Monday, November 7, 2011

Kitsap Skeptics Meetup - Psychic Mediums

Sorry I didn't get to this last night as promised...a had a friend in need but all is well now. Here are the links to the info for this weeks meetup...please try to at least read up on the Sally Morgan "scandal" if you can't watch the videos or listen to the podcasts.

Sally Morgan - Telegraph.

Righteous Indignation #99
Righteous Indignation #101
The Biggest Douche in the Universe
Join Sylvia's inner circle! (Only $80!)
More brilliance from Hayley Stevens

I'd like to write more but my son is destroying my office while I'm typing. See you all Wednesday!
Amber K.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The discussion this week will be on assessing research without a background in science. The file uploaded to the meetup page - the paper that Jason A. Emerson presented to us will be the home work. It's long but for the purpose of this meetup you can skip the first part (though you should read it anyway) and read the second. I'll have one printed out at the meetup. Also, listen to any episode of the Skeptics Guide to the Universe if you haven't already. Steven Novella is excellent at instructing how to spot shoddy research. Thanks kidlets!


Monday, May 9, 2011

I'm back, bitches!

Hey sorry there has been no blogging for the past couple of months, though KCS has been alive and well, I have been overwhelmed with other projects. I'll try to keep up better this summer especially as we head into TAM 9 from Outer Space....

This weeks Skeptic meetup (May 11th, 7-9pm) WILL be at Forza as it has been the last couple months, a great venue and please make sure and purchase something from them when you're there...they're waiving the $25 gift card they usually make people buy but I want to make sure they don't regret that and start charging me. As long as we spend over $25 on aggregate I think it's cool and I'm pretty sure we spend a lot more than that. Remember Wednesday is ladies night and wine is cheaper or something.

This Wednesday will be QUIZ NIGHT! We'll be splitting into two teams for this one and the quiz will have two sections - name that logical fallacy and science or fiction? To brush up on your logical fallacies please go to and try to memorize as many as you can. You MAY bring this list for the game but you may not have time to read it as the game progresses, the better prepared you are the more likely you are to win.  There will be probably 10-15 fallacies depending on time and then I will read out three or four news items, all but one of which will be science, the other fiction.

Not sure what the prize for the winners will be yet, but besides whatever that is you will get bragging rights. We'll choose teams at the beginning of the hour so PLEASE try to be on time or at least text me and let me know that you're coming if you'll be late so I can put your name in the hat.

The Skeptics Meetup for May 25th will be postponed to the following week, either Thursday, June 2 or Friday, June 3. For this meetup I'm pleased to announce that Jason Emerson, president of the Binghamton Skeptics Society and co-organizer of Atheists of Binghamton will be presenting a paper on critical thinking, a kind of Skepticism 101 course. If you are interested in becoming a better skeptic this something you won't want to miss. I am looking for a venue for this one, so if you've got a big living room or rec room and want to host it, please let me know.

There may be a social scheduled for KAA/KCS on May 25th to replace the normal meetup. If so we'll post it to Meetup and Facebook so you won't be left out.

Thanks for your time and hope to see you Wednesday!

Amber K.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Kitsap Skeptics Meetup, Mar 2. Let's Have Some Fun edition...

Well kids since our last two trips to Silver City ended up so lame - because of the seating situation, we're looking for a new venue. Yes, Silver City has great food and beer, but sitting around for 40 minutes waiting to be seated isn't working for us. We will continue to go to Silver City after our KAA Trail Cleanup meetups, though - so they'll still be getting our business...oh I should encourage anyone who's member of the skeptics group to join Kitsap Atheists and Agnostics to be part of the trail cleanup crew, organized by Tara. It's great fun.

This week we're trying Forza Coffee Co. Its in the same parking lot as Arby's across from Kitsap Mall. Address on Meetup or Facebook pages. The cool thing about this spot is that we actually get a whole room, with a closeable door. The not-so-cool thing is that it doesn't seem to be particularly well-managed and it does seem rather "soulless". They serve limited food and beer and wine as well as coffee. Unfortunately they close right at 9pm, so if we want to continue the conversation we'll have to move elsewhere. Another wifi, so those of us who still use that ancient laptop technology can research while we're there. We'll give it a shot, if it doesn't work we'll keep looking.

Last week's topic, which I realize I forgot to blog about, was GMO's. We were so lucky to get input from Kevin Forta and he's agreed to Skype in to a future meetup, which we will definitely arrange. I'm sorry that I was heavily medicated during the last meetup due to an injury and while I'm sure the conversation was lovely, I really only remember spilling sour cream on my phone. Good nachos. We will definitely revisit that topic, probably at a residential meetup so we can have enough quiet to hear the Skype call.

On to next week. New member Brooke recently posted a link to a TED conference discussion - A world without religion, how would it look? I know we don't usually touch religion in the skeptics group, but I think its an interesting topic worth discussing and even non-atheists can apply their critical thinking skills to that one. In fact I encourage our non-atheist members to attend this (yes, Chad and TC I'm talking about you) Well you can check out that discussion if you want or just roll the idea over in your mind.

There IS homework! It is the most awful, terrible, mind-taxing homework we've ever had for a meetup. It is to watch Ricky Gervais' "The Invention of Lying" You can get it from Netflix, or if you have Cinemax you can get it on demand. It's not rentable on Amazon or Itunes, I don't know any other way to get movies, are there still rental places? I have reserved a copy from the Kitsap Library if anyone wants to borrow it just text/call/email/FB me and I'll get it to you.

So lets all spend the next few days considering what a world without religion would look like. Would it be better? Worse? Would people who have a need for belief turn to addictive behaviors to fulfill that need? Would there be more or less suffering in the world? Come prepared to discuss and laugh - we'll have a copy of the movie at the Meetup, so if you like a particular scene mark it down and we'll play it. This one should be fun!

Amber K.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

KCS Meetup for Feb 2, 2011

In preparation for the 10:23 Campaign on Saturday, Feb 5 at 10:23 am, we're going to cover the Placebo Effect in more detail. We still haven't chosen a location for the event and for that I apologize, but we will have all the details set in place by the meetup. As it stands I haven't heard from the organizer of the Seattle Skeptics regarding this so I'm going to assume that our location will be in Kitsap County. I believe we'll be setting up some kind of information table in a legal public space in front of somewhere that sells homeopathy. We may have cups of homeopathic vodka for people to try. Bryan and I will try to hammer out the details this weekend and have a plan of attack at the meetup.

So, Placebo Effect. It is real and its what demonstrates the difference between a medicine's efficacy or lack thereof. Those on the alt-med side, having had no success whatsoever in proving the efficacy of accupuncture, homeopathy, crystals, Reiki or any other form of bullshit, are now trying to say that even if alt-med is only as effective as placebo, it is worth something if it has any effect. Is this a valid point? I urge everyone to listen to Ben Goldacre's (of course) radio programs on the Placebo Effect because I think this is an important debate to have - and we need everyone to be up to speed on what the Placebo Effect is for the 10:23 campaign. There will be people with questions and we should be able to answer them.

More info to come - hope everyone who got that nasty bug has recovered and we'll see you all Wednesday night. Oh another thing...we're going to try and do Silver City again so PLEASE RSVP. I need a solid ten people to get a reservation.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

My turn on Just Skeptics...

If I haven't emailed, tweeted, FB'd or texted you about this yet, please check out Just Skeptics podcast #16 where the Greater Manchester Skeptics society organizers Janis Bennion, Gavin Schofield and Alex Dennerly kindly invited me to guest host and blather on about something that pisses me off. As you all know that's quite a long list - but I chose the latest object of my irritation - Oprah Winfrey. Please join me in contacting Oprah to let her know that women aren't stupid and don't deserve to have woo-based programming be the only option on her new 24 hour WIN network. Let's help score one for all of the women in science and the skeptical movement.

At this time I'd like to give a big thanks to Gav, Janis and Alex for allowing me to join the podcast. It was truly the most fun I've ever had on a Friday before noon. In fact, possibly the most fun I've had on a Friday period, those with a better memory of the 90's than I have may be able to confirm that. I had a wonderful time and would do it again in a second...hint, hint....

Update for next Skeptics meetup to be posted asap - we're doing the placebo effect, expect Ben Goldacre to be a major part of this one.


Saturday, January 15, 2011

Conciousness....Skeptics Meetup for January 19, 2010

Great topic chosen by Skeptic and CO-ORGANIZER Bryan which I'm going to say every time I mention him from now on cause I'm pretty sure I forgot to mention him on the podcast. Watch this space for more details about that later.

Anyway episode 67 of the Brain Science podcast is the topic for this week The Ego Tunnel: The Science of the Mind and the Myth of the Self fascinating stuff so do please try and take the time to listen to it, or if it's easier download and read the pdf transcript.

So, there's a new campaign starting soon arising with Kitsap County Skeptics and as well I'm trying to get someone from Seattle Skeptics to get back to me about the 10:23 Campaign - I will have more details at the meetup. Remember its Saturday, Feb 5 @ 10:23am, place to be determined.

PS Dues for the Skeptics Meetup site are coming up soon, if everyone can bring a couple bucks to donate to the cause at the next meetup it would help us out.

Thank you kindly!