Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Conference on World Affairs, CU's annual "intellectual Olympics," opens

Note how mature I am in not calling it "CU's Intellectual 'Special' Olympics."

Actually it's not maturity, it's just been said over and over, and this year, as past years, shows why. The Gamera:
Flags representing countries from around the globe now line CU's Norlin Quadrangle, and the annual procession of panelists and dignitaries made its parade through the Boulder campus Monday morning.

Eager attendees have marked up their schedules, choosing panels on marriage equality, nuclear weapons, 2012 presidential candidates and ... Tinker Bell's cleavage and body enhancement.
The Gamera asks predictably ponderous and right-thinking keynote speaker Elizabeth Coleman, president of Bennington College, "What things matter in America today?"
EC: The challenges facing this country are enormous. They are unmet. We are watching. They are urgent. We are failing desperately to educate vast quantities of our young people. The challenges of health, this most civilized highly developed country is failing miserably to provide a minimum reasonable level of health to this society. Issues of the environment, particularly global warning, have the likely potential of undermining human civilization all together.
There are, of course, a number of panels on Global Warming among less-silly offerings like--well, here's the schedule; pick out your own less-silly offerings. The Camera has a story on NASA AGW scientist Peter Hildebrand, who spoke yesterday on "Climate change and wildfires in the west." Guess what he thinks:
"The whole Rocky Mountain area has been drying out," said Peter Hildebrand, director of the Earth Sciences Directorate at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. "You put that information into a conceptual (fire) model, and it shows that fire incidents are going to increase as climate warms up. And that's what's been happening." . . .
Is there anything models can't predict? Other climate change panels include "Species extinction is no big deal" (probably sarcasm, huh? Hildebrand is on that panel, too); "Climate change: Past the point of no return" (ditto); "It's the economy: Whatever happened to global warming?" (yep); and "Can science feed the growing global population (Hildebrand, where are y--oh, there you are).

All right, since D-blog readers are by definition too lazy to click on links, I'll list a few other panels: "American optimism: Dead or alive?" (dead); "Peace by peaceful means"; "Why jazz matters" (boop-diddle-bop); "The wild, wild web: We are all outlaws online" (bang); "Socially responsible careers: Doing well by doing good"; "Near-sighted Americans: Misperceptions of the other"; "Death to the death penalty"; and "Life outside Facebook" (I'll take the death penalty). And that's only Monday and Tuesday!

Skimming the "participant prosopography" (yes, I had to look it up), there are actually two or three sorta conservatives among the scores of "progressive" participants, including WSJ columnist John Fund and NRO writer Michael G. Franc. Never forget: They're risking their lives for us.

The most paneled panelist is probably conference stalwart and former Dead Kennedy Jello Biafra. Let's see, he's on: "Sex: Good for you is good for me"; "What the left can learn from the right"; Katy, Gaga, Ke$ha: The new feminist role models"; "Dynamic Duo: A partisan rant"; "What's wrong with American sports"; and "Anarchy in the USA." I probably missed a couple. Always wondered what flavor Jello Biafra is. Probably dirt.

Anyway, sorry I have to miss it. Gotta wash my hair. Yes, all week. Scabies, don't you know.

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