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Boston Skeptics in the Theater & Pub | Bill Nye: Science... Come join the Boston Skeptics at the Brattle Theatre on December 3, where we’ll be attending a screening of a new film about Bill Nye, aptly named “Bill Nye: Science Guy.” We’ll go somewhere nearby...

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October 2017 Organizational Meeting Updates Thanks again to everyone who attended our October 2017 organizational meeting. There were a few items we had drafted and captured more ideas around that we would love to open up for comment and feedback...

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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: Beer Tasting in the Pub

Posted on : 20-01-2014 | By : John | In : Event, Skeptics in the Pub

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As many of you may know, our usual location for Skeptics in the Pub, Tommy Doyle’s in Harvard Square, has closed.  :-[

Join us on Tuesday, January 28 at 7:00 PM as we check out a potential new location, Meadhall in Kendall Square, Cambridge. According to our spies and various online reviews, it has a vast selection of very good beers and is a good candidate for future events, but I’m skeptical. I think we need as many independent assessments as possible, so please join us!

Location: Meadhall, 4 Cambridge Center, Cambridge
3 minute walk from Kendall T stop
Date: Tuesday, Jan 28, 2014, 7:00 PM

Please RSVP on Facebook.

SitP: Shelley Segal

Posted on : 29-04-2013 | By : John | In : Event, Skeptics in the Pub

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Australian atheist singer/songwriter Shelley Segal will be appearing at Tommy Doyles’s On Monday, May 6th at 7PM. Come listen to her music, the samples I’ve heard and and the reviews I’ve read sound fantastic!

There are lyrics and short snippets of several of her songs on her web site and a few videos of complete songs. They are clever and imaginative, with some great metaphors (House With No Walls, for example.) Musically, she has a diversity of styles ranging from straight-up folk to jazzy New Wave (Saved reminds me of Joe Jackson’s first album.) I Don’t Believe in Fairies would make a great Halloween song, especially if played on a carnival-style calliope!

As Apocalyptic Love Song says,

“And yes I understand that my whole life is just a blink of an eye
in the history of the earth”

so don’t miss this rare opportunity to see Shelley perform!

And her logo has a lizard…Logo with lizard What’s not to love?

Shelley will be performing at our next Skeptics in the Pub at Tommy Doyle’s in Harvard Square on Monday May 6 (note the date, not our usual last Monday), at 7 PM. You can RSVP on our Facebook event page if you wish.

P.S. I must confess I haven’t actually heard her perform in person, but did get to meet her last time she was in town, when she attended a previous SitP, and she was a great person to hang out and drink skeptically with.

SitP: Julia Wilson

Posted on : 09-02-2013 | By : John | In : Blog Post, Skeptics in the Pub

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In April of 1775, William Dawes rode through Harvard Square on his way to warn John Hancock, Samuel Adams and the Concord Militia that the Redcoats were coming. They’re BACK!!

On Saturday afternoon, Feb 16, 2013, we will be holding a special Skeptics in the Pub with Julia Wilson of the UK science education organization Sense About Science. She is here in Cambridge to help organize a new campaign, Ask For Evidence USA. The goals of the campaign, along the lines of a similar campaign in the UK, are to encourage people* to ask for the evidence behind scientific claims made by scientists, politicians, public officials, the press and random people on the Internet, to teach the basics, such as critical thinking and how the peer review process works, so that they (i.e. we) can ask intelligent questions, and to teach scientists how to communicate with non-specialists and the general public. One of her first events is a Boot Camp** for PhD students, post-docs, and other young scientists, to be held this week at MIT, to teach communications skills. She may well inspire the next Carl Sagan or Eugenie Scott.

This promises to be an important and fascinating talk.

We will be meeting at Tommy Doyle’s in Harvard Square, our usual spot, at 2PM on Saturday, Feb 16, 2013. You can RSVP on our Facebook event page if you want, so we can get an idea of how many people will be attending.

[*] Including the general public as well as scientists, politicians, public officials, the press and random people on the Internet.

[**] Sorry, it’s too late to register for the Boot Camp. :-(

Skeptics in the Pub: Eric Schwartz

Posted on : 09-11-2012 | By : John | In : Blog Post, Event, Skeptics in the Pub

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Eric Schwartz is a biologist from Tufts with an obsession for Monica and Bill. Since we are a very sciency group, he will be singing funny, not exactly G-rated songs about practical aspects of biology, including (maybe) Cialis, Prozac, the aforesaid Bill and Monica, the influence of 2000 year old dead guys on the male reproductive organ, and other songs his mother hates.

Eric will be our special guest at our next Skeptics in the Pub on Monday, November 19, 7 PM upstairs at Tommy Doyle’s in Harvard Square.

RSVP on our Facebook event page (or here if you aren’t a Boston Skeptics member.)

Skeptics in the Pub: Caroline Fiennes

Posted on : 02-10-2012 | By : John | In : Event, local

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Fiennes' book coverLate breaking news! The October SitP will be 3 weeks early! All contributions will be matched 2 for one, up to a total of zero dollars! Don’t let this opportunity slip by! Think of the Childrens!
Our guest speaker, Caroline Fiennes, has written a new book about using the principles of skepticism to evaluate the effectiveness of charities. It Ain’t What You Give, It’s the Way That You Give It: Making Charitable Donations That Get Results appears to be “terrific and timely”, to quote one of the 2 Amazon reviews (both 5 stars.)

‘Caroline Fiennes explains how to balance heart and mind for serious philanthropy. She emphasises with clarity the importance of evidence and economics for to maximise good deeds per dollar‘ – Simon Singh, science writer

Caroline will have some copies of her book available.

We will be meeting downstairs, in the lounge, at Tommy Doyle’s in Harvard Square on Wednesday, Oct 10 at 7 PM.

RSVP on FaceBook.

Skeptics in the Pub: Trivia

Posted on : 18-09-2012 | By : John | In : Skeptics in the Pub

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This month’s SitP topic is serious. Deadly serious. It is devoted to the fifth, sixth and seventh most important subjects of proper medieval education: Trivia!

We’ll be meeting in the lounge at Tommy Doyle’s in Harvard Square. (Question 1: where is “the lounge?” Hint: it is the nice name for the basement.) We’ll be meeting at our usual time of 7PM on the last Monday of September, the 24th. (Question 2: What movie won the Oscars for Best Actor and Best Cinematography for 2007? Hint: At the SitP, There Will Be Beer.)

Sign up on our Facebook event page if you do the FB thing. (Question 3: Where can you find a link to a map showing the location of a major skeptical event in the Boston area? Hint: Check the Facebook page.)

Skeptics in the Pub with Dezrah the Strange

Posted on : 27-06-2012 | By : John | In : Event, Skeptics in the Pub

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Traditionally, midsummer (which was almost a week ago now) is a time of magic. Of course, fall, winter and spring were also times of magic. But since none of it is real, we as skeptics can celebrate magic whenever we want. So July’s theme is Magic.

First up is our old friend and fellow Boston Skeptic (he joined the Facebook group last week, which is as official as it gets) Dezrah the Strange. Dezrah last astounded us in April 2011, when he walked on glass, slept on a bed of nails (while a block of concrete was broken on his chest by a large sledge hammer), told the mandatory “No, it’s not” joke, and took almost an hour to find the Queen of Hearts I had cleverly enlarged several times and hidden in an envelope high above the stage. (You can see how he did it here.

Dezrah demonstrating psychic surgery, perhaps

Dezrah demonstrating psychic surgery, perhaps

We will be meeting at our usual place, Tommy Doyle’s Pub in Harvard Square at 7:00 PM on Monday July 2, 2012. RSVP to receive any last minute updates.

Stay tuned for our next Magical Event…

Book Club: “The Man Who Knew Too Much” by David Leavitt

Posted on : 20-05-2012 | By : John | In : Book Club

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June 23 marks the 100th birthday of one of the most important mathematicians of the 20th century, a man who if not singlehandedly winning World War II, shortened it by at least a year and saved millions of lives, and was repaid by being persecuted, prosecuted and hounded to death. Alan Turing was the founder of computer science who formalized the fundamental concepts of computability, computational complexity, and the algorithm[1]. He was also a brilliant logician and cryptanalyst and invented the Turing Machine and the Turing Test.

Our next book will be The Man Who Knew Too Much: Alan Turing and the Invention of the Computer by David Leavitt. The Amazon reviews on this book are mixed, but I think we’ll enjoy it. Most of the negative reviews focus on it being too mathematical, but if I recall correctly, most of us found our previous math oriented book, The Calculus Diaries, lacking in actual math. (What can I say, we’re hardcore nerds.) We might end up agreeing with a couple of other negative reviewers who found it not rigorous enough or who focus on a small number of mistakes or misunderstandings, but most of the reviews found Leavitt’s explanations very cogent, and the book itself a good mix of the biography, history, math and the tragic consequences of the extreme homophobia that ruled much of the last century.

Update: If you are unfamiliar with Turing’s life or his work, Courtney has posted an excellent biographical essay on Queereka (which Will has cross-posted to Skepchick.)

The Pilot ACE was a prototype of the ACE, which was the actual computer designed by Turing, but I couldn't, in a lazy Google search, find any pictures of the ACE.

A Computer

We will be meeting at the usual time and place, Saturday June 16, 2012 at 3 PM in either the conference room in the Northwest Science Building at Harvard or outdoors under the Giant Green Pepper if the weather is nice.

Please sign up at our Facebook event page (unless you’d rather not, but it does give us some idea of how many people to expect.) It seems to be working again; I guess last month’s rant was effective.

[1] No, Al Gore never claimed to have invented the Algorithm, any more than he claimed to invent the Internet.

Movie Club: The Revisionaries

Posted on : 26-04-2012 | By : John | In : Event, local, movie

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In keeping with this month’s theme of religion in the classroom, The Revisionaries, a documentary about the Texas State Board of Education’s textbook selection process, is showing at the Somerville Theater as part of the Boston Independent Film Festival on Monday, April 30 at 6:45 PM.

For a sample of what to expect, see former Texas SBOE Chairman Don McLeroy on the Colbert Report a few days ago.

The Texas Monthly published a summary of the rave reviews for the film, which premiered last Saturday at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York.

We should try to meet up in front of the theater at about 6:30.

Tickets can be purchased online or at the box office. RSVP on Facebook.

P.S. If you still feel some of those pesky brain cells clogging up your cranium, there is still time to see American Juggalo tonight at the same theater.

Upcoming Events for April and May 2012

Posted on : 23-04-2012 | By : John | In : Event, local

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The Cambridge Science Festival is happening right now! Tomorrow (Tuesday April 24) The Story Collider, a sort of oral history meets particle physics project, will be doing a presentation at MIT. They sponsored a fantastic show at NECCS last Friday with 6 prominent skeptics telling brief personal stories of they journey to skepticism. Tuesday’s edition will feature 7 local scientists and science journalists. Free.

Don’t forget Mary Roach on Wednesday.

On Saturday May 5th, our own Todd W will be running for his life, pursued by ravenous Zombies, all to promote vaccine research. Help support this worthy cause.