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SDARI Event Archives

Event Archives 2012:

  • Novermber 25, 2012  Daniel A. Libby on Information System Security: Trending Today.

    Serious cybercrimes are carried out by professional criminals against businesses, organizations, and individuals in their homes for financial gains, using such computer tools as viruses, worms, malware, and crimeware. All systems connected to the Internet are subject to such attacks if unprotected. We are currently seeing a resurgence of the use of the telephone as the initial contact medium. (Did anyone see the recent episode of the "60 Minutes" television program in which a security expert used a telephone to hack into the computer system of an automobile and lock up the brakes while the car was being driven on a test track?) In his January, 2012, presentation to SDARI, our speaker gave us an overview of this threat. This month's presentation educated us about the current, up-to-date, threats to information systems and provide practical information on how to protect yourself and your information from security threats.

    Daniel A. Libby CFC ACE CHS-III is the Director and Chief Examiner for Digital Forensics, Inc.

  • October 28, 2012  Richard Lederer on Fascinating Facts About Our Presidents

    Who was our youngest American president? Who was our oldest? Who was our tallest, shortest, and fattest? Writer, speaker, and broadcaster Richard Lederer, whose presidential trivia series appeared daily on the front page of the Union-Tribune, provided a treasury of fascinating facts about the feats, fates, families, foibles, and firsts of our American presidents.

    Richard Lederer is the author of 40 books about language, history, and humor, including his best-selling Anguished English series and his current books, The Gift of Age, A Tribute to Teachers, American Trivia, and Amazing Words. He has been profiled in magazines as diverse as The New Yorker, People, and the National Inquirer and is founding co-host of "A Way With Words" on Public Radio.

    Dr. Lederer's column, "Looking at Language," appears in newspapers and magazines throughout the United States, including the San Diego Union-Tribune. He has been named International Punster of the Year and Toastmasters International's Golden Gavel winner.

  • September 23, 2012  Robert Sheaffer on The Men In Black and Other UFO Conspiracies.

    Robert Sheaffer has been a columnist for the Skeptical Inquirer magazine for more than thirty years. Robert is one of Skepticism's top investigators and experts on UFOs, psychic research, cryptozoology, and so on. Highlights from his "Psychic Vibrations" column have recently been published as a book of the same name. Robert blogs at , and his website is

  • August 26, 2012  What Are The Obligations of Skepticism? Of Humanism? Of Atheism? Moderated by Paul Wenger, President of SDARI

    In the August issue of Free Inquiry magazine, Senior Editor Ron Lindsay asks "whether being a humanist commits one to certain political positions." "Given some of the positions of the Republican Party on social issues," Ron asks, "is it inconsistent to be both a Republican and a humanist?" "Atheism," he argues, "does not entail acceptance of any political position." He eventually concludes that a humanist can also be a Republican. In the same issue, P Z Myers asserts that "Atheism ought to be a progressive social movement in addition to being a philosophical and scientific position." He argues that an atheist's knowledge, that this is the one and only life any of us will ever have, obligates atheists to work to insure that everyone has the opportunity to live a rich and full life. Science is morally neutral, scientists should not be. Atheism is value-neutral, but atheists and atheist groups should not be. Their special knowledge carries with it an obligation to act.

    What do you think? Does the adoption of a label--skeptic, humanist, atheist, freethinker--carry with it an obligation to hold certain values and behave a certain way? And if so, which values and which behaviors are acceptable and which are unacceptable?

  • July 22, 2012  Greg Wanger on Earth's Dominant Life Form: Bacteria and What They Can Do For Us

    Microbes are among the oldest lineage of life on the planet, having been around for ~3.7 billion years. They have changed the atmosphere of our planet and altered the chemistry of our vast oceans. In our modern world we are beginning to understand that the notion of bacteria as ‘bad’ or ‘germs’ is not a complete picture. For instance, recent work into the human microbiome (i.e. all the microbes that live on and in us) show that many of these microbes are beneficial to us and without them our lives would be vastly different. From generating electricity, producing medicines and other useful products, and maintaining our own health and well-being bacteria can do it all.

    Greg Wanger joined the J. Craig Venter Institute as a postgraduate fellow in the Electomicrobiology Group in San Diego in 2008. Greg spent several months as part of a team performing metagenomic deep mine sampling in South African gold and platinum mines in search of previously unknown genes. The organism they discovered has been billed as a possible model for alien life, since it lives in very harsh conditions alone without light or oxygen.

  • June 24, 2012  Guy P. Harrison; on Seven Things Even Good Skeptics get wrong

    Author Guy P. Harrison presented a lecture on the importance of skepticism to the world and "seven things even good skeptics get wrong". He also discussed his latest book, 50 Popular Beliefs That People Think are True (Prometheus Books).

  • February 26, 2012 Professor Milton Saier, UCSD on Mankind's Greatest Biologist and Greatest Problem.

    Charles Darwin is generally recognized as the greatest biologist who ever lived due to his discovery of the Third Law of Biology: natural selection and evolution. His importance is illustrated by the fact that all of Biology makes sense only in the context of evolution. Professor Saier talked about him as a person and the qualities possibly responsible for his incredibly insightful discoveries: his recognition that all living organisms on Earth are related by common descent, his understanding of natural selection and how it shaped species divergence, and his deduction that humans arose in Africa by the same mechanism as for all other species.

    Human overpopulation, the greatest problem facing mankind, is the easiest to solve. Much evidence reveals that rapid growth rates in underdeveloped countries are not due so much to religious beliefs, social values or political structures but are simply due to the lack of contraception and abortion services. Drs. Martha Campbell and Malcolm Potts at UC Berkeley have statistically analyzed the reproductive behaviors and fertility rates in over 100 countries to show this to be true. The famous Socioeconomic Theory of Human Reproduction has been shown to be false in large measure, in spite of the incomplete and inaccurate beliefs of economists and other madmen. The environment is far more important to the future of humankind than is the economy.

  • January 22, 2012 Daniel A. Libby, CFC ACE CHS-III, on Trans-national Organized Crime and Information System Exploitation.

    Various media sources have brought to our attention numerous examples of cybercrime; we often don’t realize that our private systems may also be at risk. Our speaker is an expert in this field and provided educate on the scope of the problem, and the many ways we can protect our personal computers.

Past SDARI Events and Presentations

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