Sunday, February 08, 2015

Shadow of a Doubt - February 2015

The Monthly Calendar of the National Capital Area Skeptics
  • Feb 14 NCAS Lecture: Are Genetically Modified Foods Safe to Eat? and Other Issues Related to the Science of Genetic Engineering by Anastasia Bodnar, PhD
  • Mar 14 NCAS Lecture: How diet and physical activity dynamically interact to affect human body weight by Kevin D. Hall, PhD biophysicist, National Institutes of Health
  • CityLab Article Features NCAS SkepTour Map
  • NCAS Board Elections: Call for Candidates
  • AmazonSmile
  • Shadow Light
  • Feb 11 Drinking Skeptically in MD and  VA (New Start Time!)
  • Skeptic Line Number
  • Time to Renew
NCAS Public Lecture Series

Are Genetically Modified Foods Safe to Eat?...
and Other Issues Related to the Science of Genetic Engineering.

    Anastasia Bodnar, PhD
    Saturday, February 14, 1:30pm - 4:00pm

    National Science Foundation, Room 110
    4201 Wilson Blvd
    Arlington, VA [map] [directions]
    (Ballston-Marymount University Metro stop)
    Enter NSF from the corner of 9th N & N Stuart Streets.
    FREE admission – Everyone welcome, members and non-member

In a recent Pew poll, 88% of American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) scientists said that genetically engineered crops were safe to eat.  In contrast, only 37% of non-scientists surveyed said genetically engineered crops were safe to eat. While there are values-based issues involved, such as the role of capitalism and patents in our food supply, a large part of this gap can be explained by lack of information. In this talk, Anastasia Bodnar will describe some of the technologies behind the genetically engineered foods on your plate and discuss some of the controversies that surround them.

Anastasia is a Board Member of Biology Fortified, Inc ( BFI is an independent 501(c)(3) that aims to encourage conversation about agriculture, biotech, food, and related subjects. Originally from Florida, Anastasia has a BS in Biology from the University of Maryland and a PhD in Genetics, with a minor in Sustainable Agriculture, from Iowa State. In her research, Anastasia used biotech and breeding to enhance nutritional traits in corn and investigated potential unintended effects of genetic engineering.

Refreshments and socializing after the talk.

March NCAS Lecture
Curious about fad diets and other quick weight-loss claims?  National Institutes of Health biophysicist Kevin D. Hall, PhD will discuss how diet and physical activity dynamically interact to affect human body weight.  Saturday, March 14 at 1:30 pm at National Science Foundation.

CityLab Article Features NCAS SkepTour Map
A February 6 article in CityLab (an Atlantic Media site covering city life and other urban topics) features the NCAS SkepTour* map of the DC area, an ongoing crowd-sourced field guide of places with scientific, pseudo-scientific, and cultural significance to skeptics.

Do you have a suggested location for the map?  Send it, along with any supporting background information, to

* (Note: NCAS SkepTour is not affiliated with College of Curiosity Field Trips, formerly known as "SkepTours," a project of College of Curiosity.)

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 by February 28 for more information.

In October 2013, Amazon launched the AmazonSmile Foundation, which allows customers to support their favorite charitable organizations when shopping at, at no added cost.  The AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price from eligible AmazonSmile purchases to the customer's designated 501(c)(3) public charitable organization. NCAS has registered as a participating organization.

For more information:

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 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

Drinking Skeptically in MD and  VA (New Start Time!)

On Wednesday, February 11 at 6:30 p.m. please join fellow NCASers at either of our simultaneous DC-area Drinking Skeptically events:
Drinking Skeptically Bottle
Cap Logo
Jackie's Sidebar
8081 Georgia Avenue (entrance on Sligo Avenue) in Silver Spring, MD

The Front Page Arlington
Rear patio / National Science Foundation atrium
4201 Wilson Blvd (across from Ballston Common Mall) in Arlington, VA
                         (703) 248-9990

The most recent Washingtonian magazine list of the best DC-area bars (2013) includes Jackie's Sidebar: "Insider tip: Sop up the spirits with some of the best bar snacks around. We love the Chicago-style dog and grilled-seaweed-sprinkled popcorn."

Drinking Skeptically is an informal social event designed to promote fellowship and networking among skeptics, critical-thinkers, and like-minded individuals. There's no cover charge and all are welcome. Don't drink? Don't let that stop you from joining us! Some of the world's most famous skeptics are teetotalers, and we are happy to have you! Remember that drinking skeptically means drinking responsibly. If there's one thing science has taught us, it's the effects of alcohol on the human body.

Skeptic Line Number
As of March 2013, NCAS has switched telephone numbers, from 301-587-3827 to 240-670-NCAS (6227).

Time to Renew?

Be sure to check your renewal date above your postal address on the Shadow Light postcard. Send any queries to  Use the online membership form to renew.