2012 Space Elevator Conference
Following up on Brandon's successful talk at the 2011 Space Elevator Conference, on the subject of getting a StarTram launch system built for the 150th anniversary of the Transcontinental Railroad, Ben applied for and obtained a speaking slot on the 2012 conference's agenda for a talk called "Why go to space? (and get there using a space elevator?)" The talk was very well-received despite lacking the scientific rigor of most presentations at the conference.
The PowerPoint presentation for the talk is available here (click the NOTES button at the bottom right for the text of the talk).
The paper Ben wrote to accompany the talk is available here.
The rest of the conference was fascinating as usual, and included presentations by over a dozen scientists and engineers on various aspects of the space elevator and other advanced space-launch concepts, as well as a Family Science Fest with teams of students competing in a LEGO ribbon-climbing contest.