SciSchmoozing into the Future 12.05.16

Hello again Science fans!

We've made it to the final month of the year - and while you may hear about many Oscar contending films, Sunday brought the "Oscars of Science" with the 3rd annual Breakthrough Prize announcements. $25 million were awarded to scientists researching string theory and the geometry of the universe, to Kip Thorne and Ron Drever whose pioneering work led to the confirmation of gravitational waves at LIGO last year. The award ceremony will air on National Geographic tonight and FOX on 12/18.

This year also brought a new award - the Breakthrough Junior Prize - which awarded scholarships to students who could simply explain a complicated scientific concept. Check out the winner who explains bacterial resistance!

While the weather has turned chilly here in the Bay Area, the topic du jour seems to be...

Report From SkeptiCal, the Northern California Science and Skepticism Conference

(The following is unabashedly stolen from The Center For Inquiry.)

Susan GerbicSkeptiCal2016
June 27, 2016

The seventh SkeptiCal was held Sunday, May 15, 2016, at the Oakland, CA, Asian Cultural Center. I’ve attended all seven, each is unique and I always leave feeling that I’ve had a great experience. This is billed as the Northern California Science and Skepticism Conference, and as usual for this specific event, is heavy on the science. The speakers are varied enough to keep the audience interested as you will soon see. The hosts are the Bay Area Skeptics led by Eugenie Scott and Sacramento Area Skeptics, Frank Mosher.

I attend as many skeptic conferences as I can, and each one has its own “flavor” and style. SkeptiCal differs from others by being a no-frills event, but without you noticing that those frills are missing. Many of the speakers are working scientists talking about their...

"Doing Good in the World - Prosocial Behavior" - Ep. 19 of ShelShocked...

During the holiday season, we usually start receiving messages about good cheer, Belinda CarlisleBelinda Carlislehope for the future, and volunteering to help those less fortunate. Even for those of us who are non-believers, it's a wonderful time of year.

Have you ever wondered what makes people "do good"?

A New Group: Silicon Valley Skeptics

...and our board president is giving a talk there!!!Eugenie Scott, PhD

Please welcome the Silicon Valley Skeptics to our extended community. They have a Meetup page HERE. If possible, attend the talk on December 4th by Dr. Eugenie Scott, board president of the Bay Area Skeptics.

What if 'Intelligent Design' Had Won? Reflecting on 10 Years Since Kitzmiller v. Dover

Ten years ago, the decision in Kitzmiller v Dover determined that

SkeptiCal-15 Speakers on Youtube!

New BAS Channel Announced

Ann Reid at SkeptiCal-15Ann Reid at SkeptiCal-15

Good news for SkeptiCal fans! (Of course you know SkeptiCal – it’s the northern California conference of science and critical thinking, sponsored by the Bay Area Skeptics and the Sacramento Skeptics. You knew that, didn’t you? Good).

BAS now has a Youtube channel and the first PLAYLIST presents...

Guest Post: Obituary for Wallace Sampson, M.D. March 29, 1930 -- May 25, 2015

By Carol and Ben Baumgartner

Wally SampsonWally Sampson It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of our admired and beloved friend, Wallace Ira Sampson, M.D., “Wally”, on May 25, 2015 at Valley Medical Center in San Jose.

New ShelShocked Podcast Airs...

Dear Fellow Skeptics:

I'm happy to announce that I've started a new podcast on science and skepticism called ShelShocked. My co-host for this endeavor is the lovely Amanda Devaus, of the Canberra Skeptics in Australia.

New eBook: Magic in the Classroom from JREF...

Hey, all! The JREF announced yesterday the publication of a new critical thinking resource in the form of "Magic in the Classroom - Using Extraordinary Claims to Teach Critical Thinking," a FREE e-book.JREF eBookJREF eBook

Bay Area Vaccination Issue More Nuanced Than Usually Presented

Here's a good piece on Bay Area vaccination statistics, from this morning's SF Chronicle.Mom & BabyMom & Baby

One of the few articles I've seen that explores the nuances of refusal -- it goes beyond "gee, unvaccinating parents are all ignorant/selfish/health nut/California hippies/[insert pejorative of choice here]".

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.

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