So I’m coming up for air exactly long enough for a quick reminder about that Toronto Science Festival thingy you’ll see on the sidebar, that “Life in the Universe” weekend I mentioned a while back. Back then I reported that late Friday night I’d be sitting in a darkened room with astronomer Mike Reid, where together we would watch three first-contact-themed Star Trek episodes and then reflect upon whatever real-world wisdom might be found therein.
As it turns out, I’m also going to be participating in a buffet-enhanced edition of Cafe Scientifique on Sunday. I’ve always like the premise of Cafe Scientifique; an ongoing production of the Ontario Science Center, it’s a series of talks and discussions about various scientific issues of the day, held in a bar. You hang out and drink with experts in various disciplines, picking their brains in a much more casual atmosphere than the usual lecture-hall environment. This particular iteration will also be exploring the first-contact scenario, which means that for once I’ll be able to take my place amongst a bunch of vastly-more-qualified scientists and not feel like an imposter because I, at least, wrote the book on First Contact. One of them, anyway.
The Star Trek Half-Marathon (9:30 pm, Innis College Town Hall) is sold out. Apparently it sold out pretty quickly. I’ve just checked the Cafe Scientifique (St. Michael’s College Co-Op) and discovered that it’s sold out too (I can take no credit for this, as I don’t believe the names of the participants were ever publicly announced). So partly I’m just posting this to stick my tongue out at whoever might be passing through the neighborhood this weekend, pressing their unfulfilled noses against the glass. But only partly: because, as the Festival’s web site points out, not everyone who has tickets for a “sold out” event necessarily shows up, so there are generally last-minute “Rush tickets” (the hurry-up kind, not the Lee-Lifeson-Peart kind) available 15 minutes before show time.
Which is not to say that anyone should travel all the way down to the UT campus on the off-chance of seeing me. The fact is, there’s a shitload of programming over the weekend that’s bound to be better than anything I could conjure up. I’m especially looking forward to the Origin of Life and Extremophile presentations, not to mention those on SETI and Mars Exploration. There’s also going to be a showing of the movie “Contact” (which is actually quite good until it goes all Star Trek & Woo in the last act). Oh, and did I mention that astronaut Julie Payette’s going to be giving a talk?
So, yeah. If you haven’t yet got tickets, there’s still a vague possibility that you might be able to see me in action; but you’ll certainly be able to see real scientists talking with greater expertise on cooller subjects, and that’s what’s going to make it worth your while. I for one expect to learn a lot more during those times I’m in the audience than during the couple of times I’m in the spotlight.
Next up, the cover art for Echopraxia.
This just in: Toronto Life just listed Mike’s and my Star Trek miniMarathon as their pick o’the festival. I didn’t even know they knew who we were. (Or maybe they don’t. Maybe they just like Star Trek.)