Archive for October, 2010

FYB-Do Animals Have Minds? [Update]

Posted in Event, lecture on October 10, 2010 by saskskeptic

The date for this lecture changed to Wednesday Oct. 13

The next philosophy in the community lecture is:

Lecture #2: October 13th, 7PM “Do Animals Have Minds?”
By Professor Eric Dayton
Where: The Refinery (in the basement of St. James’s Church)
609 Dufferin Ave., at 12th St.

Sponsored by the Department of Philosophy & the College of Arts and Science

More information at:


Saskatchewan Summer Star Party Video

Posted in Event on October 6, 2010 by saskskeptic

Well you missed the Saskatchewan Summer Star Party for this year.   SCN has this video from a few years ago.

If you might be interested in going to a future star party, mark August 25-28 2011 or August 16-19 2012  on your calendar.

Comet 103P/Hartley 2

Posted in news, science on October 5, 2010 by saskskeptic

Comet 103P/Hartley 2 is currently passing the constellation Cassiopeia.  Unfortunately it is still to dim to see with the naked eye.  You might be able to find it with a good pair of binoculars.  It is expected to brighten over the next few weeks.

Cassiopeia is the easy to find W or M in our northern skys.  After sunset you can see it to the north east.


Sky and Telescope has this article on the comet.  The also have star charts of its path.

Deliver us from Evil Documentary

Posted in Event on October 4, 2010 by saskskeptic

The Saskatoon Freethinkers will be showing the documentary “Deliver us from Evil”, Sunday, October 17, 2010 11:30 AM

Venice House
906 Central Avenue
Saskatoon SK S7N 2G8

What It Means To Be A Skeptic

Posted in Skeptic on October 3, 2010 by saskskeptic

The Sheaf writer Tyrel Eskelson has this concise article on what it means to be a skeptic:

It is perhaps a common misconception that one who defines him or herself as a skeptic could also interchangeably be labelled a contrarian or a disparager.

A skeptic is not someone who is cynical, close-minded or rejects new ideas. In fact, it is quite the opposite.

A skeptic is someone not in a fixed position but rather one who adopts a process. Skepticism uses the application of reason to evaluate all claims and requires compelling evidence before something is believable.

Modern skepticism is embodied in the scientific method, which gathers data to formulate and test natural phenomena. With the use of this tool a claim becomes factual when it is confirmed to such an extent that it would be reasonable to offer a provisional agreement.

Full Article

via the JREF

The New Phone Books Are Here

Posted in Skeptic on October 3, 2010 by saskskeptic

The new phone books are here! The new phone books are here!  Who cares!

Well generally I do not.  I rarely use them any more.  Neither do many other people. At work we had stacks of last years books, still in mint condition, ready to send to recycling.  If I need a phone number, I just Google it. For people I use  From my point of view phone books are almost obsolete.

Then I got a reminder that Google and the internet are not always good at quickly answering more complicated questions.

It was a Sunday afternoon and I was cleaning out my vehicle.  Under a seat I spied a SGI driver license renewal reminder.  A reminder that I had forgotten about, because-well it was out of sight.

Oh, Oh!  So where can I get my license renewed within walking distance on a Sunday afternoon.  This turns out to be a question that Google and the internet are not so good at. Yes you can search for “Saskatoon Insurance” or “Saskatoon Insurance Sunday”, but that does not solve the walking problem.  You can try the same search in Google maps and click on various red dots, then follow the links to the insurance companies website if they have one.  As it turns out, the hours of business is not one of things that many companies think to put on their websites.

The much simpler solution is just flip through a few yellow pages.  If the company is open Sunday it is listed in the ad, so is the address.  Sometimes the old technology wins.

FYB-Sleaford Observatory Open House

Posted in Event, science on October 3, 2010 by saskskeptic

The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada and the U of S physics Department are having an open house at the Sleaford Observatory (approximately 70km east of Saskatoon) Saturday Oct. 16.  There is a convoy leaving from the field house parking lot at 7:00pm, but you can follow the map out to the site on your own.  There are several miles of gravel roads.

The two groups have a number of telescopes at the site.  Some RASC members will also bring along their own telescopes.  I went last year unfortunately it was cloudy and rainy.   I hope they have better weather this year.

If you drive out on your own remember to dim your lights when you get near the site and watch for pedestrians, cars and children.

Official PDF

Map to the observatory