Nearing NECSS: What You Need to Know About the Event of the Century

Hyperbole! I love it. But no, really, it’s going to be AWESOME.

A slight disclaimer: I’m sure most readers of this blog know what NECSS is. Heck, I’m sure many are already planning to attend. What follows here is an informational tract outlining some of the key attractions of what is quickly becoming the the go-to summit for science and skepticism in this section of the United States. So if you’ve been following this as much, if not more, than I have, you can skip this article. Really. Keep scrolling, I think I saw an article about a ring-tailed lemur who accidentally painted a DaDa representation of Grünewald’s Establishment of the Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome. Honest.

Ah, still with me, are you? Excellent. So I heard one of you mutter to yourself, “What the heck is a NECSS?“. Mostly because you left your microphone open. Your webcam too. You fox.

The answer is simple, NECSS stands for the NorthEast Conference on Science and Skepticism. Pronounced “Nexus” or “Nyeh Cheh Suh Suh” (As one Hrabian radio spot put it), it is a yearly conference put on by the glorious NYC Skeptics and the New England Skeptical Society. Really, the title sort of explains it all. You have the Wheres and Whats all there! Here’s the official blurb:

The Northeast Conference on Science & Skepticism (NECSS – pronounced “nexus”) is an educational conference held annually in New York City. As its name suggests, NECSS explores the intersection of science, skepticism, the media, and society for the purpose of promoting a more rational world.

As a conference, it’s fairly new, with the first NECSS being held in 2009. That doesn’t mean it was just a drop in a bucket though, as it attracted over 400 attendees its first year and the numbers have only grown since then. Michael Feldman, President of the NYC Skeptics, informed me that they have increased the venue size again this year, and are already expecting over 600 people to show, which is a lowball number as there are still tickets available.

That said, when this post goes live, we will be less than two weeks from the con. If you have any inkling of interest (and looking at the list of speakers, you should.) you’ll need to register soon!


And while we’re on the subject of speakers, who will be there?

In charge of the cat-herding operations that is a skeptic conference, will be  Todd Robbins. Aside from emceeing NECSS, you can see Todd performing on stage in Play Dead! a new play by him and Teller of Penn and Teller fame.


Giving us the grand welcome as Keynote Speaker will be none other than Phil Plait, the Bad Astronomer. Phil is an internet juggernaut and now has a show on the Discovery Channel, Bad Universe. But if you’ve read any of the articles here, you know who Phil is, as I would steal away his brain to pick at and wax cosmological with for all eternity.


Amongst the panelists we have every member of the Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe Podcast. That’s right, Steve, Jay, Bob, Rebecca, and Evan will all be in attendance and recording a show Saturday morning. The SGU is a weekly podcast that focuses on public understanding of science, medicine, and critical thinking. This show was my introduction to skepticism, and this will be my first live show, so I am pumped.

While we are on the subject of podcasts, Brian Dunning, host of the Podcast will be there. Skeptoid critically analyzes various pop culture phenomena and pseudoscientific claims in a concise and well researched manner. It consistently delivers excellent information without the biased slants you often see on both sides of the fence. Rumor has it, Brian will be attending NECSS in order to try to bring back his tragic, first internet venture, If you see him at the con, ask him to tear a convention chair in half. You won’t be disappointed.


Also speaking, er singing, is the Scopes Monkey Choir’s own Hai-Ting Chinn. An acclaimed opera singer and performer, she will be showcasing her amazing vocal talents on Sunday. Through an interesting twist of fate, I am actually working with her on a secret project at this very moment. It’s a surprise though, and you’ll either have to come listen to her sing or wait for me to tell you all about it later. Which is well, c’mon. C’mon.


For the full-list of speakers and their bios, including Dan Gardner breaking the 4th wall, go here: NECSS Speakers and Panelists


But that’s not all…

On Friday April 8th at the Swift Hibernian Lounge is Drinking Skeptically where you will find me, some choice folks from the Mad Art Lab and more, opening the conference in style. By that I mean, I will be standing on a table asking “Did you get your tickets?” to which somebody might drunkenly shout back “Get off the table!” or “Tickets to what?

Then I’ll flex and say “The Northeast Conference on Science and Skepticism“. It’s going to be a thing, I swear. There will also be an impromptu recording of the first ever MAL podcast starring Brian George and I called Epic Beard Time. But really the whole crew will be in on it, since you can’t see beards over the radio. Unless you have synesthesia, and man, you need to write a book about that.

After the convention on Saturday, there will be another Drinking Skeptically, this time at Paddy O’Reilly’s Music Bar. The main event that night is none other than Singer/Songwriter/Skeptic/Bald,Beautiful Man,George Hrab. Along with the Triologic Orchestra, he will be rocking the night away.

Now it’s important to note that BOTH Drinking Skeptically events are open to the public. So even if you can’t make it to NECSS, you have to come on out and meet all of us.


Hey Maki, will there be any vendors at NECSS? We all know how much you love swag.

Of course! Vendors will be setting up at the convention to provide all your skeptic/atheist/humanist paraphernalia needs. They include:

SurlyRamics – Surly Amy and Johnny’s awesome skep/geek jewelry line. They really do have something for everybody. I don’t wear jewelry normally, but I know there are some secular humanist cufflinks with my name on them. Not only that, but I will be helping them out at table as needed! So come on down, I’ll autograph your money.

The Skepchicks – Every. Last. One of them. Well, I can’t guarantee that. But I’m sure a few will be around to deliver to you amazing t-shirts and skeptical goodies.

The NYC Skeptics and the The SGU will also have  tables set up with related merchandise.


That, friends, is the long and short of it. Mostly long. I cannot stress enough how important it is that you buy your tickets. No, really, stop flexing, it isn’t time yet. Get your tickets to come to NECSS naugh. Come to Drinking Skeptically both nights, attend some amazing panels and discussions, see my super secret project, meet and greet with the stars of the movement, and most of all, have a damn good happy fun time.HUGS.


This post has been brought to you by Cesium (Cs).

For complete information on NECSS, including registration and venue information, go to the official site.

For more information on what goodies the Skepchicks and SurlyRamics have in store for you, go to their official sites.

Many thanks always to the Mad Art Lab, as it is responsible for literally everything wonderful that has happened to me as of late.



Maki Naro is an artist, incurable geek, and lover of cooking, public radio, small animals, and Blade Runner. He comprises one half of the Sci-ence Webcomic's dynamic duo.

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  1. There is also a Pre-NECSS-Breakfast (BREKSS?)

    Saturday, April 9th, 8AM-8:30/45 in some diner in the neighborhood where the conference is taking place.

    Sorry it isn’t any more specific. I’ll update as I hear things!

  2. Pre-NECSS breakfast?! Oh PLEASE tell me it’s at the Lyric Diner on 3rd & 22nd! I haven’t been there since college. Spent a whole lot of time there and once, my friends and I had a bill that came to EXACTLY 42 dollars (until I saw they charged us for something we didn’t order at which point the whole thing was ruined).

  3. It will be our first NECSS, but hopefully not our last. It really sounds like it will be fun, and a great early summer opportunity to catch up with some friends.

    I cant wait to see all you Mad Artists there!

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