Monday, December 10, 2018

January 12 - Science Education and Storytelling: Combatting Denialism With Better (and True!) Stories


Presented by Sean B. Carroll, Ph.D
Dept. of Science Education, Howard Hughes Medical Institute


From Dr. Seuss to Disney, Harry Potter to Game of Thrones, we grow up and live in a world teeming with stories. In all forms of media - books, films, television, radio, and the internet, stories are the currency of everyday life. Yet they are strangely absent from the science classroom.

Despite a universal appreciation and thirst for stories, and considerable evidence for their pedagogical power, stories are underutilized in formal education, and in learning science in particular. One of my main goals as a scientist, educator, and storyteller is to encourage the use of stories in science education.  I will discuss why stories have an important place in the science classroom, and how they can help further the inroads being made in the teaching and acceptance of contentious subjects such as evolution.

Sean B. Carroll is an award-winning evolutionary biologist, author, educator, and film producer. He leads the Department of Science Education of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), the largest private supporter of science education activities in the US, is the Executive Director of HHMI Tangled Bank Studios, and is the Andrew and Mary Balo and Nicholas and Susan Simon Endowed Chair of Biology at the University of Maryland. He is also Professor Emeritus of Genetics and Molecular Biology at the University of Wisconsin.

A prominent science communicator in print and on film, Carroll is the author of eight books, and has served as an executive producer of nearly thirty feature or short documentary films including The Farthest: Voyager in Space which recently won the Emmy for Outstanding Science Documentary. Carroll is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Philosophical Society.  http://seanbcarroll.com/

Saturday, January 12, 2019
1:30 pm

Tysons-Pimmit Regional Library
7584 Leesburg Pike
Falls Church, VA 

(Note: This is a different location from usual. NCAS has not met here for perhaps 10 years.)

Friday, November 30, 2018

December 8 - Genomic Medicine: Today and Tomorrow

Presented by Anastasia Wise, Ph.D.


Saturday, December 8, 2018, 1:30 pm

Argosy University
1550 Wilson Blvd.
Suite 712
Arlington, VA


Near Rosslyn Metro.  Parking garage accessible from N. Pierce Street. There is controlled building access so please arrive on time.



Genomic medicine, utilizing genomic information in clinical care, aims to improve clinical management, prevent complications, and promote health. With many names often used interchangeably, including genomic medicine, precision medicine, and personalized medicine, we’ll discuss what genomic medicine is and the clinical testing that is available today to improve diagnosis and therapy.  We’ll explore common misconceptions as well as success stories regarding genomic medicine implementation, particularly disease diagnosis, and conclude with what may be possible in the future.

Dr. Wise is a program director in the Division of Genomic Medicine at the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI). She received her Ph.D. in genetics and genomics from Duke University and joined NHGRI in 2010.  At NHGRI she serves as project officer for programs advancing the application of genomics to medical science and clinical care with a focus on perinatal sequencing, undiagnosed and rare disease genomic medicine, and sex chromosome analysis and association methods. She is also a project scientist for the Newborn Sequencing in Genomic Medicine and Public Health (NSIGHT) program, which aims to explore the potential implications, challenges and opportunities associated with the possible use of genomic sequence information in the newborn period. Her other research interests include gene-environment interactions in complex disease, pharmaco/toxicogenomics, and ethical, legal, and social issues related to the use of genetic information.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

December 1 - Meet the SGU Podcast Rogues

The Rogues of the Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe podcast are going to be in Washington, D.C., and you have the opportunity to meet them! Join us on Saturday, December 1 from 6:00 – 8:00 pm at the Cambria Hotel lounge, located at 899 O St NW in Washington, DC. The lounge has full dinner service as well as a bar. Pick up the new book  The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe: How to Know What's Really Real in a World Increasingly Full of Fake beforehand and they will be happy to sign it for you (available at Amazon.com and other online booksellers).

For those thinking of attending the SGU meetup, here is some important information regarding how to get there.

For those coming by Metro from Greenbelt and points after, the Shaw – Howard University station is where you'd want to exit. It is a 0.3 mile walk from the Shaw station to the hotel. Red Line riders may, if they wish, walk 0.7 miles from the Gallery Place station to the hotel, or take a free shuttle to the Mt. Vernon Sq. station and walk 0.3 miles, or take bus 70.  There will be no Yellow Line service at all on Dec. 1.  Metro track work schedules are subject to change, so if you are coming by Metro, be sure to check their website before heading out.

Parking in the garage at 1415 9th Street NW will be $6.00 per hour according to Colonial Parking. However, any special events that night might affect the cost.

Not sure who or what the Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe is?

“The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe is a weekly, 80-minute podcast hosted by Steven Novella, MD, and a panel of "skeptical rogues". It is the official podcast of the New England Skeptical Society. The show features discussions of recent scientific developments in layman's terms, and interviews authors, people in the area of science and other famous skeptics. The show also includes discussions of myths, conspiracy theories, pseudoscience, the paranormal, and many general forms of superstition, from the point of view of scientific skepticism.” (Wikipedia.org)

The Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe podcast has been producing weekly episodes since 2005.

Visit https://www.theskepticsguide.org/ to listen to the latest episode or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes.   

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Shadow of a Doubt - November 2018

  • November 3 lecture - The Disappearance of Cyclops: Lost Without a Trace Presented by Marvin W. Barrash
  • Amazon Smile Donation Increases
  • December 8 lecture: Anastasia Wise, PhD of NIH's National Human Genome Research Institute will present Genomic Medicine.
  • Torn from today's headlines
  • Shadow Light
  • Member renewals
Click to see Shadow.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Shadow of a Doubt - November 2018

The Monthly Calendar of the National Capital Area Skeptics

  • November 3 lecture - The Disappearance of Cyclops: Lost Without a Trace Presented by Marvin W. Barrash
  • Amazon Smile Donation Increases
  • December 8 lecture: Anastasia Wise, PhD of NIH's National Human Genome Research Institute will present Genomic Medicine.
  • Torn from today's headlines
  • Shadow Light
  • Member renewals

November 2018


NCAS Public Lecture Series

The Disappearance of Cyclops:
Lost Without a Trace

Presented by Marvin W. Barrash

             Saturday, November 3, 1:30pm - 4:00pm
Connie Morella Library
7400 Arlington Road
Bethesda, MD [map] [directions]
(Bethesda Metro station)
FREE admission – Everyone welcome, members and non-members

2018 marks the centennial of the final voyage of U.S.S. Cyclops, a U.S. Navy collier.  After departing Barbados for Baltimore on March 4, 1918, no radio signal was received from it, and no trace of the 542-foot vessel or the 309 people aboard was ever found.

The details of this genuine mystery of the sea have been obscured by sensational promoters of "The Bermuda Triangle" myth, but author Marvin W. Barrash has meticulously researched the legendary ship and the men aboard her, including one of his great-uncles, in his book, U.S.S. Cyclops (Heritage Books, 2010).

What are the more likely explanations for the disappearance of Cyclops, and where might the wreck be found?  The solution to this century-old mystery may soon be within reach.

A life member of the U.S. Naval Institute and the Naval Historical Foundation, Marvin W. Barrash has provided many years of volunteer service with the Naval History and Heritage Command, Washington Navy Yard.  He has produced finding aids for many artifacts and documents, assisted in preservation of historical materials, and researched responses to historical inquiries. He has appeared on-camera as the subject matter expert concerning the U.S.S. Cyclops in two television documentaries produced for the National Geographic Channel.  Barrash continues his research with the hope that the ship's remains will be located and studied, not salvaged.

Copies of U.S.S. Cyclops (hardcover, 794 pages, $152) and his latest book, the prequel Murder on the Abarenda (Heritage Books, 2016; paperback, 176 pages, $21), will be available for purchase (cash only, please) and signing by the author.


Sunday, October 14, 2018

November 3 - The Disappearance of Cyclops: Lost Without a Trace

Presented by Marvin W. Barrash

2018 marks the centennial of the final voyage of U.S.S. Cyclops, a U.S. Navy collier.  After departing Barbados for Baltimore on March 4, 1918, no radio signal was received from it, and no trace of the 542-foot vessel or the 309 people aboard was ever found.

The details of this genuine mystery of the sea have been obscured by sensational promoters of “The Bermuda Triangle” myth, but author Marvin W. Barrash has meticulously researched the legendary ship and the men aboard her, including one of his great-uncles, in his book, U.S.S. Cyclops (Heritage Books, 2010).

What are the more likely explanations for the disappearance of Cyclops, and where might the wreck be found?  The solution to this century-old mystery may soon be within reach.


A life member of the U.S. Naval Institute and the Naval Historical Foundation, Marvin W. Barrash has provided many years of volunteer service with the Naval History and Heritage Command, Washington Navy Yard.  He has produced finding aids for many artifacts and documents, assisted in preservation of historical materials, and researched responses to historical inquiries. He has appeared on-camera as the subject matter expert concerning the U.S.S. Cyclops in two television documentaries produced for the National Geographic Channel.  Barrash continues his research with the hope that the ship’s remains will be located and studied, not salvaged.

Copies of U.S.S. Cyclops and his latest book, the prequel Murder on the Abarenda (Heritage Books, 2016), will be available for purchase and signing by the author.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

1:30 pm

Connie Morella Library

7400 Arlington Road
Bethesda, MD

FREE admission – Everyone welcome, members and non-members



Shadow of a Doubt - October 2018

The Monthly Calendar of the National Capital Area Skeptics

  • October 13 lecture - Investigating Mysteries: Out-of-the-Box Thinking that Solved Strange Cases Presented by Kenny Biddle
  • Special NCAS Meetup - Lecture and Exhibit about Harry Houdini on October 21
  • October 13 lecture: Photographer (and former ghost hunter) Kenny Biddle will demystify paranormal videos
  • November NCAS Lecture The Disappearance of U.S.S. Cyclops: Lost Without a Trace
  • The Latest Addition to the NCAS YouTube Channel
  • CSICon 2018
  • In Memoriam
  • Follow-up on YouTube "Information Panels"
  • AmazonSmile: Thanks to our members who are supporting NCAS!
  • Shadow Light
  • Member renewals

October 2018

NCAS Public Lecture Series

Investigating Mysteries: Out-of-the-Box Thinking that Solved Strange Cases

Presented by Kenny Biddle

This presentation will cover some of the methods Kenny Biddle has used to solve cases, from a singing child ghost to whether Elvis Presley secretly starred in the film "Home Alone." He will take a closer look at the documentaries "The Demon House" and "The Blackwell Ghost," as well as a viral video of a screaming ghost at a Wingate hotel in Illinois. He will expose hoaxes from a Gettysburg battlefield and from a compilation video of ghost car crashes. Along the way, he will talk about the details and methods that eventually lead to these mysteries being solved. 

Kenny Biddle is a science enthusiast who investigates claims of paranormal experiences, photos, videos, and gadgetry. He promotes science, critical thinking, and skepticism through his YouTube video blog, "I Am Kenny Biddle." He has been a photography consultant for Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) for almost a decade. He often hosts workshops and lectures on alleged paranormal photography, providing a better understanding of how anomalies have natural explanations. Kenny is a columnist for the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, with his work appearing in publications around the world. Kenny is open to the idea of paranormal claims and works to test them for validity. He currently offers an Electronic Voice Phenomenon (EVP) Challenge at the White Hill Mansion that comes with a cash prize should anyone pass the challenge.  

Saturday, October 13, 2018
1:30 pm 
Connie Morella Library
7400 Arlington Road
Bethesda, MD

Refreshments and socializing after the talk.
FREE admission – Everyone welcome, members and non-members

https://www.ncas.org/2018/09/october-13-investigating-mysteries-out.html

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Shadow of a Doubt - October 2018

The Monthly Calendar of the National Capital Area Skeptics

  • October 13 lecture - Investigating Mysteries: Out-of-the-Box Thinking that Solved Strange Cases Presented by Kenny Biddle
  • Special NCAS Meetup - Lecture and Exhibit about Harry Houdini on October 21
  • October 13 lecture: Photographer (and former ghost hunter) Kenny Biddle will demystify paranormal videos
  • November NCAS Lecture The Disappearance of U.S.S. Cyclops: Lost Without a Trace
  • The Latest Addition to the NCAS YouTube Channel
  • CSICon 2018
  • In Memoriam
  • Follow-up on YouTube "Information Panels"
  • AmazonSmile: Thanks to our members who are supporting NCAS!
  • Shadow Light
  • Member renewals
Click to see Shadow.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

October 13 - Investigating Mysteries: Out-of-the-Box Thinking that Solved Strange Cases

Presented by Kenny Biddle


This presentation will cover some of the methods Kenny Biddle has used to solve cases, from a singing child ghost to whether Elvis Presley secretly starred in the film "Home Alone." He will take a closer look at the documentaries "The Demon House" and "The Blackwell Ghost," as well as a viral video of a screaming ghost at a Wingate hotel in Illinois. He will expose hoaxes from a Gettysburg battlefield and from a compilation video of ghost car crashes. Along the way, he will talk about the details and methods that eventually lead to these mysteries being solved. 


Kenny Biddle is a science enthusiast who investigates claims of paranormal experiences, photos, videos, and gadgetry. He promotes science, critical thinking, and skepticism through his YouTube video blog, "I Am Kenny Biddle." He has been a photography consultant for Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) for almost a decade. He often hosts workshops and lectures on alleged paranormal photography, providing a better understanding of how anomalies have natural explanations. Kenny is a columnist for the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, with his work appearing in publications around the world. Kenny is open to the idea of paranormal claims and works to test them for validity. He currently offers an Electronic Voice Phenomenon (EVP) Challenge at the White Hill Mansion that comes with a cash prize should anyone pass the challenge.  


Saturday, October 13, 2018
1:30 pm 

Connie Morella Library

7400 Arlington Road
Bethesda, MD

FREE admission – Everyone welcome, members and non-members

Saturday, September 08, 2018

Shadow of a Doubt - September 2018

The Monthly Calendar of the National Capital Area Skeptics

  • September 8 lecture - UFOs, the Air Force and the Colorado Study by Retired USAF Colonel David J. Shea
  • History and Project Blue Book
  • October 13 lecture: Photographer (and former ghost hunter) Kenny Biddle will demystify paranormal videos
  • NCAS Board Elections:Results
  • Prez Sez
  • Quick Shout Outs 
  • Torn from today's headlines
  • AmazonSmile: Thanks to our members who are supporting NCAS!
  • Shadow Light
  • Member renewals

September 2018

NCAS Public Lecture Series

UFOs, the Air Force, and the Colorado Study

Presented by Retired USAF Colonel David J. Shea


Saturday, September 8, 1:30pm - 4:00pm
Connie Morella Library
7400 Arlington Road
Bethesda, MD [map] [directions]
(Bethesda Metro station)
FREE admission – Everyone welcome, members and non-members

The US Air Force investigated UFO reports for more than two decades (1947-1969). By the time the final investigations project (called “Blue Book”) ended, over 12,000 reports had been investigated, and 701 remained unidentified.

During the final years of Project Blue Book, the University of Colorado was contracted by the USAF to conduct a scientific study of UFOs “in more detail and depth than [had] been possible to date.”

USAF Captain David J. Shea was the Pentagon press spokesman for Project Blue Book from 1967 to its termination in December 1969. Now a retired Colonel, he’ll provide a first-hand account of the USAF's work with the University of Colorado and physicist Edward U. Condon, the director of the study.

Note: In 1999, the Colorado Study’s final report was transcribed for the Internet by NCAS and hosted at ncas.org by permission of The Regents of the University of Colorado.

David J. Shea received a bachelor’s degree in communication arts from Fordham University. He was designated a distinguished graduate of the Air Force ROTC program there and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the regular Air Force. He earned his master’s degree in mass communications from the University of Denver and wrote his thesis on “The UFO Phenomenon: A Study in Public Relations,” based in part on his interview of Dr. Condon.

All his Air Force assignments were in the public affairs career field, including director of Public Affairs for three Air Force major commands: Air Training Command, United States Air Forces in Europe and Air Force Systems Command. Shea concluded his military career as the director of Defense Information, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, the Pentagon, in October 1988.

He joined Hughes Aircraft Company in its Washington DC office, which merged with Raytheon Company in December 1997 where he was the director of media relations.
Shea is a co-author of Media Isn’t A Four Letter Word, a guidebook providing tips and techniques for executives on how to deal with the press. Originally published in 1994, the book is now in its fifth edition.

Refreshments and socializing after the talk.

http://www.ncas.org/2018/08/september-8-ufos-air-force-and-colorado.html

Saturday, September 01, 2018

Shadow of a Doubt - May 2018

The Monthly Calendar of the National Capital Area Skeptics

  • May 19 lecture - Public Perception of Science presented by Adam Ruben
  • NCAS Board Elections: Electronic voting
  • Skeptics talks at Balticon 52
  • AmazonSmile: Thanks to our members who are supporting NCAS!
  • Shadow Light
  • Member renewals

May 2018


NCAS Public Lecture Series

The Public Perception of Science:
Lessons from a Dead Sheep

Adam Ruben, PhD
Writer, Comedian, and Molecular Biologist

Saturday, May 19, 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

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.



NCAS Board Elections: Electronic Voting
The upcoming 2018 NCAS election will use electronic voting.  When voting begins, each member will receive an email from NCAS (via surveymonkey.com) containing a unique web address usable as a single-cast secret ballot.  (NCAS will receive information indicating who voted, but nothing to indicate who cast each ballot.)

Note that voters will not be at risk for spamming as a result of participating...SurveyMonkey has a zero-tolerance spam policy:
https://www.surveymonkey.com/mp/legal/anti-spam-policy/


Skeptics Talks at Balticon 52
Balticon 52, the Maryland Regional Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention (May 25-28, 2018 at The Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel) will include talks on various science and skeptical topics.  Speakers will include past NCAS lecturers Bruce Press, Thomas Holtz, and Adam Ruben.  Registration details are at https://balticon.org/wp52/registration/


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

Friday, August 17, 2018

September 8 - UFOs, the Air Force, and the Colorado Study

Presented by Retired USAF Colonel David J. Shea


The US Air Force investigated UFO reports for more than two decades (1947-1969).  By the time the final investigations project (called “Blue Book”) ended, over 12,000 reports had been investigated, and 701 remained unidentified.


USAF Captain David J. Shea was the Pentagon press spokesman for Project Blue Book from 1967 to its termination in December 1969.  During the final years of Project Blue Book, the University of Colorado was contracted by the USAF to conduct a scientific study of UFOs “in more detail and depth than [had] been possible to date.”  Now a retired Colonel, Shea will provide a first-hand account of the USAF's work with the University of Colorado and physicist Edward U. Condon, the director of the study.

(Note: In 1999, the Colorado Study’s final report (The "Condon Report") was transcribed for the Internet by NCAS and hosted at ncas.org by permission of The Regents of the University of Colorado.)

David J. Shea received a bachelor’s degree in communication arts from Fordham University. He was designated a distinguished graduate of the Air Force ROTC program there and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the regular Air Force. He earned his master’s degree in mass communications from the University of Denver and wrote his thesis on “The UFO Phenomenon: A Study in Public Relations,” based in part on his interview of  Dr. Condon. Shea concluded his military career as the director of Defense Information, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, the Pentagon, in October 1988.

He joined Hughes Aircraft Company in its Washington DC office, which merged with Raytheon Company in December 1997 where he was the director of media relations.

Shea is a co-author of Media Isn’t A Four Letter Word, a guidebook providing tips and techniques for executives on how to deal with the press. Originally published in 1994, the book is now in its fifth edition. 


Saturday, September 8, 2018
1:30 pm 

Connie Morella Library 
(Formerly Bethesda Regional Library)
7400 Arlington Road

Bethesda, MD

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.


Monday, March 12, 2018

Shadow of a Doubt - March 2018

The Monthly Calendar of the National Capital Area Skeptics

  • March 10 lecture - Science Moms: Documentary Screening and Q & A
  • April 21 lecture - Understanding Eyewitness Evidence and Confession Evidence in Criminal Cases: A Sensitive Skeptic’s Guide.
  • NCAS Board Elections: Call for Candidates
  • AmazonSmile: Thanks to our members who are supporting NCAS!
  • Shadow Light
  • Member renewals

NCAS Public Lecture Series


March 2018

Science Moms
Documentary Screening and Q & A

Natalie Newell
Producer/Director

Jenny Splitter
Science Writer

Saturday, March 10, 1:30pm - 4:00pm
Argosy University
1550 Wilson Blvd.
Suite 712
Arlington, VA [map] [directions]
(Near Rosslyn Metro stop)
Enter parking garage from N Pierce Street.
FREE admission – Everyone welcome, members and non-members
Please arrive before 1:30 so we can provide passage through the building access control system.

Science Moms is a film that will give a voice to the science-minded moms – the women who are too often drowned out by the fear mongers, the shamers, and the CelebMoms. Through interviews with "science moms" who are on the front lines of this struggle, we’ll dissect the bogus claims of these celebrities one by one and explain in simple language what the science really shows about GMOs, vaccines, homeopathy, and any of these topics that are often in the headlines, yet even more often are misunderstood.

We can’t change everyone’s minds, but we can make our voices heard. One mom at a time.

The film will be followed by a Q&A with director Natalie Newell and science writer/film participant Jenny Splitter.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lDfmZzY2leA

Sunday, February 18, 2018

March 10 - "Science Moms" - Documentary and Talk by Science Writer Jenny Splitter

Science Moms" - Documentary and Q&A by filmmaker Natalie Newell and science writer Jenny Splitter



Science Moms is a film that will give a voice to the science- minded moms - the women who are too often drowned out by the fear mongers, the shamers, and the CelebMoms. Through interviews with "science moms" who are on the front lines of this struggle, we’ll dissect the bogus claims of these celebrities one by one and explain in simple language what the science really shows about GMOs, vaccines, homeopathy, and any of these topics that are often in the headlines, yet even more often are misunderstood.

We can’t change everyone’s minds, but we can make our voices heard. One mom at a time.

The film will be followed by a Q&A with film maker Natalie Newell and science writer/film participant Jenny Splitter.

Natalie Newell is the director and producer of Science Moms, as well as one of the hosts of The Science Enthusiast  Podcast. Natalie holds an MEd., and worked for a decade in the field of Montessori education before choosing to become a stay-at-home parent, and pursue her interests in science and secular  activism.

Jenny Splitter is a food, science and health writer whose work has been published in Slate, New York magazine's Science of Us, Parents, Salon and other outlets. She's also the mom of two kids who, fortunately and unfortunately, question everything.


Saturday, March 10, 2018
1:30 pm
Argosy University 1550 Wilson Blvd.
Suite 712 Arlington, VA
Near Rosslyn Metro. Parking garage accessible from N. Pierce Street. There is controlled building access so please arrive on time.

FREE admission – Everyone welcome, members and non-members



For more information, call the 24-hour Skeptic Line at 240-670-NCAS (6227). www.ncas.org, ncas@ncas.org

Friday, February 16, 2018

Shadow of a Doubt - February 2018

The Monthly Calendar of the National Capital Area Skeptics

  • February 17 lecture - The Science Behind Mind-Boggling Images and Mystifying Brain Puzzles
  • March 10 lecture - 2017 documentary film about mothers who advocate for science-based decision-making concerning the health and nutrition of children.
  • NCAS Board Elections: Call for Candidates
  • NCAS YouTube Channel
  • AmazonSmile: Thanks to our members who are supporting NCAS!
  • Shadow Light
  • Member renewals

NCAS Public Lecture Series

February 2018

Champions of Illusion:
The Science Behind Mind-Boggling Images and Mystifying Brain Puzzles

Susana Martinez-Conde and Stephen Macknik
State University of New York
Downstate Medical Center

Saturday, February 17, 1:30pm - 4:00pm
Argosy University
1550 Wilson Blvd.
Suite 712
Arlington, VA [map] [directions]
(Near Rosslyn Metro stop)
Enter parking garage from N Pierce Street.
FREE admission – Everyone welcome, members and non-members
Please arrive before 1:30 so we can provide passage through the building access control system.

Susana Martinez-Conde and Stephen Macknik have studied the neuroscience of sensory and cognitive illusions in their laboratories for almost two decades, and promoted those illusions to general audiences as an exciting and spectacular tool to confront our wider misperceptions and sharpen our critical thinking skills in our so-called "post-truth" era.

In their new book, Champions of Illusion, Professors Martinez-Conde and Macknik present a smorgasbord of mystifying images, many selected from their Best Illusion of the Year Contest. If you have ever found yourself face-to-face with an utterly bewildering illusion, you know the powerful effect such images have on the mind. The question we often ask ourselves is, How is that possible? Martinez-Conde and Macknik, who study the intersection of neuroscience, illusions, and stage magic, explain just why we think we see the things we see.

The Best Illusion of the Year Contest draws entries from vision scientists, artists, magicians, and mathematicians. Champions of Illusion features the contest’s most bizarre effects and unbelievable mind tricks, along with classic illusions and illuminating descriptions of what is actually going on in your brain when you are deceived by visuals on the page. Champions of Illusion is an electrifying mix of science and magic that you will not soon forget.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G3diwcnPdWk



Susana Martinez-Conde and Stephen Macknik are award-winning neuroscientists and professors at the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center. They are the authors of the international bestseller Sleights of Mind: What the Neuroscience of Magic Reveals About Our Everyday Deceptions, and have written for publications such as Scientific American, the New York Times, the Sunday Times (London), and How It Works. Their Scientific American contributions include three special editions of Scientific American: Mind dedicated to their work. Their research has been covered by the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Wired, NPR, PBS's NOVA, and more. They produce the Best Illusion of the Year Contest. They live in Brooklyn.

Copies of the Champions of Illusion book will be available for sale for $25 (cash only).

Refreshments and socializing after the talk.

http://www.ncas.org/2018/01/february-17-champions-of-illusion.html

WEATHER CANCELLATION STATUS:
The Arlington weather forecast for Saturday indicates a chance of snow between 1 PM and 4 PM, then snow and sleet.  Chance of precipitation is 80%. New snow and sleet accumulation of less than a half inch possible.
Check http://www.ncas.org, the NCAS Facebook and Meetup sites (and your inbox, if you received the Shadow by email) to see if the event is still on.  The status will be announced no later than 10 AM on Saturday.  You can also phone the 24-hour Skeptic Line at 240-670-NCAS (6227).

Saturday, January 20, 2018

February 17 - Champions of Illusion The Science Behind Mind-Boggling Images and Mystifying Brain Puzzles

Presented by Susana Martinez-Conde
and Stephen Macknik 

State University of New York 
Downstate Medical Center

Susana Martinez-Conde and Stephen Macknik have studied the neuroscience of sensory and cognitive illusions in their laboratories for almost two decades, and promoted those illusions to general audiences as an exciting and spectacular tool to confront our wider misperceptions and sharpen our critical thinking skills in our so-called ‘post-truth’ era.

In Champions of Illusion, Profs. Martinez-Conde and Macknik present a smorgasbord of mystifying images, many selected from their Best Illusion of the Year Contest. If you have ever found yourself face-to-face with an utterly bewildering illusion, you know the powerful effect such images have on the mind. The question we often ask ourselves is, How is that possible? Martinez-Conde and Macknik, who study the intersection of neuroscience, illusions, and stage magic, explain just why we think we see the things we see.


The Best Illusion of the Year Contest draws entries from vision scientists, artists, magicians, and mathematicians. Champions of Illusion features the contest’s most bizarre effects and unbelievable mind tricks, along with classic illusions and illuminating descriptions of what is actually going on in your brain when you are deceived by visuals on the page. Champions of Illusion is an electrifying mix of science and magic that you will not soon forget.


Susana Martinez-Conde and Stephen Macknik are award-winning neuroscientists and professors at the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center. They are the authors of the international bestseller Sleights of Mind: What the Neuroscience of Magic Reveals About Our Everyday Deceptions, and have written for publications such as Scientific American, The New York Times, The Sunday Times (London), and How It Works. Their Scientific American contributions include three special editions of Scientific American: Mind dedicated to their work. Their research has been covered by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Wired, NPR, PBS's NOVA, and more. They produce the Best Illusion of the Year Contest. They live in Brooklyn.

Saturday, February 17, 2018
1:30 pm

Argosy University
1550 Wilson Blvd.
Suite 712
Arlington, VA

Near Rosslyn Metro. Parking garage accessible from N. Pierce Street. There is controlled building access so please arrive on time.

FREE admission – Everyone welcome, members and non-members

Friday, January 19, 2018

Shadow of a Doubt - January 2018

The Monthly Calendar of the National Capital Area Skeptics

  • January 20 lecture - Sharon A. Hill - Scientifical Americans: Paranormal Researchers and the Public Understanding of Science 
  • February 17 lecture - Neuroscientists Susana Martinez-Conde and Stephen Macknik will discuss their new book, Champions of Illusion
  • Torn from Today's Headlines: UFOs
  • AmazonSmile: Thanks to our members who are supporting NCAS!
  • Shadow Light
  • Member renewals

NCAS Public Lecture Series

Scientifical Americans:
Paranormal Researchers and the Public Understanding of Science


Sharon A. Hill
Author

Saturday, January 20, 1:30pm - 4:00pm
Chevy Chase Library
Downstairs Meeting Room
8005 Connecticut Ave
Chevy Chase, MD [map] [directions]
FREE admission – Everyone welcome, members and non-members
In the 21st century, reality television and the Internet have fed public interest in ghosts, UFOs, cryptozoology and other unusual phenomena. By 2010, roughly two thousand amateur research and investigation groups formed in the U.S. – ghost hunters, Bigfoot chasers, and UFO researchers, using an array of (supposedly) scientific equipment and methods with an aim of proving the existence of the paranormal. American culture’s honorific regard for science, coupled with the public’s unfamiliarity with scientific methods, created a niche for self-styled paranormal experts to achieve a measure of respect and authority without scientific training or credentials. These groups of amateurs serve as a surrogate for scientists in examining strange claims. And, they provide a unique lens by which we can examine the wider public understanding of science and research.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cN2xTSbkGBM


Sharon A. Hill is an advocate for science appreciation, critical thinking, and evidence-based inquiry, specializing in pop culture discourse on ghosts, monsters, mysteries, anomalies, and oddities. She is the creator of DoubtfulNews.com, SpookyGeology.com, and the host of the podcast 15 Credibility Street. She has degrees in Geosciences and Education with a focus on science and the public. Her personal website is SharonAHill.com.

Refreshments and socializing after the talk.


http://www.ncas.org/2017/12/january-20-scientifical-americans.html



February NCAS Lecture

Neuroscientists Susana Martinez-Conde and Stephen Macknik will discuss their new book, Champions of Illusion: The Science Behind Mind-Boggling Images and Mystifying Brain Puzzles.  Saturday, February 17 at 1:30 PM at Argosy University, 1550 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 712, Arlington, VA.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G3diwcnPdWk