Staring tomorrow morning, if you are in the Twin Cities, there is Lynn Fellman’s talk at the Hennepin County Library downtown.

Lynn Fellman creates art that combines genetic data with creative imagery. Fellman will discuss basic genetic concepts, how art can uniquely express science concepts, and why many of us may find Neanderthal genetics in our DNA. Q&A session will follow.

Click here for more details on Lynn’s talk.

Then, on Sunday Morning, listen to Richard Fortey on ATT:

“Living fossil” is a term that might well have been calculated to drive evolutionary biologists insane. Evolution has stopped for no organism on Earth–except those that have gone extinct. However, some plants and animals have proved resilient enough that they still live on our planet in roughly the same forms they wore millions of years ago.

Richard Fortey is a distinguished writer and a BBC presenter. He is also a palaeontologist who is fascinated by the idea of seeing ancient history in our modern world. His latest book, Horseshoe Crabs and Velvet Worms: The Story of the Animals and Plants That Time Has Left Behind (in the UK, Survivors: The Animals and Plants That Time Has Left Behind) details and communicates that fascination, as does the BBC series Survivors: Nature’s Indestructible Creatures, which Fortey presented.

Click here for more details on Fortey’s talk.

One of my favorite people to talk to is Debbie Goddard, and she’s going to be on a call-in radio show later in the day on Sunday. Debbie will be talking about the Freethought Movement:

Debbie Goddard is the campus outreach coordinator at the Center for Inquiry Transnational in Amherst, NY. She is also the director of African Americans for Humanism, a program of the Council for Secular Humanism. Before working for CFI, she participated in local freethought groups in the greater Philadelphia region and helped organize and support campus groups internationally as a student volunteer. She has also been involved with progressive issues and LGBT activism.

Debbie’s first experience with organized freethought was in 2000, when she traveled to Amherst, New York, for a Center for Inquiry Student Leadership Conference. Inspired by the experience, she began attending freethought, humanist, atheist, and skeptic group meetings in the greater Philadelphia region, including in New York City, New Jersey, and central Pennsylvania. She also started a CFI-affiliated campus group at her college.

Click here for more info on Debbie’s radio chat.

Then, believe it or not, later that evening there is going to be a very interesting edition of Skeptically Speaking with Desiree Schell:

#162 The Science of Belief

This week, we’re talking about the perspective of science on the mechanisms of belief. We’re joined by science writer Jesse Bering, to discuss his book The Belief Instinct: The Psychology of Souls, Destiny, and the Meaning of Life. And on the podcast, we’ll dive into the neurology of religious faith with Dr. Andrew Newberg, author of How God Changes Your Brain.

We record live with Jesse Bering on Sunday, April 29 at 6 pm MT. The podcast will be available to download at 9 pm MT on Friday, May 4.

Click here for details on this episode of Skeptically Speaking

That’s a pretty darn interesting weekend coming up!

The US Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has ruled that transgender workers are a protected class.

In what some are calling a landmark decision, the EEOC has ruled that Title VII protects transgender workers from on-the-job discrimination. In part, the order states that “intentional discrimination against a transgender individual because that person is transgender is, by definition, ‘based on … sex’ and such discrimination … violates” the law.


This protection is backed by solid case law. EEOC rulings generally require propping by court cases, but this is fully expected since the courts have already done so. In fact, one might ask, “why did the EEOC not do this before?”

The attention of the Two Little Cousins and Huxley the Baby was easily diverted to the back of the house while Cousin Randy slipped out the front door into the cold dark night wearing the red suit and fake beard, carrying a bag of toys and a strap of sleigh bells. Suddenly, Cousin Chris exclaimed that she heard ringing sounds, and this made everyone stop talking and listen, theatrically. Sure enough, there was the sound of bells from somewhere outside! The two little cousins had a good idea what this meant; Huxley the Baby did not. Then, Grandpa exclaimed that he thought an animal had passed by the side window … a deer, maybe. No, said Grandma, a reindeer! Then there was a thud on the side of the house, and moments later a loud knock on the front door, which promptly flew open, letting in a cold draft, a few flurries of snow, and a large man with red cheeks and a gleam in his eye. …

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On behalf of Yamileth Coreas-Leiva. Melody Hensley has organized a request for donations to help Yamileth out:

On Tuesday, April 24, 2012, a dear member of the freethought community and the Center for Inquiry-DC, Yamileth Coreas-Leiva, lost three family members in a carbon monoxide poisoning. Please consider donating what you can to help Yamileth with the cost of her family’s funerals and other expenses she may incur. Yamileth is the single mother of one and the financial cost will be great.

Click here to pitch in.

The local news report:

A supermarket bakery employee, her husband and three others were found dead inside a suburban Washington home Tuesday of suspected carbon monoxide poisoning, rattling a close-knit community of immigrant churchgoers who wept, hugged and comforted each other outside.
Fire officials blamed the deaths on a broken exhaust pipe that pumped carbon monoxide back into the home.
Two of the dead were discovered by a relative who went to the home Tuesday morning, concerned for his family’s welfare. The other three were found soon after by firefighters who measured levels of carbon monoxide so high as to lead to death within mere hours, said Mark Brady, a spokesman for the Prince George’s County fire department. A dog also was removed from the home on oxygen support.