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by Allen Sheinman | January 3, 2014

These gatherings attract a special breed of hyper-interested attendees.

Feb. 1-2: Gordon Research Conference: Ultrafast Phenomenon in Cooperative Systems, Ventura Beach (Calif.) Marriott (bit.ly/1gwQEDq). As is obvious from the title, this event will focus on (and we herewith quote the literature verbatim) "exploring time-dependent emergent phenomena in cooperative systems at the relevant fundamental timescales for nonequillibrium processes initiated by ultrafast electromagnetic excitations." Chances are even the buffet here is incomprehensible.

Feb. 7: SaikoroWars, Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain (sw.ninxa.com). This annual gathering for hardcore electronic game enthusiasts offers a packed schedule of anime, cosplay (aka costume play), tabletop and board games. Most meeting planners will never deal with attendees who rise to the level of devotion required to travel to Bahrain for just one (long) day to hobnob in a furry rabbit-like getup while brandishing a glowing wand.

Feb. 14-16: Gallifrey One, Los Angeles Airport Marriott (gallifreyone.com). The focus here is on the British science-fiction series Doctor Who and its spin-offs, K-9, The Sarah Jane Adventures and Torchwood. Many stars from these shows routinely appear at panel discussions to explore issues like whether the good Doctor has any interest in sex.

Feb. 21-22: She's Geeky Conference, Minneapolis Central Library (shesgeeky.org). What could be geekier than meeting in a library? This calls itself an "unConference for women geeks of all kinds to share, connect, network, learn, inspire and have lots of fun." Attendees, women who hail from a diverse array of technological fields, create their own agenda as the day unfolds. And no, we're not talking nail technicians.

Feb. 22-23: Ultracon of South Florida, Sheraton Suites Fort Lauderdale at Cypress Creek (ultraconofsouthflorida.com). Another in a burgeoning bloom of comic book conventions, this year's Ultracon will feature special appearances by Green Lantern artist Mark Sparacio and veteran Jose Delbo, the guy who illustrated the comic-book spin-off of the Beatles' Yellow Submarine back in the late 1960s. While truly appreciative of the creative processes involved in graphic narrative, most male attendees likely will prefer to ponder the females cavorting in skimpy outer-space outfits.