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Houston Skeptical Society's June Newsletter

From: Emily S.
Sent on: Friday, June 1, 2012 3:54 PM

Greetings all;

We've all been very busy as spring came and went, but the newsletter is back and better than ever.  There are several exciting announcements, and more to come as the summer progresses.  So let's get to it!


VOTE for T-Shirt Designs!!!

New member James has been gracious enough to lend his design skills to the development of a group logo and t-shirt designs.  We will be offering these t-shirts for sale once our new logo has been voted on by the community.

To vote, there is a survey where you can rank the four designs in order of your preference.  Polls will only be open for a week, so please vote early and vote often (not really that second one, please don't abuse the internets).  Link to the survey is as follows:

Once a favorite design emerges, we will have shirts available for a reasonable price through a local vendor, which means shirt will be ready just in time for TAM.... which I will get to in a moment. But first....


A Note on Playing Well With Others

It pains me to have to include such an announcement in a newsletter, but it seems unfortunately necessary.  It has been brought to our attention that certain, unseemly behaviors have been observed during some of our events.  Let's make this very clear, such behavior is not okay and will be met with a zero-tolerance policy that may include Sam carrying you out by your shirt collar.

What constitutes unseemly behavior you ask?  Well, to begin with, anything that ostracizes or alienates individuals through use of categorizations like religion, race, political affiliation, gender, etc.  We're skeptics for crying out loud!  We're better than making blanket statements!

This also includes commentary of a sexual nature.  In general, do not proposition or imply in any other way your sexual inclinations during meetings.  It is simply not the appropriate environment for such behavior and it can make some far more uncomfortable than you might think.  If you wouldn't say it to a family member, you probably shouldn't say it to a fellow member at a group meeting.

Our group is a diverse one, and we want to keep it that way.  We have people from many cultures, religions, and belief systems.  While there are many members who subscribe to such beliefs, we are not an atheist group, nor one with a particular political agenda. What brings us together is our love of science and critical thinking.   Keep that in mind next time you feel a need to make a disparaging remark about another member's personal beliefs, and consider how you would take the comment were it directed at you.

These guidelines are not meant to dissuade member participation; in fact very much the opposite.  We want our community to be a welcoming place, particularly considering the hostile environment many of us must shelter our beliefs from on a daily basis.  Hopefully this is all that needs to be said on the matter.


Call for Extras

Your Fearless Leaders are looking for sidekicks.  With busy lives and so many events in the making, we can't always be there when we want to, which means we need dedicated members to volunteer to act as back-ups on those days where we get a flat tire on the way to a meetup.  These rolls will require minimal responsibility but are nonetheless important to the well oiled machine that is the Greater Houston Skeptical Society.  Please reply to this email if you are interested in participating.

We are also looking for volunteers to help in our efforts during the Pride Parade (see below).  If you want to help make a banner or man a booth, again please reply to this email.


Events in the Making

We are currently working on putting together three special events for the next few months.  On June 23rd we will be participation in the Houston GLBT Pride Celebration as well as celebrating the 100th Birthday of Alan Turing. These will be separate, but related events, with one in the afternoon and the other in the evening.

The plans are also in the making for a SkeptiCamp this summer, which Sam is spearheading.  This will likely be a one day session held at a local venue where we will do a primer that we are fondly referring to as Critical Thinking 101.


Upcoming Events

As usually our three monthly events are still swinging.  Our upcoming events are as follows:

Saturday, June 9 - Science and Skepticism Book Group, 2pm at the Freed-Montrose Library.  This month we are reading, in conjunction with the Skepchick Book Group, the fantastic The Man Who Knew Too Much: Alan Turing and the Invention of the Computer.

Sunday, June 24 - Brunching Skeptically, 12pm at El Real Tex-Mex restaurant

Tuesday, June 26 - Skeptics in the Pub, 6:30pm at Stags Head Pub


Outside Events

If you want to get out of town and still do something skeptical, the following conferences are coming up:

July 5-8: SkepchickCon 2012 in Minneapolis - part of the CONvergence event.  More info here:

July 12-25: The Amaz!ng Meeting (TAM) 10 in Las Vegas - the largest skeptical conference in the US, hosted by the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF). More info here:

October 25-28: CSICon in Nashville - an event dedicated to science and reason, hosted by the Skeptical Inquirer.  More info here:


The End

That's all folks.  Please, as always, if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, feel free to contact Sam, Naomi, or Emily through the Meetup site, or reply to this message!

Cheers Your Fearless Leaders


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