Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Shadow of a Doubt - February 2024

 February 2024

NCAS Public Lecture Series

Uses and Potential Harms of Psychedelics in Medicine

 YouTube Live Event with Q and A 

Peter Grinspoon, M.D.
Instructor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School

Saturday, February 10, 1:30pm US/Eastern (UTC-05:00)

What is the exciting new research about psychedelics as treatment for depression, addiction, pain, and obsessive-compulsive disorder?  What are the barriers (cost, legality, access) and harms?

Peter Grinspoon, M.D. is a primary care physician and cannabis specialist at Massachusetts General Hospital and an Instructor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He is a certified Health and Wellness Coach as well as a board member of the advocacy group Doctors for Cannabis Regulation, an advisor to "The Parabola Center," and has been providing medical cannabis care for patients for two decades.

Dr. Grinspoon is a widely recognized expert on cannabis science and drug policy. He regularly appears as an expert on national television and radio programs, including NPR's All Things Considered, NBC Nightly News, C-SPAN's Washington Journal, Fox and Friends, and Fox News. He is quoted frequently in the national media, in such venues as People, the New York Times, New York Magazine, the Washington Post, USA Today, the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune, and the Boston Globe. He is a TEDX speaker.

Grinspoon's Harvard Health articles have reached tens of millions of readers, have been widely referenced in the national media, and have been cited in Congressional testimony. His writing has been published in The Nation, the Los Angeles Times and Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics.

He is the author of the groundbreaking memoir Free Refills: A Doctor Confronts His Addiction, and his most recent book, Seeing through the Smoke: A Cannabis Specialist Untangles the Truth about Marijuana (Prometheus Books, 2023).


How to Watch and Participate in this Online Discussion Event:

1) Use a supported browser... https://www.youtube.com/supported_browsers
2) Use the link https://youtu.be/u_kjRWJWdzM
3) The live stream begins shortly before 1:30pm US/Eastern (UTC-05:00) on Saturday, February 10, 2024.
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.

Eldritch Investigations and a Discount for NCAS
"Cults and cryptids collide when a curious Washingtonian investigates local unexplained phenomena.  Explore the lure of the unknown and its entanglement with DC history in this multi-chapter adventure across the city."

At the start of the pandemic, the local Rorschach Theatre company created a unique theatrical experience that extended over the course of 9-10 months. It was originally a way for the show to go on when the pandemic shut down stage performances, but it has been so successful that they've continued into their 4th year with an all-new story in December 2023.

Rorschach often incorporates elements of fantasy, horror, and/or supernatural. This coming season the Eldritch Investigations project involves themes particularly close to NCAS. The company has extended a 20% discount to NCAS members.

Subscribers receive a monthly box or envelope with maps, directions to locales around DC, and other artifacts such as postcards, telegrams, and various trinkets that help unfold a story over the course of 9-10 months. You investigate these locations at your own pace, on your own time. They also provide online videos for those who can't visit in person.

The adventure has already begun, so new subscribers will receive all previous chapters in the first shipment.

For the discount, use code NCAS when subscribing here:


Sounds a bit like an expanded version of our NCAS Skeptours!

March NCAS Event
We invite you to watch the documentary The UFO Movie THEY Don't Want You to See BEFORE March 2, 2024. Then join us on Saturday, March 2 at 1:30 PM ET for an online Q & A with Producer Brian Dunning. 

In an age when misinformation, alternative facts, and conspiracy theories have become mainstream, UFOs have risen to become one of the most-talked about pop culture phenomena. With all of this noise, how can we expect anyone to know how much of this is true? What is in our skies? What do we know, and how do we know it? And most importantly: Are we being visited? Science does have most of these answers, and we're working on answering the rest of them. Featuring experts in cosmology, physics, and image analysis, The UFO Movie THEY Don't Want You to See will lay out for you exactly what we know and how we know it. https://theufo.movie

The movie is available for free (with ads) on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t72uvS7EJT4

Of course, you can watch on your own.  Or, if you prefer a shared experience, there will be an online viewing event on Wednesday, February 28 at 7:30 PM ET.

How to Watch and Participate in the Online Viewing Event:

1) Check your email inbox (the same one that's receiving this Shadow of a Doubt) at 7 PM ET on Wednesday, February 28.
2) Click on the "Watch2Gether" link in the email.  Your browser will display our "room" to watch a YouTube movie together.
3) Start typing in the chat window at the right of the screen.  The documentary will start at 7:30 PM sharp, but anyone who wants to hang out there before showtime is welcome.
4) Webcams and microphones won't be active, just the chat window.  Get ready to type!

February PhACT Lecture
Our skeptical neighbors to the north, the Philadelphia Association for Critical Thinking (PhACT), will host their next online event on Saturday, February 17 at 2 PM ET.  Historian Robert Hicks, PhD will present "19th-Century Astronomy."  Visitors to Philadelphia’s Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion might discover a curious object in the children’s room, a large 1871 cardboard planisphere that speaks to the widespread interest in astronomy during the mid to late 1800s. This presentation surveys what discoveries were made in astronomy during the era and how it was promoted and taught. What did people then think about intelligent life elsewhere? The size and nature of the universe?  The presentation concludes with a virtual 1870s public observing night with a telescope!  Event details at http://www.phact.org/meetings.php.

February Bay Area Skeptics Lecture
The [San Francisco] Bay Area Skeptics will host their next online event on Thursday, February 8 at 10:30 PM ET.  Glenn Branch, deputy director of the National Center for Science Education, will present "A Child's Garden of Climate Change Denial."  Climate change denial propaganda campaigns aimed at American teachers and students are not new, but in 2023, no fewer than four — from the Heartland Institute, the CO2 Coalition, EverBright Media, and PragerU Kids — were in the headlines.  In his talk, he will assess these campaigns and their likely effects in the context of the advances of climate change education in the United States over the last decade.  This will be livestreamed on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tx8w5jM8_1U

Torn From Today's Headlines
By Scott Snell
West Virginia Governor Proclaims February 15 as "Critical Thinking Awareness Day"
On November 3, 2023, Governor Jim Justice of West Virginia proclaimed that February 15, 2024 would be "Critical Thinking Awareness Day."  The full text is available at https://governor.wv.gov/Documents/2023%20Proclamations/2024%20Critical%20Thinking%20Awareness%20Day.pdf .  A list of this and other proclamations over the past year is located at https://governor.wv.gov/proclamations/Pages/default.aspx .

Daniel Reed of the West Virginia Skeptics Society (WVSS) was the impetus behind this.  His description of how it was done is presented at https://skepticalinquirer.org/exclusive/from-idea-to-proclamation-making-critical-thinking-awareness-day-a-reality/ .

WVSS has assembled relevant links to sites for critical-thinking activities for children and young adults: https://www.westvirginiaskepticssociety.com/activities

If NCAS were to pursue this for DC, Maryland, and/or Virginia, what sort of examples, activities, and/or resources might we offer to the public and news media outlets?

NCAS Membership
At its September 20, 2023 meeting, the NCAS Board of Directors approved a change in membership classifications, effective October 1.  Formerly in two classifications, Single and Double, membership now comprises one or two individuals at the same home address.  In addition to simplifying transactions for the NCAS treasurer, this represents a per-person reduction in membership costs.  The former Single membership cost now covers up to two people.  Consider adding a 2nd person in your household to your NCAS membership at no extra cost!  Both will be able to vote separately in the annual NCAS board of directors election.  Send an email to ncas@ncas.org to add a 2nd person to your membership.  We hope to add members, and of course a student or other young person is always welcome for the future of skepticism.  Also see https://www.ncas.org/p/join-ncas.html.

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/p/shadow.html.  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.