Denver ComicCon 2016 Day 3
The final day of a con is usually the quietest but that was not what I noticed at most of the panels I went to Denver ComicCon today.
I started off my day in a panel with Simon Porter and Amanda Zangari from the Southwest Research Institute working with the New Horizons mission. We spent the morning discussing various aspects of the Star Wars movies and how scientifically likely they were. From the ability to travel light speed to whether or not Kylo Ren could have suspended a laser blast, this panel did tend more towards the educational side. Many complex concepts were discussed and the follow up questions were pretty awesome. Someone asked how viable a planet destroying laser would be. Turns out you can combine lasers together an make a giant laser, the only problem is power. For now entire worlds will not cry out and be silenced because we cannot find enough power to make the system work. They did differentiate however between destroying an planet and causing an apocalypse. One is much easier, I will give you one guess at which.
My next panel was with the infamous dwarf gone elf him self, John Rhys-Davies. The panel started of with Rhys-Davies talking about how the next week will be one for the history books. The crowd wasn’t quite sure what he was referring to until he mentioned that this next week the UK would decide if it wanted to continue being part of the EU. The introspective did not stop there. Rhys- Davies frequently brought each question into the realm of his opinion on the various aspects of current US political candidates, beliefs about what men (hopefully meaning mankind) are supposed to be doing here on the earth using outdated anthropological theories, and much more. The only thing remotely related to his body of work was a comment or two about Shannara, a seeming rehash of the panel Friday, and a very well said point about how Sliders could have been the best show on television if the writers would not have kept copying other sci-fi themes for the show. He was by no means boring but it was definitely not the right venue for the discussion. Still he is a great actor and human and I would sit through it all again!
I ended my day in a small panel that I found incredibly interesting. A 7th Grade teacher from Cimarron Middle School, Pam Mcwilliams, and a few of her students (Alyssa, Brandon, and William) hosted a panel about using Magic the Gathering as a framework for teaching. This class learned to play the game, researched the human body systems (nervous, skeletal, respiratory, etc), and then proceeded to design cards around the various system to have a playable deck for each. This impressed me to no end. Talking about Pop Culture Classroom, these guys should be their poster children. No only did they learn about the human body but they participated in the development of a brand new game. Hats off to Pam’s class. They closed with the various other topics for which you could utilize this technique. Social studies, math, and literature the list goes on.
Over all, Denver ComicCon 2016 was great this year. I think it has a lot to do with Pop Culture Classroom diversifying the panels. From tech and gaming to education and literature we had it all this year. Next year might I suggest taking a break from the main events and going to see one of the smaller panels, you wont be disappointed.
(1) National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Applied Physics Laboratory – “PEPSSI Instrument Tastes Pluto’s Atmosphere” from the Applied Physics Laboratory New Horizons website.