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Weekly Rochester Events #522 Starting Thursday, January 8, 2009

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009

Rational Skepticism Without Condescension
by Jason Olshefsky at 5:07 pm (add a comment)

On one of the discussion lists I subscribe to, there are frequent questions about "fringe science" — particularly involving energy, since the topic of discussion is "alternative energy". I have yet to receive a message that contained something both revolutionary in scale and backed by science (and likewise, seldom is a topic banal and poorly explained). An example is "eloptic energy" which describes some kind of field around all objects that can theoretically be tapped.

I have trouble describing it in any serious way. Its science begins by neglecting well-explored and well-understood properties of fields — basically that to get energy using a field, you have to put energy in. It's the way generators work (it's the combination of a magnet and a wire moving past one another). Another example might be to use the force of a river to do work by presenting resistance (like in the case of a water wheel). I guess the buzz around eloptic energy is that you don't need to add energy to get the energy out — analogous to working a water wheel while moving with the current of the river … a boat-mounted water wheel, if you will.

But even there, I take a condescending attitude that I can't seem to avoid. I shake my head and roll my eyes, frustrated that I must defend myself against lunacy with rational argument. This feeling of aggravation seems to come from two factors.

First is the misunderstanding or misapplication of science. The basics of the scientific method are to conceive a theory, develop an experiment with measurable, repeatable results, and ascertain whether the experiment supports the theory; then repeat ad infinitum. Everything we claim to know in science is based on a chain of everything we figured out before. It seems that people who entertain pseudo-science theories believe that science is a bureaucratic ivory tower of knowledge sanctioned by self-proclaimed experts. Sometimes bureaucratic, ivory-tower, self-proclaimed experts try to sanction knowledge, but that is not science.

The other is the appropriation of words that have an established meaning to give the illusion of credibility. Words like "energy" have a specific, well-defined meaning, so to use them in relation to something else is nothing less than lying. One example was during a discussion of essential oils (not on the discussion list) where they used "megahertz" as a unit to quantify the relative power of the oils. It was frustrating that nobody else in the room wanted to ask what part of the oil was vibrating (as "megahertz" exclusively means "millions of times per second"), and if it was in the radio-frequency range like the speaker implied, could we tune in a radio to hear it?

Of course, as I wrote before, there is no way to discern an expert from a non-expert in a field that you are not familiar with. In the end, it comes down to whether you believe one person or another. And when it comes to belief, well, there's really no point in arguing.

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JayceLand Pick At tonight's meeting of The Bertrand Russell Society, George Campbell McDade will discuss What's Wrong With Contemporary Philosophy in the Real World? at 7 p.m. in Verb Café at Writers and Books (740 University Ave.) [source: Writers and Books calendar] [all ages]

Tonight at 7:30 p.m. in Kilbourn Hall at Eastman Theatre (60 Gibbs St.) is a recital by The Eastman Community Music School (ECMS) titled An Evening of Russian Music. [source: Eastman School of Music calendar] [all ages]

JayceLand Pick The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing Murder, My Sweet starting at 8 p.m.: the first screen-adaptation of fictional detective Philip Marlowe. [source: Dryden Theater calendar] [all ages]

JayceLand Pick Tonight at The Bug JarMySpace link (219 Monroe Ave.) is Zona MexicanaMySpace link, and Monster MachismoMySpace link starting around 9 p.m. [source: Bug Jar calendar]

Good blues-charged rock-and-roll from Buford and the Smoking Section will be at Dinosaur Bar-B-Que (99 Court St.) starting around 10 p.m. [source: Dinosaur Bar-B-Que calendar]

Pure Kona Open Mic Poetry will be at The Mez (389 Gregory St., formerly House of Hamez and Daily Perks) tonight starting around 7:30 p.m. [source: the proverbial grapevine]


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JayceLand Pick Tonight at 8 p.m. in the Gallery at Potential Life StudiosMySpace link (34 Elton St.) is The No-Tone Party featuring people presenting non-melodic pop music. The bands and friends will be around beforehand for a social hour-or-so / potluck starting around 7 p.m. (and note that no alcohol is allowed at the studios). [source: band e-mail]

Tonight at 7:30 p.m. in Kilbourn Hall at Eastman Theatre (60 Gibbs St.), The Eastman Community Music School (ECMS) presents a recital of their Eastman Community Chamber Singers. [source: Eastman School of Music calendar] [all ages]

Tonight at The Mez (389 Gregory St., formerly House of Hamez and Daily Perks) is DufusGarageBand linkMySpace link starting around 8 p.m. [source: Mez website] [all ages]

JayceLand Pick Jon ItkinGarageBand linkMySpace link will be at Boulder Coffee Co.MySpace link (100 Alexander St.) starting around 8 p.m. [source: Boulder Coffee MySpace site] [all ages]

JayceLand Pick The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing Stranded: I've Come From A Plane That Crashed On The Mountains starting at 8 p.m. and again on Sunday at 4 p.m. This film documents the 1972 plane crash of a Uruguayan rugby team in the Andes. [source: Dryden Theater calendar] [all ages]

Supposedly, Monty's Korner (355 East Ave.) will be hosting CavalcadeMySpace link, probably starting around 9 p.m. [source: Freetime]


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Today at 3:30 p.m. in Kilbourn Hall at Eastman Theatre (60 Gibbs St.) is a recital sponsored by The Eastman Community Music School (ECMS) with The Kaleidoscope Ensemble. [source: Eastman School of Music calendar] [all ages]

JayceLand Pick At The Baobab Cultural Center (728 University Ave., formerly on Gregory St.) this evening at 7 p.m., John V. Elmore will lead a discussion titled Justice for ALL?, a special 2009 Martin Luther King Lecture. [source: Baobab website]

JayceLand Pick Tonight at 7:30 p.m., Village Idiots Present (VIP) present "Gorilla Theatre" Improv Cypher. [source: Village Idiots Present website]

The Mez (389 Gregory St., formerly House of Hamez and Daily Perks) will be hosting good singer and storyteller Jerry Falzone starting around 8 p.m. [source: Mez website] [all ages]

JayceLand Pick Tonight at Boulder Coffee Co.MySpace link (100 Alexander St.) is great heavy-hitting proto-rock from Auld Lang SyneMySpace link starting around 8 p.m. (Note that Freetime Magazine thinks they're at the Krown.) [source: Boulder Coffee MySpace site] [all ages]

The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing Låt den rätte komma in (Let The Right One In) starting at 8 p.m. and again tomorrow at 7 p.m. A young boy befriends a child vampire. [source: Dryden Theater calendar] [all ages]

JayceLand Pick Tonight at The Bug JarMySpace link (219 Monroe Ave.) starting around 9 p.m. is the David Bowie Birthday Bash with local bands like The Lobster QuadrilleMySpace link, WalriMySpace link, The GrievantsMySpace link, and Tumul covering Bowie's work. [source: Bug Jar calendar]

Tonight at Abilene Bar and Lounge (153 Liberty Pole Wy., formerly Tara) starting around 9 p.m. is DubtideMySpace link (despite that Abilene's own calendar says "Dubland" and even JamBase has Dubtide listed for Sunday night as well). [source: JamBase calendar for Rochester]


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Over at The Mez (389 Gregory St., formerly House of Hamez and Daily Perks) starting around 8 p.m. is Teaadora NikolovaMySpace link. [source: Mez website] [all ages]

JayceLand Pick Over at The Bug JarMySpace link (219 Monroe Ave.) starting around 8:30 p.m. is Annikki DawnMySpace link, Vio/Mire, and great, poetic acoustic-rock from Autumn In HalifaxMySpace link. [source: Carbon Records calendar]

Bored? Why not check out 1980's DJ night at The Bug Jar (219 Monroe Ave.) starting around 11 p.m. [source: Bug Jar calendar]


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This morning at 7:30 a.m. in the cafeteria overlooking the arboretum in Bausch and Lomb (140 Stone St.) is the Artists Breakfast Group meeting ... anyone interested in art or creativity is invited.

JayceLand Pick Tonight at 8 p.m. The House in Hydesville premieres at Geva (75 Woodbury Blvd.) [source: Geva Theatre website]

JayceLand Pick The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing Ruang talok 69 (6ixtynin9) starting at 8 p.m. in which a woman gets fired but finds a box of money; "a further series of misunderstandings and numerological mix-ups puts her on the run from one of the weirdest assemblages of gangsters in film history." [source: Dryden Theater calendar] [all ages]


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JayceLand Pick The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing Se7en starting at 8 p.m. in which a serial killer works his way through the Seven Deadly Sins. I believe this one has an ending where you're sure you saw what you didn't. [source: Dryden Theater calendar] [all ages]

Poor People United meets tonight and every Wednesday at 7 at St. Joseph's House of Hospitality (402 South Ave.) [source: the proverbial grapevine]

Tonight at The Comedy Club (2235 Empire Blvd., Webster) is a Comedy Open Mic with Michael GatelyMySpace link. [source: Comedy Club website]

There's an Open Mic for Acoustic Music at Boulder Coffee Co. (100 Alexander St.) tonight around 8. [source: the proverbial grapevine]

Tonight at 8 p.m. at Abeline Bar and Lounge (153 Liberty Pole Wy., formerly Tara) is an Open Mic with The Grand Canyon Rescue EpisodeMySpace link. [source: Abeline website]

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This page is Jason Olshefsky's list of things to do in Rochester, NY and the surrounding region (including nearby towns Irondequoit, Webster, Penfield, Pittsford, Victor, Henrietta, Gates, Chili, Greece, and Charlotte, and occasionally other places in Monroe County and the Western New York region.) It is updated every week with daily listings for entertainment, activities, performances, movies, music, bands, comedy, improv, poetry, storytelling, lectures, discussions, debates, theater, plays, and generally fun things to do. Music events are usually original bands with occasional cover bands and DJ's with musical styles including punk, emo, ska, swing, rock, rock-and-roll, alternative, metal, jazz, blues, noise band, experimental music, folk, acoustic, and "world-beat." Events listed take place during the day, in the evenings, or as part of the city's nightlife as listed. Although I'm reluctant to admit it, it is a Rochester blog and I'm essentially blogging about Rochester events. I also tend to express opinions, review past events, make reviews, speak of philosophy or of a philosophical nature, discuss humanity and creativity. Oh, and it's spelled JayceLand with no space and a capital L, not Jayce Land, Jaycee Land, Jace Land, Jase Land, Joyce Land, Jayce World, Jayceeland, Jaceland, Jaseland, Joyceland, Jayceworld, Jayceeworld, Jaceworld, Jaseworld, nor Joyceworld. (Now if you misspell it in some search engine, you at least get a shot at finding it.) It's also not to be confused with Jake's World or JakesWorld which is a site of a Rochester animator. While I'm on the topic of keywords for search engines, this update includes information for Thursday, January 8, 2009 (Thu, Jan 8, 2009, 1/8/2009, or 1/8/09) Friday, January 9, 2009 (Fri, Jan 9, 2009, 1/9/2009, or 1/9/09) Saturday, January 10, 2009 (Sat, Jan 10, 2009, 1/10/2009, or 1/10/09) Sunday, January 11, 2009 (Sun, Jan 11, 2009, 1/11/2009, or 1/11/09) Monday, January 12, 2009 (Mon, Jan 12, 2009, 1/12/2009, or 1/12/09) Tuesday, January 13, 2009 (Tue, Jan 13, 2009, 1/13/2009, or 1/13/09) and Wednesday, January 14, 2009 (Wed, Jan 14, 2009, 1/14/2009, or 1/14/09).


JayceLand Pick indicates an event that's a preferred pick of the day ... probably something worth checking out.

Top Pick indicates a "guaranteed" best bet for the particular genre of the indicated event.

GarageBand link links to a band's page on GarageBand.com which offers reviews and information about bands.

MySpace link links to a band's page on MySpace.com which is a friend-networking site that is popular with bands.

Fly the flag today. is a day when you should fly the flag according to the Veterans of Foreign Wars calendar.

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