Schedule – 2015



 12:30 Robot Liability Issues  Atrium 7
Raychelle Burks, James Renken, Tyler Tork, Dani Price, michelle cadieux
With robotics advancing at a steady pace, how will liability shift when the worst happens? Will it impede technological progress while we sort out who sues whom? If you’re liable for your Roomba, will you’ll be liable for your robot maid Rosie’s rampage?
 12:30 Propaganda for Fun and Profit Edina
Kirsten Wade, Jamie Riedesel, Christoforo Pasquarette, Jamie Bernstein, Celia Yost
You can’t effectively run your “perfect society” without good control of information. Learn about the different types of propaganda, and see how to use it in your own fiction or even spot it in real life.
12:30 When the Bullied Becomes the Bully Bloomington
Stephanie Zvan (mod), Ozgur Sahin, Ryan Alexander, Meredith Gillies, Laura Terwilliger
What happens when people who were bullied turn into bullies themselves? For example the video game subculture used to be looked down upon but In the wake of the Gamergate controversy some people are now perpetrators.
2:00 Bones  Plaza 2
Mary Myers, Skatje Myers, PZ Myers
Discover what an owl had for dinner! Dissect an owl pellet to solve the mystery and reveal clues about the owl’s diet and predator/prey relationships. What types of bones will you find in your pellet?
2:00 Science Tropes that Just Won’t Die Bloomington
Renate Fiora, Scott Pearson, Marty Farley, Stephanie Zvan, Tyler Tork
What would happen if we unlocked more than 10% of our brain? Nothing: we already use all of it. Sci-fi writers love this trope, despite its inaccuracy. Discuss where this and other tropes came from and why they refuse to die.
5:00 Technology Won’t Destroy Us Plaza 1
Renate Fiora, PZ Myers, Heina Dadabhoy, Dan Berliner, Jason Thibeault
Paranoid predictions about the technological downfall of mankind abound in media, but technology has also made human lives immeasurably better. We’ll talk about more realistic portrayals of tech, science, and human improvement.
7:00 Sci-Fail Returns Edina
Christopher Hunter, Rebecca Watson, Jason Thibeault, Raychelle Burks, Ryan Consell (mod)
We’ll review the most egregious examples of Hollywood mangling science over the past year. Watch experts pass from denial, to rage, to sobbing as they are reminded that the budget for each film exceeds the global research budget of their field.
8:30 Enthusiastic Consent! How to Get Some at Conventions Plaza 1
Sigrid Ellis, Kris George, Ben Blanchard, Mona Montague, Marty Farley
Why is it always aliens vs. white guys? Diversity is coming, but why is it taking so long? Why do some characters get rewritten to be Caucasian?
10:00 How Good Science Can Make a Movie Better Atrium 4
Jennifer Ouellette, Renate Fiora, Sean Sullivan, Raychelle Burks, Emily Finke
At what point is suspension of disbelief not a good enough reason to mess up the science? What movies have good examples of getting the science right, and how does this make the movie better?
10:00 Monster Madness Atrium 6
Brianne Bilyeu, Emily Finke, Raychelle Burks (mod), Jennifer Ouellette, Rebecca Watson
Who will be victorious in a post-apocalyptic tournament for monster domination? We’ll pit zombies vs. vampires, aliens vs. mutants, and more in head-to-head debates. The audience will choose the winner of each round and ultimately the victor.
10:00 Post-Apocalyptic Parenting Plaza 1
Kethry Burke-Scovill, Bradford Walker, Steph Montgomery, Emmy Jackson, Erich Bacher
How would parenting change in a post-apocalyptic world? Would children have any freedom to be kids? Would children who are not able-bodied or with developmental delays be a part of society? How would we care for numerous parentless children?


Friday, July 3

9:30 Cosplay How-To: Materials and Tools Atrium 7
Melissa Sowers, Marie Porter, Marty Farley, Lori Fischer, Ryan Consell
Learn about a variety of materials available for making costumes and props. Hear where to obtain the raw building blocks to bring your ideas and favorite characters to life. We’ll also talk how to manipulate, cut, combine, and shape just about anything.
9:30 Science of Nightmares Atrium 2
Renate Fiora, Mary McKinley, Sherry L.M. Merriam, MA, LPC, Kristin Ellis
Why do we have them? How content from the day gets recycled into the dream, etc. What about dystopian dreams?
11:00 Nobody Will Pay You if You Don’t Ask Atrium 3
Bob Alberti, Melinda Layden, Mona Montague, Beth Voigt, Tania Richter
How do you market yourself as an artist? How much should you be charging? How do you avoid feeling guilty about charging for your art?
11:00 Using Science in Your Everyday Life Edina
Jennifer Ouellette, Renate Fiora, Dan Berliner, Steven Theiss
Science is all around us, from our computers to the lights in this building. Let’s discuss the practical applications of science and how each of us uses it every day.
11:00 Communication in Society Atrium 4
Heina Dadabhoy, craig cormick, Wesley Chu, Hal Bichel, Erika Ensign
How do we exercise our right to freedom of speech while maintaining a respectful dialog? Communication in our ever-digital world can be a tricky thing to navigate, given how easy it is to misinterpret what someone means.
12:30 DNA Necklace Plaza 2
Mary Myers, PZ Myers, Skatje Myers
How do you extract DNA out of living things? What does DNA look like? Find out and make a special necklace using strawberry DNA!
12:30 How I Would Destroy the World with Science Bloomington
craig cormick, Jennifer Ouellette, Raychelle Burks, Ben Blanchard
Destruction by science is a common theme in dystopian fiction. Now it’s our turn. Join our panel of evil scientists as they describe how they would destroy the world with science.
12:30 Marvel Movie Round-Up Atrium 6
John Seavey, Emily Finke, Dan Wallace, Romeo Azar, Christopher Jones
Since this time last year, we’ve seen talking raccoons, killer robots, the Scarlet Witch, and announcements for the films up through 2019! Join us for an hour of pure geekery on Marvel’s latest offerings and speculation about their future.
12:30 Raising Geeks Atrium 3
Anj Olsen, Kyle Dekker, Steven Theiss, Amada Marquez, Erich Bacher
Many of us were raised on geek properties and are now starting families of our own. How does growing up geek affect how you parent? Are you promoting the geeky to your children or letting them find it themselves?
2:00 Art After the Apocalypse Atrium 3
Beth Voigt, Ryan Consell, Celia Yost, Emily Finke
A review of the role of artists in apocalyptic fiction and a speculative journey into the value and nature of art at the dusk of humankind.
5:00 Ask a Scientist Edina
PZ Myers, Gwen “Bug Girl” Pearson, Steven Theiss, Rachael Acks, Raychelle Burks
Working scientists take time away from their undersea labs and volcano lairs to answer your science questions!
3:30 Post-Apocalyptic Sounds Plaza 2
Erich Bacher, Jamie Bernstein
Society might have collapsed, but people will always find a way to make music. Build and design your own instruments from trash and household items while you learn about the physics that makes them work, then play in our ragtag ensemble.
5:00 Science vs. Religion in Dystopia Atrium 4
PZ Myers, Heina Dadabhoy, Emily Finke, Cassandra Phoenix, Jairus Durnett
Authors like Philip Pullman, C.S. Lewis and J.R.R Tolkien have often pitted religion against science, blatantly or through symbolism. How do these authors tilt their respective playing fields? How do their dystopian portrayals of the “other side” compare?
5:00 Engineering Foods of the Future Plaza 1
Ben Blanchard, Raychelle Burks, Kavin Senapathy, Daniella Martin, Maggie Koerth-Baker
As population is outstripping food supply, what does feeding people in the future look like? Will food be grown, manufactured, or even available? Watch experts argue about this as well as their favorite flavor of Soylent.
5:00 Maggot Art Plaza 2
Gwen “Bug Girl” Pearson
Create your own works of art with the help of live maggots! Maggots get an unfair rap. Learn how fascinating they really are while working with them to create unique paintings.
7:00 Handmaid’s Tale Atrium 7
Brianne Bilyeu, Amanda Marcotte, Rebecca Watson (mod), Heina Dadabhoy, Steph Montgomery
Atwood’s 1985 dystopian novel about a US overthrown by a totalitarian Christian theocracy still rings eerily true amid the events of this decade. We’ll discuss how religion and politics have mirrored the book and what we can do to avoid its bleak future.
7:00 “Modern” Mental Illnesses Bloomington
Kris Coulter, Olivia James, Lee Blauersouth, Sherry L.M. Merriam, MA, LPC, Julia Burke
Where do “new” mental disorders come from? How are they discovered, and are they caused by modern society or just reconceptualizations of conditions that have existed for ages? Topics include eating disorders, sex addiction, video game addiction, and ASD.
7:00 Food and Fear Atrium 6
Jon Durmin, Kavin Senapathy, Ben Blanchard, Kristin Ellis, Maggie Koerth-Baker
Emotions run high and disinformation runs amok around the topic of food. Are GMOs safe? What are the breeding methods used in farming? How do we interpret food labels? Who can we trust? This panel will explore the truth and myths surrounding what we eat.
8:30 Skepchick Debate: Worst Pseudoscience of All Time, Round 2 Main Stage
Olivia James, Jamie Bernstein, Rebecca Watson (mod), Julia Burke, Raychelle Burks, Kavin Senapathy, Amy Roth, Melanie Mallon, Benny Vimes
11:30 Mythbusters – Bringing Science to Pop Culture Atrium 7
Renate Fiora, Bryon Stump, KEN KON KOL, Thomas Mahle, Dan Berliner
 “The difference between science and screwing around is just keeping track of your data.”


Saturday, July 4

9:30 Do We Need “Princes” Anymore? Bloomington
Vetnita Anderson, Amada Marquez, Anthony Padilla, Erich Bacher
“I would love for my son to grow up like this man: ____.” Who are great role models from SFF that help instill equality?
9:30 Getting Students Into Science Atrium 3
Renate Fiora, PZ Myers, Dan Berliner, Steven Theiss, Matthew Lowry
As our society gets more technological, being scientifically literate becomes increasingly critical. Come discuss ways we can attract more non-scientists to be familiar with the subject matter. How can we keep young children’s interest as they grow?
11:00 Getting Over Artist’s Block Atrium 2
Patty Templeton, E. P. Beaumont, Amy Roth, Melanie Mallon, Benny Vimes
What do you do to get past artist’s block? Let’s share our tips and techniques as well as our insight into the most common triggers.
11:00 Writing While Female Edina
Nicole Dubuc, Emilie Peck, Stephanie Zvan, Michi Trota, Miri Mogilevsky
An exploration of the specific challenges that women face in today’s writing environment.
11:00 Science Paper Art Hour Plaza 2
Gwen “Bug Girl” Pearson, Beth Voigt, Ryan Consell
Join Mad Art Lab and Bug Girl to learn about everything from insects to physics while making art–insect hat, butterfly bracelet, scientist paper dolls, and a paper rocket that flies!
12:30 Berry Easy DNA Lab Plaza 2
Raychelle Burks
You probably know about DNA, but have you ever seen it? Using household stuff, you’ll be able to extract and observe DNA from strawberries in minutes!
12:30 Black Mirror: Our Reflections in Social Media Edina
Allyson Cygan, Heina Dadabhoy, Jamie Bernstein, Dani Price, Brianne Bilyeu
Does social media make us monsters or reveal the monsters we already are? Black Mirror explores how we use tech to serve our social and emotional needs, often to horrific ends. How close are we to what we see in the show’s near and distant futures?
12:30 Science of the Marvel Universe Atrium 6
Jennifer Ouellette, Gwen “Bug Girl” Pearson, Ryan Consell (mod), Jim Kakalios, Christopher Hunter
Ever asked “How long until I get my own Iron Man suit?” or “Where does the extra mass come from when the Hulk grows?” Join a panel of experts as they answer these and other pressing scientific questions raised by the Marvel Universe.
2:00 Colonizing Space Edina
Toni Weisskopf, Lana Rosario, craig cormick, Matthew Lowry, Daniel Stiglich
We can’t find a monolith until we have a colony on the moon. What steps do we need to take to colonize another planet or celestial body?
2:00 Manhattan Atrium 2
Jennifer Ouellette, Melanie Mallon, Amy Roth, Benny Vimes
The WGN series tells a historical dystopian story in Manh(a)ttan, about the people and events involved in the Manhattan Project. How well did the show blend science, history, and story?
3:30 What’s the Worst That Could Happen? Edina
Gwen “Bug Girl” Pearson, Matthew Lowry, Jairus Durnett, Beth Voigt, Craig A. Finseth
How bad could things get? Could we get invaded by three alien races at once? Cure all diseases with a drug that has a side effect of uncontrollable cannibalism? We will come up with the most outlandish possible scenarios on the slippery slope to dystopia.
3:30 Bug Blind Taste Test Plaza 2
Daniella Martin
 Many bugs are not only edible but quite delicious. Find out with this blind taste test of various prepared bugs and learn how edible bugs can benefit the environment, our health, and our future.
5:00 Agents of SHIELD Season Two Atrium 7
Daren Johnson, Emily Finke, Marty Farley, Josie Browning, Cetius d’Raven
Ward’s in jail, Coulson’s losing it, Skye’s got daddy issues, Fitz has brain damage, and Simmons is deep undercover. And that’s in Episode 1! Join us for an hour of discussing Season Two of Marvel’s spy drama.
5:00 Obsessed: Game of Thrones Bloomington
Joseph Scrimshaw (mod), Tim Wick, Rebecca Watson
Comedian Joseph Scrimshaw’s popular podcast about liking things a lot. Join Joseph and guests, Tim Wick and Rebecca Watson, for a fast absurd dissection of Game of Thrones.
5:00 Signing – Daniella Martin Autograph Table A
Daniella Martin
Daniella Martin will be signing copies of her book Edible: An Adventure into the World of Eating Insects and the Last Great Hope to Save the Planet.
7:00 Hard and Soft Science Atrium 6
Mary McKinley, Jamie Bernstein, Matthew Lowry, Stephanie Zvan, Rachael Acks
Some sciences are more respected than others. Why?
8:30 Cult of Talent Edina
Emily Finke, Ryan Consell (mod), Celia Yost, Beth Voigt, Amy Roth
Join Mad Art Lab in a discussion about how the language of genius and talent discourages people from trying new things and undercuts the effort and time involved in developing artistic skill.
8:30 So You Want to Rule Dystopia Plaza 1
Jennifer Cross, Jamie Bernstein, Jason Thibeault (mod), Heina Dadabhoy, Steph Montgomery
From 1984 to the Hunger Games, dystopian worlds are defined by their evil governments. We’ll discuss the different flavors of political systems that rule dystopian worlds and advise you on ruling your own dystopia.
10:00 Bodily Autonomy and Reproductive Rights in a Dystopian Future Plaza 1
Brianne Bilyeu, Rebecca Watson (mod), Steph Montgomery, Nicole Forcine
In a dystopian future, will procreation be a choice or a duty? Will having too many children be a crime? When do the rights of the many override women?s rights? We?ll discuss the political, social and environmental implications.

Sunday, July 5

9:30 Dystopian Video Games Atrium 3
Donavon Indovino Cawley, Michael Black, Dani Price, Michael Carus, Jason Thibeault
Wasteland, Bioshock, Fallout, and more. What makes them fun and interesting?
9:30 Human Augmentation Atrium 4
PZ Myers, Christopher Hunter, Tim Shank, Kristin Ellis, Brian McEvoy
We may not be able to fly or record our lives with memory implants, but existing developments are exciting, from 3D printed hands to mind-controlled exoskeletons and neuroprosthetics. We’ll discuss the latest advances and what’s possible for the future.
9:30 Diversity in Dystopian Creators Atrium 2
Emily Finke, Michael Carus, Jennifer Cross
We have a diversity of dystopian characters, but still little diversity of creators. Beyond Octavia Butler, where is the next generation of POC/PWD/GLBTQ creators and how can we as fans promote them?
12:30 Planning for the Apocalypse: It’s Not Just for Doomsday Preppers Bloomington
Adam Whitlatch, Steph Montgomery, Matthew Lowry, Sara McAtee, Benny Vimes
Planning for the apocalypse can help families prepare for non-zombie-related emergencies (natural disasters, riots, martial law). We’ll discuss zombie survival tips, safety/emergency planning, and fun ways to teach your kids what to do in an emergency.
12:30 Introduction to Chasing and Repousse Plaza 2
Ryan Consell
Cosplayers fake it all the time, but the actual techniques of raising patterns into sheet metal go back thousands of years, and the basics can be learned in an afternoon. Learn how to swing a hammer without hurting yourself, and then make a of noise.
2:00 Disappearing Social Justice in Dystopia Plaza 2
Jen Manna, Jennifer Cross, Steph Montgomery, Bradford Walker
Dystopian creators can imagine fascism, mind control, and child warfare, but questions of race, gender, sexuality, and ability are few and far between. We’ll discuss good examples of social justice in dystopias as well as how creators can do better.
2:00 Dystopian Planet Plaza 1
Benny Vimes, Jamie Bernstein, Emily Finke, Stephanie Zvan (mod), Maggie Koerth-Baker
How many ways can we make the world unlivable? Without clean water, air, and land. people suffer and societies can collapse. Climate change poses enormous threats. We?ll examine fictional accounts and the real threats we face from environmental harm.
3:30 Genetic Engineering: From Fiction to Fact Atrium 7
Kris Coulter, PZ Myers, Ross Conklin, craig cormick, Kristin Ellis
Dystopian books, movies and video games are filled with genetic engineering nightmares, from Oryx and Crake to Gattaca and Bioshock. We?ll discuss how much of this fiction is becoming fact (and the implications) in the growing field of synthetic biology.
3:30 User’s Guide to Therapy Bloomington
Laura Terwilliger, Lee Blauersouth, Sherry L.M. Merriam, MA, LPC, Miri Mogilevsky, Julia Burke
Finding a good therapist who practices effective therapy can be a struggle. We’ll give you the overview of which therapies are empirically validated, how to find a therapist, and how to work with your therapist to build a strong relationship.
3:30 Creating Dystopian Worlds for Game Masters Plaza 3
Bradford Walker, Eric Staggs, Daniel Stiglich, Ryan Consell, Michael Carus
What are some of the best ways to create various kinds of dystopian worlds for RPGs? We’ll discuss examples of what works and what doesn’t and why.
3:30 A Guide to Geeks and Death Atrium 3
Eli Effinger-Weintraub, Jen Manna, Stephanie Zvan, Jennifer Baye
So far as we know, no one’s found the key to immortality, so you’re going to die someday. Sorry. Discuss options for disposition, geeky funerals, geek-specific preplanning, and other deathly matters.