Leaving on a jet plane: CSICon and quackademic medicine, plus random blather

Instead of the usual logorrheic (usually) well-thought out Insolence you’ve come to expect every day, Instead, you’ll hvae an announcement and a couple of random thoughts. The reasons are multiple. First, today’s a travel day. I’m heading off to Nashville to attend and speak at CSICon. My topic? What do you think it will be? Why, quackademic medicine, of course! (What else would it be?) Not only will I get to share the stage with old friends and blogging collaborators, but with Eugenie Scott of the National Center for Science Education! Yes, as part of the overall discussion of the problem of unscientific medicine wending its way into medical schools, a problem I’ll talk about primarily during my part of the session, we are going to draw parallels between the teaching of creationism in public schools, the tactics creationists use, and what might be done to combat it. So if you’re going to be at CSICon, come on over to our talk tomorrow morning, and don’t be shy (because, well, I rather am). That’s led to some people perceiving me as somewhat standoffish, but, really, for a clear plastic box of multicolored blinking lights I’m not such a bad computer. Beer helps.

Secondly, I spent most of last night putting the finishing touches on my talk. It depressed me, because I kept finding more and more outrageous examples of pseudoscience in medical schools and medicine. Add to that watching my Tigers get their posteriors handed to them in the first game of the World Series, and my depression became quite acute. It’s almost enough to make me wonder if I shouldn’t blow off the evening activities tonight to watch the second game. On the other hand, how often does one’s team get into the World Series? I mean, seriously, I could be an old man or dead before it happens again. Maybe I can find a Detroiter or Michigander or two to hang out at the hotel bar and watch the game. Or I could be pathetic and watch it in my hotel room. Some things are more important than The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe, as much as I’ve worked with Steve and as much as I love his crew.

Speaking of my being standoffish, I have a brief message to whoever the student was whom I ran into as I left the main medical school building at my campus yesterday morning around 10 AM. I assume you were a medical student, and I always appreciate it when medical students tell me that you love my blog. One of my most cherished goals is to try to encourage critical thinking in medical students who are being bombarded with woo. (Fortunately, compared to the schools I will be talking about tomorrow morning, my medical school is relatively lacking in woo, although, I must admit, not completely free of it.) I didn’t mean to blow you off, but yesterday was a very stressful day, and I was kind of running from one obligation to the next. Feel free to look me up and e-mail me next week if you want to talk. In fact, it was these numerous obligations, including two talks, that were the reason why I couldn’t travel to CSICon last night. I guess I’ll miss most of the optional sessions and workshops today, and all my friends are already there! Such is life.

Finally (and I told you these would be random thoughts), I got a chance to fondle look at the new 13″ MacBook Pro with retina display at the Apple Store yesterday. All I can say is: I picked it up at the same time I picked up a 13″ MacBook Air and could barely tell the difference, as it only weighs around 0.6 lbs more. Also, they’re very similar in thickness (at least when you compare the thick part of the MacBook Air to the Pro). The new MacBook Pro is a very sweet machine.

Oh, and I’ll probably have a real Orac post tomorrow. Probably.