Friday, March 10, 2023

Shadow of a Doubt - February 2023

 February 2023

NCAS Public Lecture Series

30% of the Time, It Rains Every Time
Inside the Science of Weather and Climate Forecasting

 YouTube Live Event with Q and A 

Tom Di Liberto
Meteorologist - Communication, Education, and Engagement Division
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Climate Program Office

Monday, February 27, 7pm US/Eastern (UTC-05:00)

NCASVideo YouTube Channel:

Ever been stuck in a thunderstorm, annoyed because your weather app says it was supposed to be sunny? Or saddled with three new unused shovels after reading a prediction for a snowier than normal winter? We've all been there, cursing the meteorologist. But what if I told you that 5-day weather forecasts can accurately predict the weather about 90% of the time? And that you're probably thinking about seasonal forecasts entirely the wrong way. What's going on? Come learn how meteorologists actually make their weather and climate forecasts, and what it really means when we say there's a 30% chance of rain.


Tom Di Liberto is a climate scientist and award-winning science communicator working as a federal contractor with Groundswell at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Program Office as the senior climate scientist for NOAA’s and social media editor for the NOAAClimate accounts on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. He has also served as emcee of the Department of State’s U.S. Center at the United Nations climate change conferences COP21, COP22, COP26 and COP27 where he helped lead the U.S. government’s public outreach space during the negotiations.

How to Watch and Participate in this Online Discussion Event:

1) Use a supported browser...

2) Use the link

3) The live stream begins shortly before 7pm US/Eastern (UTC-05:00) on Monday, February 27, 2023.

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.

March NCAS Lecture
For our March event, NCAS invites you to read the book How to Talk to a Science Denier BEFORE March 11, 2023. Then join us on Saturday, March 11 at 1:30 PM ET for an online Q & A with author Lee McIntyre, PhD of the Center for Philosophy and History of Science at Boston University.

Think of it as the ultimate book club meeting...your friends and acquaintances show up to discuss a book, and the author shows up too!

From the book's website:

"Can we change the minds of science deniers? Encounters with flat earthers, anti-vaxxers, coronavirus truthers, and others.

'Climate change is a hoax—and so is coronavirus.' 'Vaccines are bad for you.' These days, many of our fellow citizens reject scientific expertise and prefer ideology to facts. They are not merely uninformed—they are misinformed. They cite cherry-picked evidence, rely on fake experts, and believe conspiracy theories. How can we convince such people otherwise? How can we get them to change their minds and accept the facts when they don't believe in facts? In this book, Lee McIntyre shows that anyone can fight back against science deniers, and argues that it's important to do so. Science denial can kill.

Drawing on his own experience—including a visit to a Flat Earth convention—as well as academic research, McIntyre outlines the common themes of science denialism, present in misinformation campaigns ranging from tobacco companies' denial in the 1950s that smoking causes lung cancer to today's anti-vaxxers. He describes attempts to use his persuasive powers as a philosopher to convert Flat Earthers; surprising discussions with coal miners; and conversations with a scientist friend about genetically modified organisms in food. McIntyre offers tools and techniques for communicating the truth and values of science, emphasizing that the most important way to reach science deniers is to talk to them calmly and respectfully—to put ourselves out there, and meet them face to face."

Saturday, March 11 at 1:30 PM ET, live on the NCASVideo YouTube channel.

March PhACT Lecture
Our skeptical neighbors to the north, the Philadelphia Association for Critical Thinking (PhACT), will host their next online event on Saturday, March 18 at 2 PM ET.  CSI Fellow (and NCAS Philip J. Klass Award laureate) Susan Gerbic will present "Science Activism does not stop during a world-wide pandemic: or How I spent my lockdown."  Event details at

AAAS Annual Meeting

On March 2-5, the American Association for the Advancement of Science is holding its 2023 annual meeting online and at the Washington Convention Center and the Renaissance Washington, D.C. Downtown Hotel.  Register at

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.  As a board member, you can channel (non-psychically) your talent and energy (the non-woo kind) into educating the public, and pick up some fun skills along the way.  Send an email to by March 15 for more information.

The End of AmazonSmile: Thanks to our members who supported NCAS!
As you may already know from news reports, Amazon ended its charity donation program, AmazonSmile, on February 20:

NCAS, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, enrolled in the program in early 2014.  By the end, AmazonSmile disbursements to NCAS will have exceeded $800, meaning that over $160,000 of purchases were designated in support of NCAS.  That was enough to pay for an entire season of Montgomery County lecture room rentals, with enough left over for half of another season.

If you chose NCAS as your AmazonSmile charity, we thank you for your support!

Thanks also to everyone who responded to the NCAS 2022 fundraising letter.  Only by membership dues, member generosity, and volunteerism is NCAS able to continue our free programs to educate the public, especially regarding scientific perspectives that are marginalized or distorted by some publishers, broadcasters, and news media organizations.

Shadow Light

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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.