Program Descriptions

pcon2013 bb9q4750Program Descriptions

This page is where we post the descriptions of our programming as it is solidified for 2016.

If you should see an error or need to cancel your event, please email [email protected]. If you need to cancel during the event, visit Ops during Penguicon. Due to possible presenter modifications, the schedule is subject to change up to and during the convention.

Event Programming


Action Adventure focuses on “how tos” like demonstrations and workshops on martial arts skills, weaponry, archery, as well as the popular Geeks with Guns event.
Eryndor Dagorhir Dagorhir combines fast-paced full-contact combat simulation with elements of live action role-playing. Get a summary of the rules and pick your weapon! Several people from the local realm of Eryndor will be on hand to spar and answer questions.

Presenter(s): Adrienne Johnson (Kalika)

Firearms and Law Join your Firearms and the Law panelists for a discussion of all things firearms related: law, training practices, depictions in media, gun control, background checks, holster preferences, favorite ammo, reloading, etc.

Presenter(s): Richard Houser, Rob Reed, Stuart Chisholm

Geeks with Guns Virtual Range Love to shoot handguns but can’t make it to our live fire event before the con? Or want to learn how to shoot but without the noise, recoil and potential danger? OR just want to have a great time? Then the Virtual Range is a must visit! The only things flying downrange are photons. Our Laser pistols have the look and feel of a real Glock 17, but emit only light. Newbies will get actual instruction from certified professionals free of charge! This time out, we have added more reactive targets to the mix — things that jump, fall or light up – for even more fun! Get your “Geek Militia” ribbon ONLY at the GwG Virtual Range!

Presenter(s): Stuart Chisholm, Rob Reed

I know Kung Fu ” I know Kung Fu.” Sound familiar? Thanks to movies like the Matrix and Kung Fu Panda, this ancient martial art is fairly well known in the west. But do you actually know what it really is? If you want to find out, come and learn some basics of this ancient art form that is thousands of years old, and get a taste of what real Kung fu is like! This workshop will be active, so dress comfortably! Workout pants and sneakers would be ideal, dress clothes, costumes, or restrictive clothing should be avoided. For safety reasons, this is not a workshop generally recommended for children or those with medical and or physical conditions that would make high mobility a health risk.

Presenter(s): Mike SanDiego

Introduction to Blues Dancing Have you always wanted to do partner dancing, but find keeping yourself within a set pattern constraining? Blues dance is an American idiom of partner dance that is freeform with limitless possibilities for creativity, including throwing out the partner bit and going solo. While blues dance gave rise to hip hop dancing, it also survives in modern culture as the awkward high school slow dance. Except real blues dance has more, well, pizzazz and a lot less awkwardness. No need for special shoes or a partner, comes as you are and well help you learn to groove.

Presenter(s): Janea Schimmel, Kent Kovac, Maggie Robinson, Ryan Carter

Introduction to Parkour Featuring Phoenix Freerunning Academy Parkour is a physical movement discipline that focuses on getting from point A to point B in the most efficient way possible, navigating obstacles along the way, most often in urban environments. Phoenix Freerunning Academy is a parkour and freerunning gym in Livonia that teaches the discipline of parkour and the instructors from this gym will be returning to Penguicon to host another Introduction to Parkour workshop in which we will both demonstrate some of our abilities as well as teach you how to jump, how to roll, how to balance and we will go over some of the basic vaults, including safety, speed and kong!

Presenter(s): Jesse Harrison, Anthony Rembisz, Raymond Guzzo

Ki Qigong In Chinese, Qi means “Energy or Air” and gong means “work or refinement”. Put together “Qigong” is the most generic term for working with and refining human energy. Ki is the Japanese pronunciation of Qi. The character Ki is found in both AiKido and ReiKi. Common applications of Qigong are Martial Arts and Healing. In China, Traditional Chinese Medicine, of which Qigong is a part, is a $25 Billion business. Ki Qigong pulls from a breadth of different types of Chinese and Japanese qigong, hypnosis, imagery, and other human energy modalities, as well as from new biological and physics models.

Presenter(s): Dr. Justin Coven

Open Source Martial Arts There are a great many martial artists here at Penguicon! Come on down and work on some problem solving together! Learn about the similarities and differences between European, Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Indonesian, Malaysian, and all other martial arts styles! Traditional, non-traditional, all are welcome here!

Presenter(s): David J. Newland

SAR Lessons Have you ever considered volunteering as an emergency responder, or are you simply curious about what happens in disaster areas when the “official” help runs out? An experienced former search and rescue (SAR) volunteer will share lessons learned about SAR operations, and perhaps a little about life.

Presenter(s): Susan Sons

Scarf Fighting I love a good scarf; don’t you? They are so warm and stylish. There are many different types of neckwear bandannas, shawls, stoles, ascots, boas, and kerchiefs. They are mainly used as fashionable accessories; but they also have a very practical utilitarian use as well. I’m talking about Self-Defense. Come learn to use scarves as a deceptive yet efficient Self-Defense tool. In this seminar you will learn to defend yourself using throws, locks, and binding.

Presenter(s): Taqqee Khabir


Come explore our events including frank and often hilarious discussion of sex, kink, and other adult-oriented content. Must be over 18.
BDSM: An Introduction to Kink Handcuffs – Riding crops – Whips – Chains. Does some of this excite you? Curious about BDSM? Then come join us for a short introductory class where you’ll learn about different, simple types of play to get you started. Easy things to try tonight! This panel is for ages 18+ only. Minors are not allowed (with or without a parent).

Presenter(s): Rabbit, Viveka, Dreaming Alice

Body Painting Come watch a live demonstration of body painting! Jeannie Arquette and her team from Artifice FX will create a character design just from body paint on a model while you watch! This panel is for ages 18+ only. Minors are not allowed (with or without a parent).

Presenter(s): Jeannie Arquette, Maurianna Reid, Estaria Arquette

Cryptozoology and the Paranormal in the Great Lakes Come learn about and discuss cryptozoology and the paranormal wonders of the Great Lakes region. This panel is for ages 18+ only. Minors are not allowed (with or without a parent).

Presenter(s): Shetan Noir

Dealing with the Paranormal Come and learn how to remove unwanted things/beings from your life, home and being. This presentation will include discussion of different practices and spells and ingredients that help to remove paranormal annoyances. After ghost hunting and magically cleansing many homes, I have found different things that work to remove attachments and parasitic paranormals. This panel is for ages 18+ only. Minors are not allowed (with or without a parent).

Presenter(s): Shetan Noir presents: Sanity Claws Radio Live The Demon Lobster crew invites you to this live recording of our podcast, “Sanity Claws Radio”. The crew will be playing an audience driven game of “I Can Top That” where you get to ask our panel questions about games, movies, or anything in nerd culture and we quest to give the funniest answer possible. Raunchy humor and adult language abound in this panel. As a result, this panel is for (im)mature audiences only. This panel is for ages 18+ only. Minors are not allowed (with or without a parent).

Presenter(s): Jonathon Hickey, Scott Markwart

Electrifying Sex: From Quack to Kink What does high voltage and foreplay have in common? What is a TENS unit good for except back pain? Find out these answers and more with this fun presentation and demonstration. Learn about violet wands, TENS units, and more! Come and try out an electric toy. This panel is for ages 18+ only. Minors are not allowed (with or without a parent).

Presenter(s): Rabbit, Viveka, Dreaming Alice

Ethics of Raising Children While Participating in the BDSM Community So you’re into kink, and then one day have kids. Those kids start growing up, they stumble upon your toy bag or notice that bruise that you got last night, and they start asking questions. What do you do? Do you make up a story? Tell them the truth? Bribe them with ice cream and toys to never speak of this again? Whether you live it 24/7 or only play on the weekends, are a sub or a Dom, a little, a pet player, or practitioner of any other kink, come join me for a round table discussion about all the challenges of raising children while being part of the BDSM community. This panel is for ages 18+ only. Minors are not allowed (with or without a parent).

Presenter(s): RainbowRavenX

Impact Play for Beginners Want to learn about impact play? Then come in and play! This interactive class, geared toward beginners, will show you how to get started doing impact play with floggers and riding crops. You’ll learn where and where not to hit, how to practice, and different types of impact toys – some found even right in your kitchen! This panel is for ages 18+ only. Minors are not allowed (with or without a parent). This panel is for ages 18+ only. Minors are not allowed (with or without a parent).

Presenter(s): Rabbit, Viveka, Dreaming Alice

Love Hacked? 36 Questions That May Change Your Life Can there be a formula to the way our feelings grow for each other? Some say a series of 36 questions can create emotional intimacy in a very short period of time, even among strangers. Come and join our experiment to see such claims hold true! Couples encouraged if space allows. This panel is for ages 18+ only. Minors are not allowed (with or without a parent). Participation will depend on demographically matching partner availability. Due to the nature of the activity, attendance will be limited. Please sign up in advance at Ops.

Presenter(s): Edward Fleece

Mark Reads After Dark Come and experience the best (worst) erotica that Chuck Tingle has to offer, read live and (totally unprepared for what’s to come) by Mark Oshiro. This panel is for ages 18+ only. Minors are not allowed (with or without a parent).

Presenter(s): Mark Oshiro

Open Kink Let’s talk kink. Join us for a guided discussion of as many kinky things as we can talk about in the time we have. A great time to share stories and ask questions as well and a shame and judgement free zone!

Presenter(s): Lawrence Kapture

Polyamory and Kink Come and find out how how poly can be different with a D/s dynamic. This panel is for ages 18+ only. Minors are not allowed (with or without a parent).

Presenter(s): Jillian Hawkins, Darek Hawkins, Ciaran Kingans, Ash Sexton, David Case

Primal: Understanding Yourself & Your Role in the Kink Community An informational talk for those who identify as primal or who wish to learn more about what it is and how it impacts the BDSM community. Come learn about primals, share information about primal scenes, and learn techniques to manage the inner animal. This panel is for ages 18+ only. Minors are not allowed (with or without a parent).

Presenter(s): George Allen

Rope Basics: The Bedroom & Beyond This is a hands-on rope workshop that will quickly teach basic rope skills for the bedroom. Learn safe ways to tie someone to a bed or restrict their movement. A limited amount of rope will be available for loan. This panel is for ages 18+ only. Minors are not allowed (with or without a parent).

Presenter(s): kernelbrandon

Rope for Decoration and Restraint Learn the ins and outs of a few basic harnesses and how to integrate more decorative knotwork into your rope ties. There will be some discussion of flow in a rope scene. A limited amount of rope will be available for loan. This panel is for ages 18+ only. Minors are not allowed (with or without a parent).

Presenter(s): kernelbrandon

S&M AMA Join Shannon and Maggie for an “ask me anything.” You have been to “Sex Toys w/ S&M”, now get the tough questions answered in a comfortable and safe environment. Submit your questions ahead of time via Twitter at @ShannonsParty and @BrainOfMaggie. Cards will also be available during the panel for confidentially. Mature audience. This panel is for ages 18+ only. Minors are not allowed (with or without a parent).

Presenter(s): Shannon Marshall, Maggie Maiville

Sexual Safety Come with all your questions about sex and safety, and we’ll talk about how to keep safe and stay healthy! This panel is for ages 18+ only. Minors are not allowed (with or without a parent).

Presenter(s): Jen Schwartz, Matt Sweet, Max Issac, Allison Demars, Ryan Souder

So, What’s This “Age Play” Thing Anyway? With adult coloring books on the rise, and as it becomes more acceptable for adults to enjoy traditionally ‘kid’ things, light is shed on a subculture called “age play.” As with every subculture that suddenly finds itself in media spotlight, there are a lot of misconceptions. In this panel and discussion, we will attempt to put stereotypes to rest and remove some of the negative media stigma. Whether this is totally your scene, you know that one guy that does this, or you have no idea, come share your questions and experiences. We will cover the entire spectrum of this fun and interesting subculture. This panel is for ages 18+ only. Minors are not allowed (with or without a parent).

Presenter(s): RainbowRavenX

The Art of Negotiating From negotiating a scene to negotiating a relationship, come learn some great lessons in the art of negotiation. This panel is for ages 18+ only. Minors are not allowed (with or without a parent).

Presenter(s): Jen Schwartz, Allison Demars, Ryan Souder

The Smithee Awards The Smith-ka-teers watch bad movies throughout the year and clip the best worst parts to show our audience. 19 “B Movie” categories (Stupidest Looking Monster? Oh yeah. Acting Appropriately Stupid? Got that too) and five clips per category, the audience decides which clip gets to take home the title of best of the worst. Come for some or come for all. It’s free, fun and other F adjectives! This panel is for ages 18+ only. Minors are not allowed (with or without a parent).

Presenter(s): Jeanette Quirk, Matthew Quirk, Amy Conlon, Kevin Hogan


Do you love Anime or Manga? There will be panels on everything from GITS (Ghost in the Shell) to MLP (My Little Pony). You’ll find passionate fans to discuss anime with, presenters to show you some you’ve never seen, and thought provoking questions about some of the classics!
20 Years of Pokemon! This year marks 20 years of Pokemon! In this panel, we will discuss a brief history of Pokemon, our memories with Pokemon, and its impact on the world. Come join the discussion how Pokemon is the very best, like no franchise ever was!

Presenter(s): Christina June

Artificial Intelligence in Anime Come talk about different way Artificial Intelligence has been presented in Anime over the years. This discussion will include classics all the way through modern day. We’ll take a look at how AI presented in Anime has changed over the years as well as some ways it has stayed the same. We’ll touch on the good, the bad, and the ugly. Audience participation is strongly encouraged!

Presenter(s): Cassy Sinke, Joshua “Ren” Marshall

Best Fighting Scenes in Anime Come enjoy a review of some of the most epic fighting scenes in Anime. We’ll include sword fighting, gun fighting, and even an over the top food fighting scene! Audience participation will be encouraged and if you’re lucky you may win a prize.

Presenter(s): Cassy Sinke

BoF: Favorite/Dropped Anime Bring your MAL (My Anime List) and discuss with fellow fans what anime is your favorite and why, and which ones you just couldn’t keep watching and why. A friendly discussion for all anime geeks to mingle, discuss, and walk away with some new anime to watch!


BoF: Manga 2 Anime Come talk about some of the best and worst Manga to Anime adaptations. Which were done well? Which were just torture to watch? Which were never finished? Why did some turn out amazing and some just flopped? Come discuss this and more with fellow Anime fans!


Comic vs. Manga This panel highlights the differences and similarities between Comics and Anime, including everything from the influences of each to crossovers and general themes. Audience participation is encouraged!

Presenter(s): BluRaven C. Houvener, Cassy Sinke

Influence of Anime in Media Fans of anime and manga know it’s influenced our lives, but what about the other kinds of media we consume? Television, music, and games draw more and more inspiration from anime every day, and not always in obvious ways.

Presenter(s): Christina June, Galen Nelson

My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic Friendship is magic, so come talk with other fans about the MLP show and fandom!

Presenter(s): Christina June

The Different Philosophies of Anime In this panel we’ll have an open discussion with lots of audience participation concerning the different philosophical and ethical questions Anime can bring to light. This will include discussions about Death Note, FMA (Full Metal Alchemist), GITS (Ghost in the Shell), and more. Bring an open mind and your thinking caps.

Presenter(s): Cassy Sinke, BluRaven C. Houvener, Richard Herrell

The Heroines of Anime Join our panelists for a discussion of their favorite anime heroines, from Riza to Major Motoko.

Presenter(s): Maria Dugan, Cassy Sinke, Salathiel Palland

The Works of Miyazaki Whether you’re already a fan or new to the works of Japanese animation legend Hayao Miyazaki, this discussion, with examples of his work, will have something for you.

Presenter(s): Maria Dugan, Salathiel Palland


This year, our comics track won’t only be a celebration of web based comics – we’re going to cover every medium from the comic shop to the best Marvel and DC movies.
Changing Demographics of Comics Readers Both Marvel and DC have engineered major reboots in the last few years to bring in a new demographic of comics readers. How has that demographic changed?

Presenter(s): Chelsea Liddy, Sharon Vinson

Comic Jam What happens when you take a hand full of comics artists, arm them with paper and sharpies, and prompt them to draw a comic in an unrealistic timespan? No this isn’t the riddle of the Sphinx! This is an interactive game that will push these artists to the brink, test their abilities and provide some serious laughs! Bring your sass, clever wit and sense of humor…cause it’s you that suggests what they draw!

Presenter(s): BluRaven C. Houvener, Crystal Mielcarek, Emily Zelasko

Comics and the Movies Review! Its that time of the year again where we get together with Lady Ana and Professor X and talk the talk about comic books and their impact on the movies, television, and life in general. Well talk about Batman v Superman Marvels Civil War, Dr. Strange, The Infinity War with the Avengers, The Age of Apocalypse with the X-Men, and the fate of the Fantastic Four. Well also talk about the explosion of Marvel and DC characters on television. There will be door prizes, free comics, and as always, we will have the Mjolnir available for those who speak in the name of the awesomeness of the comics world.

Presenter(s): Lady Ana, Professor X

Comics in the Classroom With visual culture becoming more and more integral to our lives, teachers are turning to comics as a new source for pedagogical material. This panel discusses strategies for integrating comics into elementary, high school and university teaching.

Presenter(s): Elizabeth “Biz” Nidjam, Jerzy Drozd, Anne Drozd, Zack Kruse

Flash Comics! No we’re not talking about the fastest man alive, we’re talking about the wild new form of comics that incorporate the technology of today! These comics keep you on the edge of your seat and pull you in even deeper with stunning animations interwoven into the frames! Just when you thought you knew comics!

Presenter(s): Rinoa Page

How Not To Draw Comics This is a judgment free zone…but have you ever looked at a comic and thought, “Wow that doesn’t look right”. You’ve come to the right place. We’ll study the comic greats and have a laugh as we explore the made up muscle groups, humanly impossible poses, and just downright ponder how it made it from the drawing table to the rack at your local comic book store!

Presenter(s): Galen Nelson, BluRaven C. Houvener, Jon David

Intro to Comics We’ve all grown up around comics, watched tons of movie adaptations of them, and gathered around the television on Saturday mornings to watch cartoons based on them …right? Well in case you didn’t, this panel is for you! Learn about comics media and why it’s so great! An intro for the uninitiated!

Presenter(s): Rinoa Page, BluRaven C. Houvener, Jon David

So You Want to Get a Degree in Comics? Have you ever wanted to write an essay on the Marvel universe? How about an honors thesis or a dissertation? This panel discusses the ins and outs of studying comics at the university level and introduces the fundamentals of comics studies.

Presenter(s): Elizabeth “Biz” Nidjam, Zack Kruse

The Trials and Tribulations of the Artist Lifestyle Year 3 BluRaven C. Houvener and Gabrielle Gamache-Nettles are at it again. The last year has brought these two aspiring artists some great moments…but that’s not what you’re here for! Kick back and relax and learn what to do, what not to do and how to manage it all when your artistic ventures hand you lemons (and the answer isn’t make lemonade!) Like always your faces are guaranteed to be hurting from how much you’ll be laughing!

Presenter(s): BluRaven C. Houvener, Gabrielle Gamache-Nettles

Webcomics 101: Characters & Story Erika Wagner and Laura Cascos have seen it all in the Webcomics community! As the creative minds and executors of the wildly popular Webcomic Sidekick Girl for over 9 years, they are masters at the craft. Join these titans for this first of three panels as they break down the webcomic creation process and have some fun doing it!

Presenter(s): Erika Wagner, Laura Cascos

Webcomics 101: Logistics Did you catch Part 1 (of 3) of the amazing Erika Wagner and Laura Cascos’s Webcomics 101 panel? If you did…awesome! If you didn’t…off to detention for you! Before you go to detention though, be sure to catch part 2 and learn about logistics and their importance in the Webcomic medium!

Presenter(s): Erika Wagner, Laura Cascos

Webcomics 101: Self Promotion So you’ve learned from parts 1 and 2 how to make your Webcomic, how to build up the world around your characters and follow it all to completion. What now? You stand alone with your work. It’s awesome. The world needs to bask in its awesomeness! What’s that? How do you get it to them, you ask? Great question, and here is your answer! Come join Erika Wagner and Laura Cascos for part 3 of 3 of Webcomics 101!

Presenter(s): Erika Wagner, Laura Cascos

Why Webcomics? The internet is such a vital part of our day to day lives that even books have taken the digital plunge and comics have leapt from the page to the tablet screen. Come find out what makes a Webcomic a Webcomic and why you should be reading them if you aren’t already.

Presenter(s): BluRaven C. Houvener

Women And Comics in Detroit The creators of Sidekick Girls and the conchair and planning committee head of ComiqueCon discuss what it’s like to be a woman creating and consuming comics, and the comics community in Southeast Michigan.

Presenter(s): Erika Wagner, Laura Cascos, Chelsea Liddy, Sharon Vinson, Elizabeth “Biz” Nidjam


What goes into a costume? Just like that thrift store find, with a bit of creativity (and maybe a hot glue gun) it can be whatever you want it to be. The costuming track is a place to learn to create or modify costumes and props with a bit of makeup thrown in so you can really inhabit your character.
Cosplay 101 Dressing up really seems like fun. You’ve seen other people doing it and now you think you might want to try it yourself. I can provide you with some advice, tips, and tricks in order to get you on the right track.

Presenter(s): Wendy Carson, John Belden

Cosplay Hacks Part 1 Do you have a great costume idea but can’t find a pattern or the ability to make it? I have some great advice and techniques that will help you get through it all. We will be addressing alteration of existing items or patterns, pattern creation, sewing alternatives, and some clever tricks to help you on your way. Part 1 of 2.

Presenter(s): Wendy Carson, John Belden

Cosplay Hacks Part 2 Do you have a great costume idea but can’t find a pattern or the ability to make it? I have some great advice and techniques that will help you get through it all. We will spend more time addressing specific questions and needs of the audience in a hands-on way. Part 2 of 2, attendance of Part 1 is not required.

Presenter(s): Wendy Carson, John Belden

Creature Costumes Learn various techniques to create non-human scifi/fantasy costumes. From scaly to fuzzy, find out how to create a werewolf, lizardman, fishman, insect, and more!

Presenter(s): Gnora Ford-Lepthien

Loving Your Cosplay Body Just because you are not an exact replica of the character you’d like to be doesn’t mean you can’t pull off a great cosplay of them. Size, sex, race, or physical abilities should not hold you back from being who you really want to be. We will discuss how to accept, cover, camouflage, and overcome your body issues and cosplay with confidence.

Presenter(s): Wendy Carson, John Belden

Silicone Casting for Cheap Bastards Ever wanted to make things out of silicone but don’t want to spend a bunch of money? Learn how to cast things out of inexpensive silicone caulk and corn starch.

Presenter(s): Gnora Ford-Lepthien


Whether it be a new craft or odd jobs around the home or even running your own business, DIY wants to help you learn. Pick up new tools to use in daily life, start a new hobby, or find an interest in a new branch of creativity.
Anatomy of a Sewing Machine Have a sewing machine, but have no idea how to activate the magic that powers it? Don’t have a sewing machine, but are thinking about getting one? This panel will be an absolute from-the-ground-up explanation of how to use, set up, and care for a sewing machine. Bring your own if you’d like, for a more personalized explanation. If time allows, you can do a test-sew on one of my machines, or I’ll help you with your own.

Presenter(s): Bagel Garrison

Backyard Brains Demo #1 Neuroscientist and engineer Greg Gage will demonstrate the SpikerBox — a small rig that helps kids understand the electrical impulses that control the nervous system. He’s passionate about helping everyone understand (viscerally) how our brains and our neurons work.

Presenter(s): Greg Gage

Backyard Brains Demo #2 Neuroscientist and engineer Greg Gage will demonstrate the SpikerBox — a small rig that helps kids understand the electrical impulses that control the nervous system. He’s passionate about helping everyone understand (viscerally) how our brains and our neurons work.

Presenter(s): Greg Gage

Basic Skills for Working with Electronics This presentation will cover the very very basics of DC circuit theory and the skills needed to cut and prep wire and then solder it together or to a component.

Presenter(s): Christopher Bright

Beginning Your Home Music Studio Filker Tom Smith talks about how to start your own home music studio.

Presenter(s): Tom Smith

Build Your Own Satellite! Learn about how to make your own cubesat satellite with the Detroitsat Team! At the i3Detroit Makerspace in Ferndale, our team is building one of the first hobbyist-level cubesats with the ability to point and rotate. We will discuss its development so far, design considerations and steps going forward

Presenter(s): Scott Scheraga, Paul Frick, Matthew Carpenter

Crocheting 101 Come learn how to crochet! Bring your yarn and hooks (or some of your stash to help start out new people!). Everyone is welcome to discuss different techniques and stitches. Come learn some new skills or help to teach others new skills.

Presenter(s): Shetan Noir

DIY Electric Car Edition Come learn about the The Avenger GT-EV an Electric Vehicle build by our featured guest Chad Sinke from SCRATCH. He’ll talk about why he did it, how he did it, and how you can build your own car too! If you’re interested in Electric Vehicles, Engineering, or just awesome DIY projects this is a panel you won’t want to miss!

Presenter(s): Chad Sinke

DIY Electric Car Edition 2 Come learn about the The Avenger GT-EV an Electric Vehicle build by our featured guest Chad Sinke from SCRATCH. He’ll talk about why he did it, how he did it, and how you can build your own car too! If you’re interested in Electric Vehicles, Engineering, or just awesome DIY projects this is a panel you won’t want to miss!

Presenter(s): Chad Sinke

Dangerous Things RFID Implanations We believe biohacking is the next stage of evolution. Our bodies are our own and we are free to expand their capabilities. Dangerous Things is a startup offering several body hacks and encourages creativity and safety among biohackers. We’ll be featuring NFC and RFID chips that can be implanted into the body for use with access control or NFC capable smartphone interactions. We might just share what technology is around the corner as well. Please stop by the HackerSpace to ask about costs!

Presenter(s): Amal Graafstra, Anita Fowler, Drew Buglione

Dangerous Things RFID Implantations We believe biohacking is the next stage of evolution. Our bodies are our own and we are free to expand their capabilities. Dangerous Things is a startup offering several body hacks and encourages creativity and safety among biohackers. We’ll be featuring NFC and RFID chips that can be implanted into the body for use with access control or NFC capable smartphone interactions. We might just share what technology is around the corner as well. Please stop by the HackerSpace to ask about costs!

Presenter(s): Amal Graafstra, Anita Fowler, Drew Buglione

Demo Build of the Single-Chip Space Invader Synth The Single-Chip Space Invader Synth is a simple knob-controlled sound synthesizer with a straightforward design, low part-count, and high degree of chiptuney awesomeness. Come chat with author David Erik Nelson as he builds one live on stage and raffles off the working synth at the end!

Presenter(s): David Erik Nelson

Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Traditional Printmaking Woodcut, wood engraving, lithograph, etching, aquatint, silkscreen, prints. This presentation will help you understand the difference between these traditional printmaking techniques. You will see examples of each of these processes including the final print and the plate(s) it was printed from. Mr. Stolpin teaches printmaking, and has original prints in many collections including the Detroit Institute of Arts, and the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum. Bring only your curiosity.

Presenter(s): William R. Stolpin

Everything and Anything with BeagleBone Explore the high-performance, low-power world with the tiny, affordable, open-source Beagles at Penguicon. Putting Android, Ubuntu and other Linux flavors at your fingertips.

Presenter(s): Drew Fustini, James Hice

Farewell to the HackerSpace Say goodbye to your favorite All Hands Active members as the HackerSpace closes up for Penguicon 2016.

Presenter(s): All Hands Active

Frankenstuffies Come join me in playing “mad scientist” as we deconstruct stuffed animals, and reconstruct them into new and glorious creations! Everyone is welcome, though I do ask that parents/guardians stay with children. Basic sewing skills are a plus. This is a limited attendance event. Please sign up in advance at Ops.

Presenter(s): RainbowRavenX

Hackforge Demo Windsor Hackforge is a shared space where creative technological minds come together and make things happen. They are bringing a hands-on project to this side of the Detroit River. Watching is free, but attendees who want to build along will be asked for a donation to cover the costs of materials.

Presenter(s): Sarah Morris

Hands on Soldering and Embedded Programming with All Hands Active Get Hands-on with a Penguicon Tradition. All Hands Active members will have kits for sale to solder and program the latest iteration of their Penguicon upgraded badges.

Presenter(s): All Hands Active

Intro to Needle Felting Needle Felting! You get to stab things! In this panel, we’ll needle-felt a simple flat penguin, suitable for making into pendant/pin/whatever. Materials will be provided. This is a limited attendance event. Please sign up in advance at Ops.

Presenter(s): Bagel Garrison

Knitting 101 Learn how to use two sticks and a piece of string to make works of art! A pair of needles and yarn will be provided or you can bring your own so you can learn to make things like dishcloths and scarves. This is a limited attendance event. Please sign up in advance at Ops.

Presenter(s): Kelly Vanderwell

LSDj n’ U! A How-To Track and Perform Live with Chiptunes! Have you ever been curious to know how chip artists compose music on a classic Nintendo Gameboy? Or even been more curious on how they tweak their tunes during a live performance? Snesei, Dollfin, and McGRANAMAN will not only show you the basics of LSDj and various tips and tricks of the program, but they’ll also give insights on how to manipulate the pre-tracked song for live performances. At the end, audience members are invited to try LSDj’s LIVE mode to create their own, unique Gameboy tune.

Presenter(s): Jacob Dean McGranaghan, Corey Chappell, Garrett Boone

Learn to Cross-Stitch Come learn the basics of cross-stitch! You will begin stitching using a simple pattern and leave with the skills to continue on your own. All necessary supplies will be provided, and no previous experience is necessary. This is a limited attendance event. Please sign up in advance at Ops.

Presenter(s): Janet Gocay, Kelly Vanderwell

Make a Cute Penguin Plushie! Come to this workshop to learn how to hand sew a small plushie penguin from felt. Leave with your own adorable penguin and ideas about how to create your own plushies. No sewing experience required. This is a limited attendance event. Please sign up in advance at Ops.

Presenter(s): Janet Gocay

Make a Set of Earrings Come play with wire and beads as we create a pair of earrings! Whether you have created jewelry before or this is your first time, I will guide you step by step in this creative process. Learn how to string beads, and bend wire to create a unique accessory. While anyone is welcome to attend, a limited number of materials will be provided. Sign up in advance at Ops.

Presenter(s): RainbowRavenX

Microprocessor Magic Add movement, color, sound, and interactivity with a tiny computer system designed for artists and designers. Christopher Bright shows us how to use the Arduino microcontroller to take in information and then express it through lights, sounds, or motion. The potential here is limitless. Arduinos have been used to build opensource EEG machines, heart rate monitors, robotic motion controllers. In this workshop you will create a heart-rate sensor that in turn flashes an LED on time. Easy, and very fun. I will have plenty of micro boards on hand for folks to play with.

Presenter(s): Christopher Bright

Open Demos by BeagleBone, Dangerous Things and All Hands Active Live demos and highlights for of this weekend’s events as the Penguicon HackerSpace spins up for the weekend!


Sewing: Make a pillow Whether you have never even seen a needle and thread, or have been sewing since you were three, come join me as I teach the basics. In this hands-on activity we will create and embellish a pillow. I will teach how to attach buttons, appliqus, ribbon and decorative trim. I will also teach how to do a basic hand stitch as well as a decorative blanket stitch. The end result will be a decorative pillow for you to take home. No experience necessary. This is a limited attendance event. Please sign up in advance at Ops.

Presenter(s): RainbowRavenX

So Fresh, (Not) So Clean; Getting Dirty Making Soap. Reroot, a local producer of all natural hand made soaps and oils, will demonstrate one of the processes they use to make soap. We will touch on how to formulate a soap with the properties you desire and the chemical reactions that turn oils into soap. Come join us in getting dirty to make others clean.

Presenter(s): Jonathan Weyhrauch, Mikhail Shikhmanov

The Continuing Penguicon Robot Build Come help design and build a robot during the convention. Donations may be accepted depending on the robot design. No skill necessary to help but prior experience would be useful. Useful skills include familiarity with micro-controllers, structural design, costume design, programming, graphic design, and logic!

Presenter(s): James Hice, John D. Bell

Wearable Computing: Technology You Can Stitch Right In Here we build off the Microprocessor Magic workshop and introduce a specialized version of the Arduino board. The Lilypad is a purpose-built design for the Arduino that is intended to be sewn into a garment or costume. Imagine a keypad sewn right into the sleeve of your jacket. What for? Actuate a glowing turn signal on the back of your riding jacket? Fire up the IR illuminators for your wearable cameras? Or you have a costume and you want the lights and tones to blink and bloop in time with your steps. The modules and connectors are sewn in and in most casdes can be handwashed along with the garment.

Presenter(s): Christopher Bright

i3 Vinyl Tshirts i3’s Vinyl cutter and Heat Press (shirt press & Mug Press) is coming to Penguicon’s HackerSpace! Transfer from a image to sticker, from a sticker to an awesome decoration on your shirt or mug! Please bring a shirt (cotton with polyester or 100% cotton) or mug with you (shirts and mugs will not be provided)! i3 will also demonstrate the basic functions of our new software “Sure Cuts A Lot”. Its straightforward and interesting!

Presenter(s): Yajie Wang


From kitchen basics to imaginative recipes, the Food Track hosts tastings and general demos on cooking and mixology, to demos on specialty processes like brewing and cheese-making.
Baking and Breaking Bread “The most exciting thing about making bread is it’s similar to making beer.” Learn how to make and recognize a great loaf of bread with our Featured Guest and professional baker, David Clipner.

Presenter(s): David Clipner Presents: History of the Cocktail The history and spirits nerds behind Sanity Claws Radio’s ‘Drink of the Week’ feature present a journey through history – cocktail history! From the early muddlings of sugar, water, and bitters, to the first published bar-tending guide in the 1860’s, to the birth of the modern mixed drink, our experts will take the audience on a verbal walking tour of their favorite pastime: drinking! Audience questions are encouraged. So, if you’ve ever wanted to know why ‘Rum and Coke’ exists (and would rather have the answer mixed with comedy than a Google search), this is the place for you!

Presenter(s): Scott Markwart, Steve Licavoli

Easy and Cheap: Healthy Meatless Meals Get your grub on with some fast, nutritious meals that won’t make your wallet sad. We’re talking tasty stews, soups, curries, and sides with minimum prep and cooking time. We’ll demo a hearty main course and side that you can taste at the end of the session. Recipes will be provided, plus some others to try, and we’ll give you a resource sheet to find lots of other cheap and easy vegan vittles!

Presenter(s): Amy Alice Wright

Eat Like a Pirate Cuisine is probably not the first thing people think of when they think of pirates, but the Navy food was so bad that many Navy sailors turned pirate just to escape it. Come learn about common foods eaten aboard ships during the Golden Age of piracy and take home a recipe or two to try.

Presenter(s): Rathbone the Pirate, David Clipner

Kitchen Hacks 101 An incomplete and tangential discussion about tricks to save time, money, and energy in the kitchen.

Presenter(s): Emily Tuesday

LN2 After Hours I Ice Cream Some ice creams / sorbets may be made with alcohol for this event. Only legal drinking age attendees allowed. IDs will be checked.

Presenter(s): Sarah Elkins, Phil Salkie

LN2 After Hours II Ice Cream Some ice creams / sorbets may be made with alcohol for this event. Only legal drinking age attendees allowed. IDs will be checked.

Presenter(s): Sarah Elkins, Phil Salkie

LN2 Guest Flavors Ice Cream Ice cream flavors celebrating the 2016 guests of honor and featured guests (e.g., Radchai tea ice cream)

Presenter(s): Sarah Elkins, Phil Salkie

LN2 Sunday Brunch Ice Cream Ice cream made with liquid nitrogen, for a Sunday brunch! Flavors will include orange, coffee, and Captain Crunch or some other sugary breakfast treat. Alternative ingredients available; we can make some non-dairy or sugar-free!

Presenter(s): Sarah Elkins, Phil Salkie

LN2 Welcome Back Ice Cream For the opening session of Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream, we tell you the ingredients on hand and we make fun and tasty flavors together. Alternative ingredients available; we can make some non-dairy or sugar-free!

Presenter(s): Sarah Elkins, Phil Salkie

Let’s Eat Weeds! Do you like eating new things? Maybe you’d like to supplement your diet? What will you eat when SHTF? Did you know that many weeds in the US were introduced from Europe originally as food sources? Many weeds are also high in vitamins and minerals you’re not getting from normal store-bought foods. I’d like to introduce you to the wonderful (free) world of weeds! Your backyard is an untapped resource of possibilities!

Presenter(s): Kristoffer Marshall

Midwest Mash: Whiskies of the Great Lakes There are a significant number of craft distilleries in the Midwest region, come and hear what makes them unique from each other, how those whiskies are made. Then stay for a tasting! The presentation will be open, but the tasting will be limited attendance. 21+ and ID will be required. Please sign up in advance at Ops.

Presenter(s): Greg Williams

Pirate Rum History Tastings Rum is probably one of the first things people think of when they think of pirates. We could give a fancy description of the lecture about the history of rum, but you’re really just coming to drink rum– so let’s taste some different rums! 21+ and ID will be required. This is a limited attendance event. Please sign up in advance at Ops.

Presenter(s): Rathbone the Pirate, David Clipner

Preserving the Summer You don’t need to be a professional chef or master gardener to preserve fresh produce for the winter! Learn how in this overview about canning, freezing, pickling, storing, and drying in your home kitchen.

Presenter(s): Emily Tuesday

Taste My Pickle Do you like pickles? Then this is the event for you! A simple tasting of pickled fruits, vegetables, and nuts created by our Food Track Head, along with a discussion of the process of pickling with recipes. This is a limited attendance event. Please sign up in advance at Ops.

Presenter(s): Emily Tuesday

Tastes that Taste Great Together Join Cathy and Eric Raymond for a different kind of chocolate tasting: tastes of dark chocolate combined with other flavors and foods, such as bacon! Or vanilla! This tasting will include a talk about foods that were historically combined with chocolate in South America and, later, in Europe. This is a limited attendance event. Please sign up in advance at Ops.

Presenter(s): Cathy Raymond, Eric S. Raymond

Unleash the Yeast Meet our Featured Guest, David Clipner, and learn how to be a beer snob in your own home. From stouts to sours and ales to IPAs, taste and compare the complexities of lifes greatest gift, beer. 21+ and ID will be required. This is a limited attendance event. Please sign up at Ops

Presenter(s): David Clipner

Vegan Junk Food: Delicious and Not at All Nutritious Think vegans are waifish, pallid folk who munch broccoli all day? Join a Fat Vegan who totally knows what she’s talking about and enter the tasty world of naughty vegan treats! We’ll sample many yummy chips, cookies, candy, and more until your guard is down and the Vegan Army recruits you. Kidding! We will also talk about hidden animal-based ingredients, sugar processing, and how you can make decadent vegan goodies at home.

Presenter(s): Amy Alice Wright


Gaming Track is bigger and better than ever. Literally. This year, in addition to our awesome gaming area and library, U-Con will be bringing their board game library to share (all 145 of their games!), and Lansing Maker Network ]is bringing some of their giant versions of popular games like Mega-Operation, GianTRIS (aka Mega-Tetris), and Colossal Connect Four!
7 Wonders 3-7 players. 7 Wonders is a card drafting, set collection game in which players compete to advance their civilization through building wonders, developing technological skills, and/or creating a powerful military.

Presenter(s): Sara Castle

Abyss 2-4 players. Use all of your cunning to win or buy votes in the Council. Recruit the most influential Lords and abuse their powers to take control of the most strategic territories.

Presenter(s): Steve Benson

Alhambra Dice Game 2-6 players. Build your Alhambra complex by using dice to build buildings.

Presenter(s): Bryan Snell

Alien Frontiers 1-4 players. Roll and place your dice to gain advantages over your opponent and block them out of useful areas of the board. Use Alien Tech cards to manipulate your dice rolls and territory bonuses to break the rules. Steal resources, overtake territories, and do whatever it takes to get your colonies on the map first!

Presenter(s): Eric McGlohon

Are You A Werewolf A deception party game for 7-15 players. Players are assigned roles secretly. Most players are Villagers, two or three will be Werewolves. The Villagers try to figure out who the werewolves are during the day, and the Werewolves eat the Villagers at night.

Presenter(s): Sara Castle

Arkham Horror 2-8 players. A cooperative adventure game themed around H.P Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos. It’s up to the Investigators to prevent one of the eight Ancient Ones from breaking into our world. During the course of the game, players will upgrade with skills, allies, items, weapons, and spells. It’s up to the players to clean out the streets of Arkham by fighting many different types of monsters, but their main goal is to close portals to other dimensions that are opening up around town. With too many portals open the Ancient One awakens and the players only have one last chance to save the world. Defeat the Ancient One in combat!

Presenter(s): Cory Tebo

Authentic Pirate Games Learn several card games and board games from the late 17th and early 18th centuries.

Presenter(s): Rathbone the Pirate

Betrayal at House on the Hill 3-6 players. Board game where you explore a spooky house tile by tile to defeat a traitorous fellow player.

Presenter(s): Sara Castle

Ca$h ‘n’ Gun$ 4-6 players. A gangster band is splitting its loot, but they can’t agree on the split! It’s time to let the guns talk and soon everyone is aiming at everyone. The richest surviving gangster wins the game!

Presenter(s): Steve Benson

Codenames 2-8 players. Two teams go head to head as their spy masters attempt to give them one word clues to find their own agents the fastest.

Presenter(s): Dave Green

Codenames 2-8 players. Two teams go head to head as their spy masters attempt to give them one word clues to find their own agents the fastest.

Presenter(s): Jason Sonk

Coup 2-6 players. You are head of a family in an Italian city-state, a city run by a weak and corrupt court. You need to manipulate, bluff, and bribe your way to power. Your object is to destroy the influence of all the other families, forcing them into exile. Only one family will survive…

Presenter(s): Sara Castle

D&D 5E 3d Print and Play Strange things are afoot in the Moonsea. The factions have called all those willing and able to investigate strange occurrences in the region surrounding Phlan. Dark whispers and unseen terrors lurk in the misty shadows between this world and some place much more sinister. Unveil the horrors before it is too late! Part one of Misty Fortunes and Absent Hearts. Come see a 3D printer demo featuring prints from the D&D Monster Manual, then stay to play through an Adventurers League 5E adventure. Characters will be provided. This is a limited attendance event. Please sign up in advance at Ops.

Presenter(s): Nichole Bulmer-Jones, Branden Coates, Antoni Williams, Alan Patrick

Dead of Winter 2-5 players. A small, weakened colony of survivors in a world where most of humanity is either dead or diseased, flesh-craving monsters. Each player leads a faction of survivors.

Presenter(s): Jason Sonk

Dead of Winter 2-5 players. A small, weakened colony of survivors in a world where most of humanity is either dead or diseased, flesh-craving monsters. Each player leads a faction of survivors.

Presenter(s): Sara Castle presents: 8 Player Super Smash Bros for the WiiU Take a load off and smash it up with your fellow Penguinnites in a little 8-player Super Smash Bros! All items will be on and matches will be set to three minute timed battles.The rules are strictly for fun and all are welcome. Positive and friendly attitudes are highly encouraged!

Presenter(s): Jonathon Hickey

Descent 2nd Edition 2-5 players. One player takes on the role of the treacherous overlord. Up to four other players take on the roles of courageous heroes who embark on quests and venture into dangerous caves, ancient ruins, dark dungeons, and cursed forests to battle monsters, earn riches, and attempt to stop the overlord from carrying out his vile plot. Combat uses a unique dice-based system. Players build their dice pools according to their character’s abilities and weapons, and each die in the pool contributes to an attack in different ways. Surges, special symbols that appear on most dice, also let you trigger special effects to make the most of your attacks. And with the horrors awaiting you beneath the surface, you’ll need every advantage you can take…

Presenter(s): Jason Westbrook

Euphoria 6 players (ages 13+). Lead a team of workers (dice) and recruits (cards) to claim mastery of the dystopian world. Produce commodities, dig tunnels to opposing areas, construct markets, collect artifacts, strengthen allegiances, and fulfill secret agendas. The number on each die represents a worker’s knowledge his level of awareness that he’s in a dystopia. This gives bonuses and impacts player interaction. If the collective knowledge of your workers gets too high, one of them might desert you! Control areas by constructing markets that impose harsh restrictions of freedoms upon other players. Gather rare artifacts from the old world, coveted by the elite, to exchange for tracts of land.

Presenter(s): Eric McGlohon

G33K Atho10n 2.0 Come play an open source or retro game while performing an exercise! See if you can play a platform game with a game controller while squatting, or perform a 1 Arm Row with a band with 1 hand and play a retro shooter game that uses the directional buttons on a gamepad on the other hand. The player with the highest number of reps wins. An awesome way to experience somewhat obscure, yet awesome console and PC games, while burning off some con-calories at the same time.

Presenter(s): William E. Bowen

Gravwell 2-4 players. Players command spaceships that have been pulled through a black hole, transporting them into a different dimension. Lacking fuel to get home, you must collect basic elements from surrounding asteroids, using gravity and what little resources you have in order to reach the warp gate that will take you home. But in this dimension, moving ships will travel towards the nearest object, which is usually another ship. When those objects are moving either forward or backward, reaching the warp gate isn’t always easy. Frozen hulks of dead spacecraft litter the escape route – but with careful cardplay, you can slingshot past these derelicts and be the first to escape from the Gravwell!

Presenter(s): Bryan Snell

Hakosot “SAVE, YOUR, DIXIE CUPS, ‘CAUSE WE’RE GONNA PLAY HAKOSOT! SAVE, YOUR, DIXIE CUPS, ‘CAUSE WE’RE GONNA PLAY HAKOSOT!” Grab all your friends, and play this game of singing while passing cups.

Presenter(s): Mitchell Bowling

Hanabi 3-5 players. A cooperative game in which players try to create the perfect fireworks show by placing the cards on the table in the right order. The card deck consists of five different colors of cards, numbered 1-5 in each color. For each color, the players try to place a row in the correct order from 1-5. Sounds easy, right? Well, not quite, as in this game you hold your cards so that they’re visible only to other players. To assist other players in playing a card, you must give them hints regarding the numbers or the colors of their cards. Players must act as a team to avoid errors and to finish the fireworks display before they run out of cards.

Presenter(s): Jason Westbrook

Hey! That’s My Fish! 2-4 players. Penguins at Penguicon? Of course! Use your penguins to collect fish and become the last penguin on the ice.

Presenter(s): Dave Green

Intro to Android: Netrunner Card Game Max 8 players (ages 13+). Beginners encouraged to attend. Learn how to play this Living Customizable Card Game for two players, set in the cyberpunk future of “Android” and “Infiltration”! One player is a megacorporation and the other is a runner. Corporations must secure their servers and data forts with security programs. Runners need to spend their time and credits developing sufficiently powerful wealth, hardware, and software to hack past corporate security measures. They risk having their best programs trashed or captured by a trace program and left vulnerable to corporate countermeasures, or suffer massive brain damage from a failed intrusion attempt.

Presenter(s): Eric McGlohon, Bryan Snell

Kalidasia Fleet Commander – The Siege of Cadre 4 The Surakari have invaded Cadre 4 and it is up to a small Heragul fleet to hold the aliens at bay. Come defend Cadre 4(or destroy it!) in this two player asymmetrical game of planetary siege.

Presenter(s): Jason Rutherford

Learn To Play 7 Wonders 3-7 players. As a leader of one of the 7 great cities of the Ancient World, gather resources, develop commercial routes, affirm your military supremacy, build your city and erect an architectural wonder. This is a card-drafting game. Players receive seven cards from a particular deck, choose one of those cards, then pass the remainder to an adjacent player. Players reveal their cards simultaneously, paying resources if needed or collecting resources or interacting with their neighbors. Each player then chooses another card from the deck they were passed, and the process repeats until players have six cards in play. Who will collect the best combos? Sign up required at Ops.

Presenter(s): Richard Houser

Learn To Play Back To The Future 2-6 players. Jump into the action of the Back to the Future movies in this spinoff of Chrononauts, an ingenious time travel card game! Play as the descendants of Marty McFly, Biff Tannen, Doc Brown and others, as you travel back to the events depicted in the movies. Your mission is to make sure pivotal events are not changed by other time travelers before time travel itself gets un-invented. Using a unique, patented game mechanism for simulating time travel, Looney Labs now puts you in the drivers seat of the famous DeLorean! Sign up required at Ops.

Presenter(s): Richard Houser

Learn To Play Dominion 3 games of 2-4 players each. The original game that created the deck-building genre. Players start with the same simple deck, and use their cards to buy cards into their collection from the middle of the table. They go through their deck repeatedly to use their new cards to buy even more lucrative cards. Each time you play, a different set of ten cards is available. Can you pick the best blend of cards? Sign up required at Ops.

Presenter(s): Richard Houser

Legendary Encounters 2-5 players. A deck-building game where players must cooperate in order to survive against hordes of aliens.

Presenter(s): Jason Sonk

Lords of Waterdeep 2-6 players. Includes Skullport expansion. A worker placement style game with a D&D theme. Rules are quick to learn but it still has depth.

Presenter(s): Timothy Brown

Lords of Waterdeep 2-6 players. One of the best worker-placement games, with a strong D&D theme. Recruit fighters, rogues, clerics, and wizards to complete quests.

Presenter(s): Steve Benson

Mahjong Ever played Mahjong on the computer and wondered how it’d differ in person? Come find out! Most like gin rummy, mahjong is played with tiles instead of cards. This will be the Chinese or British/Hong Kong version, as it is easier to learn.

Presenter(s): Anne Zanoni

MegOperation Don’t touch the sides! Test your hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills in life-size with Lansing Maker Network’s MegOperation, an interactive, large-scale version of the classic game Operation!


One Night Werewolf 3-7 players. Fast deduction game in which everyone gets one of a dozen different roles, each with a special ability. In the course of a single morning, your village will decide who is a werewolf…because all it takes is lynching one werewolf to win!

Presenter(s): Sara Castle

Order of the Wand Engage in wizarding combat with tiles and wands. Arrange tiles next to each other, so that when you lay your wand across them, it will touch their magical sigils to cast a spell on your opponent. An unpublished prototype by the designer of Tahiti and Nitro Dice. Three 1-vs-1 games will play simultaneously.

Presenter(s): David Whitcher

Pack ‘O Game 2-8 players. A series of easily portable card-based strategy micro card games in a gum-sized tuck box with a variety of mechanics, complexity and theme.

Presenter(s): Bob Brodis

Paint and Take We will bring ready-to-paint metal and plastic miniatures, at the cost of $6 per figure. This includes paint, help, and figure. Some free figures may be had till gone– 1 per day per person.

Presenter(s): Linda Martelle, Dean Martelle

Pandemic 2-4 players. Find the cure for 4 diseases to save the world in this cooperative game. Each player is given a different role and must work together to prevent the diseases from decimating the world’s population.

Presenter(s): Sara Castle

PowerPoint Improv Volunteer presenters pick a slide deck theyve never seen before from a list of titles on a variety of topics, and improv a comedic or serious presentation for up to 5 minutes. They dont have to stick to the slides, as theyre just a prop! Audience members can improv, too, during each Q&A (e.g., ask questions related to this years Penguicon theme, artificial intelligence)! As improvisations accumulate, we can build off each others topics and Q&A sessions. Come play with us!

Presenter(s): Sarah Elkins, Phil Salkie

Prototype Playtest: Quatern and Exquisite Corpse Machine 3 Enjoyable diversions or torture devices? You decide! Heres your chance to playtest two prototype motorized wooden board games. In “Quatern” up to four players compete simultaneously to place a row of four consecutive beads on a constantly rotating board. “Exquisite Corpse Machine 3” is an open-ended game designed to facilitate collaborative art work (and encourage quick creative decisions.) The rules take a few seconds to learn and game play lasts about 5 minutes.

Presenter(s): Andy Malone

Q&A With Ann Lemay Join Guest of Honor Ann Lemay for a Q&A on writing narratives for video games like Naruto: Rise of a Ninja and Mass Effect, and transmedia projects like the Assassins Creed Encyclopedia.

Presenter(s): Ann Lemay

Quantum 2-4 players. Send out the scouts! Position the Flagship in tactical orbit! And reconfigure that Battlestation into something new! Your fleet of loyal ships, powered by the might of quantum probability itself, carries your empire to the far-flung stars. How will history remember you? As a ravenous destroyer? A clever tactician? A dauntless explorer? Command your armada, construct world-shattering technologies, and rally the remnants of humanity for a final confrontation. In Quantum, each player is a fleet commander from one of the four factions of humanity, struggling to conquer a sector of space.

Presenter(s): Bryan Snell

RPG: Roleplay Podcast Game Some of the best improv I’ve ever been part of has been around a gaming table. We’re going to set up recording gear and then run a short gaming session. The recording will be edited into a radio play that will be made available online right after the con. We’ll be using a system that doesn’t require any previous knowledge to play. All you need to bring is your willingness to get into character! This is a limited attendance event. Please sign up in advance at Ops.

Presenter(s): Jody Raiford

Rathbone Vs Everybody Avast! Rathbone the Pirate will simultaneously compete against all of you swabs, playing several different games from the age of piracy! (Attention: When a pirate cheats, it is only illegal if the pirate gets caught at it. This has been an advisory of the Caribbean Warning System.)

Presenter(s): Rathbone the Pirate

Salem/Deception: Murder in Hong Kong 4-12 players. Two quick games played back to back. Salem incites the atmosphere of paranoia that held the village of Salem captive. Players act with the assumption that there are witches among them and there will be! Game play is simple: try to rid the village of witches and keep the identities of your own residents secret. In Deception, players take on the roles of investigators attempting to solve a murder case – but there’s a twist. The killer is one of the investigators!

Presenter(s): Jason Sonk

Sheriff of Nottingham 3-5 players. In Sheriff of Nottingham, players will not only be able to experience Nottingham as a merchant of the city, but each turn one player will step into the shoes of the Sheriff himself. Players declare goods they wish to bring into the city, goods that are secretly stored in their burlap sack. The Sheriff must then determine who gets into the city with their goods, who gets inspected, and who may have their goods confiscated!

Presenter(s): Steve Benson

So You Want to Write Video Games? Guest of Honor Ann Lemay and GOH Emeritus John Scalzi talk about what goes into writing the narrative stories for videogames.

Presenter(s): Ann Lemay, John Scalzi

Space Alert 5 players (ages 12+). Space Alert is a cooperative team survival game. A game lasts ten real-time minutes, while a soundtrack plays, announcing various timed challenges: from space battleships and interceptors, to different interstellar monsters and abominations, asteroids or even intruders and malfunctions on the spaceship. Players have to agree and coordinate on who will do what (moving around the ship, firing weapons, distributing energy, using battlebots to deal with intruders, launching guided missiles, etc.) in real time to defend the ship. Only a well-working team can survive 10 minutes and make the jump back to safety.

Presenter(s): Eric McGlohon

Splendor 1-4 players. As the leader of a merchant guild, you invest in mines and recruit the most renowned artisans. Build a commercial empire and receive the visit of wise monarchs to acquire glory and prestige.

Presenter(s): Steve Benson

Splendor 2-4 players. As the leader of a merchant guild, you invest in mines and recruit the most renowned artisans. Build a commercial empire and receive the visit of wise monarchs to acquire glory and prestige.

Presenter(s): Sara Castle

Spyfall 3-8 players. Spyfall is a party game unlike any other, one in which you get to be a spy and try to understand what’s going on around you. It’s really simple!

Presenter(s): Jason Sonk

Star Trek Five-Year Mission With Mini Expansions Dice. The Final Frontier. Voyage to explore strange new expansions– to seek out new victory points and new challenges– to meet the game’s designer– to boldly go where no players have gone before! A cooperative dice placement game. Take roles from original or Next Gen. Players try to cooperatively solve a series of alerts to score points, without failing five alerts, or the Enterprise being destroyed. Injuries lock dice out of play. Ship damage forces you to attempt harder alerts. Urgent events must be completed on a timer (the Prime Directive). Yellow & red alerts force additional alerts cards to come into play– pushing you and your fellow crew-members closer to failing! 3-7 players.

Presenter(s): David Whitcher

Star Wars: Imperial Assault 2-5 players. A game set in the Galactic Civil War between the Rebel Alliance and the Galactic Empire after the destruction of the Death Star over Yavin 4. In this game, you and your friends can participate in two separate games. The campaign game pits the limitless troops and resources of the Galactic Empire against a crack team of elite Rebel operatives as they strive to break the Empires hold on the galaxy, while the skirmish game invites you and a friend to muster strike teams and battle head-to-head over conflicting objectives.

Presenter(s): Jason Sonk

The Art of Retro Gamers Journey to a panel in time discussing how fun it was to play games like Super Mario, Duck Hunt , Battle Toads and Dragon Warrior…losing your friends over frustration, gaining strong bonds by defeating tough bosses and networking as compared to now…

Presenter(s): Ian Sterrett, Bob Waltenspiel, Jeremy Myers, Dave Phillips

The Big Book of Madness 2-5 players. A challenging co-operative deck-building game. Payers are magic students who must act as a team to turn all the pages of the book, then shut it by defeating the terrible monsters they’ve just freed.

Presenter(s): Jason Sonk

The Family That Games Together How does your family game? Do you use games to communicate and relax as a family? Are games a fun challenge or educational tools, or both?

Presenter(s): Ann Lemay, Wendy Carson, John Belden, Jeremy Leonard

The Quiet Year 2-4 players. The Quiet Year is a map game. You define the struggles of a post-apocalyptic community, and attempt to build something good within their quiet year. Every decision and every action is set against a backdrop of dwindling time and rising concern.

Presenter(s): Jason Sonk

Ticket to Ride 2-5 players. Players collect cards of various types of train cars they then use to claim railway routes in North America. The longer the routes, the more points they earn. Additional points come to those who fulfill Destination Tickets – goal cards that connect distant cities; and to the player who builds the longest continuous route.

Presenter(s): Steve Benson

Tokaido 2-5 players. You are a traveler along the East Sea Road in Japan. You will meet various people, taste fine meals, collect beautiful items, discover great panoramas, and visit temples and hot springs. You’ll have to be the one who discovered the most interesting and varied things to win.

Presenter(s): Steve Benson

Unpublished Prototype: Mirage 2-4 players. Lay L-shaped tiles to claim land with camels, and water with ships. When there is a gap into which no tile can ever fit, the player with the most camels or ships attached to the gap will place their tent in it. Place your tents far apart to win. This unpublished prototype will be Kickstarted in February 2017.

Presenter(s): Matt Arnold

Unpublished Prototype: Terracosm 2-4 players. Arrange your carnivores, herbivores, and plants on the planet to consume your opponents. With careful timing, they’ll survive long enough to score points. Players simultaneously select actions, and attempt to alter the order in which actions resolve. An unpublished prototype with gorgeous art and pieces.

Presenter(s): Matt Arnold

Warlords of the 6 Kingdoms 2-6 players. There can only be one! Take the role of a raucous, power-hungry warlord whos off to conquer the 6 kingdoms! Select one city at a time, and send a champion to win it using the savory influence of fear, bribes, or pure military strength. If multiple warlords have sent a champion, the one with the highest of the three influences will be victorious. But simply approaching a city won’t cut it: hazards and defenses must be navigated, or your champion won’t even get close!

Presenter(s): Nikolas Smart

Zombicide: Black Plague 2-6 players. The zombie apocalypse in a fantastical medieval setting! The arcane powers of the Necromancers have unleashed a zombie invasion in the age of swords and sorcery, and it’s up to your group of straggling survivors to not only stay alive during these dark times, but to take back the realm and punish those responsible for the apocalypse!

Presenter(s): Jason Sonk


If you want to learn how to survive the apocalypse, make friends as an introvert, sleep entirely with naps, or talk about spirituality, sexuality, gender in fandom, or geek lifestyle topics in general, this is the track for you!
A Panel on Paneling In this mayhem fueled panel, Daniel Dugan will demonstrate everything that could possibly go wrong during a panel. Expect a few laughs, awkward pauses, loaded questions and general mischief.

Presenter(s): Daniel Dugan, Rathbone the Pirate

Backcountry Camping Camping can be something besides a place to park your RV. Learn about what it takes to go someplace where your phone has no signal. How to eat, how to sleep, how to stay warm and dry. Where you can go within an easy drive from metro Detroit. We’ll also discuss some of the reasons why you might want to head into the back country.

Presenter(s): Clay Dowling

Beyond the Binary Let’s look into our own personal identities beyond the gender binary.

Presenter(s): Jen Schwartz, Matt Sweet, Max Issac, Allison Demars, Ryan Souder

BoF: What Will Penguicon Look Like in 2020? Let’s get together to talk about the future of Penguicon. What will it look like in 2020? Your autonomous, electric car drops you off at the convention and you are automatically registered, with payment taken from your Penguicash account. Then what? Does hospitality have a list of you favorite foods that are dropped in by drone? Is a custom costume cut for you based on prior appearances and the movies you attended that year? Let’s use our scifi interest to tell the future. Birds of a feather events are unmoderated.


ConFusion ConCom Meeting Join the 2017 ConFusion concom for a sneak peek at what might be in store for next January at out sister con!

Presenter(s): ConFusion ConCom

Conclave 40 Feedback and Announcements It’s the 40th year for the Conclave SF convention in October, and we want to hear from you! Find out what is going on in Conclave, bring us your ideas and thoughts, and contribute to the growth of the convention. We hope to see everyone there and expect big things this year with plenty of surprises!

Presenter(s): Anthony Distel

Crowd- & Alternatively Funding Your Career Our panelists discuss their experiences using entrepreneurship opportunities like Startup Weekend and Global Startup Battle or crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and Patreon, to supplement or make a living, or start a new project.

Presenter(s): Tanya DePass, Mark Oshiro, Christina York, Rinoa Page

Engineer’s Guide to Self Defense Open to everyone! Come learn or contribute easy ways to add to your self defense skills using simple principles of leverage and movement! There will be waivers that need to be signed to participate, and everyone is welcome to do so – Minors need parental accompaniment in order to do so.

Presenter(s): Derek Newland

Eric S. Raymond “Ask Me Anything!” Eric S. Raymond answers your questions about anything!

Presenter(s): Eric S. Raymond

Ethical Dating A dating, relationships and friendship panel that just happens to talk about people in IT. The title comes from Ethical Hacking and Dating, whether you find people on dating sites, in the outside world or referred to by a family or friend. This panel will talk about basic tips and tricks on how to meet people, network and date.

Presenter(s): Ian Sterrett, Jeremy Myers

Financial Planning As much as we might want to avoid it, we’re slowing becoming adults with adult responsibilites. We can all use advice on money management and planning for our future.

Presenter(s): Ericka S. Kahler

Flirting for Geeks Come learn how (and how not) to flirt from some of our local fandom’s biggest flirts. Not only is it laugh-out-loud funny, it’s an irreverent and honest reflection of love, sex, and fandom. Find ways to woo, methods for making friends, and how to have a good time without making others uncomfortable.

Presenter(s): Nuri Gocay, Bob Waltenspiel, Dave Phillips, Scott Kennedy, Marie Staver, Jessica Roland, Mark Oshiro

Friendship at the Speed of Sound This is a speed friending event where participants will pair up and get to know one another with the hopes of finding a Con Buddy. We’ll have questions to keep the conversation going!

Presenter(s): Jessica Roland

Furries! What is being a furry all about? Find out about your fuzzy friends. Anthropomorphic Characters, Art, & Costumes

Presenter(s): Gnora Ford-Lepthien

Geek Cred: How to Be a Better Geek Fandom should bring people together, not be used as a cudgel. How can the geek community become more inclusive?

Presenter(s): Wendy Carson

Gender and Geek Culture How do we eliminate the “women aren’t real [fill in the blank] sterotype? Are we doing everything we can to bring more people into the geek fold? May also include discussion on transgender and gender-fluid fans.

Presenter(s): Wendy Carson, Hannah Davis, John Belden

How To Actually Relax Relaxing (we propose) may be the most important skill in all of life: It improves health, focus, strength, balance, empathy and happiness; it eases suffering both mental and physical; it’s key to winning at physical combat…it is even the single best thing you can do if you’re suddenly thrown from a moving vehicle. But…do you really know how to do it? Can you mentally find and ease tension in your mind and body? In this class, Chinese Internal martial artist and all-around movement junkie Marie will teach the how (and why!) of actively, purposefully relaxing.

Presenter(s): Marie Staver

How To Be Civilized Online The internet allows us to express our opinions, good and bad, anonymously and instantaneously. Learn how to be a better cyber-citizen.

Presenter(s): Mitchell Bowling, John Belden

How to Poison Your Muse: The Toxic Twins of Talent and Art We’ll discuss how common ideas about talent and art sabotage our creativity. What are these traps, and how can we avoid them? A discussion for artists, authors, musicians, and anyone else who wants to create good stuff.

Presenter(s): Paul Kemner, Michael Cieslak

Is It Necessary to Unplug to Unwind? We have all heard the advice about taking time to remove ourselves from our digital devices, but is that really necessary? Can one utilize technology to relax after a long day of using technology?

Presenter(s): Mitchell Bowling

JAC3D G33K Fitness Bootcamp A heart pumping, high adrenaline full body training experience designed to trim and sculpt you for the hot months a head. Includes strength training using various options including body weight, resistance bands to the keep the body guessing along with cardio intervals to maximize calories burned. This training session will also be accompanied by some of the greatest video game and nerd core music.

Presenter(s): William E. Bowen

LGBTQ Identities Let’s talk about LGBQT identities

Presenter(s): Jen Schwartz, Matt Sweet, Max Issac, Mari Brighe, Allison Demars, Ryan Souder

LGBTQ* Alphabet Soup An educational take on the different terms used within the LGBTQ* community. We’ll start from basic terms and work our way through some not so common terms.

Presenter(s): Cassy Sinke, Alison Chan, Kelly Vanderwell

Life-ing Your Game You’ve heard of hacking your life, maybe you’ve heard of gaming your life. But how much attention do you pay to what the game you’re already playing is teaching you? Third try is a charm (I hope) for this panel where I will attempt to impart to you some of the things that I’ve learned from my gaming experiences and things that I think you and your children could learn too. Please join me and see what we can learn together.

Presenter(s): Craig Hibbard

Party Planning Whether it’s a formal dinner or gaming night, how to prepare for, run, and still enjoy your get-together.

Presenter(s): Wendy Carson, Mitchell Bowling, Hannah Davis

Poly and Kids An open discussion about the challenges, the joys and the judgement of raising kids in a poly environment.

Presenter(s): Jillian Hawkins, Darek Hawkins, David Case

Polyamory 201 So, you’ve figured out that you should communicate, and you know what jealousy is. What next? Come together with those of us who have been at this a while and discuss some more advanced polyamory topics such as introducing new polyfolk into an established poly network, dealing with life changes within the poly network, trying the things we tell newbies not to try, and more.

Presenter(s): Adam Nuwer

Post Capitalism Capitalism worked. The reason it’s stalling is that its job is successfully finished: the job of efficient supply. But not demand. Universal employment is no longer needed; but with decreased employment, wages go down; therefore there are too few customers to buy products & services. Basic Income is gaining bipartisan support. Replace means-tested benefits with a monthly payment, distributed in the same amount to every citizen, pegged to productivity to stay ahead of inflation. Stop paying a bureaucracy to determine who needs or deserves social assistance. Income inequality is not just an ethical issue. The existence of a large middle class is the only way to keep the economy going.

Presenter(s): Matt Arnold, Edward L. Platt, Kevin O’Brien, Zach Blagg, Dana Nelson (Moderator)

Queer: Identity, Sexuality and Beyond Queer means so many thing to so many people: gender identity, orientation, even a political statement of who you are. Let’s talk about the range of identities that fall under the queer label.

Presenter(s): Jen Schwartz, Matt Sweet, Max Issac, Allison Demars, Ryan Souder

Raising Kind and Conscious Kids With so many influences in our kids’ lives, how to we give them the tools to make kind and conscious decisions both for themselves and in how they treat and interact with others? How do we help them to understand and navigate the subtle pressures of the media, their peers, other adults? How do we help them understand that intent isn’t magic, and fair does not always mean equitable?

Presenter(s): Elizabeth “Biz” Nidjam, Jen Talley, Ruth Suehle

Sharing an Oral History: The Art of Verbal Storytelling We’ve all been there: this absolutely amazing thing happened to you yesterday and you want to share it with your friends and family. You take a deep breath and begin…only to helplessly watch as the story falls directly on its face. Storytelling is an art, and like any art it takes practice, study, and one of those books where you draw Sparky the turtle on the grid then mail it to Pueblo CO. This panel will basically be the turtle grid.

Presenter(s): Jer Lance, Dawn Kuczwara

Sleeping on the Job: Why (and How) to Catch That Daytime Nap In just 20 minutes, a nap can make us happier, more energetic and more focused — so why is it so hard to get one at work, even at an office job? Long-term tech worker and polyphasic sleeper Marie explores the pros and cons, the surprising politics, and the nitty-gritty how-to of getting a nap during your daily grind.

Presenter(s): Marie Staver

Social Skills in a Digital Age Flirting, dating, making friends, influencing people, even simple conversation, all of these things tend to get harder in real life, even as our online inter-connectedness increases! We’re here to talk about simple, fun and easy ways to help your IRL social interactions be more LOL and less STFU.

Presenter(s): Mitch “Duckman” Peters, Jennifer Reisbig, Katherine Hatfield Nix

Staying Fit On The Go Join us on a discussion about different ways to stay healthy and active no matter where you are. Topics will also include things you can do right now during the convention.

Presenter(s): William E. Bowen

Surviving a Nuclear Holocaust This presentation will focus on how to survive, and maybe even thrive, after a nuclear event, be it a nuclear plant accident, a “dirty bomb” or a nuclear attack, The presentation will involve practical applications of radiation detection instrumentation, contamination and radiation control measures, why the fear of radiation exposure is overblown, and long term strategies for thriving when others have failed.

Presenter(s): David J. Newland

The 10 Commandments of Job Search The 10 Commandments of Job Search (along with the 7 Deadly Sins) was created at the request of attendees of prior sessions in order to best help them find a job. They’re directly related to, but not identical at ALL to, the 10 Commandments of Networking.

Presenter(s): Dave Phillips, Bob Waltenspiel

The 10 Commandments of Networking Networking is the key to moving your career forward. Whether you know it or not, whether you want to admit it or not, others have a huge say in where you go and what you do career wise. The co-founders of IT in the D have created the 10 Commandments of Networking to keep it simple and easy to understand. With more than 2000 hires from their (completely free to attendees) events, they know a little bit about what they’re saying.

Presenter(s): Dave Phillips, Bob Waltenspiel

The Lighter Side of Poly Do you want to talk about the difference between primary and secondary partners, negotiations, and the drama and heartache that comes with polyamorous relationships? Well, then, this panel is not for you! We’re here to talk about all the good, fun times you can have in an open relationship, when you love more than one person. We’ll laugh, we’ll joke, and maybe remind people why they’re poly after all!

Presenter(s): Mitch “Duckman” Peters, Jennifer Reisbig, Katherine Hatfield Nix

Time Management How to work, enjoy your hobbies, and still sleep.

Presenter(s): Hannah Davis

Whose Geek Are You Anyway? Come join in some geeky “Whose Line Is It Anyway” style hijinks! PG-13 content to be expected, fun for everyone! Get ready to laugh and have ideas of things you’d like to do, or see others do!

Presenter(s): Derek Newland


Writers working in the field of speculative fiction discuss relevant issues, from shop talk on the craft of writing to changes and standards in the world of publishing. Thinking of starting that short story or novel? Want to know what’s hot in] the field of science fiction, fantasy, and horror, from Star Wars to Stephen King and all things in between? Come check out the Literature track!
A Writer’s Life How do you handle the daily mechanics of hammering your magical, sparking, glittering craft into the finished product that could sell. What practical habits foster the creative process on a daily basis and how do you manage the emotional blender that is making words ready for publishing?

Presenter(s): Tobias S. Buckell, Ferrett Steinmetz, Catherynne Valente, Dave Klecha, Andrew Zimmerman Jones

Acts of Shameless Self-Promotion What’s the best way to get your name forward?

Presenter(s): Dave Klecha, Michael W. Lucas, Jackie Morgan, Steven Saus

Ann Leckie Reading Join Guest of Honor Ann Leckie for a reading and a chance to have your books signed.

Presenter(s): Ann Leckie

Catherynne Valente Reading Join Guest of Honor Catherynne Valente for a reading and a chance to have your books signed.

Presenter(s): Catherynne Valente

Character Problems – What’s an Author to Do? A main character needs to start out annoying, boring, or unappealing. (they have to grow from somewhere!) Your readers say ‘ugh’ and set your book aside. What’s an author to do? How do we avoid this? Examples?

Presenter(s): Mary Lynne Gibbs, Paul Kemner, Emmy Jackson, Cindy Spencer Pape, Jeff Pryor

Dragons, Demons, and the Laundry With Urban Fantasy being such an enormous field, how do you keep the sense of wonder in magical spells, fantastic creatures and other mystical phenomenon. Is this required and what is the cost if it’s missing? Do characters look differently at magic if it’s used to handle mundane tasks and what does this mean to the setting?

Presenter(s): Christian Klaver, Robert Kroese, Michael Cieslak, Andrea Johnson, Cindy Spencer Pape

Editing for Your Spouse/Partner/BFF/Pet “Can you read this and tell me what you think?” is a question to test any relationship. We will learn some ways to navigate that communications mine-field while musing on the nature of editing, the care and feeding of your larval writer and some small, practical steps towards upping our editing game.

Presenter(s): Scott Favre, Clif Flynt, Janice Leach, Jim Leach, Michael Cieslak

Editors, Publishers, and Readers– What Rules to Break and Which Don’t Apply Many new authors have heard the rules: One POV per scene, don’t use adverbs, Limit the POVs to no more than three per story. These “rules” have been taught for over a hundred years, but who came up with them and do they still apply to the modern reader?

Presenter(s): Ann Leckie, Michael K. Elliot, Steven Saus, Tobias S. Buckell

Erotica in Speculative Fiction Birds do it, bees do it, and elves and aliens do it. Our panelists talk about erotica in science fiction and fantasy genre fiction.

Presenter(s): Ken MacGregor, Jay Maynard, Dave Klecha, Jeff Pryor

Evoking Emotions, Provoking Readers Creating authentic characters who seem to experience a full range of believable emotions is only half the equation in character-building. How can we use character emotions to evoke real feelings in our readers? What other tricks are there?

Presenter(s): Merrie Haskell, Cindy Spencer Pape, Ken MacGregor, Catherynne Valente, Mark Oshiro

Finding an Agent What are the best methods for finding the best agent for you?

Presenter(s): Merrie Haskell, Ann Leckie, Mary Lynne Gibbs

First Things First: Story Titles First Things First: Story Titles: Which comes first, a story or its title? What makes a good title? Who gets to decide what that title would be? Should a title hint at the story to come, or only make sense after the story is read?

Presenter(s): Jon David, Alex Kourvo, Christine Daigle

History in Speculative Fiction (and Other Literature) The historical details can bring a story to life or bog it down. What’s the right balance?

Presenter(s): Clif Flynt, Steven Saus, Nicole Castle, Robert Kroese, Michael Cieslak

KaffeKlatsch with Catherynne Valente Join Guest of Honor Catherynne Valente for coffee and chatting! This is a limited attendance event. Please sign up in advance at Ops.

Presenter(s): Catherynne Valente

Mechanics of Magic in Fantasy & SF Does a magical system for a story need rules? Costs, unintended consequences, social factors? What about reliability issues? How can we avoid worn-out tropes. How should magic in an RPG and story differ? Is some of the tech in SF ‘magic’ and should the same considerations apply?

Presenter(s): Paul Kemner, Ericka S. Kahler, Eric S. Raymond, Andrew Zimmerman Jones

Poetry Starter Kit Audience Participation Panel: Speculative Poetry Starter Kit: who to read, where to look and exactly what the heck IS speculative poetry.

Presenter(s): Jim Leach, Sean M Davis

Pupal Writers Panel You’ve written a bit, you’ve published a bit, now what?

Presenter(s): Jen Haeger, Christian Klaver, Ken MacGregor, Christopher Purrett, Janice Leach

Reading/Signing: Alex Kourvo/M.H. Mead and Ferrett Steinmetz Join our attending authors in the Writers Block (317 & 318) for readings and signings!

Presenter(s): Alex Kourvo, Ferrett Steinmetz

Reading/Signing: Christopher Purrett and Merrie Haskell Join our attending authors in the Writers Block (317 & 318) for readings and signings!

Presenter(s): Christopher Purrett, Merrie Haskell

Reading/Signing: Cindy Spencer Pape and Christine Daigle & Stewart Sternberg Join our attending authors in the Writers Block (317 & 318) for readings and signings!

Presenter(s): Cindy Spencer Pape, Christine Daigle, Stewart Sternberg

Reading/Signing: Emmy Jackson, David Erik Nelson Join our attending authors in the Writers Block (317 & 318) for readings and signings!

Presenter(s): Emmy Jackson, David Erik Nelson

Reading/Signing: Jen Haeger and Mary Lynne Gibbs Join our attending authors in the Writers Block (317 & 318) for readings and signings!

Presenter(s): Jen Haeger, Mary Lynne Gibbs

Reading/Signing: John Scalzi and Dave Klecha Join our attending authors in the Writers Block (317 & 318) for readings and signings!

Presenter(s): John Scalzi, David Klecha

Reading/Signing: Marie Staver Join our attending authors in the Writers Block (317 & 318) for readings and signings!

Presenter(s): Marie Staver

Reading/Signing: Michael Cieslak and Nicole Castle Join our attending authors in the Writers Block (317 & 318) for readings and signings!

Presenter(s): Michael Cieslak, Nicole Castle

Reading/Signing: Michael W. Lucas and Ken MacGregor Join our attending authors in the Writers Block (317 & 318) for readings and signings!

Presenter(s): Michael W. Lucas, Ken MacGregor

Reading/Signing: Paul Kemner and Jon David Join our attending authors in the Writers Block (317 & 318) for readings and signings!

Presenter(s): Paul Kemner, Jon David

Reading/Signing: Rosemary Van Deuren and Clarence “Zig Zag Claybourne” Young Join our attending authors in the Writers Block (317 & 318) for readings and signings!

Presenter(s): Rosemary Van Deuren, Clarence “Zig Zag Claybourne” Young

Reading/Signing: Tobias S. Buckell and Mark Oshiro Join our attending authors in the Writers Block (317 & 318) for readings and signings!

Presenter(s): Tobias S. Buckell, Mark Oshiro

SF/F Madlibs Enjoy science fiction, fantasy, and pop culture Mad-libs created by our panelists. Offer up some interesting nouns, adj, verbs and adverbs and be prepared to laugh your head off!

Presenter(s): Andrea Johnson, Jackie Morgan, Jen Haeger, Alex Kourvo, Catherynne Valente

Self Editing Tools Before you expose your precious words to others, you want them to look their best. Clif will discuss a few of the off-the-shelf tools for grammar checking your work with emphasis on checkIt (potential name change), a tool written by a writer for writers to make their prose stronger.

Presenter(s): Clif Flynt, Sean M Davis

Self-Publishing 2016 This panel discusses today’s self-publishing options and business models. Our panelists include authors who are both self- and traditionally published, in fiction and nonfiction, including people who are making an income entirely by self-publishing. We’ll discuss why we made the choice to self-publish, the pitfalls and lessons learned, and which business choices we’ve made on our respective self-publishing efforts.

Presenter(s): Michael W. Lucas, Jen Haeger, Christopher Purrett, Alex Kourvo, Robert Kroese

Social Media for Writers What social media trends are necessary for the writer building their web foot print? What are some important things to do, and what should you not do?

Presenter(s): David Erik Nelson, Michael W. Lucas, Christopher Purrett, Alex Kourvo, Mark Oshiro, Mary Lynne Gibbs

Speak Your Words We are all made of stories and sharing them can be powerful and life changing. Come and share our version of an open mic night. Bring your self-written poetry, personal manifesto, or short-short story.

Presenter(s): Jim Leach, Matt Betts, Sean M Davis, Jessica Roland

Star Wars: Bane or Boon? Was the latest Star Wars groundbreaking and subversive? Or was it just merely a rehash of old tropes? Do new characters like Rey, Finn, Po, and Kylo Ren hold up to classic characters such as Luke, Leia, Han and Darth Vader. When does using standard archetypes degrade into rehash and did Star Wars fall into this trap or transcend expectations?

Presenter(s): Jon David, Ferrett Steinmetz, Michael K. Elliot, Salathiel Palland, Michael Cieslak

Story Roundtabling Join us for some dynamic story exercises! Start with a simple plot and develop it around the table. Each person is given a chance to tell the next part in turn. Any change can be made by the next storyteller. Each turn is no more than two minutes. We join the story where our heroes are about to land on Saturn F-Ring station in search of whoever stole the E-nabling 3D printed thumb-drive. The smart drive will enable anyone who wears it to break the security codes used by banks and stock markets throughout the solar system. This session will be recorded and posted on YouTube with participant permission.

Presenter(s): Gibson Nichols

Teens of the Wasteland Why do so many contemporary YA novels feature a post-apocalyptic setting with teens on a journey across what remains of civilization? What needs to these books fulfill, and has the wave of their popularity already peaked? If so, whats next?

Presenter(s): Emmy Jackson, Jon David, Janice Leach

The Most Useful Tropes Cliches in fantasy and science fiction are a big no-no… except when they arent. What are the most-used tropes in SFF? Why are they so overused? Are they always bad? Are there ways they can be twisted to say new things about the genre?

Presenter(s): Emmy Jackson, Jackie Morgan, Scott Favre, Mark Oshiro

Tools for Outlines: M.I.C.E., The Three Act Structure Is your story about Milieu, an Idea, a Character, or an Event? Figure out what sort of story you want to tell, and see which elements are most important, how you might want to structure the story, and how to tell if you’ve reached the end.

Presenter(s): Paul Kemner, Ericka S. Kahler, Eric S. Raymond, Michael K. Elliot

What Have You Read? What’s something amazing that you read recently that you want to tell the world about?

Presenter(s): Jim Leach, Andrea Johnson, Stewart Sternberg, Nicole Castle

Where Did the Heroes Go? Science fiction and fantasy were once known for stories with strong, capable heroes and heroines. We take a look at heroes and what’s happened to them lately.

Presenter(s): Jay Maynard, Eric S. Raymond, Jon David, Stewart Sternberg, Christine Daigle

Writing Fast and Slow Are you a hack if you write quickly? Are you an amateur if you write slowly? How many books a year should a working writer produce, and how has that expectation changed in todays publishing climate? How quickly do readers want or expect the next book?

Presenter(s): Alex Kourvo, Jen Haeger, Jim Leach, Catherynne Valente, Jeff Pryor

Writing Group 101 How to survive and thrive in a writing group.

Presenter(s): Christian Klaver, David Erik Nelson, Cindy Spencer Pape

Writing Risks Sometimes it can seem as if marketing departments are only after rehashes of the latest hot thing, at the cost of originality and diversity. Are diverse characters, genre mashups, and unusual structures a benefit to the sales department or a hindrance? How can authors challenge new boundaries and still make the editors, agents and other gatekeepers happy and produce a book with mass appeal? Does this strategy change further into an author’s career? Authors talk genre and classification and all the other challenges for this difficult subject.

Presenter(s): Ann Leckie, Tobias S. Buckell, Christian Klaver, Salathiel Palland, Michael Cieslak

Writing Workshop Join us for a hands on workshop where writers would bring their pens, pencils, notepads, laptops, etc. to participate in numerous whimsical writing exercises. Exercises will consist of writing prompts playing with different themes, styles, voices, perspectives, etc. A prompt is given, a time limit is set, everyone writes as much as they can or want, and then people are encouraged to read what they’ve written aloud. The last half-hour will consist of personal, private critiques, so attendees are encouraged to bring 1-2 pages of their work to share and receive feedback from workshop facilitators.

Presenter(s): Jen Haeger, Christine Daigle, Stewart Sternberg

Writing the Alien The challenge of writing an intelligence unlike our own lies at the heart of much of our best science fiction. How does an author tackle this difficult task?

Presenter(s): Tobias S. Buckell, Ferrett Steinmetz, Ramses Alcaide


Mayhem is what happens when you leave the panels behind. Play some giant Jenga, earn some con badges from the Scouts or get your fortune read. There are lots of activities going on all convention long, look around and you’ll find some fun!
“Pieces of Eight” Live from Penguicon! This live recording of Rathbone the Pirate’s “Pieces of Eight” webcast will give attendees a chance to have their pirate questions answered. Special guest: Mitch “Duckman” Peters

Presenter(s): Rathbone the Pirate, Mitch “Duckman” Peters

Chaos Machine This customizable marble roller coaster is a perennial favorite, serving as a metaphor for the open source development process. The Chaos Machine is available all weekend for Penguicon attendees to tinker with!


Free Fates Fortune Telling Booth Find a token, bring it to the booth in the lobby, and randomly generated predictions will be given to you! You may also write a short question and receive a Yes or No answer in return. Hours of operation posted at the booth.


Geon’s Mean Green Dancing Robosapien Machines They’re Mean! They’re Green! They’re Dancing Machines! And they’re back for Penguicon 2016! Back by popular demand, Geon’s Mean Green Dancing Robosapien Machines are making their annual appearance! Come dance with them! Take pictures!! Take videos!! You’ll be PO-PU-LAR!!!


Giant Jenga Stop by and play some (enormous) Jenga with your friends, or meet new people. No writing dirty things on the blocks! You’ll just have to use your imagination.


NUET Scouts The Scouts are at it again! The Nearly Useless Entertainment Team is back for another year at Penguicon, bringing you fun, mayhem, and shenanigans. Find us wandering the con to see what we have planned this year.


Pengicon Picture Bingo Snap a picture of each clue and you will be rewarded! Go to Registration, Ops, or the Greeter Table to get started!


Pirate Sea Chanties! Rathbone the Pirate will enchant us with some authentic (and some inauthentic) work songs from the age of sail!

Presenter(s): Rathbone the Pirate

Pirate Treasure Hunt! Follow the clues to challenge our Mayhem Featured Guest Rathbone the Pirate for a share of his booty. The best way to start a treasure hunt is drinking, preferably from officially licensed Penguicon materials.

Presenter(s): Rathbone the Pirate

Ribbon Fairies Look out for the Ribbon Fairies! If you find them, you can trade them a ribbon for a ribbon!


Where in the World? Wondering where people are coming from to go to Penguicon? Stop by and tag the city you came from on the World, US or Michigan map!



The Media Track is a combination of video, film, social media (including YouTube), and other fields for creators and fans of any medium. Panels for creators and entrepreneurs will have tips on screen writing, podcasting, and other emergin mediums. Local films will also be shown with Question/Answer periods for the creative minds behind them.
BoF: Doctor Who Join fans of Doctor Who for an open discussion about all things timey-whimey. Birds of a Feather events are unmoderated.


BoF: Media Creators Doesn’t matter what you create. If you want to to talk about music, movies, comics, writing . . . this is the place to share ideas. Birds of a Feather events are unmoderated.


BoF: Sherlock Join fans for an open discussion of the BBC powerhouse Sherlock. Birds of a Feather events are unmoderated.


BoF: Star Wars Join fans for an open discussion about the franchise, Epidode 7, and the changes the Star Wars universe has seen over the years. Birds of a Feather events are unmoderated.


Diversity in Geek Media The push for more diversity has become a regular topic in the world of genre media and games, from calling out instances of white-washing and queer-baiting, to protesting the inevitable and often inexplicable deaths of queer characters and characters of color. It’s an exhausting road, but is it actually leading to more diverse and inclusive media?

Presenter(s): Tanya DePass, Ann Lemay, Lingjia Tang, Mark Oshiro, Catherynne Valente, Mari Brighe

Finding the Right Social Media Finding the right social media platform to build your business is tricky. Should you use Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, Instagram, the list goes on and on. This panel will explore what options that can work for you.

Presenter(s): Kass Lawrence

Geek Girls Are Here to Stay Every few years it seems there’s a rash of discussion, usually shocked, that women create and consume all the things long considered the domain of men: science, technology, science fiction, comics, games and more. But women have always been there, from the earliest Worldcons to the Save Star Trek campaign, from fan fiction and fanvids, from Ada Lovelace to Shirley Ann Jackson, from Frankenstein to our awesome slate of Guests of Honor. Will we be stuck having this conversation forever?

Presenter(s): Tanya DePass, Ann Lemay, Jen Talley, Lingjia Tang

Hamilton the Musical Sing-A-Long Discussion between fans of Hamilton the musical, those who’ve been to see it, those who want to see it, and those who just love the cast album. Geek about history and sing along to some of the songs!

Presenter(s): Jen Talley

Intro to Podcasting All the cool kids are doing it…and more importantly, even more of the not so cool kids are doing it – podcasting. So what do you need to know to get started? Go live or record and syndicate only? What kind of mics? What should you know before getting started? In your basement or a studio somewhere? Learn from local podcasters with lots of experience and known throughout the podcasting community.

Presenter(s): Dave Phillips, Bob Waltenspiel, Nuri Gocay, Karen Hubbard, Shannon Marshall, Maggie Maiville, Jonathon Hickey, Scott Markwart

Intro to Video for Social Media Wanting to start a YouTube channel or adding video to your website/social pages? This panel will provide tips and tricks to help creating videos for new or already established channels.

Presenter(s): Scott (Toaden) Maiale, Christina June, Crazy Mark

Journalism Today Are Independent websites taking over media magazine audiences? Where should new journalists start and how is Traditional Journalism changing? Join Junkhead Josh Jankiewicz (Hardcore Gaming 101) Ay-hole Andy (blahblahmusic .com) and veteran journalists Erica McClain and Dave Herndon as they share their experiences and tips about Journalism.

Presenter(s): “Ay-hole” Andrew Zelasko, “Junkhead” Joshua Jankiewicz, David Herndon, Erica McClain

Literary Filk Authors from Peter Beagle to Jerry Pournelle have included bits of song and poetry in their fiction, and and many SFF stories have been set to music. Join local Filkers as they discuss the hows and wheres of placing songs in fiction and sing some songs from their favorite books.

Presenter(s): Clif Flynt, Mark Bernstein, Tom Smith

Live Podcast: Getting Drunk with Shannon & Maggie Shannon and Maggie are BFFs and they (used to) drink, a lot. Join us for our 3rd time at Penguicon. Hilarity will ensue, we will drink, eat cheese, and discuss the latest events in life and entertainment. Audience members will be able to submit questions to be answered live during the session directly, during the recording, to Shannon and Maggie or via Twitter at @ShannonsParty and @BrainOfMaggie

Presenter(s): Shannon Marshall, Maggie Maiville

Music Parody Performance: Derwood Bowen Derwood Bowen is a multi-genre comedy artist from the suburbs of Columbus, OH, and his live show comes with fun songs, lots of props, occasional attire changes, and audience involvement. If you’re in need of a good laugh, this is the place to go for it!

Presenter(s): Derwood Bowen

Screen Writing Tips Aching to write a script for that great movie idea that’s been bouncing around in your head? Come get some tips and tricks for how to get started on writing a script.

Presenter(s): James Fernandez, Mary Lynne Gibbs, Dave Kilgore

Social Media Entertainers Collide Entertainers from different aspects of social media (YouTube, Podcasting, Music, Public Television, and others) discuss aspects of working on-line and sharing their experiences.

Presenter(s): Kass Lawrence, Crazy Mark, Dave Phillips, Bob Waltenspiel, Karen Hubbard, Scott (Toaden) Maiale, BluRaven C. Houvener

The Found Footage Short Film Format – “Haunt Hunters” Screening of a series of locally-produced found footage short films called “Haunt Hunters” that deal with an investigative team on the hunt for ghosts, zombies and the supernatural. A total of three films about 10 minutes each. Q and A with creators following screening.

Presenter(s): Mike Madigan, Matthew Peach

The Golden Girls of Tech on T.V. Ageism directed at women in the world of T.V. and movies is a well known issue, with the average age difference between leading men and women counted in decades, and significant roles for actresses over 40 scarce. But what about portrayals of older women in tech? How does media representation specifically of older women in tech impact women in STEM fields?

Presenter(s): Jennifer Marsman, Deb Nicholson, Dawn Kuczwara

The Pre-Production Process for Films: Where It All Comes Together Learn more about the screenwriting process and getting your short or feature film ready for production, as well as the pre-production elements of casting, securing locations, choosing the right gear for your production, and getting your production team together.

Presenter(s): Mike Madigan, Matthew Peach

The Return of Mary Sue The concept of the Mary Sue is back with the criticisms of Star Wars Episode VII’s Rey as an unrealistic hero. How does this critique of female characters impact our perceptions of competent women? Why do men get unrealistic idealized male characters as heroes as the norm in SFF media, but female characters with the same traits are ridiculed?

Presenter(s): Ann Lemay, Ann Leckie, Merrie Haskell, Julie Winningham

Tips for Submitting to Film Festivals So your short or feature film is finally complete and ready to screen to audiences- now what? Learn the secrets of submitting correctly to film festivals, what film festivals look for in your film, and which film festivals to target/which ones to avoid depending on your project.

Presenter(s): Mike Madigan, Matthew Peach

Video Shorts Come watch some short films by local filmakers, on topics ranging from music videos and comedy to suspense drama and zombie sci-fi! Dave Kilgore: Percipient (9:35); I got no Talent (2:30); When the Lord Comes to Drown Us All Again (2:35). Gabrielle Gamache-Nettles: Crosscurrent (7:22), Squisher’s Atonement (14:00). Scott (Toaden) Maiale: Win the Cure (3:00), Single White Vlogger (20:00). Please note some of these contain adult language and situations.

Presenter(s): Scott (Toaden) Maiale, Gabrielle Gamache-Nettles, Dave Kilgore

When Being ‘On’ is What People Expect A panel where Mark Oshiro (Mark Does Stuff) and Tanya DePass (I Need Diverse Games) speak about the performative aspects of their work, including the need to entertain while doing blind reads and reactions to media and for Tanya; while streaming on Twitch/YT Gaming.

Presenter(s): Tanya DePass, Mark Oshiro


Official Penguicon Events that don’t fit into other tracks, such as Opening Ceremonies, Closing Ceremonies,the Penguicon Board Meeting and the Costume Contest too!
All Hands Active Keynote Have you ever been curious about how your five senses really sense? How can you remember what your grandmother looks like? The secret lies in your bodys hidden electrical network that lives just below our skin and skulls: our nervous system! This talk will be hands-on demonstration of the basic principles of neuroscience and will explore the fascinating field of “electrophysiology”. Using our “DIY” neuroscience tools, we will begin to see and hear what the brain actually looks like! We will continue to go deeper| exploring neurophysiology, functional electrical stimulation, micro-stimulations effect on animal behavior, neuropharmacology, even neuroprosthesis and human-to-human interfaces! (Dont worry| all these will be explained in easy-to-follow experiments).

Presenter(s): Greg Gage

Artemis Space| the ultimate target-rich environment. These are the voyages of the Starship Artemis, and its sister vessels, whose ongoing mission is seek out aggressive life forms, marauders and even each other, and blow ~em all to space-smithereens! Lansing Makers Network will be bringing their version, with lighting effects, of the popular starship bridge simulator game, Artemis! A co-op starship sim for up to six crew members.

Presenter(s): Lansing Maker Network

Charity Raffle Stop by the Charity Raffle table (by Ops and Registration) and purchase a raffle ticket or bid for some amazing prizes (we’ll have them on display) in support of our charity, All Hands Active! Prizes winners will be announced at Closing Ceremonies, and you must be present to win.


Closing Ceremonies As we officially shut down another amazing, exciting year for Penguicon, come hear about how it went, and what we’ve got our eye on for next year.

Presenter(s): Scott Kennedy, Daniel Dugan, Nuri Gocay, Cylithria Dubois, Amanda Long-Adams, Amanda Robinson, Miranda Webster, Jessica Roland, Julie Winningham, Ann Lemay, Ann Leckie, Catherynne Valente, Deb Nicholson, Jason Mars, Lingjia Tang

Costume Contest Each year there is a chance for people who love making costumes and cosplay to show off their creations and passion. Entrants should show up for the Muster at least 30 minutes before the contest for judging. So come down for some fun and maybe enter for a chance to win prizes. Best of Show receives a free badge to Penguicon 2017! Plus, throughout the weekend, N.U.E.T, better known as the Con Scouts will be running around asking people to enter the Hall Favorite Contest. All it takes is allowing N.U.E.T. to take a photo of you in your costume and some basic contact information. Pictures will be posted at the Greeters Desk, where every attendee gets one vote for their favorite costume.

Presenter(s): Crazy Mark, Alex Drummer, Justin Coluzzi, Kevin McLeod

Costume Contest Muster Each year there is a chance for people who love making costumes and cosplay to show off their creations and passion. Entrants should show up for the Muster at least 30 minutes before the contest for judging. So come down for some fun and maybe enter for a chance to win prizes. Best of Show receives a free badge to Penguicon 2017! Plus, throughout the weekend, N.U.E.T, better known as the Con Scouts will be running around asking people to enter the Hall Favorite Contest. All it takes is allowing N.U.E.T. to take a photo of you in your costume and some basic contact information. Pictures will be posted at the Greeters Desk, where every attendee gets one vote for their favorite costume.

Presenter(s): Crazy Mark, Alex Drummer, Justin Coluzzi, Kevin McLeod

Creating Safer Spaces How do we define a “safe space” in fandom and at conventions? How can we work to create safer spaces for all attendees at Penguicon and other conventions, and in our lives outside of fandom? Join a discussion with Penguicon staff (including the con chair) and our guests about how the Penguicon commuity can work toward greater safety, diversity and inclusivity to make this a space where all feel welcome.

Presenter(s): Mark Oshiro, Tanya DePass, Mari Brighe, Scott Kennedy, Salathiel Palland

Geek Prom It’s time for another EPIC Geek Prom, and this years theme is Heroes and Villains. Dress up as your favorite hero or villain and join us for an even bigger party than last year! Bring your Superman or find your Wonder Woman, and get ready to dance the night away until your legs are Thor.

Presenter(s): DJ Stu

Opening Ceremonies Join our con chair, Scott Kennedy, the Con Committee, and our Guests of Honor as we open this bad boy up for the weekend. You never know what surprises might be in store!

Presenter(s): Scott Kennedy, Daniel Dugan, Nuri Gocay, Cylithria Dubois, Amanda Long-Adams, Amanda Robinson, Miranda Webster, Jessica Roland, Julie Winningham, Ann Lemay, Ann Leckie, Catherynne Valente, Deb Nicholson, Jason Mars, Lingjia Tang

Penguicon 2017 Planning Meeting Making a successful Penguicon requires at least a year of organizing, planning, and partying. Do not skip the partying! Join us for the first planning meeting with the 2017 ConChair, Cylithria DuBois, and her selected Con Committee. If you want to contribute to Penguicon next year, or you just want to see how we make it happen, join us!

Presenter(s): Cylithria Dubois

Penguicon Board Meeting You’ve done the convention, you’ve met the staff, and you’ve even socialized with the ConCom. But what about those *other* Penguicon people? Those shadowy figures that create the multi-year rules, have their fingers on the money, and cause a ConChair to mysteriously appear every year in a puff of penguin-scented smoke? Ever wonder what the Penguicon Board of Directors does in their secret sanctum, and where they are taking Penguicon? Come to the Board of Directors meeting and see!

Presenter(s): Steve Gutterman, Randy Bradakis, Matt Arnold, Jer Lance,Amanda Long-Adams, Gini Judd, James Hice

Photo Booth Immortalize your awesome memories of Penguicon 2016 in our Photo Booth (located by the main doors across from the Greeter Desk).


Retrogaming Join us for Retro Gaming! Including systems from Atari to Game Cube and (almost) everything in between, join us for four hours of reliving your childhood! Enter our Mario Party 4 Tournament and win a retro system to take home!

Presenter(s): Angie Rush, Les Orchard, Brit Burke

So This Is Your First Penguicon Members of our ConCom will talk about why Penguicon is an awesome con and community, and give you a tour of what’s in store for you this weekend. If you’re new to Penguicon and you want to get to know the event, this is the panel for you!

Presenter(s): Nuri Gocay, Cylithria Dubois

Social Hour Get to know our Guests of Honor and Featured Guests as we all get together for some cocktails. Meet us in the bar!

Presenter(s): Ann Lemay, Ann Leckie, Catherynne Valente, Deb Nicholson, Jason Mars, Lingjia Tang

Tom Smith Concert Apparent Nifty Guest In Perpetuity Tom Smith is back, with new songs, a new album (a kids’ album! Must be the apocalypse), and the usual assortment of catchy tunes and lousy puns.

Presenter(s): Tom Smith


Science Fiction inspires and has been inspired by work done by scientists. The Science track brings you telescope viewings, hands-on chemistry and robotics, discussions on the future of disease prevention, and a chance to walk the scale of the solar system.
AsteroidDay Bob Trembly and Krunal Desai talk all things asteroids, and what we need to know about them.

Presenter(s): Bob Trembley, Krunal Desai

Creative Destruction Explore the act of destruction as a creative influence, drawing sources from economic theory, philosophy, theology, cosmology, ecology and technology. Is the nature of creativity in reality a destructive force? Progress is not necessarily a linear, geometric progression but rather destructive stimulus often precede creativity and explosive growth.

Presenter(s): Donald Mark Haynes, Jennifer Hamilton, Ramses Alcaide

Introduction to Exoplanet Art with the GIMP 1 Missions like the Kepler telescope have shown our galaxy be home to countless exoplanets, but it is still up to artists to imagine how these planets. Discover how easy it is for someone with no artistic experience to create beautiful exoplanet images with the open source editor the GIMP.

Presenter(s): Jason Rutherford

Introduction to Exoplanet Art with the GIMP 2 Missions like the Kepler telescope have shown our galaxy be home to countless exoplanets, but it is still up to artists to imagine how these planets. Discover how easy it is for someone with no artistic experience to create beautiful exoplanet images with the open source editor the GIMP.

Presenter(s): Jason Rutherford

Kerbal Space Program Kerbal Space Program (KSP) has taken computer gaming and brought it crashing into the realm of a true space simulator. In KSP, you build rockets, launch them, get them into space, do SCIENCE! there, build space stations and moon bases… do SCIENCE! there, and travel to other worlds… and do more SCIENCE! Kerbal Space Program is like being a kid in a candy store the size of the solar system!

Presenter(s): Bob Trembley

Meta-Level Science Lessons from Artificial Intelligence, Software Engineering, and Computer Science. Science is a continual and methodical process to match models to data (phenomenon) for utilitarian purposes. Science has the following Elements: Data; Models (e.g. Theories); Properties of Models, including computational characteristics and data matching measures; and Properties of Data, including measures of data to real world mapping. Science has no opinions, has no votes, no laws, no authorities, only naked properties, and measures. Lessons include: Reality, Models, Spaghetti, Measurement, Development, and Issues. Examples include: Entropy, Transformation of Energy, Relativity, and Sub-Quantum Kinetics.

Presenter(s): Dr. Justin Coven

Neurable Demo Featured Guest Ramses Alcaide demonstrates Neurable, a non-invasive brain-computer interface that analyzes cognitive processes for unprecedented real-time control of physical objects and software applications

Presenter(s): Ramses Alcaide

Neurable: The Next Evolution of Brain-Computer Interfaces One of the major human developments in the 21st century is the creation of new ways to allow people to interact and immerse with the world around them. Brian-Computer Interface has the potential to bring that interaction to a new level. However, current non-invasive brain technology is extremely limited in capability. Neurable has created the first non-invasive brain-computer interface (BCI) that allows for unprecedented real-time control of physical objects and software applications, creating new ways for people to interact with the world, enabling deeper immersion in augmented reality & virtual reality (AR/VR) environments.

Presenter(s): Ramses Alcaide

Night Sky Observing Join Bob Trembley to observe what the late spring night sky has to offer!

Presenter(s): Bob Trembley

Real-World Pandemic and Deliberate Extinctions: Ending Polio and Guinea Worm Thanks to sustained public-health measures and health advocates willing to risk their lives, humanity is on the verge of winning two real-world games of Pandemic. Polio, which once paralyzed 1000 children around the world every day, is now endemic only in two countries. Guinea worm, a 80-cm long parasite associated with stagnant water, has gone from 3.5 million cases annually in the mid-1980s to only 22 cases in 2015. Jennifer Hamilton MD will talk about the human suffering associated with these diseases, the ongoing efforts to eradicate them, and policies that help support reduction of infectious diseases in general.

Presenter(s): Jennifer Hamilton

Solar Observing ReRoot Pontiac, a newly founded non-profit located in Pontiac, MI would like to share its mission. We are a group of students, scientists, gardeners and entrepreneurs focused on developing interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. To achieve this we are designing and building interactive spaces containing examples of sustainable energies and natural systems to promote experiential learning.

Presenter(s): Bob Trembley

Walk the Solar System Stretched down a long hall of the hotel is a scale-model of the solar system! At the position of the Sun and orbits of the planets, you will find a poster(with a QR code) with more information on that body.



Tux the Penguin is the official mascot of the open source operating system Linux, and at Penguicon we bring you experts in all kinds of open source software, security, and privacy at various levels of expertise, so even a relative novice will find something interesting and useful. If you use a computer or a smartphone, you will find something useful.
A Look at LibreOffice Base We will take a look at what LibreOffice Base can do by reviewing and talking about selected screen shots from a free video tutorial series about LibreOffice Base. By then end of the lecture attendees will know whether or not the free and open source software LibreOffice Base is a viable option for their database needs. Presenter is the creator of the LibreOffice Base Video Tutorial series.

Presenter(s): Michael Rometty

A Truth Universally Acknowledged: Swift Design Patterns As Jane Austen Heroes Have you ever looked at your code and realized that a certain design pattern was charging in like a romantic hero, sweeping away the confusion and bringing order to chaos? Or perhaps you’ve encountered a pattern that you utterly hated…until it’s virtues slowly grew on you as you realized that the alternative was a complete disaster? Let’s imagine Ada Lovelace reading Jane Austen, and compare some of my favorite design patterns with some of my favorite Jane Austen heroes (neither knowledge of Swift nor Jane Austen are required).

Presenter(s): Anne Cahalan

Accessible UI/UX Design One focus of Penguicon has been using technology to make people’s lives better. Last year we partnered with Enable to create hands for kids, and now we have a couple of people experienced with software interface design who will discuss how to make software more accessible. Because that Internet-connected computer is no good to you if you can’t understand it and work with it.

Presenter(s): Christina York, Scott Favre

All Hands Active Embedded Software Our 2016 Charity, All Hands Active, will talk about the development of the Penguicon Uber Badge. They will demonstrate PCB Board Development with open source tools and demonstrate arduino programming from the ground up. Noteworthy addendum! There will be 20 laptops available in the lab. First come, first served.

Presenter(s): Nick Ristow, Nathan Yost

BSD Operating Systems in 2016 The BSD family of Unix has a been kicking around for almost 40 years now, and have taken different paths than Linux. Come see the last year’s developments in BSD land! One of them just might solve your intractable problem. We’ll talk about new things from FreeBSD, OpenBSD, plus updates from NetBSD, Dragonfly, and assorted derivatives.

Presenter(s): Michael W. Lucas

Beginning “Scene”: Lighting for Small Presentations and Events A quick overview of the revolutions in presentation lighting since the 80’s with a practical focus for DIY performers and presenters. We will touch on the technical standards (DMX-512, Artnet, etc…), have a quick brush with the mechanicals (placement and cabling for venues/locations, power requirements) and cap it off with a overview of the available Open Source and pay lighting control software options and their strengths and weaknesses for this type of work.

Presenter(s): Matt Atkins

Better Filesystems with Btrfs Better FS, Butter FS, B-Tree FS? What is it called, and why should you care about a new filesystem for Linux? Come learn about the advanced features, design, and use of one of Linux’s most exciting new features. We will also cover how it compares to other filesystems, such as ZFS, and other interesting related topics like bcache.

Presenter(s): Ryan Kather

Biohacking 101 Have you ever thought about getting an RFID chip or a magnet implanted in your hand so you can interact with computers or even feel electricity? Featured Guests Dangerous Things break down what biohacking is and answer your questions about how it can work for you.

Presenter(s): Amal Graafstra, Anita Fowler, Drew Buglione

BoF: Deployment and Testing Come share your experiences in deploying and testing software. Birds of a Feather events are unmoderated.

Presenter(s): Mark Henke

BoF: Unsexy Code For people who write or want to learn to write infrastructure code, and boring but necessary tools of the trade for programmers and sysadmins. It is not for game programmers or web designers or anybody who makes anything pretty. We’re all about making things work. Birds of a Feather events are unmoderated.

Presenter(s): Susan Sons

Bringing Sci-Fi into the Everyday: Augmented reality in a Children’s Hospital Featured Guest Christina York tells us about one company’s mission to put augmented reality (AR) technology to good use, highlighting some inspirational sci-fi moments and then describe how they are taking AR out of the movies and creating moments of wonder and joy for kids in hospital.

Presenter(s): Christina York

Build Your Own Router Yes, you could just go to the store and buy a router, but where is the coolness in that? Making your own out of a spare computer or an inexpensive Raspberry Pi gives you major geek cred points. In today’s world, with the FCC asking manufacturers to limit access to router firmware, knowing how to make your own is more important than ever. Our panel will share tips and tricks to help you conquer this and get your merit badge!

Presenter(s): Steven Ostrowski, Tom Lawrence, Britain Woodman

Business Class Networking on a Home Budget This presentation on networking on a home budget will cover DDWRT, pFsense and UniFi wireless routers

Presenter(s): Tom Lawrence

Continuous Delivery: Fast, Painless Software Deployment Tired of dealing with the pain of manual deployment of your software and configuration changes that can easily go wrong? This session explains how we can eradicate the pain of bringing software to our users.

Presenter(s): Mark Henke

Data Analysis Using Python Learn about Loading, wrangling, visualizing, and plotting data using Python, NumPy, Pandas, and the IPython interactive development and computing environment.

Presenter(s): Richard Herrell

E-Nable Update A snapshot of the last 12 months of E-Nable the Future, the 3d-printed arm clearinghouse charity that Penguicon highlighted last year. What has happened between Penguicon 2015 and 2016? What is coming up next? Bring your questions and ideas!

Presenter(s): Daniel Dugan, Maria Dugan

Emulators and Emulation Emulating a trip through Craig’s childhood, one machine at a time. Desktop computers today don’t have any soul. Sure you have your Linux and your Macintosh and your “Windows” but it’s all pretty much the same hardware underneath. Why not put those gigahertz to use and emulate the hardware and software of yester-year? Craig Maloney will give a tour of his childhood by showing us how to (legally) run such computers as the Atari 800XL, the Commodore Amiga, PET and C64, the Sinclair ZX series, and even some arcade games. Amaze your friends by running a room-full of 1970s and 1980s technology on more capable hardware. It’s a presentation you won’t want to miss!

Presenter(s): Craig Maloney

Encrypted Backups with Tarsnap Online backup is incredibly useful, but has many privacy and integrity risks. Tarsnap is an online backup service that only handles your data in encrypted form. It’s inexpensive and reliable. Plus you don’t need to trust the Tarsnap service–they can’t access your backups even if they want to. And Tarsnap’s built-in deduplication saves space, letting you store terabytes of backups in mere gigabytes of disk. This talk takes you through using Tarsnap, from backing up a system to customizing and rotating backups, to fully restoring them.

Presenter(s): Michael W. Lucas

Fedora Roadmap Take a look at one of the premiere Linux distributions which serves as the testing ground for Red Hat Linux.

Presenter(s): Tom Callaway

Forget About Operating System, is the Type of Chip Architecture Still Relevant? With the increasing number of single board computers such as the Beaglebone Black, The Chip, Raspberry Pi, Orange Pi, and Banana Pi along with numerous Linux and other alternative operating systems to run on them is it still that important to have an x86 processor in your next computer. This panel will include an open discussion on the numerous platforms in existence along with the homebrew and open source support for older computer chip sets such as the PowerPC.

Presenter(s): William E. Bowen

Free/Open Democracy Can free and open-source software change the way our society governs itself? Come see demos of consensus-based and democratic decision-making tools like Loomio, Liquid Feedback, and Intertwinkles. We’ll also talk about voting theory and alternative governance in SF (Le Guin, Heinlein, etc.)

Presenter(s): Edward L. Platt

Freenet: A Social Approach to Privacy In this talk, we will introduce Freenet, the anonymous peer-to-peer publication platform. We will talk about the features and benefits that Freenet currently provides, compare to existing tools such as Tor and I2P and discuss Freenet’s novel approach to networking.

Presenter(s): Michael Grube, Steve Dougherty

Fun with Mind Reading Using EEG and Azure Machine Learning to perform lie detection. Today, we have the technology to “read minds” (well, EEG waves!). Using an EPOC headset from Emotiv, I have captured 14 channels of EEG (brain waves) while subjects lied and answered truthfully to a series of questions. I fed this labelled dataset into Azure Machine Learning to build a classifier which predicts whether a subject is telling the truth or lying. In this session, I will share my results on this “lie detector” experiment. I will show my machine learning models, data cleaning process, results, and next steps/resources.

Presenter(s): Jennifer Marsman

Getting Hands on With Linux Who put the penguin in Penguicon? You did! Come get hands on with Linux with one of our favorite presenters. Tom Lawrence will guide attendees through the ins and outs of Linux for home and office use. Noteworthy addendum! There will be 20 laptops available in the lab. First come, first served.

Presenter(s): Tom Lawrence

Grand Circus’ Traveling Circus: Intro to Coding We recognize coding can be a bit intimidating. You might have dabbled on the web with some free coding programs, but run into a road-block without the support of an instructor. That’s where our Intro to Coding Workshop, lovingly called “The Traveling Circus,” comes in. This is designed for folks who are curious about coding, but who have little to no experience. You’ll walk away with some basic programming foundations in Javascript/HTML/CSS to start learning on your own! This workshop will also be offered on Sunday! There will be 20 laptops available in the lab. First come, first served.

Presenter(s): Chioke Mose-Telesford, Aisha Blake

Grand Circus’ Traveling Circus: Intro to Coding We recognize coding can be a bit intimidating. You might have dabbled on the web with some free coding programs, but run into a road-block without the support of an instructor. That’s where our Intro to Coding Workshop, lovingly called “The Traveling Circus,” comes in. This is designed for folks who are curious about coding, but who have little to no experience. You’ll walk away with some basic programming foundations in Javascript/HTML/CSS to start learning on your own! There will be 20 laptops available in the lab. First come, first served.

Presenter(s): Chioke Mose-Telesford, Aisha Blake

Hands on Python for Everything and Everybody Join MDLUG and friends to walk through an introductory course on building small useful scripts in Python. Get your hands dirty in the fertile soil that is sprouting some of the most interesting developments in machine learning, server scripting and automation! Noteworthy addendum! There will be 20 laptops available in the lab. First come, first served.

Presenter(s): Gibson Nichols, Daniel Dugan

How NTP Works Those who are unfamiliar with NTP, the Network Time Protocol which keeps your computer’s clock in sync with the rest of the world, tend to assume it must be trivial. Those with slightly more familiarity are aware of its reputation for being deeply arcane and full of scary math. Daniel Franke, of the NTPsec project, thinks that both these perceptions are mistaken and that NTP’s apparent impenetrability is entirely a consequence of bad pedagogy. In this talk, he aims to fix that. While some background in statistics will make this talk go down a bit more smoothly, a solid grasp of high school algebra should be entirely sufficient for following along.

Presenter(s): Daniel Franke

How Will Technology Change Society? How we develop our technology may determine the world we will have in the future. Will it be a world of increasing personal freedom, or a totalitarian dystopia? And are we making that decision right now without knowing it?

Presenter(s): Deb Nicholson, Jason Mars, Lingjia Tang, Tobias S. Buckell, Edward L. Platt

IT Road Warrior: The Art of Being Mobile Explore how to become mobile in your work. This presentation will focus on issues facing the remote IT worker. We will discuss contracts and negotiations, travel (what exactly is the importance of luggage in a global economy), accommodations, some techno-geek concerns and a few standard mobile apps to think about.

Presenter(s): Donald Mark Haynes, Douglas Johnson

Improving Leadership with IT Exceptional leadership is the ability to methodically and continually create heroes! From an organizational perspective, most leadership research and theory is focused around individual leader psychology. IT Maturity takes an alternative IT perspective of leaders as entities operating within organizations, orchestrating how other entities interact with each other, to optimize productivity. IT Maturity Leadership includes principles in five different categories: Management, Organization (structure), Extent (of activities), Culture, and Vision. IT tools can be used to help enterprises to do this both technically and organizationally (i.e. enable individuals to excel).

Presenter(s): Dr. Justin Coven

Inclusivity and Diversity in Tech Guest of Honor Deb Nicholson and Chioke Mose-Telesford from Grand Circus lead an open discussion to share and discuss strategies and initiatives to increase diversity and inclusivity in tech.

Presenter(s): Deb Nicholson, Chioke Mose-Telesford

Internet Security for the Lay Geek Do you sometimes feel like people who advocate security are speaking a foreign language? Would you like some practical advice you can use even if you are not an IT Professional? Then come hear Tony Bemus from the Sunday Morning Linux Review as he explains in layman’s terms how to be more secure with your Internet-connected computer.

Presenter(s): Tony Bemus

Intro to Agile/Scrum What does it mean to be Agile? Is it all marketing and hype or does this represent the future of software development? We will explore fundamentals of Agile software development and focus primarily on the SCRUM framework. We will discuss things like the element of Scrum, its roles, cadence and traditions, the elements of a good User Story,how to write an Acceptance Criteria, how to estimate User Stories using Scrum-Poker, release planning, a few useful Metrics, and follow-up with a few closing thoughts.

Presenter(s): Donald Mark Haynes, Douglas Johnson

Intro to Azure Machine Learning: Predict Who Survives the Titanic Interested in doing machine learning in the cloud? In this talk, I will discuss different types of machine learning (clustering, classification, regression, and anomaly detection) supported by Azure Machine Learning. Ill demonstrate using Azure Machine Learning to build a model which predicts survival of individuals on the Titanic (one of the challenges on the Kaggle website). You’ll leave knowing how to get started and build your own predictive models using Azure Machine Learning.

Presenter(s): Jennifer Marsman

Intro to Big Data Tools We’ll cover the free, open source tools required to create an automated analytics pipeline for whatever data you may be interested in. Specifically, we’ll talk about ETL and Analysis with Spark, Hadoop as a data store, and Relational databases. Students will be provided an example pipeline as well as a fully configured VM to play with.

Presenter(s): Michael Grube

Intro to Microservices Presentation based on the books “Building Microservices” by Sam Newman and “Release It! Design and Deploy Production Ready Software” by Michael T. Nygard.

Presenter(s): Richard Herrell

Intro to OpenBSD OpenBSD is a variety of Unix that is similar to Linux, but with perhaps a stronger security focus. It is a project run by volunteers, and is a free software program. Come and learn more about this alternative operating system.

Presenter(s): STeve Andre’, Marcus Watts

Intro to Python Python is one of the most used programming languages on the Web, so come and get your feet wet with this tool, then stay for the Python Code Walk-Through that follows

Presenter(s): Mike Bernson

Intro to Zenoss An Introduction to Network Monitoring utilizing the Open Source Zenoss Monitoring System. Topics covered will include configuration, managing monitored hosts via SNMP, SSH, and basic remediation.

Presenter(s): Andrew D Kirch

Kerbal Space Build-Off Build you own rocket – see if you can get it into orbit! Play with Kerbal Space Program yourself, and learn about its amazing potential as both a game and educational space simulator.

Presenter(s): Bob Trembley, Daniel Dugan

Keysigning Party In this hands-on event, participants will learn how the web of trust model works and perform identity verification with fellow attendees. We will do so in a manner compatible with, so you can use the resulting identify assurance to issue your own free SSL certificates, code signatures, etc. With a little additional work, you can also become an assurer of your own right at Penguicon. We will also exchange OpenPGP keys if you have them, so bring your key fingerprints with you! Participants need to bring at least two forms of ID at least one of which must be a government issued photo ID showing birthdate. Having your own notebook computer able to output PDFs files greatly simplifies things, too. New users are expected to show up at the start, but returning participants from Penguicon Keysigning events and any assurers may show up one hour in.

Presenter(s): Richard Houser

Last Call for Linux Last Call for Linux. Catch up with old and new friends as the laptops are boxed up until Penguicon 2017!


Making Moodle: From Community to Code Moodle is an open source learning management system. It is used by tens of thousands of educational institutions from K12 to higher education and by corporations looking for better training tools. Moodle is supported by a huge international open source community which is growing every year. But how does Moodle (the project) manage itself? Meant mainly for teachers, sys admins, and web developers, this talk will focus on what Moodle is, how it is managed, and how to become a part of the Moodle community. If you use Moodle or are interested in how a large open source project is actually managed, this talk is for you.

Presenter(s): Matthew G. Switlik

Manager or Leader? Running a Technical Team Are you currently supervising a technical team? Maybe you’re considering taking the plunge? Come hear a few voices “from the trenches” talk about what it’s really like to lead a team: the good, the bad, the horrible, and the horribly funny. Topics will include: the differences between a manager and a leader, leading from the front, why your manager isn’t out to get you, managing up, ethical communication, and more

Presenter(s): Jer Lance, Dawn Kuczwara

Navigation Strategies for a Career in IT Interested in strategies for navigating a career in IT, or finding out how you break into IT in the first place? How do you transition to the next job? How do you market yourself? How do you determine if your current skills are marketable? The panelists will discuss various topics and provide real life examples.

Presenter(s): Donald Mark Haynes, Douglas Johnson

Networking for Awkward People Ever find yourself at a networking event, unable to think of how to introduce yourself to the people around you? As sweat pours down your face, do you say, “Hi, my name is Annalisa,” and then just blank? We’ve got you covered. You’ll walk out with a full-proof “elevator pitch” and tactics to conquer any nerves, small talk or curveballs. Be warned – you’ll actually be up and moving and trying this out on your fellow attendees. And make eye contact.

Presenter(s): Chioke Mose-Telesford, Jennifer Cline

Networking for Systems Administrators Too many organizations have a tense relationship between the network folks and the sysadmins. Sometimes it degenerates just short of war. But basic networking isn’t hard–if it was, network engineers couldn’t do it. This talk teaches the essentials, in a way that lets sysadmins troubleshoot network problems on their own. Sysadmins have amazing visibility into the network, once they know how to use it. We’ll cover cross-platform tools for viewing and troubleshooting the network, on both Windows and Unix.

Presenter(s): Michael W. Lucas

Open Computer Lab (Unconference) Open Computer lab utilizing the Unconference philosophy of Open Space Technology. Bring your projects to discuss. Bring your discussions to projects. Attendees may also peruse social media, tweet to #Penguicon, browse the whole internet and get a feel for Linux using one of our 20 laptops.


Open Source Maker Apps The maker movement has been making headlines, in particular the 3D printer space. Something that is often overlooked is the state of the software. Many manufacturers ship closed source software, which is against the spirit of the movement. We’ll go through a quick overview of one 3D printer toolchain (FreeCAD, Slic3r, OctoPrint), and discuss possible alternatives at each stage. Other participants are strongly encouraged to bring a laptop running their maker software of choice (OSS only, please!) to share in a 2-5minute show and tell fashion. Other maker toolchain applications would be particularly welcome (PCB design/circuit simulation, CNC tooling, laser cutters, etc).

Presenter(s): Richard Houser

Overthrow the Trichromatocracy: Making Color-blind Friendly UIs Think your snazzy new UI is fantastic? Did you test it with color-blind users? No? Then you’re probably in for a surprise for how much information you are trying to convey in a way that is not accessible to your users who have colorblindness or color sight deficiencies. We will discuss the details of what it means to be color blind and what you can do as a programmer or designer to improve the usability of your software for the 1 in 12 of your users who are color blind.

Presenter(s): Scott Favre

PAM: You’re Doing It Wrong PAM, or Pluggable Authentication Modules, is one of the most occult parts of managing Unixish systems. The unique configuration syntax and idiosyncratic rule processing drives many sysadmins to copy working configurations from other people and random blog posts. This talk takes you through the essentials of PAM configuration, You’ll learn the components of PAM, how PAM processes rules, how to use multi-factor authentication, and get an overview of some useful PAM modules you probably haven’t used, based on my book “PAM Mastery.”

Presenter(s): Michael W. Lucas

Phish Your Employees 2015 was the year companies started realizing that IT security is no longer a suggestion, but mandatory to stay in business. All of the antivirus, firewalls, IDS, man traps, video cameras, and policies won’t protect you from your biggest vulnerability – your employees. Anti-phishing education can be fun, and you can do it too with a little know-how and a cheap server. This is a technical discussion on how to be the bad guy for a minute to demonstrate how real the threat of social engineering is.

Presenter(s): Kristoffer Marshall

Python Code Walk-Through Follow-up to the Intro to Python, our presenter from the Ann Arbor Python Users Group will take you through some actual code.

Presenter(s): Mike Bernson

Rapid Prototyping on the Android with Tcl/Tk Tcl/Tk applications run on the Android. The AndroWish SDK is a clean way to turn a Tcl script into an Android App. I’ll demonstrate making a speech input to-do list in under 100 lines of code.

Presenter(s): Clif Flynt

Raspberry Pi Hacks Ruth Suehle and Tom Callaway will talk about the $35 mini-computer, how it works, and give lots of ideas and inspirations on what you can do with it. They are the co-authors of the O’Reilly book “Raspberry Pi Hacks”, and generally do all sorts of things with the credit-card sized computer that are fun and warranty voiding.

Presenter(s): Tom Callaway, Ruth Suehle

Security Principles for Programmers A Senior Systems Analyst from the Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research will present a few basic information security principles and demonstrate how to apply them to programming of any kind. Make your code less exploitable.

Presenter(s): Susan Sons

Security Principles for Systems Administrators A Senior Systems Analyst from the Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research will introduce a few principles that form the basis for most information security decisions, and demonstrate how they apply to everyday systems administration as well as system and network architecture decisions. Make your environment less exploitable.

Presenter(s): Susan Sons

Senior Sysadmins Panel Some say systems administration is a young man’s game, and that eventually sysadmins rise into management. They’re wrong. A sysadmin who measures their experience in decades has made mistakes younger sysadmins can’t even imagine. This panel lets you learn from their suffering, take advantage of their experience, and laugh at their pain.

Presenter(s): Michael W. Lucas, Jeff Marracini, John D. Bell

Set-up and Run Your Own Intelligent Personal Assistant Hack of Honor guests Jason Mars and Lingjia Tang will give a hands on seminar on setting up and running your own Intelligent Personal Assistants (IPA) like Apple’s Siri, or Sirius, their open-source personal assistant.

Presenter(s): Jason Mars, Lingjia Tang

Simple Python Mobile Web App Smart phones (or other mobile devices) with digital cameras and web access provide an excellent way to record time and place along with a picture. We’ll look at code for some example web applications: a photo food diary with time and location, and a hiking/biking record which can extend to mapping.

Presenter(s): Mike Birdsall

Sinclair ZX Computers Why a machine I never owned is one of my favorite retro computers. In the 1980s Sinclair Research introduced a series of computers: the ZX80, ZX81, and ZX Spectrum. Originally released in the United Kingdom, they were inexpensive, somewhat unreliable, and vastly underpowered compared with the competition. Yet Craig spent the last few years collecting for this machine. Why? Should these machines be relegated as mere curiosities of a forgotten age? Has Craig gone completely mental? Come learn the history of the Sinclair machines, their foray into the USA market via Timex, and see why these machines deserve more attention than they received.

Presenter(s): Craig Maloney

Sirius: The Open Source Intelligent Personal Assistant Hack of Honor guest Professor Jason Mars talks about emerging intelligent web services and Intelligent Personal Assistants, and specifically about Sirius, the open-source personal assistant being developed by him and Professor Lingjia Tang through Clarity Labs at the University of Michigan.

Presenter(s): Jason Mars

Software Patents After Alice: A Long and Sad Tale The last year’s been very interesting for those of us who have been looking on in horror over the last decade as billions of dollars was spent on frivolous and ridiculously broad software patent litigation. The United States Supreme Court’s ruling in the landmark Alice vs. CLS Bank case has finally given the lower courts some tools they could use to overturn obvious and vague patents, but there are still several things we need to pay attention to, and a very long tail to contend with. The best way to keep moving forward is for the global community to work together. This talk is for anyone who is wondering what the recent decisions mean for small and mid-size entities, how international treaties can impact local policy and what can be done to improve the situation.

Presenter(s): Deb Nicholson

Spellbound Demo Featured Guest Christina York demonstrates the Spellbound app! SpellBound uses your smartphone or tablet to turns paper books that work with the app into amazing 3D adventures.

Presenter(s): Christina York

Sunday Morning Linux Review Live Broadcast This podcast is produced by 3 local people who also have been associated with Penguicon as speakers over the years. Their podcast recently was added to the list of Best Linux Podcasts. And as they have done since the beginning, they will do a live recording of their podcast at Penguicon.

Presenter(s): Tony Bemus, Mary Tomich, Tom Lawrence

Technology in Education Technology offers many new possibilities for education, including the flipped classroom and the ability to design more adaptable tests, so that students are assessed on questions appropriate to their ability levels. What are the various ways that technology and computer advancements can improve education?

Presenter(s): Andrew Zimmerman Jones

The Cars Aren’t Flying, But They Are Driving Themselves We’re extremely close to having fully autonomous vehicles available for sale, and what does that mean for the average consumer? We hear a lot about Google and Apple’s efforts, but Ford, Volvo, Mercedes, Nissan, Toyota/Lexus and Audi are all in this game up to their elbows as well. Which of them is likely to get to the market first? Who are self-driving cars going to be marketed to? What’s the state of the technology? Is this a technological revolution, or a tempest in a teacup? And are they going to take over the world and kill us all?

Presenter(s): Emmy Jackson, Krunal Desai

The Correctness Problem Software is terrible. If you work in software, you know this almost rises to the level of truism. There’s a long, strong tradition of prognosticating doom among software folks. This talk is about why software is so awful (spoiler: humans are bad at it), how we software folk cope with that awfulness, and most importantly, the implications that the *particular* nature of the awfulness has for modern and future society. It should be interesting for engineers and non-engineers alike. My hope is that attendees will leave with a stronger sense of what realistic risks are posed by the terribleness of software.

Presenter(s): Sam Boyer

The Dark Web Big Three Get and introduction to the big three in censorship-resistant communication, TOR, I2P and freenet and learn how they work and some of the options they have available.

Presenter(s): Pat Baker

The Future of Biohacking Four of our Featured Guests look into the future to discuss how we could incorporate new technology into our bodies, and what the benefits can be for us as individuals and as communities.

Presenter(s): Amal Graafstra, Anita Fowler, Drew Buglione, Greg Gage

The Reality and Fiction of Artificial Intelligence Artificial intelligences have been a staple of science fiction forever. But where does the reality of AI end, and the fiction begin?

Presenter(s): Ann Leckie, Jason Mars, Lingjia Tang, Jennifer Marsman

The Tech Behind Asteroid Mining Krunal Desai, senior avionics engineer at Planetary Resources, the asteroid mining company talks about some of the technologies we use, and the challenges we face in mining asteroids.

Presenter(s): Krunal Desai

The ZFS File System ZFS, the Zettabyte File System, is one of the most full-featured filesystems available today and gives almost unlimited storage flexibility. Originally created by Sun Microsystems, the independent entity OpenZFS now develops ZFS as deployed in illumos, Linux, and FreeBSD. This talk takes you through ZFS’ features, including: data self-healing, deduplication and compression, clones and snapshots, copy-on-write, boot environments, replication, and more. Once you use ZFS, you’ll never understand how you lived without it.

Presenter(s): Michael W. Lucas

TopicHero for Topic Heroes TopicHero ( allows users to create and share multiple Topics across different devices and browsers. Topic elements include Search Engines, RSS Feeds, and Links, in addition to typical web page elements. This is a different way of slicing web information, where the focus is on Topics as opposed to a focus on a Search Engine, device, browser, or RSS Feed. TopicHero arises from a philosophy that it is the topic that is critical and that users need effective tools to bring as many resources to bear on specific topics as possible. This is particularly true in business where many users are dedicated to working on specific topics for long periods of time.

Presenter(s): Dr. Justin Coven

Tor: what is it and is it an onion? A general background of TOR, the onion router. Includes discussion on how to install it and some of the options to create your own dark web sites.

Presenter(s): Pat Baker

Ubuntu Michigan 16.04 Release Party Come celebrate the release of Ubuntu 16.04: Xenial Xerus with the Ubuntu Michigan Loco. We’ll be meeting in the bar area to celebrate the latest in the Ubuntu release cycle. Hope to see you there!

Presenter(s): Craig Maloney

Understanding & Protecting Your Privacy Online Everyday it seems more of our daily lives are intertwined with our online identities, and yet it seems that there is ever less privacy online. Come learn how interested parties are monitoring you online, what drives their motivations, and steps you can take to mitigate your private information exposure.

Presenter(s): Ryan Kather

Writing Software For Penguicon Convention Resource Event Management (CREM) is an open-source web app. It catches conflicts between rooms, times, and presenters. It is flexible enough to track the necessary data about everything from LN2 Ice Cream to board games, and prevent a loud concert from being on the other side of an airwall from a quiet panel discussion. Get involved, or just satisfy your curiosity about the languages and frameworks: Javascript with Angular, and Python with Flask.

Presenter(s): Matt Arnold

Special Events

COSTUME CONTESTEach year there is a chance for people who love making costumes and cosplay to show off their creations and passion.  If this applies to you, consider entering into our costume contest and get some bragging rights!

Not so interested in getting up in front of people to show off?  No problem, you can enter into the “Hall Favorite” portion of the costume contest.  Throughout the weekend, N.U.E.T, better known as the Con Scouts, will be running around asking people to enter both portions. Check out the great costumes, and maybe even enter for a chance to win some cool prizes yourself.


Geeks with Guns is an off-site event held early on Friday afternoon, just prior to the official opening of the con. It involves going to a nearby range, and consuming copious quantities of ammunition while noisily punching holes in various paper targets for a couple of hours.

It is a painless and fun way for newbies to learn the fundamentals of firearms safety, and for them (and experienced shooters) to have an opportunity to handle and shoot a variety of guns in the company of other Penguicon attendees. The cost is as low as we can make it, and the fellowship is excellent. There are several experienced firearms instructors present, and the unwavering emphasis is on safety.


Relive your childhood with our retro gaming event! From Atari to Game Cube (and almost every system in between), revel in four hours of joy.  Enter our Mario Party 4 Tournament to win a retro system to take home!


This customizable marble roller coaster is a perennial favorite. It serves as a metaphor for the open source development process.  The Chaos Machine is available all weekend for Penguicon attendees to tinker with!