Best Polaris Panel Ever!

I got back from the dance at Polaris 24 about four hours ago and I woke up thinking about a panel discussion I attended last night, Zombies and Disease Control given by Dr. Robert Smith?.

My name is xxxxx xxxx and I’m a nerd.

The question mark is not a mistake- he uses it to distinguish himself from all the other Robert J. Smiths in academia (and elsewhere).

Let me backtrack a bit and explain a few things. Polaris 24 is the 24th year of a fan run convention that I still refer to as Toronto Trek. Even though Star Trek figures prominently, the are many (many) other SF (and non-SF) shows represented- and this is just a very small part of what happens at this convention. I have lost count of the number of years I have attended but it is a blast and very few people believe me.

People tend to snicker when you put the word “Convention” beside “Star Trek” or “Science Fiction” and the second thing that comes out of their mouth is “Do you dress up?” The answer to that is no but if I ever had the inclination, I would…so there.

This year I convinced a friend to come with me. I have convinced two others to check it out in the past but he is the first to say he wants to come back- and I think he will. I will bring you all to the dark side, one by one- kidding.

We left the dance and did a postmortem on the ride back downtown. We laughed about the Galaxy Quest moments and the hilarious dance that felt like high school prom (the Droog DJ’s didn’t play Personal Jesus by Depeche Mode, @#!$$#@@!). But what we enthused about was the Zombie panel.

In all honesty I was a little wary going in. First thought, could be really interesting or really bad. Some panels have been know to go horribly wrong- when you have panelists who may or may not still be living in their parents’ basement or the same people (often) who go to other panels and hijack them with their own agendas. Second thought, what is the lead singer of The Cure doing at the convention?

There was a bit of a technical hiccup and there were a lot of other things pulling our attention but we are SO glad we stayed. The premise is topical on so many levels- Zombies are the new Vampires, don’t you know- and if you haven’t heard of H1N1, West Nile, malaria….I give up and stop reading now.

Here is the panel description:

Zombies and Disease Control

Can science fiction inform actual science? By understanding an outbreak of zombie-ism, can we learn lessons in preparing for future pandemics? And if zombies can help us solve diseases, what else can they tell us about society? We examine the use of the zombie as a metaphor and the narrowing gap between science and Hollywood.

Area: Science & Technology, Paranormal/Supernatural

For those of you so inclined, here is a link to an article originally published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. I haven’t had a chance to read it yet but a good portion of the graphics were used in last night’s powerpoint presentation so I assume that this would be the next best thing to having actually been there.

Giggle away but it was a fascinating talk about using mathematics as a tool to study “real world stuff.” Math for the masses. I’m sold.

I may just have send him an email to let him know how hilarious and interesting we thought his panel was. I could go on and and on but other panels await and I don’t want to come across as a giddy school girl with a crush- which I may or may not have, damnit.


~ by angryegg on July 18, 2010.

4 Responses to “Best Polaris Panel Ever!”

  1. Thank you so much for your extremely kind comments. This is a lovely reaction. I do indeed believe in math for the masses, even if I am a bit of a one-man band on the subject… but I like to be one of those entertaining one-man bands, with multicoloured drums and a plenitude of cymbals.

  2. That, I would pay money to see. But you have zombies on your side- fanfare likely not required. It is refreshing to hear an academic who has the ability to relate to us pedestrians and explain things in layman’s terms.

  3. […] didn’t think I would write another Zombie blog but here I go […]

  4. […] Posts I Hate GypsiesBest Polaris Panel Ever! Archives Select Month July 2011 June 2011 May 2011 April 2011 March 2011 February 2011 […]

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