Monday, October 12, 2020

November 14 - In a World…A Hollywood View of Planets

Presented by Caitlin Ahrens, Ph. D.
NASA Solar System Ambassador

Saturday, November 14, 2020

1:30 pm (Online Virtual Talk)

The link to view the live stream of this talk is

In this presentation, Dr. Caitlin Ahrens will explore the changing views of planetary sciences through cinematic history, venturing across fascinating planetary landscapes, first on the silver screen, and then again in real planetary photographs. She will also discuss “dangerous” planets and their prospects for astrobiology.

Dr. Ahrens is a planetary scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, studying lunar ices and impact craters. She also produces the “Scratching the Surface” weekly segment (and forthcoming podcast) about planetary science news for KUAF-FM, the NPR station in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Named one of the 2018 Ten Outstanding Young Americans by JCI USA, Dr. Ahrens volunteers as a “NASA Solar System Ambassador,” communicating the science and excitement of NASA's space exploration missions and discoveries with the people in their communities.

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Shadow of a Doubt - October 2020

  • October 10- Lecture: Synchronicity, Presented by Paul Halpern, PhD
  • November 14 Lecture: Caitlin Ahrens, PhD will talk on "In a World ... A Hollywood View of Planets."
  • Message to Current and Prospective NCAS Members
  • Robert L. Park: NCAS Mourns the death of long-time friend of NCAS who died on April 29.
  • Belgian Skeptics Seek Crowdfunding after Multimillionaire Takes Lawsuit to Appeals Court
  • Amazon Smile helps to support NCAS 
  • Shadow Lite
  • Time to Renew?
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Shadow of a Doubt - October 2020

 October 2020

NCAS Public Lecture Series

The Epic Quest to Understand the Quantum Nature of Cause and Effect

 YouTube Live Event with Q and A 

Presented by Paul Halpern, PhD
Professor of Physics, University of the Sciences in Philadelphia

Saturday, October 10, 1:30pm US/Eastern (UTC-04:00)

NCASVideo YouTube Channel:

 For more information, call the NCAS Skeptic Line at 240-670-NCAS (6227).

In this talk, Paul Halpern will discuss his new book, Synchronicity: The Epic Quest to Understand the Quantum Nature of Cause and EffectSynchronicity is a popular science book about the search for connections in nature, from the debates of the ancient Greeks to modern quantum teleportation experiments, centering on the dialogue between Nobel physicist Wolfgang Pauli and psychoanalyst Carl Jung in the mid-20th century.  Together they explored a concept called "synchronicity," a weird phenomenon they thought could link events without causes.

 Paul Halpern is a professor of physics at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia and the author of sixteen popular science books, including The Quantum Labyrinth and Einstein's Dice and Schrödinger's Cat. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship and a Fulbright scholarship, and is a fellow of the American Physical Society. He lives near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.




There will be an online question-and-answer segment after the presentation.

 How to Watch and Participate in this Online Event:

 1) Use a supported browser...

2) Use the link .  If typing the link, use capital "I" and "0" (zeroes).

3) The live stream begins shortly before 1:30pm US/Eastern (UTC-04:00) on Saturday, October 10, 2020.

4) To post questions, you must be signed in to a Google account.

5) Post your questions in the chat window to the right of the video player when the live stream is active.

6) Click into where it says "Say something..." and begin typing (up to 200 characters). Then click the send icon .

 Along with your question, please post what city or town you're in.

Message to Current and Prospective NCAS Members

In response to the economic hardship and other uncertainties that our members may be facing, NCAS has automatically extended by one year all memberships that expire in 2020 or later.  Payment will be accepted for new memberships as well as renewals for 2019 and before: new and renewed will have a bonus year added.  Each life member may sponsor a new one-year membership at no charge.  (Double life memberships may sponsor two.)  Send your sponsored member's name and contact information to This offer will continue until further notice.

November NCAS Lecture

Caitlin Ahrens, PhD, a planetary scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, will present "In a World…A Hollywood View of Planets."  Venture along fascinating planetary landscapes on the silver screen and real planetary photographs for discussions of "dangerous" planets and the potential for astrobiology.  Saturday, November 14 at 1:30 PM ET, live on the NCASVideo YouTube channel.

Robert L. Park (1931-2020)
NCAS mourns the death of Bob Park, Professor Emeritus of Physics at the University of Maryland at College Park.  Park, who died on April 29, brought his skeptical message to the public through op-ed pages of major newspapers, appearances in radio and television programs, and his often controversial What’s New weekly feature (1984-2013) on science policy issues.  His first non-technical book, Voodoo Science: The Road from Foolishness to Fraud (published in 2000 by Oxford University Press and translated into ten languages), synthesized much of his commentary regarding "infinite free energy" machines, magnetic healing, a purported link between cancer and power lines or cell phones, cold fusion, and other junk science.

In March 2008, NCAS presented its Philip J. Klass Award to Park for outstanding contributions in promoting critical thinking and scientific understanding.  Later that year, Princeton University Press published Superstition: Belief in the Age of Science, Park's scathing perspective on supernatural beliefs, including "New Age" spiritualism and faith-based medical claims.

 Dr. Park gave a talk on Superstition to NCAS in September 2009:

The University of Maryland's obituary for Park:

The Internet Archive's capture of the What's New issues archive covering 1987-2013:

Park's talk on Voodoo Science, presented as part of an NCAS workshop in April 2002, was described in the NCAS Skeptical Eye:

The citation for Park's Philip J. Klass Award is available here...

...and the award is on display in the University of Maryland's Physics Department lobby:

(Photo by Chip Denman)

Belgian Skeptics Seek Crowdfunding after Multimillionaire Takes Lawsuit to Appeals Court

Recently the president of the Belgium skeptics group SKEPP ( emailed, seeking crowdfunded financial support for two SKEPP authors who "criticized the content of the pseudo-scientific master classes as well as the marketing tricks [Carl] Van de Velde [similar to Tony Robbins] uses to attract participants."  The authors won the lawsuit brought by Van de Velde...

...but Van de Velde is taking the case to the Court of Appeals.  See the SKEPP site for more info about the case, and how to contribute to the authors' legal defense:

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 second quarter of 2020 came to $32.84, meaning that over $6500 of purchases were designated in support of NCAS.  (As an example of how NCAS can put that money to good use, it's enough to cover 90 minutes of a Montgomery County lecture room rental.)

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

For more information:

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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.