Archive for December, 2010

Freethinkers In the Pub

Posted in Event on December 30, 2010 by saskskeptic

The next Freethinkers in the Pub is Wednesday Jan 5 7:00 pm at Lydia’s Pub, front corner.  Lydia’s is 612 11th St near Boradway.

Also we are starting a second pub night per month, as there seems to be demand for it (and it will also be held on other days besides Wednesday).  Look forward to the first one coming up on Jan. 18th.

I’ve updated this Meetup. For more details, see the full listing:


The Modern Nativity

Posted in news on December 25, 2010 by saskskeptic

5 Scientific theories that help explain Santa to smart kids

Posted in news on December 25, 2010 by saskskeptic has this article about how to explain Santa to smart kids.

Parents used to have it pretty easy when it came to explaining Santa: it’s all Christmas miracles and magic. But these days, kids are too cynical and too worldly (and have access to too much Google) to fall for that old timey “Christmas is magic” bullshit. And you better bring your A game, because today’s kids are pretty wary of letting elderly men sneak around their homes in the middle of night, especially if he’s got presents.


Don’t worry. Science, and Cracked, has got your back. When kids come up to you and ask those difficult Santa-related questions, here are a few totally plausible answers to placate them.

Read More


CFI Saskatoon (AKA Saskatoon Freethinkers) Festivus Party

Posted in Event, news with tags , , on December 19, 2010 by saskskeptic

Congratulations to the Saskatoon Freethinkers (now CFI Saskatoon) on their second anniversary.

WhatFestivus & Anniversary Celebration

When: Sunday, December 19, 2010 11:30 AM

Where: Venice House
906 Central Avenue
Saskatoon, SK S7N 2G8

This December, we are celebrating our second anniversary with another Festivus party. We plan to have a casual, social event where we will watch some fun video clips and play games. Feel free to bring friends or family.

There will hopefully be a festivus pole – no distracting tinsel please. We will be on the lookout for Festivus Miracles!

Skeptics In The Pub

Posted in Event with tags , , on December 16, 2010 by saskskeptic

The next Skeptics In the Pub is Wednesday Dec. 22 starting at 7:30pm

Hose Brew Pub
612 11th St E
Saskatoon, SK S7N0G3
(306) 477-3473 



PZ Myers ask his students to name a female scientist.  They do badly at it. I find I can’t name very many either.
Bring a short Bio on a female scientist.  Skip Goodal and Curie.

Darwin Day is coming up in a few months.
Does anyone want to be more involved in planning?
Any suggestions?   Any ideas for lectures?
News Stories
Like to Sleep Around? Blame Your Genes
How mammals got big in a post-dinosaur world
Botox has unwanted side effects from U of C
For extra points follow the link to journal abstract and compare to the blog article.
Any Issue People wish to bring up.

Saskatoon Speculative Activity

Posted in Event, news with tags , , on December 15, 2010 by saskskeptic

A friend of mine is trying to start-up a group for people interested in speculative activities.  In other words gaming, science fiction and other such fun activities.

Trying to organize a “pub night” for January. A get together to hang out and discuss Books, Movies and Games with a Fantasy, SF or Horror connection. leaning toward Wednesday, the 26th of january. anyone have a favourite pub they’ed like to suggest, or a better day?

For more information or to make suggestions see their Facebook Group.

Total Lunar Eclipse

Posted in Event, science with tags on December 14, 2010 by saskskeptic

[Updated to be clear that it is Monday night (the 20th)  not Sunday night so not really on the weekend.  Whether it starts on the 20th or 21st depends on which time zone your are in.]

There will be a total lunar eclipse this weekend Monday Night.  Starting just before midnight (23:29) on Dec. 20, it will last for several hours.

Lunar eclipses last much longer than solar eclipses because the earth is much larger than the moon and therefore creates a correspondingly larger.

When a lunar eclipse occurs there are two distinct phases.   First the moon enters the part of the earths shadow called the penumbra, before entering the darker umbra.  Then the process is reversed as the moon moves out of the earths shadow.

The second phase, the umbra is what most people think of as a true shadow.  This is when the light from the sun is fully blocked by the earth.  The penumbra is a partial shadow.  It occurs because the sun is not a point.  If you stand at the edge of a building so that you can only see part of the sun, it will be dimmer but not dark. If you look at the ground you will see that the shadow from the building in not a sharp edge but that it gradually changes from light to dark.

In the same way the moon will darken as the light falling on it is partly blocked by the earth, until it enters the umbra where the earth blocks all the light from the sun.

This alignment, with the earth directly between the moon and the sun is a key to the timing of eclipses.  Lunar eclipses occur during full moons when from our point of view on the earth, the sun is directly opposite from the moon.   The reverse is true of  solar eclipses.  In which case the new moon is between the earth and the sun and we can only see the dark part facing away from the sun.

More information from

On the nights of Dec. 20 and Dec. 21, parts of four continents will be treated to a total eclipse of the moon — the only one to occur in 2010.

This NASA lunar eclipse chart shows the visibility of the eclipse from different regions around the world.

The last total lunar eclipse occurred on Feb. 20, 2008. While there are two total lunar eclipses in 2011, North American skywatchers will have to wait until April 2014 for one as potentially spectacular as the eclipse occurring this month. [Amazing Total Lunar Eclipse Photos]

Lunar eclipses occur when the moon passes through a point in its orbit in which the Earth is directly between it and the sun. When the moon enters the shadow of Earth,