jewel July 18th, 2011
Or, as the locals call it — Vegas!
We were fortunate enough to make it to TAM this year. We had such a good time at TAM6 that we greatly looked forward to being able to go again. It took us a couple years, but we finally made it to TAM9.
We got into Vegas on Thursday afternoon so we had a bit of chill time before things really got going. At the welcome reception Thursday night, we found there were over 1600 registrants this year. I think TAM6 was around 1000 or so. On Friday, we were told that of the 1600+ registrations, 40% of them were women and 50% were first TAMers! Very exciting indeed!
The speaker lineup was nothing short of Amaz!ng and my husband and I had a wonderful time. One thing I didn’t do this year was take pictures. We sat at the front of the second section of seating all weekend and the lenses I currently have for my camera don’t do very well at that distance and I didn’t want to walk to the front at the beginning of every talk so I just hung out and listened. I did get pictures of me with George Hrab, The Amaz!ng Randi and Phil Plait. I always feel awkward asking for pictures with people…I’m not entirely sure why, but I do. But I managed those 3 anyway.
I’ve been sitting here this morning, in my quiet hotel room, trying to decide which pieces of TAM to talk about. All the speakers were fantastic and the panels as well. I don’t think I could talk about all of them and do any of them justice.
Of everyone, my two favorite speakers were Pamela Gay and Richard Wiseman. I never did get to thank Richard for getting that “Obama’s Elf” song stuck in my head. He’s my kind of evil.
Anyway, Pamela Gay talked about how she was inspired to become an astronomer and how science is nothing short of an inspiration. Funding for space exploration and research is threatened and she urged everyone to talk to their congress people and get their voices heard and save science funding. I was nearly moved to tears by the end of her presentation, she was so good. And she’s right – if we make our voices heard, we can make a difference.
Richard Wiseman, being the evil evil person he is, not only showed some photo illusions that he’s featured on his blog, but he also showed a video of an animated elf on Obama’s shoulder singing “All By Myself”, except displaying the words “Obama’s Elf”…and I haven’t been able to get it out of my head! Thanks Richard. He did another song – O Fortuna – as well, that I’ll never be able to listen to the same way again. His presentation was hysterically funny and it’s great that there was so much laughter.
Another super awesome thing about TAM this year, was the vaccination drive. 305 people, including my husband and me, got tDAP shots. I really think they could have given a lot more (they only had 305). Many much deserved kudos to the Women Thinking Free Foundation for putting this together — it was awesome.
There were so many great speakers at TAM, there is no way I could do them justice. Where do you start with speakers like Neil deGrasse Tyson, Bill Nye, or Richard Dawkins? Not to mention the gazillion other really amazing people? I look forward to the TAM 9 DVD’s because I’d love to relive all of it.
Hopefully, we’ll get to go to TAM 10. I can’t imagine what they’ll come up with to top TAM 9, but the JREF has such an amazing group of people, I have no doubt they will top it.
**Edit** I don’t know for sure if this is the O Fortuna video he showed, but I recognized some of the lyrics and either way, it is damn funny!