Dragon*Con goings-on

August 31st, 2012

I’ll be at Dragon*Con for the next couple of days, where I will be participating in several panels on the Science and Apocalypse Rising tracks, as is my want:

Title: Cough and Sneeze: The Science of Epidemiology
Time: Fri 02:30 pm
Description: From “con crud” to zombie viruses, come discuss the science – and likelihood – of a world ending plague.

Title: I (Do Not) Want My HPV
Time: Fri 08:30 pm
Description: An update on the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV): the virus, cervical cancer & other diseases it causes (with pictures!), & the vaccines that prevent it.

Title: Read All About it: Zombies in the Media
Time: Sat 11:30 am
Description: From New Jersey to Miami and beyond… zombies are not just a thing of fiction and fantasy anymore, or so it would seem.

Also, on Saturday at 04:00pm, I will be helping out Laura with the Parsec Awards ceremony. Early Sunday morning, we’re flying to Chicago to catch the Hugo Awards ceremony and the last half of Worldcon because, well, why not.

If you happen to be in Atlanta or Chicago this weekend, feel free to track us down!

The Drabblecast #250: Trifecta XXII

July 26th, 2012

A flash story I read for the Parsec Award-winning Drabblecast, Selfless by Kenneth Kao, is now up for your auditory delight. It contains both flesh-eating bacteria and clone social politics, a combo that makes me exceedingly happy.

Also in the episode are readings of Rich Matrunick’s Prophecy Negotiations, and The Faithful Servant by Joel Shulkin, which makes for a true trifecta of good times.

Balticon goings-on

May 25th, 2012

Laura and I will be attending Balticon this weekend, as we do. Also, for the first time ever, all of the core staff of The Secret Lair will be present together there as well! Our official stuff includes:

  • Friday 6:00 pmHuman Papilloma Virus (HPV) and Vaccines – What is HPV beyond “that virus that can cause cervical cancer”? What is the latest on the HPV vaccines and the controversy that surrounds them? (M): John Cmar
  • Saturday, 1:00 pmGames for The “Non-Gamer” – Did you ever want to play a game that is fun but does not require too much thinking? Come learn about games that take little or no skill but will make you laugh and have a great time. (M): Ann Rudolph, (S): John Cmar
  • Sunday, 6:00 pmSecret Lair Design For Minions 101 – In this highly informative educational session, the staff of the Secret Lair will work with the audience to design and implement traps and countermeasures to keep those meddling heroes out of The Secret Lair. Special Guest Star Jared Axelrod will play the part of The Hero, describing how he would attempt to break into The Lair. The audience (minions) will have to assist the Lair staff in designing traps to foil the hero. (M): Chris Miller, (S): John Cmar, Jared Axelrod
  • Sunday, 8:00 pmThe Secret Lair Live! – Join Overlord Chris Miller and Doctor John Cmar for a live recording of The Secret Lair. Surprise guests! Games! Shetland-Bonobo Pony rides! Fun for all ages! (M): Chris Miller, John Cmar
  • Monday, 10:00amInternational Space University: 25 years of fostering cooperation in space – The International Space University is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. Learn from a graduate about this interdisciplinary, international, and intercultural space educational program. (M): Laura Burns
  • Monday, 1:00 pmThe Zombie Apocalypse Survival Panel – Stay Alive, Our panel of experts will tell you how they plan to make it through the impending zombie apocalypse. (M): Paul Elard Cooley, (S): Gary L. Lester, Doc Coleman, Brennan Taylor, John Cmar

Please say hello if you happen by, and as always, you may track me by my pithy comments and observations.

The Secret Lair #50: Interview With An Overlord

April 30th, 2012

The Secret Lair

At long last, the latest episode of The Secret Lair is up, in which I host Overlord Miller in the interrogation chamber to complete a mandatory psychological profile in my role as Chief Medical Officer. Our conversation goes deep into Mr. Miller’s passions for storytelling and creativity, as well as recent life changes that have been a positive part of his own personal story. It is a rather different, but exceedingly enjoyable, show.

Go here and listen, else when the Overlords’ time comes, you will be the first into servitude.

Ravencon goings-on

April 13th, 2012
CC BY-NC-ND image by David Abbet via Flickr

CC BY-NC-ND image by David Abbet via Flickr

As is our want, Laura and I will be heading to Ravencon in Richmond, VA, this evening for SCIENCE, podcasting, and self-amusement. We will both be on the following session tomorrow:

  • Saturday, 10:00Parsec Awards: Awarding Excellence in Speculative Fiction Podcasting – Learn about the Parsec Awards from members of the Steering Committee and the help they need from you to find the most deserving podcasts.

My other official stuff includes:

  • Saturday, 12:00pmMacroblogging in the Microblogging Era – Be it for promoting one’s novel or other creative work, or just for fun, blogging seems a necessity in the online world. But when more people are communicating via Tweets and Facebook status updates, are the days of the long blog post falling behind us?
  • Saturday, 1:00pmMr. Adventure live podcast – Amazing Pulp Adventures, starring Mr. Adventure! A campy, comedy/drama reminiscent of early superhero comic books, performed in the style of 1940s radio plays.
  • Saturday, 8:00pmPublish and Perish: Avian Flu – The avian H5N1 influenza virus has nearly 60% death rate in humans, but cannot easily be transmitted from person to person. Recent research has tried to change the virus to see if it could become more transmissible, but attempts to publish that research have created controversy. Should such mad science be done, and should the results be freely published?

Laura’s other official stuff consists of:

  • Saturday, 11:00amInternational Space University: 25 years of fostering cooperation in space – The International Space University is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. Learn from a graduate about this interdisciplinary, international, and intercultural space educational program.
  • Sunday, 1:00pmLandsat Data Continuity Mission: Building on 40 years of Earth Observations – Learn about the history of the Landsat observations, the science they do and how the mission will continue with LDCM.

Please say hello if you happen by, and as always, you may track me by my pithy comments and observations.

Farpoint goings-on

February 18th, 2012
Black Hole specialty cocktail from Farpoint 2011, CC BY-NC-SA image from DocOperon via Flickr

"Black Hole" specialty cocktail from Farpoint 2011, CC BY-NC-SA image from DocOperon via Flickr

This weekend, Laura and I will be swinging by that tiny little con that could, Farpoint. Sunday at 1:00pm, I’ll be giving the State of the Flu address for 2012, where I’ll look at what’s going on with this year’s influenza season (hint – it’s starting now). I’ll also be addressing other recent bits of news, such as the ethical debate behind the attempted publication of the genome for an influenza virus that could be very lethal to humans, and a recent contention in the media that based on scientific evidence, the influenza vaccines don’t work.

Laura will be talking today at 11:00am about the International Space University, and tomorrow at noon on her current project, the Landsat Data Continuity Mission. We’re also both listed as participating in the podcasting roundtable at 3:00pm Sunday. As always, please say hello if you are in attendance, and otherwise I may be sharing pithy comments here.

Cmar is also… Thom Cmar, NRDC Staff Attorney

February 4th, 2012

There are, of course, other people carrying the surname Cmar in this world. One of them is my brother, who in this video gives an excellent accounting of what inspired him to enter his current legal career, and why he does what he does. Suffice it to say, I am proud.


seasoned interviewage

January 30th, 2012
old man looking, CC BY-ND image by artisrams via Flickr

old man looking, CC BY-ND image by artisrams via Flickr

Yes. Right. Website. I have one of those. On it!

Here are a couple of interviews I did quite awhile back, but are still worth checking out: back in March of 2011, I chatted with Baltimore magazine about patients using blogs to talk about their medical experiences, and more recently in December, I contributed to Lifebridge Health’s blog about World AIDS Day.

I’m on 88.1 WYPR in Baltimore today at 1pm EST…

December 5th, 2011

Midday with Dan Rodricks on 88.1 WYPR Baltimore

…as a guest on Midday with Dan Rodricks, talking about Human Papilloma Virus infections and the use of vaccines to prevent them. Additionally, I’m excited and honored to announce that I’ll be a regular health and medical guest for the show on a monthly basis. Dan’s an outstanding host, and I’m greatly looking forward to our conversations. We’ll also be taking listener calls, which always makes things interesting.

The story about how this came about, which may or may not be true, can be found at The Secret Lair. You can listen to the audio stream online at the appointed time here, or download the show after the fact here. Additionally, you can follow Dan on Twitter @DanRodricks, WYPR @WYPR881FM, and the Midday show @MiddayWYPR.

Philcon goings-on

November 17th, 2011

The Moon Ranger and I will be heading up to Philcon this weekend, which is historically notable this year for being the 75th anniversary of the oldest science fiction convention in the United States. I will be attached to the following panels:

Sat 10:00 PM in Crystal Ballroom Two—How the Internet and Texting Have Changed Sexual Mores

Robert Heinlein famously commented that anyone could have predicted the internal combustion engine would revolutionize transportation, but only a science fiction writer could have predicted how it would influence mating habits. Technologies like the internet and “texting” have been doing the same thing. We’ll explore the impact of instant communication and online presence has had on our society.

Sun 10:00 AM in Plaza V (Five)—Universal Gene Testing: Boon, Bane, or Boondoggle?

Catching criminals CSI-style. Finding kidnapped children. Standardized haplotype-profiles for drug prescriptions at the doctor’s office. Screening for chronic, inherited conditions. Is it time for a universal DNA database? What are the costs? What are the dangers to civil liberties?

Laura will be involved with:

Sat 6:00 PM in Plaza III (Three)—The James Webb Space Telescope

When the James Webb Telescope launches in 2018, it will be able to see the first galaxies formed after the Big Bang. The Webb will be the premier observatory of the next decade, serving thousands of astronomers worldwide. It will study every phase in the history of our Universe, ranging from the first luminous glows after the Big Bang, to the formation of solar systems capable of supporting life on planets like Earth, to the evolution of our own Solar System. Laura Burns is a contract engineer with NASA and worked on the James Webb Space Telescope for 11 years. She will talk about the project and its future impact on our view of the Universe.

As always, I will be otherwise hanging about, and will be posting occasional pithy observations. If you are going, I look forward to seeing you there!