Saturday, January 14, 2017

January 14 - Meeting WILL be held this afternoon

As of 9:30 AM on Saturday, the temperature is  in the mid-30s with no prediction of freeze until this evening. The decision is to hold the lecture  "Hollow Earth, Sunken Continents & A World Made of Plankton? A Look At Paranormal Geology" at 1:30pm this afternoon at our NSF venue: Room 110, 4201 Wilson Blvd. Arlington VA.

February 15 - A Rational Approach to Oral Tradition and Stonehenge

 Special Wednesday Evening Event


Presented by Lynne Kelly, Ph.D.
Writer, researcher, science educator and
Foundation member of the Australian Skeptics


Indigenous cultures are usually represented as living in a fog of superstition. A rational glimpse says that they simply wouldn’t have survived if that were the case. We need to be skeptical of simplistic explanations of indigenous cultures that talk only about child-like stories and exotic religious rituals. They needed field guides to all the plants, all the animals, geology and astronomy. They needed navigational charts to travel great distances for trade, and genealogies to ensure they didn’t interbreed. They needed a legal system and ethical rules … but they had no writing. How did they memorize so much stuff?

This talk will explain the tricks of their memory trade and how we can use these methods in contemporary society. Mobile hunter-gatherers, such as Australian Indigenous cultures, embedded a highly pragmatic knowledge system in the landscape. What happens in the transition to farming? That question explains the detailed archaeological record of a vast range of prehistoric monuments including Stonehenge, the Nazca Lines and the statues of Easter Island.

Dr. Lynne Kelly is an Australian writer, researcher and science educator, as well as being a foundation member of the Australian Skeptics. Her academic work focuses on the way indigenous cultures memorize vast amounts of rational information through the mnemonic devices used by ancient and modern oral cultures from around the world. In applying that research to archaeology, she has proposed a new theory for the purpose of Stonehenge and ancient monuments the world over. Her most recent book The Memory Code (Allen & Unwin) has already gone into reprint in Australia and will be published in the USA and UK in February 2017.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017


7:30 pm
Note new location
2nd Floor Meeting Room
Rockville Memorial Library
21 Maryland Avenue
Rockville, MD


FREE admission – Everyone welcome, members and non-members


February 11 - The Original Nightmare Sleep Paralysis and the Paranormal


Presented by Brian A. Sharpless, Ph.D
Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology 
American School of Professional Psychology (ASPP) 
Argosy University, Washington DC.

Humans throughout history have described a peculiar state between sleep and wakefulness characterized by paralysis, conscious awareness of one’s surroundings, and terrifying hallucinations. We currently term this phenomenon sleep paralysis, but it has gone by many other names depending upon time, place, and culture (e.g., kanashibari, the "old hag", nocturnal alien abductions, the Mara).  Although it is a very scary experience not well-known to the lay public, it is actually a fairly well-understood sleep disorder.  After first discussing the history of sleep paralysis in myth/folklore and its many connections to paranormal beliefs, the current medical and psychological literatures will be summarized. Finally, the many interesting attempts to "treat" these episodes across the ages will be described.

Brian A. Sharpless, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology at the American School of Professional Psychology (ASPP) at Argosy University, Washington DC. After completing his graduate work at Pennsylvania State University, he completed his post-doctoral training at the University of Pennsylvania.  Dr. Sharpless has broad research interests in psychopathology, psychodynamic psychotherapy, and the history/philosophy of clinical psychology. He (along with Karl Doghrmaji, MD) is author of Sleep Paralysis: Historical, Psychological, and Medical Perspectives and editor of Unusual and Rare Psychological Disorders: A Handbook for Clinical Practice and Research.  Both volumes are currently available through Oxford University Press.

Saturday, February 11, 2017
1:30 pm


National Science Foundation, Room 110
4201 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA
(Ballston-MU Metro stop)
Enter NSF from the corner of 9th St. N & N Stuart Streets.


www.nsf.gov/about/visit
 
FREE admission – Everyone welcome, members and non-members

Saturday, December 24, 2016

January 14 - Hollow Earth, Sunken Continents & A World Made of Plankton? A Look At Paranormal Geology


Presented by 
Thomas R. Holtz, Jr., Ph.D.
Principal Lecture, Department of Geology, University of Maryland
Research Associate, Department of Paleobiology, National Museum of Natural History

The public is familiar with pseudoscientific interpretations of biology (Creationism, cryptozoology, etc.) and astronomy (astrology, UFO abductions, etc.), but all sciences have their pseudo-versions. There have been various pseudo-geologies proposed over the centuries: interpretations of the structure and composition of the Earth radically at odds with our current understanding. Among these are ideas that the Earth is hollow (various configurations, including a notable one where we are on the inside of curve!), sunken continents (Atlantis, Lemuria, and beyond), and a truly bizarre idea that all physical matter on Earth was once alive. Some of these ideas were proposed in a scientific context, but have survived in various circles long after their refutation. Dr. Holtz will examine the origins, beliefs, and fates of these alternate Earth interpretations.

Dr. Thomas R. Holtz, Jr. is Principal Lecturer in Vertebrate Paleontology at the University of Maryland and a Research Associate in the Department of Paleobiology at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History. He is the Faculty Director of the College Park Scholars-Science & Global Change program (a two-year living-learning program). In addition to his research work, he has published several books for the general audience (including the award-winning Dinosaurs; The Most Complete Up-To-Date Guide for Dinosaur Lovers of All Ages) and has been an expert for numerous documentaries and consultant for various museum exhibits.


Saturday, January 14, 2017
1:30 pm


National Science Foundation, Room 110
4201 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA
(Ballston-MU Metro stop)
Enter NSF from the corner of 9th St. N & N Stuart Streets.
www.nsf.gov/about/visit

FREE admission – Everyone welcome, members and non-members

Thursday, December 01, 2016

December 10 - Nuclear Accidents Lessons Learned from Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and Fukushima

Presented by Brian W. Sheron, Ph.D.

In this talk, Dr. Sheron will provide a brief description of the three reactors (Three Mile Island,  Chernobyl, and Fukushima), and what caused each accident, along with a brief description of the consequences. He will conclude with a discussion of a recent analytical study done by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission that estimates the consequences  of a core melt accident at a U.S. nuclear plant, if one were to occur today.

Brian W. Sheron recently retired, after over 42 years of Federal service, as the Director of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research. He was appointed to that position on May 1st, 2006. Prior to his appointment, Dr. Sheron held numerous technical management positions at the NRC in both the research and regulatory areas. He is the author of over 22 papers on various subjects pertaining to commercial nuclear power safety. He recently served as Chairman of the Committee for the Safety of Nuclear Installations (CSNI).

Dr. Sheron received a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from Duke University in 1969 and Masters and Doctorate degrees in 1971 and 1975 respectively from The Catholic University of America under a full scholarship from the Atomic Energy Commission.

Dr. Sheron was actively involved with the U.S. Government’s response to the accident at the Three Mile Island Unit Two nuclear plant in March of 1979, the accident at Chernobyl in 1986, and most recently the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plants in Japan in 2011.

Saturday, December 10, 2016
1:30 pm


National Science Foundation, Room 110
4201 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA
(Ballston-MU Metro stop)
Enter NSF from the corner of 9th St. N & N Stuart Streets.
www.nsf.gov/about/visit

FREE admission – Everyone welcome, members and non-members