Damian Allis on “A Most Unlikely Obvious Molecule: DNA And Its Consequences,” November 2012
Listen to Damian Allis’s talk (40 MB). The file is large; please be patient while it loads.
DNA is Nature’s medium of digital information storage and access from which cellular machinery produces life itself. The 60 years of advances in our understanding of DNA have run in parallel with advances in computer technology and information science, and we are now entering an age of whole-genome maps, customized diagnoses, medicines, and dosages from genetic testing, and genetic modification that may eradicate some disorders completely. From super crops to super humans, the genetic information age offers humanity many different possible outcomes. This lecture will cover some of the history, machinery, possibilities, and consequences of DNA life.
Dr. Damian Allis is a research professor in the Department of Chemistry at Syracuse University, esearch fellow with the Forensic and National Security Sciences Institute, and bioinformaticist for Aptamatrix, Inc. He contains approximately 20 billion miles of DNA.
Kitty Mervine on “Alien Abduction: Betty and Barney Hill,” September 2012
Listen to Kitty Mervine’s talk (34 MB). The file is large; please be patient while it loads.
Kitty Mervine shares with us her insights as an alien abduction specialist and her recent research into the Betty and Barney Hill abduction using the archival material at the University of New Hampshire.
Kitty is a professional artist and teacher. Her artwork has appeared in shows and galleries in both the US and Europe. She is also a long time skeptic and has attended every TAM (The Amazing Meeting, a skeptic conference put on by the James Randi Educational Foundation) that has been held in the US.
Kitty is currently is in charge of investigations for the Granite State Skeptics and has lectured on aliens and UFOs at several JREF events and on podcasts. She also appears as the “Alien Expert” on Maxim satellite radio on occasion. For the past eight years she has served as a UFO/Alien expert on many web sites, answering questions using her back-up team of experts. She runs the web site badalien.org which is geared toward people who believe that they have been abducted by aliens. badalien.org offers alternative explanations for the abduction experience and a place where abductees can share their experiences without the fear of being ridiculed.
Damian Allis on “Controversy in Science,” January 2012
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The infinite unknown that is our universe is being studied by a finite number of people with finite budgets and a finite number of hours in the day, many of them with real jobs to boot. Opinion and intuition have served as double-edged swords throughout the practical application of the scientific method, often weighing down now-famous great leaps forward for reasons having nothing to do with science itself.
Damian will spend his time being both antagonistic and defensive as he discusses some of the history of now-obvious-but-previously-insane truths and facts gleaned from the scientific method, then will briefly describe his own work in the field of molecular manufacturing, an area of research previously seen as profoundly forward, then game-changing, then heretical, then highly suspect, and now increasingly academic, all without strong experimental evidence for or against for most of its history.
Damian Allis is research assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry at Syracuse University.
Mike Affleck on “How Christians Got It All Wrong,” November 2011
Listen to Mike Affleck’s talk(46 MB). The file is large; please be patient while it loads.
Our November 2011 meeting featured a talk by Mike Affleck. In his talk he discusses the following:
“Two Jewish teachers emerged at the same time and in the same place: first century Judea. They offered two very different perspectives on the same catastrophic situation: Rome’s assault on the life of the Jews. The difference in their perspective has largely been lost in the surprising embrace of the teachings of John by followers of Jesus.
“John looked at Rome’s occupation of the Jewish Homeland and made a bold prediction: God is coming, soon, to make things right. Jesus looked at the same situation and concluded that John was very nearly right, but his timing was wrong. God is not coming soon. God’s kingdom is already here. Yet the followers of Jesus nearly universally side with John. How did it happen?”
David Cay Johnston on “Taxes: Not What You Think,” October 2012
Listen to David Cay Johnston’s talk (61 MB). The file is large, so please be patient while it loads.
Across the political spectrum people fervently hold many views on taxes, but few of them understand the principles underlying taxes and their role in this, the second American Republic, including who bears the burdens of paying the price of civilization.
Born in San Francisco in 1948, David Cay Johnston began his journalism career in 1968 by talking his way into becoming the youngest reporter at the San Jose Mercury and News, where he covered local governments, student radicals, and land use. After a three-year stint as an investigative reporter with the Detroit Free Press, Johnston spent twelve years with the Los Angeles Times reporting national news, entertainment news, the Los Angeles Police Department and sundry other topics. Beginning in 1988, he reported on the casino industry for the Philadelphia Enquirer and briefly served as assistant business editor before joining the New York Times to cover taxes, tax evasion, and the Internal Revenue Service.
Johnston won the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for Beat Reporting “for his penetrating and enterprising reporting that exposed loopholes and inequities in the U.S. tax code, which was instrumental in bringing about reforms.” He had previously been nominated in 2000 and in 2003 was again nominated both for Beat Reporting and National Reporting. That year, he also received recognition by Investigative Reporters and Editors with a Book of The Year award for Perfectly Legal.
In addition to his reporting, David Cay Johnston studied economics at the University of Chicago graduate school and at six other institutions, earning several years of college credits but no degree because he enrolled primarily in upper level and graduate level courses.
Johnston teaches at Syracuse University and lives in Rochester.