Sunday, January 10, 2021

Shadow of a Doubt - January 2021


January 2021

NCAS Public Lecture Series

The Doctor Who Fooled the World:
Science, Deception, and the War on Vaccines

 YouTube Live Event with Q and A 

Presented by Brian Deer
Author / Investigative Journalist

Saturday, January 9, 1:30pm US/Eastern (UTC-05:00)

NCASVideo YouTube Channel:

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


Brian Deer is a British investigative reporter, best known for inquiries into the drug industry, medicine and social issues for The Sunday Times. The Doctor Who Fooled the World is his first book, followed this month by the science thriller Blind Trial. Deer has won multiple awards and nominations for his investigations for The Sunday Times and the UK's Channel 4 network, including two British Press Awards as the specialist reporter of the year, and an honorary D.Litt degree.

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 "O."

3) The live stream begins shortly before 1:30pm US/Eastern (UTC-05:00) on Saturday, January 9, 2021.

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.

January PhACT Lecture

Our skeptical neighbors to the north, the Philadelphia Association for Critical Thinking (PhACT), will host their next online event on Saturday, January 16 at 2 PM ET. Speaker Marc Zimmer (Jean C. Tempel ’65 Professor of Chemistry at Connecticut College) will discuss his book, The State of Science: What the Future Holds and the Scientists Making It Happen. Details at

February NCAS Lecture

On Saturday, February 13 at 2:30 PM ET (note the unusual start time), live on the NCASVideo YouTube channel, our speaker will be magician/mentalist/skeptic Banachek.

Torn From Today's Headlines
By Scott Snell
Summary of "Utah Monolith" News

The following information is provided as a public service for readers who want to know something about the so-called "monolith" recently found in southeastern Utah, before deciding whether or not to dive into the Wikipedia page: (

On November 19, the object first came to public notice in an Instagram post by the Utah Department of Public Safety (DPS) Aero Bureau, showing what they'd found the day before while working with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. (The post,, is deleted, but still available from a screen grab of the original:

On November 24, journalist Nouska du Saar and analyst H. I. Sutton independently used satellite imagery to determine that the object was placed on the site between July 7 and October 21, 2016: ( and, respectively). Subsequent images also show the object in place, suggesting that it may have been there continuously from 2016 to discovery.

Over the next few days, curiosity about the object drew a concerning number of tourists to visit the remote site, disturbing the area's environment. At about 8:40 PM MT on November 27, when photographer Ross Bernards and three friends were alone at the site, four men arrived, managed to push the object over, dismantle it, and cart it off. Bernards described and documented the activity on Instagram:

(UFO buffs will be amused to learn that Ross Bernards was born and raised in McMinnville, Oregon, not far from where a famous UFO photographic sighting in 1950 occurred:
By the way, there's no indication that Bernards has any interest in UFOs.)

One of the photos showed the innards of the object. Clearly not a true monolith (defined as "a single great stone often in the form of an obelisk or column"), it was a hollow triangular prism formed by metal sheets.

The object has been described as reminiscent of the monoliths in 2001: A Space Odyssey, though those were black, not silver, and were rectangular solids.

The Utah DPS has a helpful press release about the object:

NY Times coverage:

The NY Times article described the object as containing "an armature made from plywood," but if so, the video posted by the alleged "wrecking crew" doesn't show it.

Wikipedia has a page about similar-looking objects that have been sighted over the ensuing weeks:

AmazonSmile: Thanks to our members who are supporting NCAS!

When holiday 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 third quarter of 2020 came to $24.92, meaning that $5000 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 75 minutes of a Montgomery County lecture room rental.)

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

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.