The JSS has just come off of an exciting meeting number two!
The highlight of the evening was the record-breaking attendance. True, we’ve only had one previous meeting, but a record is a record is a record.
Thirteen people attended three days before Friday the 13th! Now if that doesn’t cause a numerologist to quake in their size 11 and ½ boots, I don’t know what would.
Pat yourselves on the back, Skeptics. You’ve made your Sultan proud!
Here’s what was discussed:
Finding a logo. We need a logo. Something futuristic and mad-science themed would be preferable, but it also needs to be scalable and digitized so that it can be put on websites, coffee cups, coasters and T-shirts when the inevitable flood of fanboy (and fangirl) support washes over us with the materialistic desire for JSS gear.
The first thing the logo would be used for would be a sign identifying our table when you walk into the bar. I know several people wandered around aimlessly until they found us, but Randi and I are working on a solution for the next meeting. You won’t miss us.
We need a slogan. “We’re skeptics and we can prove it” is already taken, by the way.
We need (man are we needy) new venues for publicity. I’ve been busy forging contacts with the Mid-South Humanist Council, local atheist groups, and the Southern Skeptical Society – you all should give it a shot and use word of mouth. Word of mouth is still our greatest drawing power. Currently, there are few methods for local publicity that I use: First, fliers. The fliers in the Rainbow seem to get a lot of play. They also reside in Sneaky Beans and Cups in Fondren. Fliers near hospitals seems like a good idea (The Pizza Shak) and maybe if there’s a place to put stuff in UMC that could work. Also, it seems foolish that we’re not prominent on campuses. Budding young scientists don’t need to end up looking for bigfoot. Put you collegiate friends and connections to work. I know they don’t work much.
I put the event on Facebook via the group site and invitations get sent out about a week early, and then the day before. Also, it goes on the Jackson Free Press website. Early posting here insures that it will go into the Free Press print edition. Finally, I put the event on the LoungeList website, which is fine, but also there is a serious overlap between the JFP and Loungelist, so there’s that. Any ideas for local websites or free papers?
Our chop-tastic skeptic Jeremiah came up with a good idea for a simple skeptical project – a collection of ridiculous email forwards. Obviously, the ones with pseudo-science and gullibility would be preferable! Also, letting people know that nothing ill will befall them (and nothing good will come of forwarding it) is a key part.
The multi-talented Walter told us all that the diagram of taste buds on your tongue you may have learned in high school is WRONG! Turns out that the taste buds are scattered all over your tongue. What was it that Albert Einstein said about common sense? “Common sense is just the accumulation of years of incorrect beliefs?” Or something like that. Might not have been Einstein, even.
New member Dennis informed us that the local medical examiners are possibly putting people on death row and behind bars without proper evidence, and have been caught making evidence up. Why they aren’t in jail is beyond me, but I have heard from the ACLU that the doc in question, Steven Hayne, is no longer allowed to provide forensic evidence.
Dennis also lead to some interesting information about the lack of science in the courtroom – it turns out that a lot of things like bite-mark analysis, ballistics studies, and your CSI mainstays aren’t as reproducible, reliable, and effective as the TV may have led you to believe.
On that note – have you ever wanted to watch an autopsy? Science-minded individuals are welcome to watch for non-scientific shenanigans! Just think, you could be like (or maybe meet!) Agent Scully.* Those interested should email me and we’ll see if we can’t work out something with the proper authorities. *Agent Scully is not guaranteed, nor real.
Currently, a debate between a creationist/Intelligent Design proponent and a biologist (or, barring that, myself) is in the works! Unfortunately, I think it will be at USM. If it draws a crowd, we’ll need to redo it in Jackson, so be thinking about where/when/how that could go down! If you know anyone who will debate (for free) email me! You college kids should know some way to get us on campus.
Our #1 goal at the moment is to find a psychic. A PET psychic would be particularly juicy debunk-bait. Finding faith healers or other medical quacks is also high on the list of “first bloods.”
In the local news the evolution “warning” stickers for high school biology books were shot down by the senate. It’s a good day when you find something too illogical for Mississippi. I found out that the lobbying group that pushed them is right down the street from me – right between me and the bar where we hold the meetings, no less!
Some in the group had expressed skepticism (that’s what we do) over the amount of real science that the Obama administration would support. Two bits of good news for you guys: Stem cells are back. The science advisor is back. We’ll see what money for research comes up in the mega-bill, and we’ll see if Mississippi refuses to take it.
So all in all an excellent meeting. We’ve learned what you’re all knowledgeable of, and I now know that I’ve got plenty of skeptical minions.
Get to work, minions!
-Sultan of Skeptics