meetings with extraordinary (or at least interesting) people

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The local Skeptic Meetup group is well run and really quite entertaining. This very welcoming group meets in a restaurant and starts with food and conviviality, continues with funny videos and comics projected on a screen, and follows up with a speaker on a science topic. The most recent one featured Jen McCreight, Blaghag and graduate student, speaking on skeptical genetics, the value (or lack thereof) of companies that will examine your genome for you, and how to identify reliable science research.

The local MothUp group for personal storytelling is very compelling. The recent theme was “Nick of Time” and for 90 minutes, audience member volunteers had ten minutes each to tell true nick-of-time stories from their lives. One large fellow who was involved in the prevention of child sex trafficking told a great story of a bar fight he got mixed up in and how he wielded a gum ball machine as a weapon when someone pulled a knife. Another person told a story of traveling abroad. I think he was in Turkey, in a train station, when a crowd of people whose trains were about to leave got fed up with the slow luggage-check workers. They stormed the luggage check station, overwhelmed the luggage checkers and grabbed their belongings in a crazy free-for-all. Then the storyteller actually did a cinematic run through the station to catch a departing train, grabbed the last car, and was pulled aboard by sympathetic passengers. He was cheered by the crowd inside the car when he entered.

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