January 2015 Meeting

Photo of Susan Millar

The End of Snow: Will Climate Change Melt our Winters?

Professor Susan Millar, Syracuse University

Wednesday, January 21, 2015, 7:00 PM
Manlius Library, 1 Arkie Albanese Ave,
Manlius, NY 13104

About the presentation
Temperature records indicate that Earth has warmed an average of 0.85°C during the period 1880 to 2012. That increase, however, has been experienced most significantly at middle and high latitudes, regions that have witnessed as much as 2 degrees Celsius of warming. As New York still reels at the memory of last month’s mammoth snow storm in Buffalo, dumping unprecedented totals in excess of two meters in places, one has to question exactly how anthropogenic warming could possibly be connected. In this presentation, I will explore the atmospheric processes responsible for “snow events”, how snow fall has changed globally, and here in New York, why these changes may well be related to climate change, and what it means for the future of the Golden Snowfall Award.


About the speaker
Susan W. S. Millar is an Associate Professor of Geography at Syracuse University. Professor Millar is originally from Scotland, and hiking the Munros and Corbetts fueled her research interest in periglacial slope processes in both Quaternary and modern contexts. She has conducted NSF-sponsored research in Alaska, Colorado and New York State, examining connections between microclimate, freezing depth, and soil sedimentological characteristics. An on-going project explores relations between changing snow patterns in Central New York and how these affect soil thermal conditions.

Solstice Party 2014

Celebrate the Solstice with CNY Skeptics

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It’s almost time for the annual CNY Skeptics Solstice Party. Our hosts are the always gracious Bryce and Judy Hand. The date of the party is December 20, and the time is 6 pm.

The Hands will provide turkey and stuffing, a vegetarian dish, and hot spiced cider. The rest is up to you. Email the Hands with your dinner contribution.

Bryce and Judy Hand
132 Lynn Circle
Syracuse, NY 13205

November 2014 Meeting

Ethan Kocak with lizard on head

Cartoon Science and Skepticism with Ethan Kocak

Wednesday, November 19, 2014, 7:00 PM
Dewitt Community Library
Shoppingtown Mall
Dewitt, NY

About the presentation
Comics and cartoons are usually considered within the domain of entertainment, but at their core is the goal of communication. This discussion is about how that conversation can be about science, skepticism, and critical thinking and what form of comics and cartooning best suits communicating these topics. Since the Internet and comics are now so intertwined, we’ll also have to consider how that changes the discussion, for better or worse, and there will be some live demonstration of what digital comics creation looks like.

About the speaker
Ethan Kocak is an animator and illustrator who lives in Syracuse, NY. He is primarily known for drawing the webcomic “The Black Mudpuppy,” but has also been involved in the animation project “The Darwin Finches,” the all-science “Tetrapod Zoology Comic,” which is written by paleontologist Darren Naish, and “Al the Anoma Llama” with Doubtful News’s Sharon Hill. When not drawing, he’s writing, tweeting, or being a dad.

September 2014 Meeting

Photo of Debbie Goddard standing in front of Center for Inquiry banner

Debbie Goddard, Center for Inquiry

Wednesday, September 17, 2014, 7:00 PM
Manlius Library, 1 Arkie Albanese Ave,
Manlius, NY 13104

It’s September and time for our first meeting of the 2014-2015 program year.

We are pleased to welcome Debbie Goddard from the Center for Inquiry as our September 17th speaker.

Goddard is the outreach director at the Center for Inquiry Transnational in Amherst, NY. She is also the director of African Americans for Humanism, a program of the Council for Secular Humanism.

Before working for CFI, she participated in local freethought groups in the greater Philadelphia region and helped organize and support campus groups internationally as a student volunteer. She has also been involved with progressive issues and LGBT activism.

May 2014 Meeting

Damian Schofield photo
Damian Schofield

Why Doesn’t it Look Like it Does on Television? The Presentation of Forensic Evidence Using Digital Technologies

Damain Schofield, Director of Human Computer Interaction, SUNY Oswego

Wednesday, May 21, 2014, 7:00 PM
Manlius Library, 1 Arkie Albanese Ave,
Manlius, NY 13104

About the presentation

Courtroom environments have traditionally relied on an oral presentation of information, however they are now changing into cinematic display environments. CGI technology from the movies and the computer game industries are increasingly being used to create compelling visual media displays presenting a range of digital evidence in a convincing and credible manner. Recently, a number of courtrooms around the world have seen the presentation of forensic evidence within reconstructed virtual environments powered by ‘real-time’, interactive game engines. There are a number of problems inherent in the shift from oral to visual communication and a number of facets of this modern evidence presentation technology need to be examined. At first glance, these graphical reconstructions may be seen as potentially useful in many courtroom situations, and they are often treated like any other form of digital evidence regarding their admissibility. However, perhaps this specific form of digital media warrants special care and attention due to its inherently persuasive nature, and the undue reliance that the viewer may place on the evidence presented through such a visualization medium. This talk will introduce a range of examples of where evidence has been presented in courtrooms using video games technology (particularly forensic animation and virtual crime scene reconstructions). The talk will conclude with a discussion of the potential benefits and problems of implementing this technology in courtroom settings.

About the speaker

Dr. Damian Schofield is currently Director of Human Computer Interaction at SUNY-Oswego. Dr. Schofield has been involved in research examining the use of digital evidence in courtrooms, particularly virtual reconstructions, for many years. He is specifically interested in the representation and understanding of visual evidentiary information (especially using computer game technology) in the courtroom environment. Much of this academic research in the forensic area has concentrated on the investigation of the prejudicial effect of digital evidence, validation and verification procedures, admissibility of digital evidence and the mathematical uncertainty concerned with digital evidence. Dr. Schofield is regularly used as an expert witness in courts all over the world and has worked on many high profile cases – he has been involved in forensic casework in the UK, Australia, the USA and Malaysia. A few years ago, he was involved with the facial reconstruction of an Egyptian mummy for a documentary called “Nefertiti Reserected” shown on the Discovery Channel. He has also worked on research projects for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in the USA.