Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Wanderers 2016.3.8


I'm working night shift on Monday and Wednesday, leaving Tuesdays open again, meaning I'm able to join the Wanderers meetups at the Linus Pauling house every other week, and this Thursday I hope to make the ISEPP lecture.

Accounts differ as to how and why the Wanderers were formed, however the best explanation is Terry Bristol, president of ISEPP, was always bringing these big name lecturers to Portland and he needed a cast of ready cognoscenti who could engage said lecturers in witty repartee.

The upcoming lecturer is a big name, the CEO of Mentor Graphics, Dr. Wally Rhines, however he's not from out of town as Mentor Graphics is locally based, and has been a loyal main sponsor of Terry's lecture series.

Big name lecturers have included Jane Goodall, Lisa Randall, Carl Sagan, Lynn Margulis, James Burke, Michael Cousteau, Richard Leaky, Freeman Dyson, Stephen Hawking, Ilya Prigogine, Mario Livio and many more.

In addition to direct funding from Mentor Graphics, a charitable nonprofit, The Mentor Graphics Foundation, makes sure high school aged students and their teachers have access to either free or very affordable tickets.  Many a young mind has been expanded through this program.

Regardless of whether Wanderers are helping out with a speaking engagement, we try to stay in shape intellectually.  Tonight Barry Redd, a retired banker, spoke on the topic of Dark Energy, while Dr. DiNucci, at one time with NASA, performed the role of fact checker.  He's also president of Humanists of Greater Portland.

I'd seen a TED Talk recently in which "believers in homeopathy" were singled out as advocates for pseudo-science.  I'd used the word "homeopathic" recently in an essay, thinking it meant something like using a little of what one is building immunity to, in order to stave off an onslaught of same.

For example, in training on cowpox, the body develops the ability to repel smallpox, a known principle in vaccinations.  Also the body has ways of training T-cells and weeding out those which can't tell the difference between self and other.  One would need some "other" to chew on in that case.

However, the Wanderers set me right:  what I'm imagining is "homeopathy" is not that at all.  I'm off base in thinking I know what it is (a pseudo-science, the TED Talker was right).  Thank you Wanderers.