- Comedy for Science!
Smarts for science! Let's go see some scientists make jokes. Part of an event series presented by Science Riot and in partnership with the March for Science advocacy summit (S|GNS), Comedy for Science is billed as "a thinking person's comedy night." Actual, real live scientists are given a crash course in standup comedy, and jump onstage to present their first performance ever. HOW TO FIND US: Use the west entrance doors at the Field Museum, and meet Bridget at 7 for the social hour before the show! She is new to Chicago, let's welcome her. :) Tickets are $15, buy them in advance here: https://scienceriot.ticketleap.com/chicago-summit/details
- Skeptical Salon: Blood Work: A Tale of Medicine & Murder...
• What we'll do The Skeptical Salon is BACK for 2018! For February, we'll be reading Blood Work: A Tale of Medicine and Murder in the Scientific Revolution by Holly Tucker. One of our longer suggestions since there will be plenty of time to obtain and read this one, but it is full of INTRIGUE and MURDER! So that's fun. From Goodreads: Blood Work: A Tale of Medicine and Murder in the Scientific Revolution "A sharp-eyed exposé of the deadly politics, murderous plots, and cutthroat rivalries behind the first blood transfusions in seventeenth-century Europe. "On a cold day in December 1667 the renegade physician Jean Denis transfused ten ounces of calf's blood into Antoine Mauroy, a madman. Several days and several transfusions later, Mauroy was dead and Denis was framed for murder. A riveting and wide-reaching history, Blood Work shows how blood transfusion became swept up in personal vendettas, international intrigues, and the war between science and superstition. In a foreshadowing of today's stem cell and cloning debates, proponents saw transfusion as a long-awaited cure to deadly illnesses, while others worried that science was toying with forces of nature, perhaps even paving the way for monstrous hybrid creatures. Taking us from the highest ranks of society to the lowest, Holly Tucker introduces us to an unforgettable cast of characters, all ruthless contenders in the battle over transfusion. Finally, in a feat of historical research, she reveals the true identities of Mauroy's murderers—and their motivations to kill." • What to bring If you have one, bring your copy of the book for the inevitable moment we need a reference during the discussion. There's always a table for food, so bring any snacks or drinks you'd like to share. • Important to know For those who have never attended a Skeptical Salon, it is merely *recommended* that you read (or at least start) the book so you are not bored while the rest of us discuss it. The Salon is held in a private residence, so please refrain from arriving early to allow them time to get home from work and prepare for your arrival. The home also has a cat.
- Festivus! (for the rest of us!)
• What we'll do A bit after the chaos of Ye Olde Standard Holidays but close enough to (maybe) still be included in "Happy Holidays," Festivus is upon us! They say you can't go home again, but home is where your friends are. (Okay, wait, that's also the internet.) So we're going "home" again... well, to A home, anyway. It's a potluck, so prepare your best snacks! To answer your many, many Festivus questions: Yes, there will be a Festivus Pole.* Yes, there will be an Airing of Grievances.** Feats of Strength*** are subject to advance review, but may include thumb wars, staring contests, Rock Paper Scissors tournaments and displays of mental fortitude.**** We may also recount tales of Festivus Miracles.***** Festivus is FREE to attend, just bring something for the potluck table! We will be accepting donations to The Human Fund throughout the evening as well. Hope to see you there! ------------------ *Festivus pole is not for dancing, nor for jousting during Feats of Strength. **Grievances may also be conveyed via Post-It(s) attached to the Festivus Pole. BYOPI. ***Feats of actual strength are unsanctioned by Chicago Skeptics, the homeowners, and probably CPD depending on your level of enthusiasm. ****Smartphones are disallowed in contests of mental strength. Dumbphones are hilarious. *****Sorry, we're fresh out of asterisks. • What to bring It's a potluck, so please bring something tasty to share. Food or drink, it's up to you! • Important to know
- Skeptical Salon: The Science of the Magical by Matt Kaplan
Potions and rituals and spirits, oh my! October's Salon gives a nod to the season as we read Matt Kaplan's "Science of the Magical: From the Holy Grail to Love Potions to Superpowers" (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25111054-science-of-the-magical). PLEASE NOTE: our Salons are hosted by various members of Chicago Skeptics, IN THEIR HOMES. Please be respectful of their personal time and space: DO NOT ARRIVE EARLY. We allow a half-hour of "wiggle room" to allow everyone time to settle in, grab a plate, open a beverage, and converse a bit before we start our book discussion at around 8pm. Our hosts will NOT be prepared to welcome you before 7:30pm. Now, about the book! From Goodreads: "[T]his engaging scientific inquiry provides a definitive look into the elements of mystical places and magical objects—from the philosopher’s stone, to love potions to the oracles—from ancient history, mythology, and contemporary culture. Can migrations of birds foretell our future? Do phases of the moon hold sway over our lives? Are there sacred springs that cure the ill? What is the best way to brew a love potion? How do we create mutant humans who regenerate like Wolverine? In Science of the Magical, noted science journalist Matt Kaplan plumbs the rich, lively, and surprising history of the magical objects, places, and rituals that infuse ancient and contemporary myth. Like Ken Jennings and Mary Roach, Kaplan serves as a friendly armchair guide to the world of the supernatural. From the strengthening powers of Viking mead, to the super soldiers in movies like Captain America, Kaplan ranges across cultures and time periods to point out that there is often much more to these enduring magical narratives than mere fantasy. Informative and entertaining, Science of the Magical explores our world through the compelling scope of natural and human history and cutting-edge science." Our Salons are held as a sort of snack-potluck: please bring something to share, whether food or drink is up to you. We usually have a pretty good spread! To get there: Nearest bus routes are the 78 Montrose and 53 Pulaski. For drivers, it's street-parking only: it can be a challenge, but is possible. Bicyclists are welcome to lock bikes to the fence. Again, this is a private residence; do not arrive early. There are a few steps up to the porch. The home has two cats and some birds.
- Skeptical Salon: The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker
We return to the Curiosity Triangle for September's Salon! Bring a snack, a beverage, or both and join our discussion of The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/56465.The_Gift_of_Fear). From Goodreads: In this empowering book, Gavin de Becker, the man Oprah Winfrey calls the US's leading expert on violent behaviour, shows you how to spot even subtle signs of danger - before it's too late. Shattering the myth that most violent acts are unpredictable, de Becker, whose clients include top Hollywood stars and government agencies, offers specific ways to protect yourself and those you love, including: how to act when approached by a stranger; when you should fear someone close to you; what to do if you are being stalked; how to uncover the source of anonymous threats or phone calls; the biggest mistake you can make with a threatening person; and more. Learn to spot the danger signals others miss. It might just save your life.
- Skeptical Salon: Every Last Tie by David Kaczynski
Maynard has kindly offered to host the Skeptical Salon for August! And it's a short book, so it won't get TOO much in the way of your summertime adventures. The impact of mental illness on a family is a sensitive topic, so bring some consideration along with your snacks and drinks. We'll be reading Every Last Tie: The Story of the Unabomber and His Family by David Kaczynski (http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25158776-every-last-tie). Possible discussion topics: diagnosis/misdiagnosis, denial on the part of close relatives, hope versus red flags, coming to terms with reality, and the lack of sociopolitical resolve in identifying and treating mental illness. About the book: In August 1995 David Kaczynski's wife Linda asked him a difficult question: "Do you think your brother Ted is the Unabomber?" He couldn't be, David thought. But as the couple pored over the Unabomber's seventy-eight-page manifesto, David couldn't rule out the possibility. It slowly became clear to them that Ted was likely responsible for mailing the seventeen bombs that killed three people and injured many more. Wanting to prevent further violence, David made the agonizing decision to turn his brother in to the FBI. Every Last Tie is David's highly personal and powerful memoir of his family, as well as a meditation on the possibilities for reconciliation and maintaining family bonds. Seen through David's eyes, Ted was a brilliant, yet troubled, young mathematician and a loving older brother. Their parents were supportive and emphasized to their sons the importance of education and empathy. But as Ted grew older he became more and more withdrawn, his behavior became increasingly erratic, and he often sent angry letters to his family from his isolated cabin in rural Montana. During Ted's trial David worked hard to save Ted from the death penalty, and since then he has been a leading activist in the anti–death penalty movement. The book concludes with an afterword by psychiatry professor and forensic psychiatrist James L. Knoll IV, who discusses the current challenges facing the mental health system in the United States as well as the link between mental illness and violence.
- June Meetup
Last-minute venue selection! We're gonna try The Long Room for a casual Meetup this month; hope to see you there! We're still looking for speakers for our meetups... could yoube one? Send us a message if you're interested and available, or know someone who might be.
- OF INTEREST: How the Ear's Works Work
How the Ear’s Works Work: A Biological Hearing Aid Optimizes Your Hearing The Grossman Institute's Mind and Brain Annual Public Lecture A. James Hudspeth, M.D., Ph.D. Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute F.M. Kirby Professor, Rockefeller University The Grossman Institute for Neuroscience, Quantitative Biology and Human Behavior at the University of Chicago hosts an annual free Neuroscience Public Lecture (http://neuroscience.uchicago.edu/public-lecture/), designed to provide insights into key developments in neuroscience research to a diverse audience. This year Jim Hudspeth, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and Professor at Rockefeller University, will discuss exciting advances in our understanding of the inner ear. Dr. Hudspeth is renowned for his ability to communicate both the remarkable properties that give rise to the senses of hearing and balance, and research advances in repair and regeneration of damaged inner ear sensory cells. This series is designed for a wide audience. The event is free and open to the public, but your RSVP is requested below. REGISTER HERE: http://neuroscience.uchicago.edu/public-lecture/