SDARI Event Archives
Event Archives 2008:
- November 23, 2008 Speaker: Keith Taylor on Mr. President, What About Science?
SDARI member and current program chair Keith Taylor has drafted an open letter to the president-elect urging him to enlist the advice of our top scientists, perhaps even make one a cabinet officer. Science has been grievously missing from federal policy to the determent of our country. Nothing is closer to the heart of SDARI than rational thought. Nothing espouses rational thought more than science. Keith Taylor is one of the earliest members of SDARI.
- October 26, 2008 Speaker: Scott LaFee on Dinosaurs to Birds, Maybe.
The results from scientific studies published in prestigious scientific journals can be controversial. Researchers at North Carolina State grabbed international headlines with a published paper in 2005 claiming to have isolated soft tissue from a 68-million-year-old thigh bone of a Tyrannosaurus rex. A couple of years later, the researchers collaborated with Harvard colleagues to offer the first biochemical evidence that modern birds descended from dinosaurs (showing that T. rex collagen proteins weren't much different from those from chickens). But this discovery, which potentially would revolutionize our understanding of how fossils preserve and perhaps lead to a more direct understanding of the biology of long-extinct dinosaurs, appears to be falling apart. This year, scientists at the University of Washington and UCSD pointedly criticized the original research, the former suggesting that the alleged "soft tissue" is actually bacterial slime, the latter accusing the original researchers of drawing conclusions from insufficient, inadequately prepared, data. All sides remain firm in their assertions. It remains to be seen who will ultimately be proved right, but the T. rex tissue affair is a fine, if somewhat messy, example of science-in-progress.
- September 28, 2008 Speaker: Wendy Gay on Libraries, Do We Still Need Them?.
In early America books were rare and expensive. Only the very wealthy and the clergy had access to them. The first public libraries in America were established in the early 1730's. Benjamin Franklin had a hand in founding one in the next year in Philadelphia. Thank goodness our founding fathers realized that our fledgling democracy could not survive without an educated populace; one way to ensure that was to see to it that the people had access to information.
Libraries today welcome all comers. They have something for everyone, and still hold to the truth that educated people are a free people. The value of libraries grows as the value and amount of information increases. Ben Franklin might not recognize libraries today; after all, they have had to organize and make available 300 more years of information, but he certainly would understand their mission: To educate. To enlighten. To enrich. And yes, even help untangle that Internet jumble!
Wendy Gay gave us many reasons why we need our libraries today more than ever. She had a 34 year career with the San Diego School District, and is a third generation native. She is a Member of the Board of Directors for the Greater San Diego Science and Engineer Fair and co-founder of the San Diego Library annual Citywide Essay Contest. Friends of the San Diego Public Library
- August 24, 2008 Speaker: Dr. Judith Hand on Is War Necessary.
Wars! Do we have to have one every few years? Our August speaker looks at that nagging question from a biological perspective. She insists war is not an inescapable facet of human nature. Her conclusions stem from diverse fields from biology to anthropology to psychology in outlining a coherent strategy to end war. She sets such a campaign in its historical context and explains why a great paradigm shift in conflict resolution could occur in a relatively short period of time. Dr. Judith Hand is an evolutionary biologist and author, with a Phd from UCLA . Her latest book is A Future Without War. This talk was based on that book. Dr. Hand describes herself as a long time skeptic.
- July 27, 2008 Speaker: John McCready on the Secular Organization for Sobriety -- SOS for Alcoholics.
SOS indeed! Everybody at one time or another has felt the need for help, especially when careening out of control. That includes an addiction to alcohol. It doesn't make matters better when an organization insists that we cannot handle it ourselves, then supplicates a higher power. But are we in fact helpless? According to a group called Save Our Selves (SOS) founded in 1985 we aren't so out of control that we need some sort of higher power. Save Our Selves, affiliated with the Center For Inquiry is also touted by several secular organizations including CFI. Our July speaker told us how it works and compared it to the other, more publicized alcoholic recovery groups.
John McCready is a Registered Addiction Specialist and a Nationally Certified Addiction Counselor. He works as a case manager and works closely with SOS members in Orange and San Diego counties.
- June 22, 2008 Speaker: Holocaust survivor Guzzie Zaks, on her story
"Ethnic Cleansing" came into the world's lexicon in the 1990s, but the heinous crimes done it its name have been around as long as hatred and fear itself. Supposedly it is an euphemism coined in the former Yugoslavia. There a war, mostly along religious lines, killed about 100,000 people. Now we see much the same thing in Darfur. And a glance at history will show it over and over again. In some cases a reason is cited. It others it is simply genocide with no particular rationale except "ethnic cleansing." What are we capable of if we can justify it somehow? In 1940, Gussie Zaks: her mother, father, and six siblings were taken from her home in Poland. The Nazis had their own euphemism for their now deserted home, Judenfrei (Jew free). When she walked out of the camps, she walked alone. Her parents, and five brothers and sisters had perished in the camps. For the past 41 years Gussie has been lecturing in schools, churches, synagogues, and at various organizations. She is on the national board of directors for The American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors in New York. In 1997 she was honored with the Heritage Humanitarian Award, United States FBI Director's Leadership Award.
- May 25, 2008 Joseph J. Bookstein, M.D., Research Professor of Radiology at UCSD, Emeritus spoke on Global Warming: The Population Connection.
The real cause of global warming is not the burning of fossil fuels; that is only a proximate cause. The primary cause is the needs and wants of the global human population, now about 6.7 billion. Most proposals for slowing climate change emphasize costly technical alternatives to the burning of fossil fuels, alternatives often still in developmental stages applicable primarily in the more developed countries. These remedies all have significant limitations: insignificant impact, immature technology, counter-productivity, unacceptable cost, adverse environmental consequences, and/or high risk. While technical strategies may play an ancillary role, adequate control of global warming will require direct address of the primary cause - global overpopulation. Despite modest and intermittent successes for reducing it, population growth continues unabated. The advent of global warming however constitutes a powerful new synergistic argument in support of population stabilization and reduction. This new argument, provides hope that the ascent of human numbers can finally be reversed. Methods, feasibility, and implementation strategies for voluntary population reduction will be presented.
- April 27, 2008 SDARI Honored young scientists: Awards presented to winners of our San Diego Science and Engineering Fair prizes for 2008.
Our monthly meeting in April honored half dozen young scientists: junior and high school students. Their names are: Gerald Morgan, Emily Burns, Michael Vredenburgh (repeat winner), Nicholas Kelly, Sarah Rose Aiello, and Sarah Poiset. These scientists each demonstrated critical thinking at the San Diego and Imperial County Science and Engineering Fair.
Our annual pizza party was held before the meeting..
- March 23, 2008 Tory Christman on Scientology®.
A long-time member, Tory Christman, has been speaking and writing about her old outfit for a some time now. In 1969 Ms. Christman signed a "billion year contract" with Scientology and was sent to the ship Bolivar. They quickly routed her out of their "Sea Organization". Still, she remained a member for thirty years. Now Scientology itself lists Tory as their top "extremist" on its own page, a page aimed at its many critics. Christman's criticisms of the Church of Scientology include the manipulation of its members, sometimes causing the breakup of families through the policy of "disconnection."
- February 24, 2008 Vanessa Cooney of Planned Parenthood on the Politics of Choice: The War on Science.
We all have our opinions about reproductive rights, and we often hear about conflicts over abortion, contraception, and sex education in the news. Vanessa Cooney of Planned Parenthood provided an update on reproductive rights, focusing on local, state, federal, and global laws and policies aimed at restricting access to abortion and contraception. She also covered the various ways that the current administration has attacked reproductive health and rights by allowing ideology to trump scientific research. Vanessa is the Grassroots Coordinator for Planned Parenthood of San Diego and Riverside Counties. She has worked or volunteered for Planned Parenthood for three years. She graduated from SDSU in 2006 with a BA in Liberal Arts and Sciences, focusing on Political Science, Public Administration, and Social Work.
January 27, 2008 Meeting cancelled because of water damage to the venue after a minor fire.
Past SDARI Events and Presentations
Event Archives 2014
Event Archives 2013
Event Archives 2012
Event Archives 2011
Event Archives 2010
Event Archives 2009
Event Archives 2008
Event Archives 2007
Event Archives 2006
Event Archives 2005
Event Archives 2004
Event Archives 2003
Event Archives 2002
Event Archives 2001 and Older
Note: The name "Scientology®" is a trademark of the "Church" of Scientology.