Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Amazing Meeting

I'm spending four days at the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada, attending the 6th annual edition of The Amaz!ng Meeting, aka TAM6. The following blurb is direct from the TAM website:
The Amaz!ng Meeting is a celebration of critical thinking and skepticism sponsored by the James Randi Educational Foundation. Thinking people travel the world to share learning, laughs and life with fellow skeptics and distinguished guest speakers.
The Amazing Randi tells an anecdote about Art Benjamin

With a name like that, one would expect the talks to be a lot more, well, amazing than the fare at the usual radiology meeting. The program includes some stellar talent, including James Randi, Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson (astrophysicist and PBS Nova host), Adam Savage (Mythbusters co-host), Matthew Chapman (author and great-great grandson of Charles Darwin), Dr. PZ Myers (biology professor and Pharyngula blogger) and Penn and Teller.

Critical thinking is one of the many things I try to teach my students and residents, and I'm always up for new ways of teaching this material. From the partial TAM6 faculty list above, one can see an unusually large fraction of the Jedi Council of critical thinkers. If one can learn by osmosis alone, I should get a lot out of this meeting.

June in Las Vegas is pretty much what you would imagine - 103° F (39.4 ° C) today, with 107 ° F (41.7 ° C) predicted for tomorrow. However, the air-conditioning at the Flamingo is so relentless that I shivered my way through the afternoon sessions. That pile vest I felt silly packing at home will stay on me for the rest of the meeting.

I'll post some meeting highlights as time permits.


The Mysterious Traveler said...

How did you get involved in this? Is this your first time at one of these meetings?

The Samurai Radiologist said...

@ TMT:

This is my first time at TAM, but I've been interested in critical thinking since medical school.

I read Randi's Flim Flam shortly after it came out in 1982. This prompted me to book a local skeptic/magician to give a demonstration of "psychic surgery" at our hospital. It remains one of the more memorable medical talks I've ever seen.

Since then, I've continued my interest in medical quackery and science-based medicine.

Lately I've attended some programs put on by my local skeptical group, which is where I learned about TAM.