Thursday, September 08, 2016

Shadow of a Doubt - September 2016

 The Monthly Calendar of the National Capital Area Skeptics
  • September 10 - "They Called Me Mad: Genius, Madness, and the Scientists Who Pushed the Outer Limits of Knowledge" Presented by John Monahan, Science Writer/Teacher/Author
  • October NCAS Lecture
  • October 20: I’m Not Afraid of No Ghost Tour!
  • NCAS Board Elections 
  • Torn from today's headlines
  • AmazonSmile: Thanks to our members who are supporting NCAS!
  • Shadow Light
  • Drinking Skeptically on hiatus
NCAS Public Lecture Series

They Called Me Mad:
Genius, Madness, and the Scientists Who Pushed the Outer Limits of Knowledge
John Monahan
Science Writer/Teacher/Author

Saturday, September 10, 1:30pm - 4:00pm
Bethesda Regional Library
7400 Arlington Road
Bethesda, MD
(Bethesda Metro station)
FREE admission – Everyone welcome, members and non-members
From Dr. Frankenstein to Dr. Horrible, the mad scientist has become an icon in books, movies, comics and games. We love them, loathe them. We tremble and laugh at them, but why? Is it the fiendish devices, the willful disregard for the scientific orthodoxy, or is it all the maniacal laughter? Believe it or not, many of them are based on real scientists who pushed the boundaries of science, only to earn the scorn of their peers. Join us for a conversation of mad scientists fictional and real from the past, present and future, if you dare. "Bwa ha ha ha ha ha ha!"

John Monahan is a science writer and long-time science teacher in Baltimore City. He has taught biology, chemistry and physics, at both the middle school and high school level, and has had the opportunity to integrate science fiction into his science curriculum. In addition he has taught classes on writing science fiction. He is also the author of the book They Called Me Mad: Genius, Madness and the Scientists Who Pushed the Outer Limits of Knowledge. John is a long-term resident of Baltimore and is a graduate of Towson University, where he received a Bachelor’s degree in science and a Master’s degree in professional writing. Currently, he blogs on his Mad4Science blog at

Refreshments and socializing after the talk.

October NCAS Lecture

Eric Cline, PhD, Professor of Classics and Anthropology at The George Washington University, will present a lecture based on his acclaimed book, 1177 B.C.: The Year Civilization Collapsed. Why did the Bronze Age come to an end? Might the collapse of those ancient civilizations hold some warnings for our current society? Saturday, October 8 at 1:30 PM at Bethesda Library.

October 20: I’m Not Afraid of No Ghost Tour!

The scary season is nearly upon us! (We're talking about Halloween month, not the eIection.)  It'll be an eerie night when we gather on Capitol Hill and make our way past sites of (alleged) supernatural import, sharing spooky claims and the skeptical truth.  This 90-minute walking SkepTour will take us along the National Mall and end at Old Ebbitt Grill, where we'll stop for refreshments before heading home. Thursday, October 20 at 7 PM.  (Rain date, October 21.)  Meet on First Street SE at the Neptune Fountain, in front of the Library of Congress. See

Board of Directors Election

Results of May's NCAS member vote on candidates for the board of directors have been tabulated. Re-elected and incumbent members are: Nelson Davis Jr, Chip Denman, Grace Denman, Bing Garthright, Brian Gregory, Curtis Haymore, Sharon Hill, Beth Kingsley, J. D. Mack, Melissa Pollak, Walter F. Rowe, Scott Snell, and Marv Zelkowitz.

At its May 24 meeting, the NCAS board of directors selected its officers, who are: Marv Zelkowitz, president; J. D. Mack, vice president; Walter F. Rowe, secretary; and Beth Kingsley, treasurer.

Torn From Today's Headlines
By Scott Snell

Nothing torn this month.  But check out NCAS board member Sharon Hill's skeptically-themed news site, Doubtful News (, as well as the blog ( for her book reviews and other writings.

AmazonSmile: Thanks to our members who are supporting NCAS!

When shopping at, you'll find the same low prices, vast selection, and convenient shopping experience as, 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 first half of 2016 came to $31.26, meaning that over $6000 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 one hour of a Montgomery County library lecture room rental: $20).

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

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
NCAS Drinking Skeptically is on indefinite hiatus at our Maryland and Virginia locations.

Time to Renew?

If you are an NCAS member, 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: (If you are not a member, wouldn't you like to be? Go to the same URL to join.)