(Any errors in this account are solely my fault - David Almandsmith)
SkepTalk by Ransom Stephens PhD on 14 January 2018
This SkepTalk combined science, mirth, and intellectual acumen; a genuine treat. Dr. Stephens brought the audience up to date with fruits of neuroscience research and melded them with an evolutionary perspective.
Dr. Stephens began by pointing out that neuroscience in some sense is self-referential - a case of the brain trying to understand itself.
He then warned against over-simplified ideas such as strict roles for the left brain versus roles for the right brain. There are indeed some differences in roles but...
there is some overlap in duties, especially since the brain evinces considerable plasticity. In the most general case, when you walk into a bar (!) the right brain checks for the unexpected - an acquaintance, a hungry leopard, etc. - without 'you' necessarily aware of the search. Any significant results of the search are passed off to the left brain and into your consciousness. Sort of. Neuroscience
A SkepTalk by Carrie Ellen Sager, J.D., Homelessness Program Coordinator, Marin County
14 December 2017
An upbeat talk on homelessness? Well, the problem of homelessness in the Bay Area may border on intractability and underscores the failures of United States' political economics, but Ms. Sager's message, pace, tone, and even her smile made this a lively, enjoyable SkepTalk.
She organized her description of the challenges and successes of Marin County's homeless program by...
using false statements concerning homelessness and then debunking those statements using the results of dozens of peer-reviewed studies and using colorful anecdotes from the frontlines. A number of the false statements were ones that i thought were true before Ms. Sager tore them apart with data from recent research.
An example: "(most of) These people aren't from here, they just come for the services (and the weather)." The facts show differently. In Alameda County, 82% of homeless were living in Alameda County immediately prior to losing a place to dwell. In Marin County, 72%. In San Francisco, 69%. It takes
A SkepTalk by Susan Gerbic on 11 May 2017
We should all applaud Susan Gerbic's impossible mission: to keep Wikipedia free from promotions of pseudoscience. Amazingly, she has been remarkably successful due to her methods. She recruits volunteers to help in this mission, puts them through 'boot camp' so they know what to do and how to do it, and tracks everything that is accomplished.
Her cadre of recruits living around the world is the Guerrilla Skeptics on Wikipedia, a.k.a. GSoW.
Because anybody can edit Wikipedia pages, making a change can...
be like poking a hole in a pond with your finger; those who have a financial or philosophical interest in disseminating falsehoods can whisk away your edits. There are, however, strategies to limit the forces of drivel.
The mere fact that you are reading this suggests you care about truth AND you have a few minutes out of the week when you could further this essential work. Join the GSoW and make a difference. Not only will you receive at-home training, you will receive ongoing mentoring. Send an email to GSoWTeam@gmail.com
- Although the ebola virus outbreak that began in 2014 in West Africa killed about 9,000 people, a similar number of people die from tuberculosis every 44 hours
- One-third of the world’s population is already infected
- About 30,000 people become infected every day
- Tuberculosis is strongly associated with poverty
- It disperses through the air from coughing sufferers to infect others
- Strains of tuberculosis continue to arise that are resistant to antibiotics
- Most infected people remain asymptomatic for years
- Tuberculosis bacteria grow and replicate very slowly which can make the simplest experiment last many months