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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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How to Have More Sex with Richard Wiseman

Posted on : 23-12-2009 | By : Rebecca | In : Event

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Friday, January 8
10pm
How to Have More Sex with Richard Wiseman
The Boston Skeptics present an evening with Professor Richard Wiseman, a psychologist, magician, and author of books such as The Luck Factor, Quirkology, and 59 Seconds.
The Brattle Theatre
$10 (Buy Online Now!)
Facebook Event Page

Tell your friends, and some of your enemies as well!

Skeptics in the Pub: Holiday Party Edition! 12/21/09

Posted on : 16-12-2009 | By : Joshua | In : Event, Skeptics in the Pub

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UPDATE: Rebecca and Sid sent along a special holiday message wishing everyone well and… explaining how a Yankee Swap works.

Hey, gang! Sorry for the late notice, but there will be a Skeptics in the Pub event this month. We won’t have a speaker, though. Apparently, some skeptics have “lives” and “families” they want to “spend time with”. Weird.

Instead, we’ll meet at the same Skep-time, same Skep-drinkery on Monday, December 21, for some fun holiday shenanigans. (Remember: every time you don’t say the Ch-word, a fundie has an aneurysm.) Mostly, we’re just going to hang out and drink, but Rebecca informs me that there’s a holiday tradition called the “Yankee Swap”. Given the name, I assume all of you native New Englanders are already familiar with the concept, but I’ll explain it for the rest of us.

  • Bring a present.
  • Give your present to someone else.
  • Take their present.
  • ???
  • Profit.

We’ll have detailed rules for the swap at the event, but the important part is to bring a present. This is the perfect time to get rid of that ugly-ass sweater your grandma bought you last year, but only if you’re an asshole (like me). Seriously, though, don’t bring anything huge. It’s just a fun little swappy thing. You know, warm fuzzy kindergarten stuff.

There may also be a special bonus that we’re preparing for you. You won’t find out what it is unless you show up, so show up!

Remember, folks, that’s Monday, December 21, 7 pm, at Tommy Doyle’s in Harvard Square. Be seeing you!

Boston Skeptics’ Book Club #2

Posted on : 13-12-2009 | By : Mary | In : Blog Post

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Our second BSBC meeting was a week ago and it was really good to see everyone again. For anyone who wasn’t there and is still interested in reading Don’t Sleep, There Are Snakes, here are some of the discussion points that were brought up:

  • How different Western culture is from the Pirahã (pronounced pee-da-HAN) culture in that they have no social words like “hello” or “sorry” for “thanks” but instead they let their actions speak for them. (And we talked about the politics of saying hello in the hallway to everyone you pass by, with some bringing up interesting social algorithms related to when you say hi or whether to make eye contact, etc.)
  • The concept that the tribe has no specific word for color or numbers, but rather use a comparative system. (This point of the book is actually very hotly debated in the linguistics community.)
  • Whether or not the Noble Savage stereotype affects what the author is trying to say about the tribe.
  • How much parts of language of the tribe reminded us of the Star Trek: TNG episode entitled “Darmok”, where the aliens speak entirely in metaphor. (Yes, we are geeks.)
  • The reason that missionaries have been unable to convert the Pirahãs for the past 300  years is because the people do not speak about events that they have not personally witnessed or know the person who witnessed the event.  They live totally in the present.
  • However, the Pirahãs do believe in spirits, similar to the way that some people in Western culture believe in ghosts and séances.
  • The idea of inserting yourself into a tribe where not only do you not speak the language or know the grammar but also you have to figure out how to translate the language with minimal help.

We also added a few books to our master book list:

If you have any books to add to the list, please make a comment on this thread or at the forum on our Facebook group.

The next book that we’ll be reading is Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife by Mary Roach (a fellow New Englander). This is a humorous book that explores various experiments that have been conducted on concepts such as ensoulment, reincarnation, etc. So far it’s a very enjoyable read (especially for those who found the last book hard to get through). I do have a related podcast extra: This FFRF podcast featuring nonreligious folk singers Lou and Peter Berryman has an interesting song called “After Life Goes By” (at the 21:28 mark). Lyrics sample: The trouble with my praying/Is I find it so dismaying/That no one may hear me saying what I say. and I believe there’s nothing after life goes by/I believe it’s over when we die die die. (Just imagine that set to a folksy accordion and guitar–who says irreverent music isn’t upbeat?)

Due to the holidays and MLK weekend, our next BSBC meeting will be on Saturday, January 23, at 2 pm, in the Clear Conscience Cafe (same as always). Please join our Facebook group to get our book club invites. (Also, if anyone has a good idea for our BSBC Facebook avatar, I’d love to hear about it!)

Vague Hintings of Something or Other

Posted on : 11-12-2009 | By : Joshua | In : Event

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Hey, guys! You all free on January 8th? Just askin’. No reason. No, really, I was just curious…