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Book Club: Ha!: The Science of When We Laugh and Why... Isaac Asimov famously wrote: The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not “Eureka” but “That’s funny...” Ha! isn't really about that, though....

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SitP: Pub Hangout Please join us for another Skeptics in the Pub beer tasting and skeptical inquiry into the science of fermentation on Monday, April 28 at 7:00 PM as we conduct a Phase 2 study of Meadhall in Kendall Square,...

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Book Club: The Poisoner's Handbook by Deborah Blum Our March book is The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York by Deborah Blum. The book tells the story of how corruption and incompetence in the New York...

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Book Club: An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth by... Snow! We've postponed to next Saturday, Feb 22. Same Book Club time, same Book Club place.   For February, we are reading awesome  Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield's "An Astronaut's Guide...

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Skeptics in the Pub: Trivia Remix

Posted on : 26-02-2011 | By : maggie | In : Skeptics in the Pub

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Don’t forget, Trivia Remix this Monday at Tommy Doyles Harvard Square.
Details on the Facebook event page: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=193970120627931

Among the prizes will be a drawing for two tickets to Tim Minchin at the Wilbur June 4th!

Hey everyone, it’s trivia time! Join us upstairs at Tommy Doyle’s for a showdown of wits (with fair scoring this time). Don’t worry if you are attending solo–we are a friendly bunch and would be happy to help you find a team!

Plus: don’t miss out on musical entertainment from Boston Skeptic Mikey Gesus. You definitely haven’t seen anything quite like this before.

See you there!

Reminder: Book Club on Saturday!

Posted on : 18-02-2011 | By : Mary | In : Book Club

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While you’re out this weekend enjoying the first signs of New England Mud Season, come stop by Harvard and chat with the Boston Skeptics’ Book Club! We are meeting at the Northwest Building at Harvard (as usual) at 3pm on Saturday, February 19th (tomorrow!) to discuss Adventures in Paranormal Investigation by Joe Nickell. And if you’re so inclined, bring a snack!

Don’t be shy if you haven’t been able to come before or if you haven’t finished (or read) the book. You can often fake your way through a meeting as long as you can come up with a tertiarily-related Star Trek reference! All new members are welcome.

Boston Skeptics’ Book Club #14: The Calculus Diaries

Posted on : 06-02-2011 | By : Mary | In : Book Club

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Note: There is a surprising dearth of pictures involving math and Star Trek.

At our last gathering, we met up to discuss The Calculus Diaries by Jennifer Ouellette (who blogs at Cocktail Party Physics). This book is aimed at people who don’t necessarily understand real-world applications of calculus, which is an interesting premise because you would think that those people would also not pick up a book with “calculus” in the title, but I suppose this could be a good book for math teachers to give realistic examples of how to use calculus. However, I already liked math before reading this book and I already understood calculus well enough (thanks to a few awesome high school math teachers), so I didn’t really enjoy the book.

My favorite parts of the book were actually the parts where it discussed the history of math and mathematicians, although according to one of our book-clubians, Ouellette got a few of her math history facts wrong. I noticed that in the chapter where math is supposed to help you lose weight (summary: eat fewer calories than you use), she has an incorrect anecdote about the history of dieting and the Romans’ usage of vomitoria. The way the story goes is that Romans used to have a special room called a Vomitorium where they would then regurgitate their meals. In fact, a vomitorium is a passageway in a theater or stadium that allows people to quickly fill up the seats. Also, the cover of the book says it can help you “survive a zombie apocalypse,” but in fact the only way to survive is to team up with vampires. I mean, if you’re being farmed by vampires, does that really count as surviving? It sounds like the only thing I could use this book for is to beat away the hordes of monsters trying to eat me.

Overall I wasn’t too impressed with the book, but then again I could be the wrong audience since I didn’t really need examples of derivatives and integrals to understand the concepts behind them. This book is more for someone who needs an “Aha!” moment about math.

Our next meeting is February 19th at 3pm in the same location as the past few times (Harvard University, Northwest Building, 52 Oxford St in Cambridge). There is a picture posted of the front door of the building back a couple posts ago if you haven’t been yet. We’ll be discussing Adventures in Paranormal Investigation by Joe Nickell. And if you can, please bring a munchie to share with the rest of us. See you then!

Edited to add: The book we’ll be reading for March (for all you people who manage to do stuff ahead of time) is The Disappearing Spoon by Sam Kean.

10:23 Challenge (and Brunch!)

Posted on : 01-02-2011 | By : Liz | In : Blog Post, local, skepticism

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This coming weekend, skeptics all over the world will be participating in a global homeopathic “overdose” to help spread the truth about homeopathy: there’s nothing in it. The Boston Skeptics will be holding our event on Sunday, February 6th, at 10:23am in City Hall Plaza (outside the Government Center T station). We will have more specifics about the event coming shortly, so check back to find out everything you need to know!

UPDATE:

The “medication” that The Amazing James Randi uses for his famous “overdose” is Calms Forte ( http://www.calmsforte.com/home/ to check it out ), so we’re suggesting this brand if you choose to partake in the pill-poppin’ goodness!

Also, get creative and make your own signs for this event! You can also print out flyers from this template: http://www.1023.org.uk/leaflet.pdf

You can and should spend some time over at the 10:23 website ( http://www.1023.org.uk/ ) to get more familiar with just how global this protest is, and for some useful information about not only the event’s history and culmination, but some good talking points!

And most importantly… let’s make this protest fun and safe!

But there’s more…we are following the “challenge” with (finally) brunch! Join us at the Kinsale (2 Center Plaza, right by City Hall Plaza) at 11 am. 10:23 participation is not mandatory for attendance…but do it! :)

You can rsvp on facebook for 10:23 here and brunch here. See you there!