Well I know it’s been a real long time since our last meeting. But I’d like to thank everyone who came out. We had five (count ’em, FIVE) brand-new members attending, our biggest turnout of new members since the first meeting (when everyone was new).
The topic of the evening was not, in fact, 2012 as I had planned. Instead, talks of climate change led the evening. We had an actual paleoclimatological lab monkey on hand, and went through the topic over and over, before going on to other topics, returning to climate change, and ordering drinks.
The award for insightful comment of the month goes to Dennis. I’m sorry that there isn’t actually any sort of reward for this, Dennis, but if there were….
First-time attendee Jennifer asked why so many of the skeptics meetings she’s attended were well-watered with alcohol. The question bounced off a few skulls for a moment, until Dennis got to the heart of it.
“I think intoxication is part of the human condition.”
That would certainly explain a lot. It reminds me of the words of Charles Allen Smart: “I don’t think that any of us can afford to look at nature and at the major facts of the human situation while dead sober.”
And that is why we have Skeptics in the Pub, in the Pub.
Well, on to the linkings. It was great to see all of you in the flesh, and we’ll be doing it again, very very soon.
The Golden Woos are out for last year. Ah, reminds me of good times; Bill Maher, Deepak Choprah, the list is like a… well, I’d say “shower of gold,” but I think that’s something else.
CSICOP has put up a great collection of Carl Sagan writings. Carl Sagan is pretty much the only argument you need when someone says that science lacks a sense of awe or wonder.
But should you need another example of someone with a serious sense of “holy shit the universe is awesome,” look no further than Phil Plait. In this article he’s staring at Mars. I have to say that this picture is mind-blowing in that we get to see an avalanche happen on another planet. Galileo would be proud.
Of course you could always get out there and do some superscience yourself. If the weather will just get a little bit colder, you could try some of these fun experiments. Free drink to anyone who finds out if boiling water freezes before room temperature water through an experiment. No fair just reading in on the internet.
Just make sure your experiment doesn’t wind up on this website. Or, if it does, make sure no one dies.
Readers in Louisiana may have to be doing all of their science education at home and online, if the school board reviews get set up in the way that the Louisiana Family Forum (friends of Focus on the Family) is hoping. Since Louisiana was the site of the Edwards v. Aguillard case that defined creation science as religious (necessitating the turn towards “Intelligent Design”) – you’d think they’d know better.
I suppose if you’re going to Louisiana (or to talk with Dr. James Dobson) you’ll want to bone up on your debate skills. Note: Does not improve all debate skills, only against creationist claims. Not guaranteed effective against James Dobson.
Of course, to see the “Creationist Claims” list in a mere eleven minutes, you’ll have to endure some bad animation, but…
My personal favorite rebuttal for Young Earth Creationists: is this one, albeit never as hilarious as this.
And courtesy of reader soberguy, comes a great YouTube video about homeopathy:
He’s also provided us with a good article from Discover Blogs on the evolution of prions. You can add this to evolution of computer code to show the robust nature of evolution through (any sort of) selection as a theoretical construct. Even some cosmologists refer to it now (though who knows, it could just be biology-envy on their part).
Oh well. Here’s your random link of the day. It’s the Shakespearean version of The Big Lebowski, and I want to see it performed, ever so badly.
Zounds, man. Look at these unworthiest hands; no gaudy gold profanes my little hand. I have no honour to contain the ring. I am a bachelor in a wilderness. Behold this place; are these the towers where one may glimpse Geoffrey, the married man? Is this a court where mistresses of common sense are hid? Not for me to hang my bugle in an invisible baldric, sir; I am loath to take a wife, or she to take me until men be made of some other mettle than earth. Hark, the seat of my commode be arisen!