SkeptiCal 2015 - Set Your Calendars

Saturday 6 June 2015 is the date for this immensely popular gathering of scientists, skeptoids, geeks, educators, and activists.

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SkeptiCAL 2015 will be held at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center - close to BART, ethnic restaurants, open-air markets, and colorful pubs.

Join the Bay Area Skeptics (or renew) to receive a $10 discount from the full registration fee.

As per usual, we have a great lineup of speakers and workshops. As soon as the dust settles, you can find details at the SkeptiCal Conference website.

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

SciSchmooze - 23 February

Hello again Science fiends!

There are 96 events listed in the Schmooze this week (plus 2 cancellations). We are right in the heart of the busiest times of the year for lectures in the area.

There seems to be a lot of interest in Mars as evidenced by several lectures on the Red Planet this week and next. Earlier this month there were articles in the news about mysterious high level clouds on Mars that have scientists baffled (pictures and story here). This is a good time to remind you about Google Mars. It is part of Google Earth and allows you to do a fly by, in high resolution, over the Martian surface. Start Google Earth, click on the planet-with-rings icon at the top, and select Mars.

Besides Mars lectures, here are three picks for the week:

Ohlone Psychology Club Speaker Series Presents - "An Honest Liar - The Amazing Randi Story" screening...

Mark your calendars for Friday, April 3rd, 7pm!Tyler Measom and RandiTyler Measom and Randi

I'm pleased to announce that the Ohlone Psychology Club has arranged a screening of the award-winning documentary, "An Honest Liar" at Ohlone College on Friday, April 3rd, 7pm!

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.

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.

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

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