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The 32nd Meeting of the Skeptics’ Circle

I have to hand it to Matt (a.k.a. The Pooflinger). When he hosts a Skeptics’ Circle, he does it up right. Last time, he envisioned the 21st Meeting of the Skeptics’ Circle as a Shakespearean play. This time around, he envisions a very frightening future world in which credulity and religious fanaticism have been dominant for hundreds of years.

And then an archaelogist is made aware of an ancient and mysterious object:

Unlike most anybody, Dr. Ivanoa didn’t consider unexpected late-night phone calls to be a bad thing at all. With no surviving relatives and less than a few friends (even at her own university), she didn’t usually worry about “bad news calls” at all. Besides that, she’d learned long ago to quickly evaluate the probable nature of late-night calls with uncanny accuracy.

“Let’s see,” she muttered to the quiet dark of her bedroom (a habit picked up from years of lonely work and late nights in her lab… late nights that had gained her the position as head of Archaeology at Johnson University). “I’m reasonably sure I’m not dead, and there’s no way they’d fire me at this time of night. That can only mean one thing…”

Somebody had found something interesting.

As it happened, a couple of utility workers had stumbled across the entrance to an underground chamber of sorts while digging a trench for a new water line. Most discoveries during her career, it seemed, were of this nature (at least the exciting ones). That, she had learned from experience, could be both a blessing and a curse. For one, the work involved in actually finding a site evaporated, saving her much time and money. The flipside, as she had also found through her forty years in the field, was that utility workers tended to be curious and sometimes damaged the context of the site, causing no end of frustration and many long days of work for her.

As she stepped out of her vehicle, a representative from the utilities department approached.

“Did any of your workers physically enter the chamber?” she asked, dreading the answer somewhat.

“Two of them went in,” came the expected response. “The backhoe wiped out the door that was there, so nobody thought it would be a big deal if they took a quick peek. I can personally assure you that they took nothing. Actually, they buggered out of there pretty quick after one of them touched something.”

“They touched something?”

“They said it was some sort of box filled with wiring and stuff. One of them dusted it off to get a better look and it started insulting them. Scared the piss out of those two, it did.”

What was this box that they found and what did it have to do with skepticism? Find out by visiting the 32nd Meeting of the Skeptics’ Circle.

Next up is Bora over at Science and Politics. He’s scheduled for April 27 and will become the first blogger ever to pull a three-peat hosting the Circle. Start getting your skeptical entries ready to submit to him by April 26.

Hmmm. Maybe I should get my name back on the schedule. I’m the friggin’ organizer, and I’ve only hosted twice…

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

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