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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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I’m feelin’ the Dragon*Con blues…

Posted on : 22-09-2010 | By : Liz | In : Blog Post

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I just realized it’s been three weeks since Dragon*Con. Remember as a child, that depressing period after you favorite holiday/your birthday/summer vacation when you know it’s going to be a full year before the BEST TIME EVER comes again? Yeah…that’s where I am right now.  This is my 5th time experiencing the post-con blues, and they don’t get any easier.  Although, I am lucky that this is also my 5th time in a row missing out on the post-con plague! (Hope you’re feeling better, Pamela Gay).

Spooky Road Trip BOO!

Posted on : 20-09-2010 | By : Liz | In : Event, local

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Hey everyone! As many of you know, there has been some interest expressed in taking a group road trip to go see Bob Novella’s haunted corn maze in New Milford, CT.  According to google maps it’s about 3 hours from Boston, so we will need to organize some major carpooling!

Here’s the deal: The trip will take place on Saturday, October 16th. The haunt opens at 6:30pm, so we will plan on going right when it opens.  Then, we should be able to get back to Boston by 10:30 or 11ish.  If you would prefer to stay in a hotel, you can sort that out with your carmates!  Bob will not be available for dinner, but he would be up for lunch, so we could plan on getting there around lunchtime and then entertaining ourselves until the haunt opens, perhaps with some sort of park visit or other local activities.

Bob has offered us $1 off each ticket, which means the price-per-ticket is $14. You should also expect to chip in for gas if you are carpooling!

SO: If you want to come, email me at liz@bostonskeptics.com by Friday, October 1st. Put “Haunt Trip” in the subject line so I don’t miss you! Please let me know if you have a car, who will be traveling in your car with you, and how many available seats you have.  If you are traveling with a group and just can’t bear to be separated, please let me know and I will do my best.

I will do everything I can to make sure everyone has a ride, but please bear with me! Please respond only if you definitely plan to attend.

You can rsvp on facebook, but you MUST email me if you plan to attend!

Happy Halloween:)

Sex! Morality! Women! Law! Skeptics in the Pub with Sean Faircloth!

Posted on : 16-09-2010 | By : Liz | In : Skeptics in the Pub

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So, September’s Skeptics in the Pub will be a week late, and therefore…in October.  But hey, that’s because we were able to hook a super awesome speaker: Sean Faircloth, Executive Director of the Secular Coalition for America.  You may have caught Sean’s excellent talk at TAM this year, but don’t worry, this won’t be a repeat (so you cool kids who went to TAM should still come!).  If you aren’t familiar with Sean, check out his bio.  Awesomeness: before joining the Secular Coalition, he was doing awesome stuff in the state legislature of my home, Maine.

Here’s what you need to know:

When: Monday, Oct. 4th at 7pm
Speaker: Sean Faircloth
Title: Sex! Morality! Women! Law!
Where: Tommy Doyle’s in Harvard Square

If you are on facebook, don’t forget to rsvp.  See you there!

Observatory Nights – Geeky Fun For the Whole Family

Posted on : 15-09-2010 | By : maggie | In : local, news

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If you’re looking for fun on Thursday nights, how about some science-y fun? The Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics holds monthly observatory events open to all (including kids).

The Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge sponsors free programs for the public on the third Thursday of every month (excluding June, July, and December). “Observatory Nights” feature a nontechnical lecture and telescopic observing from the observatory roof if weather permits. The lectures are intended for high-school age and older audiences but children are also welcome. Seating is limited and available on a first-come basis. Doors open at 7:00 pm; programs begin at 7:30 pm. Parking is free.

This Thursday (tomorrow) is Jeffrey Bennett’s “Beyond UFOs: The Search for Extraterrestrial Life and its Astonishing Implications for our Future”. A look at the real searches for life in the worlds beyond our mesosphere and what it means for today and tomorrow.
CfA website

Boston Skeptics’ Book Club #10: Them

Posted on : 09-09-2010 | By : Mary | In : Blog Post

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Not the same "Them" but still pretty awesome.

There was a lot of food and lively discussion at our last book club meeting, where we discussed Jon Ronson’s Them: Adventures with Extremists. This book was a thriller/comedy/nonfiction and definitely a fun read. When I first heard about the book, I thought it would be an interesting perspective on conspiracy theorists,  but Ronson also writes about how some of the conspiracies are based on factual groups/events (although what may appear harmless to most people is obviously the opposite to the conspiracy nuts).

Every group of people have their own version of “people (mostly men) meeting in a secret room to decide the fate of the world”. Change that to lizards and you have David Icke.

One thing I really enjoyed about the book was how Ronson set out to portray his subjects as normal, just with a slightly crazy twist. The result is a comedy where you aren’t really sure if the conspiracy theorist knows s/he’s joking. The subjects written about in this book include: Omar, the Muslim extremist who named his daughter “The Black Flag of Islam”; Randy Weaver and the Ruby Ridge Incident; Thom Robb, rebrander of a kinder, gentler KKK; and the Bohemian Grove group, a collection of rich/influential men who enjoy reliving their frat days with faux-Pagan ceremonies.

The Bilderberg Group is brought up many times in the book, as most conspiracy theorists believe that They are the secret world-controlling group. At the first couple mentions, I was skeptical that the group existed, but upon further reading (and Wikipedia’ing), it is revealed that the Bilderberg Group is real and does in fact include a lot of world leaders/rich people/up-and-comers. Allegedly the group sent someone to tail and intimidate Ronson and his contact, and later on Ronson actually interviews a Bilderberger who says that the group enjoys the conspiracy theories (because it makes them feel cool). The group (which has invited people like Margaret Thatcher and Ben Bernanke) has an annual meeting where they get together and discuss current issues and network with other like-walleted people. They don’t control the world exactly, but there is at least one example cited where one person’s speech about a certain topic changed the mind of a lot of influential world leaders and perhaps affected history.

The Bilderberg Group is in direct contrast to the Bohemian Grovers, which also meet up annually. However, their parties include lots of cross-dressing (with a common thread of misogyny), the Cremation of Care (where an owl effigy is burned), and all the peeing-on-trees that one weekend can hold.

This is a good coffee-shop read: short, intriguing, and the kind of book you can lose yourself in for a few hours in the afternoon over a cup of something hot and sweet.

Our next meeting is Saturday, October 2nd at 3pm, and the location is TBD (although if we have one more nice weekend we will probably meet at Harvard Yard). We are reading Who Goes First? The Story of Self-Experimentation in Medicine by Lawrence K. Altman. The picnic was a big success and we plan on doing that again, and if you have any opinions on that please leave that in the comments.

And for anyone who wants to get a head start on the next book on the list, in honor of October I have picked: World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks (they mention this book enough on SGU and they have an interview with the author, plus it’s science-fiction, so that should hopefully be enough justification for the BSBC). If you have any more book suggestions, please leave them in the comments. See you next time!

The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements