Skeptic » eSkeptic » March 16, 2006

The Skeptics Society & Skeptic magazine



announcing our 2006 Conference:
The Environmental Wars

Why are we still debating climate change? How soon will we hit peak oil supply? When politics mix with science, what is being brewed? Join speakers from the left & the right, from the lab & the field, from industry & advocacy, to talk about the health of our planet.

Over the weekend of June 2–4, 2006, the Environmental Wars conference will host scientists, writers, environmentalists, and thinkers from all sides of the environmental spectrum at the California Institute of Technology for questions, answers, and opinions.

Special Guests (on Skepticism)
John Stossel
John Stossel has reported for ABC News and their award-winning series 20/20 since 1981, and he is now the co-host of 20/20. Stossel has received 19 Emmys, the George Polk Award for Outstanding Local Reporting and the George Foster Peabody Award. He has been honored five times for excellence in consumer reporting by the National Press Club. A graduate of Princeton University, his book, Give Me a Break, was a national bestseller. His latest book is Myths, Lies, and Downright Stupidity.
Michael Crichton
Known as “the father of the techno-thriller” for his many novels that include The Andromeda Strain, Congo, Jurassic Park, Prey, Timeline, Sphere, and State of Fear. His non-fiction books include Five Patients, Travels, and Jasper Johns. He has sold more than 150 million books, and his books have been translated into 36 languages and 13 have been made into films. He also created the TV series ER. Crichton has won an Emmy, a Peabody, and a Writer’s Guild of America award for ER. In 2002, a newly-discovered anklylosaur was named for him: Crichtonsaurus bohlini. Michael Crichton has delivered several speeches on the topic of environmentalism, including: “Environmentalism as Religion” and “Aliens Cause Global Warming.”
James “the Amazing” Randi
The founding director of the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF), a professional magician, investigator of paranormal claims, science educator, and the author of Flim-Flam, The Faith Healers, The Mask of Nostradamus, The Truth About Uri Geller, and The Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes. (Please note that James Randi’s attendance is subject to his health.)
Adam Savage (MythBusters)
Since January 2003, the Discovery Channel has aired the popular science television program “the MythBusters,” hosted by Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman. Each week, they perform experiments using scientific methods to sort out truth from fiction surrounding three urban myths. Adam Savage is an actor, animator, stage designer, carpenter, and a scene painter who has created many marvels for the special effects industry in films such as: Star Wars Episode I and II, Terminator 3, and the Matrix sequels.
Speakers (on the Environment)
Jonathan Adler
An Associate Professor and Associate Director of the Center for Business Law and Regulation at Case Western Reserve University where he teaches courses in Environmental Law, Inter-national Environmental Law, and Constitutional Law. Prior to entering law school, he worked as the Director of Environmental Studies for the Competitive Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C. Mr. Adler’s writing focuses primarily on environmental and regulatory policy issues. He is the author or editor of Ecology, Liberty, and Property: A Free Market Environmental Reader, The Costs of Kyoto: Climate Change Policy and its Implications, and Environmentalism at the Crossroads: Green Activism in America. He has written articles for such journals as Environmental Law and Supreme Court Economic Review as well as The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post. He is also a contributing editor to National Review Online.
Ronald Bailey
The science correspondent for Reason magazine. He is the author of Liberation Biology: The Moral and Scientific Case for the Biotech Revolution, and his work appears in The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2004. He edited Earth Report 2000: Revisiting The True State of The Planet, and is the author of ECOSCAM: The False Prophets of Ecological Apocalypse, Global Warming and other Eco Myths, and his latest book, Liberation Biology: The Scientific and Moral Case for the Biotech Revolution. He has produced several series and documentaries for PBS television and ABC News, and is a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists.
Dr. David Baltimore
Dr. David Baltimore is the president of Caltech and one of the world’s most influential biologists. Awarded the Nobel Prize at the age of 37 for research in virology, Baltimore has profoundly influenced national science policy on such issues as recombinant DNA research and the AIDS epidemic. He is an accomplished researcher, educator, administrator and public advocate for science and engineering. Baltimore’s numerous honors include the 1970 Gustave Stern Award in Virology, 1971 Eli Lilly and Co. Award in Microbiology and Immunology, 1999 National Medal of Science, and 2000 Warren Alpert Foundation Prize. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1974, and is also a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a foreign member of both the Royal Society of London and the French Academy of Sciences. He has published more than 600 peer-reviewed articles.
Dr. Gregory Benford
Having published over 30 books, his fiction has won many awards, including the Nebula Award for his novel Timescape. A winner of the United Nations Medal for Literature, he is a professor of physics at the University of California, Irvine. He is a Woodrow Wilson Fellow, was Visiting Fellow at Cambridge University, and in 1995 received the Lord Prize for contributions to science. A fellow of the American Physical Society and a member of the World Academy of Arts and Sciences, he continues his research in both astrophysics and plasma physics.
Dr. Brian Fagan
Emeritus Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Santa Barbara and one of the world’s leading archaeological writers. An authority on world prehistory, he spent his early career working in museums in tropical Africa before specializing in communicating archaeology to general audiences. His many books include The Rape of the Nile, The Great Journey, The Little Ice Age, The Long Summer, and most recently, Fish on Friday: Feasting, Fasting, and the Discovery of North America.
Dr. David Goodstein
Vice Provost and Professor of Physics and Applied Physics at Caltech, where he has been on the faculty for more than 35 years. He was awarded the Oersted Medal of the American Association of Physics Teachers in 1999. He has served on and chaired numerous scientific and academic panels, including the National Advisory Committee to the Mathematical and Physical Sciences Directorate of the National Science Foundation. He is a founding member of the Board of Directors of the California Council on Science and Technology. His books include Out of Gas, States of Matter and Feynman’s Lost Lecture. He directed and hosted The Mechanical Universe, a 1980s television series seen by millions of students. He continues to teach and conduct research in Condensed Matter Physics, and has addressed misconduct in science, the end of exponential growth of the scientific enterprise, and issues related to fossil fuel and the Earth’s climate.
The giant 247-foot,
lightweight, solar-powered Helios, developed by AeroVironment, flew from Paris to
England.

Dr. Paul MacCready’s giant 247-foot, lightweight, solar-powered Helios, developed by his company AeroVironment, flew from Paris to England.

Dr. Paul MacCready
An aeronautics engineer who was voted Engineer of the Century by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and was listed as one of the top 100 most influential people of the century by Time for his pioneering work in human-powered flight, solar-powered flight, solar-powered automobiles, electric cars, thinking skills, environmental topics, low energy vehicles, etc. His human-powered plane won the Kremer Prize for crossing the English Channel. His company, AeroVironment, developed a solar-powered plane that flew from Paris to England, the lightweight, giant 247-foot solar-powered Helios that reached an altitude of 96,863 feet, and the Sunraycer, that won the first solar car race across Australia. His work on high flying aircraft, tiny drones, battery-hybrid cars, and very efficient electrical devices continues, and he campaigns for the need for people to get by on the earth’s interest, not the earth’s capital.
Chris Mooney
Washington correspondent for Seed magazine and a senior correspondent for the American Prospect. He focuses on issues at the intersection of science and politics, and is author of the bestselling The Republican War on Science, dubbed “a landmark in contemporary political reporting” by Salon.com and a “well-researched, closely argued and amply referenced indictment of the right wing’s assault on science and scientists” by Scientific American. Chris has written for Wired, Seed, Mother Jones, New Scientist, Legal Affairs, Reason, The New Republic, The American Scholar, The Washington Post, Columbia Journalism Review, The Washington Monthly, The Los Angeles Times, and The Boston Globe. His blog, “The Intersection,” won Scientific American’s 2005 Science and Technology web award. Mooney was recently named one of Wired’s ten “sexiest geeks.”
Dr. Donald R. Prothero
Professor of Geology at Occidental College in Los Angeles, and Lecturer in Geobiology at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. He is currently the author, co-author, editor, or co-editor of 21 books and almost 200 scientific papers, including five leading geology textbooks and three trade books. He is on the editorial board of Skeptic magazine, and in the past has served as an associate or technical editor for Geology, Paleobiology and Journal of Paleontology. He is a Fellow of the Geological Society of America, the Paleontological Society, and the Linnaean Society of London, and has also received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Science Foundation. He has also been featured on several television documentaries, including episodes of Paleoworld and Walking with Prehistoric Beasts.
Dr. Tapio Schneider
Professor of Environmental Science and Engineering at Caltech, where he conducts research on the dynamics of the Earth climate and of the global circulation of the atmosphere; global climate changes; turbulence and turbulent transport in the atmosphere and oceans. His research, which uses simulations with climate models and analyses of observational data, focuses on the development of theories of the turbulent fluxes of heat, mass, and water vapor that maintain the global-scale climate. Such theories help us understand the changes in the atmospheric climate that occurred over the Earth’s history and that are likely to occur in the future.
Our Host
Michael Shermer
Michael Shermer is the publisher of Skeptic magazine, the Executive Director of the Skeptics Society, and a monthly columnist for Scientific American. He is the author of Why Darwin Matters: Evolution and the Case Against Intelligent Design, Science Friction: Where the Known Meets the Unknown, The Science of Good and Evil, In Darwin’s Shadow: The Life and Science of Alfred Russel Wallace, The Borderlands of Science, Denying History, How We Believe: Science, Skepticism, and the Search for God, and Why People Believe Weird Things.
Entertainers
Jerry Andrus
Visionary, magician, skeptic — and the world’s greatest inventor of optical illusions will set up his equipment so you can experience and enjoy some of the bizarre quirks of visual perception.
Roy Zimmerman
Singer, song writer, political satirist, and social commentator. Tom Lehrer said, “I congratulate Roy Zimmerman on reintroducing literacy to comedy songs.” Roy has inflicted satirical pain on politicians from Bill Clinton to Jesse Helms, and causes from school prayer to gay marriage to the militia movement.
Schedule, Accommodation, Transportation
& Registration Information
Ventanas Patio at The Westin Pasadena (the host hotel for this year’s conference).

Ventanas Patio at The Westin Pasadena (the host hotel for this year’s conference).

For full conference details including:

  • the complete schedule of lectures and events;
  • The Westin Pasadena Hotel information and other accommodation;
  • airport, shuttle transportation, and driving directions;
  • and online registration.

environmentalwars.skeptic.com

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