With Smoking Man from the X-Files

The best part of the week was our trip to Burbank, California, for a conference on Darwin’s legacy. There were about 500 people there to hear some incredible speakers: Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennett were two that I was familiar with because John has read most all of their books. It was funny to see them – basically your college professors – be treated like absolute rock stars. Bill Maher received the Dawkins award, and he gave a great talk (geez, he’s funny).

I had heard Eugenie Scott from the National Center for Science Education speak before at TAM, but it was good to hear her again, to be reminded of the absolute nonsense that creationists – sorry, I mean the “intelligent design” folks – are trying to have taught in schools.

And I heard some wonderful new-to-me speakers, like Lawrence Krauss who spoke on cosmology (not cosmetology), Sean Faircloth from the Secular Coalition for America, and Carolyn Porco (who showed some incredible photos of Saturn from the Cassini spacecraft) – just to name a few. Other topics included stem cell research and the Inquisition (and how those techniques continue to be used today).

One of the other highlights was getting to hear the “Smoking Man” from the X-Files, William B. Davis (pictured above). He talked some about whether or not the X-Files hurt or helped scientific inquiry or if it had too much woo. He seemed like a real sweetheart, and hung out at the conference all weekend.

It was a super-busy week. I left late last Sunday afternoon to fly from Juarez to Monterrey with our local staff supervisor. We went to a conference sponsored by the U.S. Consulate there on international child abduction and how to comply with the Hague Convention. There were about 120 attendees, mostly judges who adjudicate the cases – very interesting. The best part was seeing several friends from the other Consulates and from the Embassy, including my good friend Cathy. After the conference ended mid-day on Tuesday, Antonio took Ashley and me out sightseeing and shopping. An unexpected shower made us duck into a great little Oaxacan restaurant in Barrio Antigua (old town).

During the week, we started working on logistics for the Ambassador’s upcoming visit to Juarez. I’m in charge of planning a party with the entry-level officers, which is fun. 

John and I also had time to watch several episodes of “Rome,” an HBO series that’s addictive.

So that was our week!


With Daniel Dennett, one of John’s heroes

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