Reservations for Idea Night on March 6 are open and filling quickly. Visit the Athenaeum’s website to reserve your spot now.

So without further ado, here are the speakers who will be competing in this year’s Forum Idea Night:

  • Technological Future: When Humans Become God, Sean McQueen
    Humankind is on a path of explosive technological growth that will
    take us to some point in the future in which we become omnipotent,
    omnipresent and omniscient. At this future point, we’ll merge into one
    being who is the complete master of the universe: together, we’re
    going to become God. Both serious and comical, this talk will feature
    a careful explanation of the technological God theory including 1) an
    outline of the path towards this point, 2) examples of emerging
    technologies taking us down the path, and 3) a lot of philosophy about
    the choices we will face as a species.
  • A New Era for CMS Athletics, Jen Ringoen
    Being a CMS sports fan is complicated: are we cheering for the Stags?
    The Athenas? The Stagthenas?  The whole idea of a mascot is to create
    a sense of unity and team spirit, and multiple emblems isn’t helping
    things. Besides that, the cartoonish depictions of our “beloved”
    mascots are more cause for embarrassment than pride. That’s why it’s
    time for an all-new CMS mascot. The change would reap psychological,
    economic, and cultural benefits to all, including a new market for
    “vintage apparel,” the building of a new athletic complex that would
    facilitate the transition, and the question of sexism finally being
    put to rest.  With all these benefits, it is easy to see that it’s
    time to say farewell to the “Stagthenas” for good.
  • Why Eating Bugs Can Save the World: The Case for Entomophagy, Max Zipperman
    Currently, livestock production accounts for 70% of land allocated to
    agriculture. As meat consumption in developing nations rises, quickly
    matching that of developed countries, we will be forced to allocate
    more land to livestock production, further decreasing that amount that
    might be designated for crops, and resulting in rampant deforestation.
    The impending meat crisis will necessitate establishing alternative
    protein sources, as world meat consumption has increased three fold in
    the past 40 years, and is expected to double from its current rates by
    2050. Max, CMC’s resident entomophagist, will argue how eating insects
    will save the world and how insects are more nutritious than
    comparable “conventional” meats like pork, beef, and
    chicken-containing double the protein and calcium per 100g of food,
    while still containing comparable calorie counts.
  • Fly Me to the Moon (and beyond), Nadeem Farooqi
    Nadeem will argue that the United States should establish a
    cooperative space venture program with any and all countries willing
    and able to assist in exploring, developing, and colonizing deep
    space. Advances in technology have made space colonization not only
    possible, but inevitable – it is only a question of when humanity
    begins its ascent. He will present 2 main ideas: that space
    colonization is possible (and profitable) and that Space colonization
    is essential for humanity’s survival. According to Nick Bostrom,
    approximately 1 trillion potential human lives are lost per second of
    delayed colonization. Increasing the total carrying capacity of our
    galaxy (and the entire universe) would provide the opportunity for
    prosperity and livelihood for new generations. It would also add to
    technological innovations that can greatly increase life expectancy
    and quality for everyone. Biotechnology, life-support systems, and
    energy sustainability would all be positive by-products of this
    cooperative effort.
  • Rolling in the Dough: How to Write a #1 Single in 2012, Dan Evans
    How do some songs reach #1 while others never make it out of
    obscurity?  This presentation will attempt to determine some of the
    factors that allow a single to reach stardom.  He will begin by
    breaking down the Billboard #1 Singles from 2011 and thus far in 2012,
    analyzing them by genre, lyrical content, music theory, and production
    techniques.  Each of these is an ingredient to success, and all that
    is left to be determined is the exact recipe in which to use them to
    create a chart-topping hit.  He will explain some statistical analysis
    of the ingredients of past hit singles, and then will lead the
    audience through the creation of a “hook” for a #1 single… maybe
    someone at CMC can create the next big hit!


  1. Sean’s talk on Tuesday, Ray Kurzweil on Wednesday? People talking about the singularity at the Ath on back to back nights? Hopefully the Ath can handle all that brainpower.

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