SciSchmooze

Greetings Admirers and Lovers of Science,

It is amazing, science and reason are year round pursuits and not just seasonal. Though there is some science for fall that doesn’t rely on gravity.

You can find many celebrations of the fruits of science and reason throughout the year but there are two that I’d really like to share with you this week.

Many of you will know of the Ig Nobel Prize. This years awards celebration was last week. I hope all of you enjoy one of the great annual events in the celebration of science. First please meet Miss Sweetie Poo who is an essential participant, then please hold your aeroplanes… T-minus 1:55 before going forwards to honor those who have thought to think the imaginable. If you don’t have time for the whole ceremony, here is an excellent report on the winners… Ig Nobel prizes 2014: from Jesus on toast to baby faeces in sausages.

The other great celebration is yet to happen so you can get in on the festivities, wonder, and learning. Yes, the

Operation Bumblebee stings psychic medium Chip Coffey...

One of the most annoying parts of the "world of woo" is people who claim to have psychic powers. Although none has ever actually shown evidence of this ability under strict observation, it's a multi-million dollar business, with some in the field becoming quite prominent. Chip Coffey may not be one of the biggest players, but he's had his 15 minutes of fame with A&E's "Psychic Kids" program and a few other television appearances. Operation Bumblebee (San Jose)Operation Bumblebee (San Jose) A group of us wanted to see whether we could trick him into communicating with dead people who don't actually exist. So after a lot of work and planning, we did just that.

My Magical Weekend With James Randi...

I hope that each person reading this article can, someday, have a weekend like the one I just experienced. It was, as the kids say, epic.An Honest LiarAn Honest Liar

Earlier this month, I got a message from my friend, the filmmaker Tyler Meason, letting me know that he’d be in San Francisco on Sunday, June 15th for the screening of “An Honest Liar,” the documentary he co-created with Justin Weinstein that chronicles the life of world-renowned magician and skeptic, James “The Amazing” Randi. I purchased tickets and said that I would see him there. A few weeks passed, and I got another message from Tyler, this time letting me know that James Randi himself would be attending the screening, and suggesting that I look into asking him to make an appearance for the Bay Area Skeptics.

Acts & Facts & Pacifiers

(Reprinted from the National Center for Science Education.)

Acts & Chelyabinsk meteor. © 2013 Alexandr IvanovChelyabinsk meteor. © 2013 Alexandr IvanovFacts is the monthly publication of the Institute for Creation Research, which equips “believers with evidence of the Bible’s accuracy and authority through scientific research…”

Here at NCSE, we maintain a subscription to Acts & Facts to remain informed of the ICR’s stance on various topics and as a reminder of what we face in defending science education. The May 2014 issue has an article by Dr. Jason Lisle—ICR's Director of Research—that is a case study in avoiding worry and shirking responsibility by donning blinders in adopting a human-centric view of the universe.

"I fear the coming of the Big Stupid"

Jon CarrollJon CarrollJon Carroll understands, promotes, and appreciates science, which we in the Bay Area can be grateful for.

The Psychology of the Perfect Holiday Season

Are you all "wrapped up" over the stress of the holiday season? If so, it may help to turn to science to make your holiday experience a bit less stressful...Happy HolidaysHappy Holidays

Sugar and Hyperactivity: The Most Common Halloween Myth...

After bringing home their colorful, sugar-laden bounty from a successful night of Trick or Treat, millions of AmericanHappy HalloweenHappy Halloween children will spend the coming weeks locked in a battle of wills with their parents over how much of the spoils they are allowed to enjoy, and how often they'll have access to it. One of the most common strategies parents employ, based upon a supposed connection between sugar and hyperactivity, will ensure that parents lose that battle...at least, in a scientific sense.

Left-Brained or Right-Brained?...

Although most people can provide you with scarcely more detail about the human brain than its existence and approximate location, one Left-Brained / Right-BrainedLeft-Brained / Right-Brainedof the most popular brain-related facts they often report with great certainty is that they are either Left- or Right-Brained. More specifically, "Left-Brained" people describe themselves analytical and logical, with a penchant for mathematics, while the "Right-Brained" report being creative and emotive, with more artistic and intuitive personalities. These self-reports are fraught with problems…not the least of which is the fact that the entire notion of “Left-Brained” or “Right-Brained” people is complete bunk.

Sheldon Helms talk in San Francisco

Sheldon HelmsSheldon Helms, a BAS Board Member, was featured at a gathering of the Atheist Alliance of San Francisco. The presentation title:
Gay Conversion Therapy: You Make Me Sick.

The Roots of Bigotry...

Fifty years ago today, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., one of the most important figures in the struggle for Civil Rights in theMartin Luther King, JrMartin Luther King, Jr U.S., took part in the March on Washington in 1963, where King gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech with which he would become so closely associated, and widely considered to be one of the best and most important speeches of the 20th century.

To honor this man and his legacy, I thought it might be useful to discuss racism, or more broadly, the phenomenon that powers it, bigotry.

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