SnowCon is an informal conference of snow sports, lectures, relaxation, and socializing for fans of Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism, held every year in March in Colorado. For announcements about future SnowCons, subscribe to the low-volume SnowCon Email List.

SnowCon 2014 was a success, with 18 attendees enjoying enjoying snow sports, fantastic discussions, and good fun in the Colorado Rockies. Many thanks to everyone who made this SnowCon possible and fabulous!

Below is the information on SnowCon 2014 posted before the event.


About SnowCon 2014

I'm pleased to announce SnowCon 2014 – a half-week of snow sports, relaxation, discussion, and lectures in the snowy Colorado Rockies! SnowCon will be held from Wednesday, March 5th to Sunday, March 9th, entirely in Frisco, Colorado. Late pricing is now in effect, so it costs $60 (or $20 per day) to attend.

During the day, we'll ski, snowboard, snowshoe, soak in the hot tubs, chat, and relax. In the evenings, we'll dine together, then chat and play games on the weekdays. On Friday and Saturday evening, we'll enjoy presentations after dinner on topics such as productivity, technology, ethics, and humor.

If you might attend SnowCon 2014, subscribe to the SnowCon e-mail list for SnowCon-related announcements.


Registration

Registration for SnowCon 2014 is now closed.

SnowCon welcomes all friendly people with a serious interest in or honest curiosity about Ayn Rand's philosophy, regardless of their level of knowledge. Every person at SnowCon is expected to be respectful and considerate of others.

SnowCon costs $50 for the whole conference – or $15 per day. That price will increase after February 16th, so register now! SnowCon attendees are responsible for all of their expenses, including lodging, transportation, meals, and equipment rentals.

You can pay for SnowCon via PayPal, Dwolla, Chase QuickPay, Square, or US Mail. Please choose your preferred method below. SnowCon costs $60 for the whole conference or $20 per day. (You do the math!)

Pay Via PayPal
Pay Via Dwolla
Pay Via Chase
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To pay via check or money order, please make it out to "Diana Brickell" and write "SnowCon" in the memo field. Mail it to: Diana Brickell; P.O. Box 851; Sedalia, CO 80135.

Please note that the registration fee is not refundable upon cancellation after February 1st.


Schedule

SnowCon 2014 will be mostly informal, with people welcome to participate as much or as little as they like. The central hub of SnowCon will be the SnowCondo at 634 McKee's Way, Frisco, CO 80443.

Skiers and snowboarders will meet up on the slopes of Breckenridge and/or Keystone around 9:00 am on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. We'll likely spend a day at Beaver Creek or Vail too. Paul Hsieh will be snowshoeing, and others are welcome to join him.

On Friday and Saturday evening, the lectures and discussions will be held from 7:00 to 9:20 pm. Please arrive by 6:50, so as not to interrupt the first lecturer. The topics and speakers are listed below.

Wednesday, March 5th

Some of us will drive to the mountains on Wednesday morning to ski and snowboard before the condo opens.

Thursday, March 6th

Friday, March 7th

Saturday, March 8th

Sunday, March 9th

The check-out time for the condo is 10 am sharp. Paul Hsieh will organize the check-out. Anyone with a later flight is welcome to gather at Paul's and my home at 6586 Rainbow Creek Rd, Sedalia, Colorado 80135 on Sunday afternoon and evening. Please coordinate your arrival with Paul.


Lectures

Friday Lectures

"Reasons for Cultural Optimism" by Ari Armstrong
Friday, 7:00 - 7:40 pm

In his book The DIM Hypothesis, Leonard Peikoff argues that America likely is headed into dictatorship within a few decades. Although he offers some frightening facts to bolster his predictions, he also neglects or downplays various cultural trends that support a more optimistic view. This talk will review trends in religion, secular thought, art, and other areas to see if there's a basis for optimism.

Ari Armstrong is an assistant editor for The Objective Standard and writes regularly for its blog. He was a recipient of the 2009 Modern Day Sam Adams award and a finalist in the 2011 Hoiles Prize for regional journalism, and he is the author of Values of Harry Potter: Lessons for Muggles.

"Finding the Free Market" by Tim Harvey
Friday, 7:50 - 8:30

These days, it seems like the government has its fingers (claws?) stuck in everything and growing greedier. Trust in the finance industry has rightfully tanked, and the banks that collude with the federal government and were bailed out by taxpayer money still give laughable savings rates, while they rake in cash. The idea of a guaranteed retirement plan has faded away, and the public stock market is no longer designed to benefit the individual investor, to say the least. What can we do to take care of ourselves financially, short of burying gold bars and our heads deep in Galt's Gulch? Thankfully, parts of our economy act more like a free market than the finance industry we were told to trust. From entrepreneurs to investors, there is tremendous value built by those who reject the status quo, and we can all benefit from this ecosystem.

Tim is a regular blog contributor and CEO coach with the Rockies Venture Club in Denver. He started in finance fresh out of college, and became an investment advisor for individuals and corporate retirement accounts. Eventually he got fed up with the finance industry and decided to move to high tech startups, working as a Fortune 500 consultant and project manager. He earned a degree in Cognitive Neuroscience from the University of Denver, which was a great excuse to ski every weekend. Tim is now working on a Master's in Engineering (Management) at CU-Boulder, lives in Denver, and still skis all winter.

"The Nature of Humor" by Chris Land
Friday, 8:40 - 9:20

What explains the experience of humor? What is it that all examples of humor have in common, and is not present in everything that isn't humor? This talk presents a novel overview of the underlying mechanism and explores several unexpected implications.

Like many people, Chris Land hails originally from planet Earth. His interest in humor began as a juvenile. Some feel it stopped there. For his day job, he builds displays for the astronauts onboard the International Space Station. He lives in Houston with wife Lisa and children Alex and Athena.

Saturday Lectures

"Everything You Wanted to Know About Radiology But Were Afraid to Ask" by Paul Hsieh
Saturday, 7:00 - 7:40 pm

Most people have seen cool medical imaging devices such as CT and MR scanners on TV shows. But what the heck do those machines really do? Advanced medical imaging has revolutionized patient care in the past 25 years, allowing doctors to make diagnoses more accurately, quickly, and safely than ever before. In this session, we'll cover the basics of modern radiology (x-rays, MRI, ultrasound, and nuclear medicine), how these different tests work, what they show about the human body, and how they help doctors take better care of patients. We'll also have lots of time for Q&A. So if you've ever had any questions you wanted to ask a practicing radiologist, here's your chance! (No specialized understanding of medicine will be required.)

Paul Hsieh, MD, is a board certified radiologist now in private practice. Prior to his current position, he was an assistant professor of radiology at the Washington University School of Medicine. His areas of professional interest include trauma, emergency, and orthopedic/sports radiology – which means that he sees a lot of crazy stuff on a regular basis!

"The Psychology of Productivity" Diana Brickell
Saturday, 7:50 - 8:30

Most of us want to be more productive and efficient, particularly at work. We want to get more done in less time. Simple enough, right? Yet too often, we struggle with procrastination, distractions, overcommittment, disorganization, and more. In this roundtable discussion, we'll review our most pressing psychological barriers to greater productivity, seek out their root causes, and explore potential solutions.

Diana Brickell received her Ph.D. in philosophy in 2009 from the University of Colorado at Boulder. She forsook the glamour and riches of academic philosophy to focus on the application of rational principles to the challenges of real life. Her internet radio show, Philosophy in Action Radio, is heard by thousands of people each week at PhilosophyInAction.com. Diana is also the author of the recently-published book Responsibility & Luck: A Defense of Praise and Blame, which defends the practice of moral praise and blame using an Aristotelian theory of moral responsibility. She lives in Sedalia, Colorado with her husband Paul and a menagerie of beasts.

"Making Mistakes: Rational Responses to Errors of Knowledge and Evasion" by Amy Nasir
Saturday, 8:40 - 9:20

How do characters from The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged react to making mistakes? Amy Nasir will discuss two forms of mistake-making - errors of knowledge and evasions - and illustrate both using Ayn Rand's characters as examples. She will describe how we can apply the virtues of honesty, courage and integrity to face our own mistakes rationally and gracefully - and the rewards we can gain from understanding our mistakes objectively, and responding justly.

Amy Nasir, of Great Lakes Objectivists (GLO), has been a speaker at the 2011 Chicago Minicon, the 2013 ATLOSCon in Atlanta, and the 2013 GLOCon, which she also arranged. She has organized various speaker events, collaborating with local student groups, and engaging in political activism to advocate individual rights. She works as graphic designer with The Undercurrent, alongside other freelance design and web projects. She fuels her spirit by playing bass guitar, drums, and alto saxophone with her husband and lead-guitarist, Robert, and other like-minded friends in various musical line-ups, including Ron Tool & The Capitalists. She also enjoys hosting and moderating monthly GLO supper-club-like meetings at her home.


Resources

You can find lodging in Frisco via VRBO or your favorite travel site. If you'd like to coordinate lodging, transportation, or meals with others, please use the SnowCon e-mail list. If you're interested in lodging in the SnowCondo, please email me at diana@dianahsieh.com.

If you plan to ski or snowboard, you should buy your lift tickets online at least a week in advance to get the cheapest prices.

For equipment rentals, I've used Carver's happily, but you can choose from many local sport shops.


Questions?

If you have any questions, please email me, Diana Brickell, at diana@dianahsieh.com.


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