Workshops

In addition to the main conference programming Friday, Saturday and Sunday NECSS will offer educational (and fun!) workshops on Thursday June 29. Two concurrent tracks will be offered, comprised of four workshops each. Registration is strictly limited to 30 attendees per workshop.

Main conference registration is required to register for workshops. Due to anticipated demand, Steve Novella’s  workshop on “How to Survive in an Alternative Fact, Fake News World” is being offered on both tracks.

Details

  • Date: Thursday April 9
  • Time: 10:00AM – 05:00PM
  • Registration: $35 individually or $100 for a four-workshop multipass
  • Location: Seminar Rooms TBD

Workshop Details

Track A

  • Workshop 1
    • Time: 11:15AM – 12:45AM
    • Presenter: Niki Athanasiadou
    • Title: Thinking Like a (Data) Scientist
    • Description: Through centuries of experience, breakthroughs and setbacks, science has developed an approach that aims to eliminate erroneous beliefs and help us gain knowledge about the world. The scientific method is so powerful that it only took a few decades since we understood the microbial nature of infections to achieve living well beyond our thirties, more than doubling global life expectancy. Today, we rely on science every day, when we are using our cell phone to find directions to a restaurant, connecting with friends and colleagues online, or growing our business and reaching out to potential customers. In this workshop I will present an overview of what the scientific method can and cannot do for us and offer insights into how big data algorithms work. We will then engage in a hands-on data experiment, after which we will discuss the results and share your insights.
  • Workshop 2
    • Time: 11:15AM – 12:45PM
    • Presenter: Steve Novella
    • Title: How to Survive in an Alternative Fact, Fake News World
    • Description: How is a skeptic to keep their sanity, and their relationships, in a world dominated by alternative facts and fake news? Learn to apply knowledge of critical thinking and human psychology to being an effective activist for science and skepticism.
  • Workshop 3
    • Time: 2:15PM – 3:30PM
    • Presenter: Spyrodon Condos/Yelena Bernadskaya
    • Title: How to Argue with Yourself
    • Description: Creationism, Climate Change, Vaccinations, Trump, GMOS, etc. etc. We all have firmly held convictions on almost all of these subjects. Some are more evidence-based than others and many of us engage in conversations with the explicit goal of convincing the other side that we are right. But what if we tried a different approach. The essence of understanding your own point of view is to be able to understand how the other side perceives it. We will explore what it means to have the opposite point of view. Why would someone else feel differently? Are they misguided, or do they simply have a different perspective? After a brief lecture, we will break out into small groups where you and a partner will adopt opposite positions on many issues that you’d never though you’d argue for, and then switch! After going through these exercises, you should have a clearer and stronger understanding of your own convictions as well as how the other side might approach them. You never know, you might even change your mind!
  • Workshop 4
    • Time: 3:45PM – 5:00PM
    • Presenter: Brian Wecht/Jay Novella/Steve Novella
    • Title: The Best Moments in Sci-Fi Movie History
    • Description: Join Jay Novella, Steve Novella, and Brian Wecht as they lead a discussion of their (and your) favorite moments from sci-fi movies. Audience participation highly encouraged!

Track B

  • Workshop 1
    • Time: 11:15AM – 12:45AM
    • Presenter: Steve Lundquist
    • Title: If You Look Outside the Right Side of the Aircraft: Still Not a UFO
    • Description: Steve will be presenting a workshop about why people like to use pilots in general as expert witnesses, and why this may not be such a good idea. He will discuss the anecdotal nature of being an expert witness to confusing events, and why aviators in particular may actually be prone to making very common cognitive mistakes. The workshop will center around the best approaches to debunking these expert witness claims and share a lot of “there I was” aviation stories.
  • Workshop 2
    • Time: 11:15AM – 12:45PM
    • Presenter: Brian Wecht/Jay Novella
    • Title: The Art of Conversation
    • Description: Do you ever have trouble talking to people? In this highly interactive workshop, noted raconteurs Jay Novella and Brian Wecht will lead a variety of exercises designed to help you talk to anyone you meet – at NECSS or anywhere else!
  • Workshop 3
    • Time: 2:15PM – 3:30PM
    • Presenter: Steve Novella
    • Title: How to Survive in an Alternative Fact, Fake News World
    • Description: How is a skeptic to keep their sanity, and their relationships, in a world dominated by alternative facts and fake news? Learn to apply knowledge of critical thinking and human psychology to being an effective activist for science and skepticism.
  • Workshop 4
    • Time: 3:45PM – 5:00PM
    • Presenter: Robyn Stein DeLuca
    • Title: Men Make War and Women Take Care? A Skeptical Look at Who Does the Fighting and Who Does the Helping.
    • Description: So you think you know what men and women are like? Come and test your skills at judging how gender predicts social behaviors like being aggressive or being helpful. Do women fight? Do men care for the sick? Participants will judge real life situations and then find out what science has to say about who has a maternal instinct and who is spoiling for a fight. Bring your preconceived notions and see how well they stand up to the latest research.