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SitP: Heina Dadabhoy from Islam to Atheism. [caption id="attachment_2139" align="alignright" width="239"] A ninja warrior welcomes guests to Convergence/Skepchickcon[/caption]Boston Skeptics welcomes our January guest speaker, atheist feminist secular...

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Book Club: The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha... [caption id="attachment_2131" align="alignright" width="197"] The Emperor of All Maladies[/caption]This month's book is The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee, an oncologist...

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SitP: David Ropeik and the Risk Perception Gap Update! Thanks to Andrea and Francois, we now have a video of David Ropeik's talk available on our

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SitP: Larry Gilbertson on GMOs and Biotech [caption id="attachment_2117" align="alignright" width="300"] Feeding the world[/caption]The population of the earth will exceed 9 billion people by 2050. Arable land is decreasing, dietary preferences...

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Boston Skeptics in the Museum Recap

Posted on : 14-12-2008 | By : Rebecca | In : Event

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Yesterday’s field trip to the Museum of Science was a big success! We had about 40 people show, which I thought would be a logistical nightmare but which turned out to be completely awesome. The Mythical Creatures exhibit was well done with appropriately skeptical and sciencey explanations, and lots of unicorns. The Science of Fear exhibit was, okay, not particularly scary to most of the group but still fun.

Boston Skeptics at the Museum of ScienceWe saw two really entertaining shows: one was the indoor lightning demo with the Van Der Graff generator, which included the presenter telling everyone to not just take his word for it, but to explore and experiment and understand for ourselves (but maybe not with a Van Der Graff generator). We also saw a great optical illusions show with a presenter who we all immediately tried to convince to come to Skeptics in the Pub (he might!). A sample of his talk: “You think you can taste chocolate? YOU DON’T TASTE CHOCOLATE, YOU SMELL IT!” He was wonderful.

We also saw one really, really lame show, but that didn’t really count because technically it was just a tree talking at us.

After the museum, we hit Porters Bar & Grill for boozy fun. The one big disappointment was that our speaker, Barb Mervine, was literally trapped in New Hampshire with no power or phone thanks to an ill-timed ice storm. So, instead of hearing about UFOs, we were forced to talk to each other. Oh, the humanity!

More photos and favorite moments after the jump.

Video: How Tigger Lost His Boing: Molecular Quackery – Sid Rodrigues 10/20/08

Posted on : 06-12-2008 | By : maggie | In : Skeptics in the Pub, video

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In case you missed the event and missed the video link, here’s Sid’s talk from Oct. 20th.

Boston Skeptics in the Pub – Sid Rodrigues – Oct. 20th. from Maggie McFee on Vimeo.

2008 Harvard Humanist of the Year, This Saturday

Posted on : 03-12-2008 | By : Rebecca | In : Event

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I may be at the free lecture in the morning! Be sure to register if you’d like to attend the seminar. Here’s the info, from Greg Epstein, chaplain of the Harvard Humanists:

The Humanist Chaplaincy at Harvard presents:

The 2008 “Harvard Humanist of the Year” Lincoln Lecture & Parenting Beyond Belief Seminar with Dale McGowan, Ph.D.

Saturday, December 6th Fong Auditorium of Boylston Hall in Harvard Yard

Register now/while space remains!

http://parentingbeyondbelief.com/seminars/sem_boston.htm

For more info:

http://www.harvardhumanist.org/news/2008/10/22/register-now-parenting-beyond-belief-seminar

The program:

Harvard Humanist of the Year Lincoln Lecture: “Parenting Beyond Belief” 11:00 am -12:00 pm (free and open to the public)

Lunch (seminar registrants only; kids eat free with parents) 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

Parenting Beyond Belief Seminar 1:00 pm – 5:00pm

The Parenting Beyond Belief Seminar offers encouragement and practical solutions for secular parenting in a religious world. Based on the freethinking philosophy of the book Newsweek called “a compelling read,” the seminar empowers secular parents to raise ethical, caring, confident kids without religion.
Co-sponsored by Charlie’s Playhouse: making toys and games that teach kids about evolution, natural selection and the work of Charles Darwin. Visit http://charliesplayhouse.com

ATTN Geeky Musicians of Boston!

Posted on : 02-12-2008 | By : Rebecca | In : Event

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Spotted over on Bostonist, where Kerry writes:

Battle of the Tech Bands 2
7pm, January 22, 2009
Middle East
(Entry deadline December 12)

Xconomy Boston, one of the Globe’s top 64 websites in Boston, is holding its second annual Battle of the Tech Bands in January—and it needs your help (provided you’re a techie band member). Up to six bands can compete in the battle, and at least one member of each band must work for a New England-area technology or life sciences company or a venture-capital or private-equity firm that invests in technology. The top geek groups will receive prizes, including free service from Nimbit, a Framingham-based music marketing platform.

If you’re in a band with a member who qualifies you for the competition, you can enter by emailing techbands at xconomy.com. Include the name of your band, the name of the qualifying company at which one of your members works, the names and musical roles of everyone in the band, contact information for your lead member, at least one MP3 of a song, and a link to your band’s website or MySpace. You must email by midnight on Friday, December 12, 2008, to be considered for the contest.

For more information, check Xconomy’s post on the battle. And even if you’re not in a band, you may want to attend the event: you could meet someone to make turtle nerd babies with. Rock on.

Turtle nerd babies? Count me in!

Event Tonight: Science on Screen at the Coolidge

Posted on : 01-12-2008 | By : Rebecca | In : Event

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It’s on the calendar (in the right sidebar) but just in case you missed it:

Video: Twins, Telepathy & Smut – Samuel T. Molton 11/24/08

Posted on : 30-11-2008 | By : maggie | In : Skeptics in the Pub, video

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Video from the Nov. 24th meetup featuring Samuel T. Moulton.

Boston Skeptics in the Pub – Samuel T. Moulton Nov. 24, 2008 from Maggie McFee on Vimeo.

Saturday, December 13: Boston Skeptics Field Trip!

Posted on : 25-11-2008 | By : Rebecca | In : Event, Skeptics in the Pub

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Since a lot of people will be away for the holidays, our December event will be super extra special and a little bit early!

Instead of our usual Boston Skeptics in the Pub event, we’re celebrating the holidays with a special field trip to the Museum of Science.

We’ll meet at 10am in the front lobby of the Museum, and explore the very skeptic-friendly exhibits there, including Mythical Creatures and the Science of Fear.

If we get 15 or more people to definitely say they can make it, we’ll order group passes at a discount ($16.25 for general admission, compared to the usual rate of $19.00). However, I have to know by this Saturday so I can tell the Museum. So, please RSVP here by commenting on this post (at this point in time you don’t even have to register to comment), or you can RSVP on Facebook.

Here’s the best part: after the Museum, those of us who are 21 or older will convene at Porter’s, a nearby bar, where we’ll have a special, informal Skeptics in the Pub with a fun speaker: Barbara Mervine, skeptical UFOlogist

UPDATE:
OK, reservation has been made!

The museum is going to charge my credit card on December 10, so if anyone wants the discounted rate, I’d appreciate it if you could PayPal the money to skepchick@skepchick.org. Include your name and indicate which and how many tickets you need. The rates are:

Adults 12-59 are $16.25
Seniors 60+ are $14.25
Kids 3-11 are $13.25

Kids under 3 are jettisoned through the pneumatic baby cannon, a new exhibit for December.

If you don’t want to use PayPal but you still want the discounted rate, please send me an email to the same address promising me you’ll show up Saturday with cash in hand. I am a trusting soul, and I will believe you if you take the time to email me. I will not believe you if you have only RSVPed on Facebook or Boston Skeptics (though that was helpful for getting rough numbers so I could let the MoS know).

If you have a child under 3 but you do not want him or her fired into the Charles, dress him or her like a loaf of bread or something.

PS: Yeticorn picture drawn by this awesome guy ( http://www.threadless.com/profile/484783/impossibleoctopus ) and yes it’s the same thing on my rad orange t-shirt that I will probably have to wear to this event. Hm, or maybe my unicorn shirt…

Psychic Medium Asks For a Link From Skepchick (Sure Thing!)

Posted on : 25-11-2008 | By : Rebecca | In : Uncategorized

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I’m being lazy today and x-posting at Skepchick, Boston Skeptics, and the SGU Blog. I’ve had a rough morning, so I’m allowed.

First of all, thanks to everyone who came out to Boston Skeptics in the Pub last night! We had about 70 people packed into Tommy Doyle’s top floor to hear Sam Moulton talk about Twins, Telepathy, and Smut. The main gripe was that there wasn’t enough smut, so for December I’m thinking of booking a porn star to talk about the science of . . . well, the science of anything she wants to talk about, I guess.

As soon as the December event is booked, I’ll let the world know. Stay tuned for that, as well as the audio and hopefully the video from Sam’s talk! We’re working on producing a regular Boston Skeptics in the Pub podcast for those of you outside the Hub of the Universe.

In the meantime, let’s go to the mailbag!

Today’s letter dropped into my Skepchick in-box like manna from heaven. The letter may as well have had the subject line, “Please open: I am ready for your ridicule!” Here it is, unedited, in its entirety:

Reminder! Boston Skeptics in the Pub is tonight!

Posted on : 24-11-2008 | By : Rebecca | In : Skeptics in the Pub

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All the details are in this post. Free entry to any twins, and anyone bringing their own smut. And anyone else. See you there!

Brilliant Idea: The 10-Minute Lecture

Posted on : 20-11-2008 | By : Rebecca | In : Event

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As mentioned, last night I (and frequent Skepchick commenter Expatria) attended Nature Network’s pub event, which featured two guest scientists delivering 10-minute talks about what they’d do with limitless research funding. The first was Antoine van Oijen, who talked about the possibilities of studying a single molecule. His apt metaphor: if aliens visited Earth and collectively reported on the characteristics of humans, they’d conclude that each has one testicle and one ovary. He dreams of having the resources to color-tag a single molecule as it moves across a strand of DNA, watching as it encounters another molecule. To a layperson like myself, it sounded pretty neat, and van Oijen was very charismatic and accessible. Hearing the technical questions that came from the audience of scientists, though, I suspect I’m missing quite a lot. Homework!

The other scientist to speak was Andreas Mershin from the Center for Biomedical Engineering at MIT. I found him to be even more accessible, mostly because of the fact that his research has such clear practical applications in the real world. He’s working on developing bioelectronic photovoltaic applications, which I believe is a fancy way of saying that he’s trying to find a way to harness solar energy using plants. This is, in a word, rad. In multiple words, it is rad as all hell. Allow me to explain further.