Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Taking a summer break

NCAS is taking the summer off to enjoy the sun. Check back here in August to see our fall program schedule.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

May 19 - Public Perceptions of Science: Lessons from a dead sheep

Presented by Adam Ruben, PhD,
Writer, Comedian, and Molecular Biologist
 

Sometimes the way people think about science is even more important than the science itself. In this talk, comedian and molecular biologist Dr. Adam Ruben uses the hype surrounding the 1997 cloning of Dolly the sheep as a lens through which to view the public perception of science and scientists.

Adam Ruben is a writer, comedian, and molecular biologist. In addition to his day job working on a malaria vaccine as the Associate Director of Vaccine Stabilization & Logistics at Sanaria Inc., Adam has performed stand-up comedy and told stories on stage for more than 15 years. He has appeared on The Food Network, The Travel Channel, The Weather Channel, Discovery International, Netflix, and NPR, and he currently hosts the show Outrageous Acts of Science on The Science Channel. Adam is the author of two books, Surviving Your Stupid, Stupid Decision to Go to Grad School (Random House, 2010) and Pinball Wizards: Jackpots, Drains, and the Cult of the Silver Ball (Chicago Review Press, 2017), and writes the monthly science humor column "Experimental Error" in the otherwise respectable journal Science.

Saturday, May 19, 2018
1:30 pm
B-CC Regional Services Center
4805 Edgemoor Lane
2nd Floor (West Room)
Bethesda, MD

Directions: http://tinyurl.com/bcccenter

Shadow of a Doubt - April 2018

The Monthly Calendar of the National Capital Area Skeptics

  • April 21 lecture - Understanding Eyewitness Evidence and Confession Evidence in Criminal Cases: A Sensitive Skeptic’s Guide.
  • May 19 lecture: Public perception of Science: Lessons from a dead sheep presented by Adam Ruben
  • NCAS Board Elections: Call for Candidates
  • AmazonSmile: Thanks to our members who are supporting NCAS!
  • Shadow Light
  • Member renewals

April 2018



NCAS Public Lecture Series

Understanding Eyewitness Evidence and Confession Evidence in Criminal Cases:
A Sensitive Skeptic's Guide

Martin A. Safer, PhD
Emeritus Professor of Psychology
The Catholic University of America


Saturday, April 21, 1:30pm - 4:00pm
Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center
2nd Floor (West Room)
4805 Edgemoor Lane
Bethesda, MD [map] [directions]
FREE admission – Everyone welcome, members and non-members

Inaccurate eyewitness testimony and false confessions are two of the most common reasons for wrongful convictions in criminal cases. Using an actual case, Dr. Safer will illustrate why eyewitnesses may be inaccurate. However, it is wrong to presume that all eyewitness testimony is unreliable. Dr. Safer will present research on how to improve the quality of eyewitness evidence. Legal professionals around the world, as well as ordinary citizens, are relatively unaware of both the flaws and potential strengths of eyewitness evidence. Dr. Safer will describe the Interview-Identification-Eyewitness Factors (I-I-Eye) educational aid which helps sensitize individuals to judge
more appropriately what is likely to be accurate versus inaccurate eyewitness evidence.

Dr. Safer will also present research regarding confession evidence in criminal cases and will describe the Before-During-After educational aid for assessing the quality of confession evidence. It is hoped that learning about these educational aids will help audience members become more sensitive skeptics about good versus poor quality eyewitness and confession evidence.

Martin A. Safer is Emeritus Professor of Psychology at the Catholic University of America, where he taught for more than 35 years. He has more than 70 peer-reviewed publications, primarily in the areas of emotions and memory, including publications on eyewitness evidence and confession evidence. He has also served as an expert consultant on eyewitness evidence in criminal cases.

Refreshments and socializing after the talk.

http://www.ncas.org/2018/03/april-21-understanding-eyewitness.html

May NCAS Lecture
Molecular biologist/comedian Adam Ruben, host of Outrageous Acts of Science on the Science Channel, will present "Public Perception of Science: Lessons From a Dead Sheep."  In 1997, the public learned that a sheep named Dolly had been cloned, and, as it is wont to do, the public went nuts. In this humorous and informative talk, Dr. Ruben discusses the fervor that accompanied Dolly's arrival - and how people are unashamed to form opinions about scientific advances that they don't understand. Saturday, May 19 at 1:30 PM at Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center.


NCAS Board Elections: Call for Candidates
Are you an NCAS member who wants to take a leadership role in the skeptics movement?  The NCAS annual board of directors election is fast approaching.  Send an email to ncas@ncas.org by April 30 for more information.


AmazonSmile: Thanks to our members who are supporting NCAS!When shopping at smile.amazon.com, you'll find the same low prices, vast selection, and convenient shopping experience as Amazon.com, with the added bonus that a portion of the purchase price (0.5%) goes to NCAS! It's simple and automatic, and it doesn't cost you anything!

AmazonSmile's disbursements to NCAS in the fourth quarter of 2017 came to $33.28, meaning that over $6600 of purchases were designated in support of NCAS.  (As an example of how NCAS can put that money to good use, it's more than enough to cover an hour of a Montgomery County lecture room rental.)

Thanks again to our members who have chosen to support NCAS!

For more information:
http://smile.amazon.com/about
http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml?c=176060&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=1870185


Shadow Light
Some members and contacts of NCAS receive a postal notification of this and every new monthly Shadow of a Doubt.  The Shadow Light postcard announces the monthly lecture and highlights of the electronic Shadow of a Doubt, which is available online at ncas.org/shadow.  NCAS thereby reduces Shadow production and postage costs.  To further reduce costs, members and contacts can opt out of postal notification altogether, while continuing to receive Shadow of a Doubt via e-mail.  To opt out, send us an e-mail at ncas@ncas.org.



Time to Renew?
Be sure to check your renewal date above your postal address on the Shadow Light postcard. Send any queries to ncas@ncas.org.  Use the online membership form to renew.
http://ncas.org/shadow

Sunday, April 15, 2018

April 21 - Understanding Eyewitness Evidence and Confession Evidence in Criminal Cases: A Sensitive Skeptic’s Guide

Presented by Martin A. Safer, PhD,
Emeritus Professor of Psychology,
The Catholic University of America 



Inaccurate eyewitness testimony and false confessions are two of the most common reasons for wrongful convictions in criminal cases.  Using an actual case, Dr. Safer will illustrate why eyewitnesses may be inaccurate.  However, it is wrong to presume that all eyewitness testimony is unreliable.  Dr. Safer will present research on how to improve the quality of eyewitness evidence.  Legal professionals around the world, as well as ordinary citizens, are relatively unaware of both the flaws and potential strengths of eyewitness evidence.  Dr. Safer will describe the Interview-Identification-Eyewitness Factors (I-I-Eye) educational aid which helps sensitize individuals to judge more appropriately what is likely to be accurate versus inaccurate eyewitness evidence.

Dr. Safer will also present research regarding confession evidence in criminal cases and will describe the Before-During-After educational aid for assessing the quality of confession evidence. It is hoped that learning about these educational aids will help audience members become more sensitive skeptics about good versus poor quality eyewitness and confession evidence.

Professor Safer is Emeritus Professor of Psychology at the Catholic University of America, where he taught for more than 35 years. He has more than 70 peer-reviewed publications, primarily in the areas of emotions and memory, including publications on eyewitness evidence and confession evidence. He has also served as an expert consultant on eyewitness evidence in criminal cases.

Saturday, April 21, 2018
1:30 pm

B-CC Regional Services Center
4805 Edgemoor Lane
2nd Floor (West Room)
Bethesda, MD

Directions: http://tinyurl.com/bcccenter

 FREE admission – Everyone welcome, members and non-members

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

April Science Events in Washington

There are two science events taking place in Washington DC that may be of interest to skeptics. No official events are being scheduled by NCAS in coordination with these, but NCAS members may wish to participate.

USA Science and Engineering Festival

Free Expo: Walter E. Washington Convention Center,
Washington D.C.
April 7-8, 2018


For complete information and to register, go to usasciencefestival.org. Note that you must preregister in order to be admitted. Registration is free, but they do request a $5 donation to defray the cost of registering.

From the USA Science and Engineering Festival website:


Mark your calendars for the 5th USA Science & Engineering Festival Expo on April 7-8, 2018! Explore 3,000 hands-on exhibits from the world’s leading scientific and engineering societies, universities, government agencies, high-tech corporations and STEM organizations. The two-day Expo is perfect for children, teens, and families who want to inspire their curious minds.

Where: Walter E. Washington Convention Center

When: Saturday 10 am- 6 pm and Sunday 10 am- 4 pm 

Join 350K+ attendees to celebrate science at the Expo and engage in activities with some of the biggest names in STEM. Hear stories of inspiration and courage, participate in mind-boggling experiments and rock out to science during our incredible stage shows.


March 4 Science


From the March for Science website:

On April 14, 2018 SCIENCE MARCHES ON
From Washington D.C. to Abuja, Nigeria, science supporters across the globe are mobilizing.  Events range from science expos and festivals to rallies and large-scale marches but they are united with shared goals.  March for Science events energize science advocates from multiple spheres to create tangible change and call for greater accountability of public officials to enact evidence-based policy that serves all communities. 

Joining us in Washington DC?  Find details here!
 
More than 200 satellite events around the world have also registered to participate in the 2nd annual event.  Check out the details at MarchForScience.org.