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Things have not really gone back to normal after DragonCon, but that's okay because "back to normal" is a little overrated in my book. Like the icon says, I'd rather move forward to awesome.

So. Yeah. Back from DragonCon, or as somebody put it and I'll probably be calling it from here on out, Nerdy Gras. Four days of geekdom consuming downtown Atlanta. I didn't sleep much, so much of Tuesday was spent recovering.

Unfortunately, my brain got stuck on the absolute outrage that the Plaza Theater is lending a soapbox to a frickin' "9/11 Truther" who isn't completely satisfied with the NIST assessment of why Building 7 fell and then falls back on "welp, must be the government!" much the same way "creation scientists" poke at seeming flaws in evolutionary theory and then throw up their hands and say "welp, must be God!" And it worries me that most of these kids will fall for his side of the story because most people don't even know about Building 7 because there was a hell of a lot ELSE going on in the news that day. (Oh, yeah, in case you don't know--Building 7 of the World Trade Center was struck by burning wreckage when the Twin Towers fell, remained on fire for several hours because there was no water reaching the sprinkler systems, was pretty much abandoned by firefighters as a lost cause by two in the afternoon and "mysteriously" collapsed a few hours after that.)

I already know of a few good people who have been sucked into this nonsense (Mr. TBH was one of them, though I'd broken up with him before we got into a serious argument about it) and I'm really worried about them and other bright, creative people sinking deeper into it and getting to the point where they're 'questioning' the Holocaust and hiding from the lizard people. It infuriates me that so many young people who want to make a difference are having their energies diverted into chasing chimerical threats instead of efforts that could actually make things better for all of us.

And, yeah, I know, I'm a fine one to be talking about fanatical activism when I'm out waving signs at an evil cult once a month. (Though I'm starting to get a wee bit burned out on it of late, for reasons I'd rather not get into in a public entry.) But I examined the evidence and the evidence isn't the kind that needs you to screen out things like public records and scientific data. I'm even willing to concede that most evil cult members are not trying to be harmful, they're just trapped in a sick system that's not easy to get out of. Conspiracy theorists require that an enormous number of people must be complete sociopaths in order for their explanations to work. I refuse to dehumanize people like that.

So, yeah, that's been bugging me for a while. And now that I find out that this nonsense is going to be pontificating in my backyard, I'm going back and forth between showing up and throwing down SCIENCE to hopefully pull some folks off of the fence back into reality, or just stay the hell away because anything I say will be like talking to a freaking brick wall anyway:

"But what about the molten steel?"
"What molten steel?"
"People said they saw molten steel!"
"How did they know? Did they test it? Did they have any way of distinguishing it from, say, molten aluminum, which melts at a lower temperature and which they found solidified chunks of to display in the memorial museum?"
"Are you calling them liars?"
"Um, I'm just asking how they knew it was steel."
"They said it was molten steel! We have all these eyewitness accounts of molten steel! They can't all be lying, can they?"
"How did they know it was molten steel and not something else?"
"They said it was molten steel! How can you explain the molten steel?"

(This exchange brought to you by the JREF Forums. Thanks, guys.)

AAAAAAAAAAAGH. Maybe I'll just vent about it on my LJ instead. Whoops, I just did. Anyway.

The con was fun. I didn't get much sleep, which made me cranky at times, but I learned to move carefully within my limits and confined most of my activities to the Green Room and the room I was staying in, where I had many intense conversations with smart people.

Things I Learned At DragonCon 2010:

1. If I have a 25-year-old bottle of port to get rid of by the end of the night, I must be more assertive with the people who have offered to help me drink it.

2. If my niece has a great deal of pent-up energy, pillow fights are a great way to tire her out so she'll be more mellow.

3. The Marriott is a superior venue to the Hyatt for throwing a party, at least up until security shuts things down because some bozos on the same floor decided to do something stupid.

4. How to explain to somebody the way to tell The Twins apart: "Oh, that's easy. Cesar's the arrogant motherfucker and Javier's the other arrogant motherfucker. No, wait, that doesn't help. Cesar's the one with the hair."

5. Anything that resembles a costume will be subject to photography by complete strangers, even if it's assembled entirely from things found in my own closet.

6. Carl (aka Ogre) once spent a five day leave roadtripping with his buddies to jump off the Santa Monica Pier. They were stationed at Savannah at the time. By the time they arrived, they were there long enough to jump and get washed up on shore, at which point they hopped back in the car, still dripping wet (nobody had thought to bring towels) and started the drive back to base.

7. Never, ever leave docwhoopee with a mess to clean up that he didn't ask for, because he may go to rather elaborate measures to make sure you clean it up yourself. Like, for example, building a display case for the tire Vin left in his driveway and planting it in the middle of the Marriott for all the con to see.

8. If I'm staying in the party room, I will not get to sleep until dawn.

9. The DragonCon Parade can still be fun even if I am the only Anonymous representing.

10. If I want to find out what's going on, I need to grab on to a program guide early on instead of assuming one will drift into my possession eventually.

Today I took pleasure in a sound sleep, for a change.

Today I learned that The Twins have already set up their Twice The Man page on Facebook.