 30 tabs open on my phone. I'm back up to 80-ish, with things to read about, media to check out, and things I might write about. Unsure if that's good or bad, but it's a lot of stuff. Probably good to have that prepared for the trip home. My phone has not been amazing on battery for this trip; I should have brought a battery.

Tomorrow's sessions wrap up around 17:00. That leaves plenty of time for me to make it to the train station by 20:00.