Thursday, October 29, 2009

Dunedin Skeptics in The Pub - First Meeting

I attended the first meeting for Dunedin Skeptics in The Pub last night. There were way more people than I expected, which was a pleasant surprise, and after the initial awkward introductions (they must be obligatory at this kind of gathering) we ended up having a fantastic time.

I think it'll be a really good way to share ideas about promoting reason and science in the local community. There was one guy who said he goes along to a primary school class every couple of weeks and talks to 8-9 year olds about science and the scientific method. What a great idea!

That's the sort of stuff we should be doing - promoting science and critical thinking in the community. I'm totally inspired, and I think it's time to start planning something along those lines for myself. I've been making noises about how I want to communicate science for a long time, and it's about time I actually did something.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Axolotl development

In our department we have a breeding pair of axolotls in the teaching labs. They've had some babies recently, and the baby axolotls have just hatched from their eggs. They're awfully cute, they look quite similar to Xenopus tadpoles except they've got those fantastic external gills.

I looked up a table of axolotl development and found a site with an excellent series of photographs, depicting the development right through to larval stage. The Late Neurula stage is SO COOL. Go look at it. Now.

Dunedin Skeptics in The Pub

There's a new skeptics group in Dunedin called Skeptics in The Pub. It combines two of my favourite things - Skepticism and Beer. There have been similar groups in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch for a while now, and I'm excited that we finally have a Dunedin chapter.

The first meeting is tomorrow evening, 7.30PM at The Duke of Wellington. So far, the group is pretty small, so it'd be nice to have more people sign up! If you know anyone who's interested, tell them about it!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Rise of Atheism

This morning I woke up in a rubbish mood, having had possibly the worst sleep EVER.

But a few hours later, I was on top of the world... I bought tickets to the 2010 Global Atheist Convention in Melbourne! With speakers like Richard Dawkins and PZ Myers, it's going to be fantastic, and interesting, and a great opportunity to meet people.

Of course, I will have to stash pennies in my piggybank for months to be able to afford it, but it'll totally be worth it.

Problem: I told my mum I had bought the tickets, and she is threatening to tell my (very pentecostal) Grandma. I'm fairly sure it'll be the end of the world when Grandma finds out that I haven't just 'backslidden', but am a full-on atheist!

Anyway, if any kind atheists living in Melbourne and attending the Convention are feeling generous enough to offer me accommodation for the weekend of 12-14 March 2010, I'll make it worth your while! NZ has some very good wines and I plan to bring a full allowance of duty-free, I make an incredible ginger cake, and am particularly talented at washing the dishes.