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SCIENCE SALON THIS SUNDAY

Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs: The Astounding Interconnectedness of the Universe

The renowned Harvard cosmologist and theoretical physicist explores a scenario in which a disk of dark matter—the elusive stuff in the universe that interacts through gravity like ordinary matter, but that doesn’t emit or absorb light—dislodged a comet from the Oort cloud that was ultimately responsible for the dinosaurs’ extinction. Randall teaches us an enormous amount about dark matter, our Universe, our galaxy, asteroids, and comets—and the process by which scientists explore new concepts. Order Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs from Amazon.

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Reserve your seat in advance by calling the Skeptics Society office at 1-626-794-3119. Seating is limited. Tickets will not be sold at the door. $50 per individual (includes lecture, autographed copy of the guest’s book, hors d’oeuvres and wine).

DON’T MISS MICHELLE FEYNMAN DEC. 20

The Quotable Feynman (& His Van)

Michelle Feynman (photo by Mark Houseman)

Michelle Feynman (by M. Houseman)

Join us on December 20, 2015 to hear Michelle Feynman who will discuss the life and legacy of her father: Nobel prize-winning physicist Richard P. Feynman. Physicist Seamus Blackey will bring Feynman’s van, newly restored and recently featured on The Big Bang Theory, so you can get your photograph taken with the famous vehicle featuring Feynman diagrams. And, joining us will be special guest Dr. Leonard Mlodinow, physicist and author of Feynman’s Rainbow: A Search for Beauty in Physics and in Life and The Upright Thinkers: The Human Journey from Living in Trees to Understanding the Cosmos.

ADVANCE TICKETS REQUIRED

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Reserve your seat in advance by calling the Skeptics Society office at 1-626-794-3119. Seating is limited. Tickets will not be sold at the door. $50 per individual (includes a reserved seat, autographed copy of the guest’s book, hors d’oeuvres and wine).

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This event will be broadcast live on skeptic.com, then archived on skeptic.com for future viewing for those who cannot attend.

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About this week’s eSkeptic

Can venting angrily on the Internet lead to heart disease? In this week’s eSkeptic, Carol Tavris discusses some research that points to a significant correlation between our negative language patterns (such as anger, hatred, and aggression) and health risks such as heart disease.

Dr. Carol Tavris is a social psychologist and coauthor, with Elliot Aronson, of Mistakes Were Made (but not by ME).

An Internet Story for Our Time

by Carol Tavris

The story that follows is prehistoric. It involves a once-famous columnist, a letter (the written kind), the U.S. post office, an apology, and a moral.

The columnist was Russell Baker, who had written an essay that I, in my self-righteous gadfly-in-training youth, regarded as a sarcastic dismissal of what was then called women’s liberation—the movement for mere improvements in education, work, family life, reproductive rights, and so forth. These issues were important to me, so I wrote him a letter, full of what I thought were equally sarcastic, witty put-downs. I failed to sleep on it overnight. I mailed it.

Baker returned my letter to me— edited. I’d irked him, and he had written all over the margins with sparky annoyance.

I replied, apologizing for my rude tone and explaining what I’d meant to say.

He replied warmly, and ended, “Could this be the beginning of a beautiful and civilized correspondence?”

Skeptic magazine 20.3 (cover)

This column of “The Gadfly,” by Carol Tavris, appeared in Skeptic magazine 20.3 (2015).

Order the print edition
Order the digital edition

At the time, researchers in many fields, from social psychology to epidemiology, were rapidly dismantling the “catharsis hypothesis,” held by millions of therapists, group leaders, teachers, and parents who believed that it was important for a person’s mental and physical health to ventilate their anger. (You can still buy bats and dolls to use for this reason in the privacy of your own home.) This belief stemmed from a misreading of Freud, who thought that aggressive energy builds up in us like steam in a teapot, and will boil right over in disastrous ways if not “let out.” However, they missed part 2 of Freud’s argument, which was that the “letting out” part should be sublimated into constructive activities, such as creating art. Freud would have been horrified by the many therapists who were handing out bataca bats to violent teenagers and to quarreling married couples with instructions to pound away…

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The Story of God: A Biblical Comedy about Love (and Hate)
Based on The Bible
SKEPTICALITY EPISODE 263

In this episode of Skepticality, Derek chats with author/filmmaker Chris Matheson about his recently released book The Story of God: A Biblical Comedy about Love (and Hate), which is a funny look at the events described in the Bible from the perspective of God and how the divine fumbles its way through the origins of reality and all we know. Find out more about how the man who helped create and film classic movies featuring Bill and Ted came to write a story which has a supreme being as its main character.

Skepticality (the Official Podcast App of Skeptic Magazine) is available on the App Store
Skepticality (the Official Podcast App of Skeptic Magazine) is available at Amazon for Android
Skepticality (the Official Podcast App of Skeptic Magazine) is available on Windows Store

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3 Comments »

3 Comments

  1. Dawit Tesfazghi Ghebrmedhin says:

    Can science give us the final word I don’t think so but as for me I think science itself is in its infant stage. Is science infallible ? if yes why they modify their hypothesis ?
    If you say no you are right!

  2. John Haigh says:

    To misquote Churchill “Science is the worst possible way to understand the universe, excepting all of the others”.
    Science neither claims to know all of the answers nor to be infallible. It is this very openness to admitting errors where new evidence is forthcoming that provides its greatest strength.
    It would be a sad day for scientists if science ever did know everything as there would then be no more science to do. In fact it is a mantra of science that the more find out the more we realise we have yet to understand.

  3. Leonard says:

    I’m a big fan of cash as well, although since the penny now costs more than a penny to pduorce, I could live with the nickel being the smallest denomination of coin. Unfortunately, the state of Illinois (read: the land of Lincoln) will likely never go for that idea. Congrats on the USA Today hit Dan. Go, baby go!

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