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Welcome Humanists, especially those in the Billings Montana area

We are a group of skeptics, atheists, post-theists, agnostics, empiricists, existentialists, free thinkers and others who chose to live in a world where human values are based on human experience and not on divine inspiration.  As a group we are more on the secular side of the humanist movement.10309562_1_l We meet regularly in the Billings area. Check our meetup site for events, the next few are on the right of this page. If you have questions, you can send us a note at billings.humanists@gmail.com. If you want to join our emailing list, send an email from the account your want to receive our newsletter, calendar of events and other notices to billingshumanists+subscribe@googlegroups.com. There are more ways to contact us on the contact us page. We are looking to network with other secular and/or humanist groups in the region.

The Humanist Song Book

This songbook of traditional solstice carols was compiled by The Billings Association of Humanists.

A Citizen/Adjacent Landowner Critique of the Billings Class II Landfill Expansion Project Draft Environmental Assessment

[Editor’s Note: The draft report referred to in this article is available at http://deq.mt.gov/Portals/112/Land/SolidWaste/Documents/docs/BillingsEA.pdf and Montana’s Department of Environmental Quality’s website is at http://deq.mt.gov/. Comments are being taking by the DEQ until January 30, 2017]


Presented January 10, 2017 @ Blue Creek School

By Ralph D. Scott, Field Biologist, retired

Billings, MT 59101


At the above stated meeting, I pointed out some important voids in the draft assessment relative to the land (known as the landfill “buffer”) regarding the lack of data of the 350 acres ecological features, vegetation, fauna, etc.  Therefore, my comments are focused upon Section 3 Affected Environment and Environmental Consequences by Resource in the EA.

My comments, however, will be limited to the biological and natural community—the flora and fauna aspects—of the site; for I do not claim to possess enough in-depth expertise to critique the hydrological, geological, and soil aspects of the ecosystem/project area in question.


The assessment states: The analysis methods included…research of the Natural Resource Heritage Program database to determine the presence of threatened, listed, and/or endangered plant and animal species.

Note:  I volunteer and work with the Montana Natural Heritage Program, providing data and images for their field guide website.  I am happy you have used the info, but it is generic and serves only as a guide to foster awareness and thinking for the public at large, and public and private agencies to take a closer look at any ecosystem under consideration for development, alteration, and new management paradigms.


Assessment statement: The tract is currently dominated by various grasses, sage and cacti…used by deer and antelope populations.  Large areas of similar vegetation are found adjacent to the proposed expansion area. The landscape is not unique and does not contain any specially designated or unique wildlife features.

Question/Critique:  How was this assessment determined?  It seems obvious that this is not based upon any qualitative/quantitative field work (no “boots-on-the-ground,” if you will) by ecologists, naturalists, botanists, etc. (for example: I and other surrounding landowners are not aware of antelope occurring is this area). It is obvious that there is no data in the draft assessment to support such a conclusion. It has simply been a literature/internet data search!

As for the statement, “Large areas of similar vegetation are found adjacent…” this is not basically true. How adjacent, and what is the adjacent land use—housing, ranching, farming, etc. compared to this present Landfill buffer. Any close examination of a Google Earth photo of the “adjacent areas” would reveal that there are numerous vegetation types/habitats within the holistic vegetation classification system identified as Big Sagebrush Steppe and Great Plains Mixed Prairie, as presented on page 46, under Vegetation 3.6.1.    

Relative to Wetlands & Streams: The expansion area is located in the Blue Creek Watershed…Seasonal flow occurs in Stream 1 when it exceeds the rate of infiltration…the resulting shallow, course-bedded intermittent streams with shallow flows, but high turbulence, do not provide fish habitat.

Critique:  In my random & infrequent samplings of Blue Creek, I have collected 3 fish species—of course all in the Minnow Family (Cyprinaidae)—admittedly not “sport fish,” but fish nevertheless, plus there are many aquatic insects and other invertebrates.  How can that draft assessment be true?

Further, no biological data accompanies this assessment.  That is, these streams, although intermittent, often pool water during the dry season.  Aquatic life can be found in these pools.  Therefore, there should be a seasonal biological sampling of these streams—within the site, and especially several points along Blue Creek to its terminus with the Yellowstone River to establish a base-line of “what is now” as a biological monitor for assessing any future changes in the biota should the “engineering safe-guards” not perform as predicted.  To me, such a study would seem crucial to the assessment’s statements relative to hydrology, soil engineering, etc. and proposed “safe guards.”


It is obvious that this DEQ Environmental Assessment is extremely inadequate, biologically/ecologically, for any Billings citizen to sanction the City of Billings’ Landfill Expansion Project.  Here are some basic reasons:

  1. There is no inventory/listing of plant and animal species observed in the 350 acre site, which needs to include four season observations—nesting, migration, permanent residence, blooming, etc.
  2. There is no data relative to Vegetation composition, density, basal area, or standard measurements and standard (there are many available) methods.
  3. There is no biological data relative to the aquatic organism diversity within the Blue Creek watershed, and this would include the sampling upstream and downstream of the expansion site’s watershed confluence with Blue Creek to the Yellowstone River.
  4. More substantial data/analysis is needed to support claims made regarding wildlife shifts, adjacent similar vegetation types/habitat types, etc.
  5. It is very clear, that the EA is currently inadequate and incomplete, and that a more comprehensive/complete Environmental Impact Statement  (EIS) is required for further review.

I will not list more. In the eyes and minds of those authoring/submitting this EA, my conclusions may seem excessive, even cost and time prohibitive.  

As I see in the EA, the City of Billings submitted this application/proposal to the DEQ on April 27, 2015—more than a year before its public hearing.  They certainly, and the DEQ, has had adequate time to put professional/consultant biologists/ecologist into the field to assess the parameters I have listed above.


Respectively submitted: Ralph D. Scott, January 20, 2017


  • Foresman, Kerry R. 2012, Mammals of Montana, 2nd Edition. Mountain Press Publishing Co.
  • Holton, George D. & Johnson, Howard E. 2003, Field Guide to Montana Fishes, 3rd edition; Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks.
  • Kolb, Peter & Bertek, Cindy, 2014; Trees and Shrubs in Montana, revised edition, EB 0219; Montana State University Extension Forestry.
  • Lesica, Peter, 2012, Manual of Montana Vascular Plants; Britt Press.
  • Majerus, Mark, 2009. Forage and Reclamation Grasses of the Northern Great Plains and Rocky Mountains. Valley Printers, Bridger, MT.
  • Marks, Jefferey; Hendricks, Paul; & Casey. 2016, Birds of Montana. Buteo Books.
  • Schiemann, Donald Anthony, 2005, Wildflowers of Montana; Mountain Press Publishing Co.
  • Scott, Ralph D. 2010, Montana Grasshoppers, Katydids, & Crickets: A Pictorial Field Guide to the Orthoptera; MagpieMtGraphics, Billings, MT
  • Skaar, P.D. 2012, Montana Bird Distribution, 7th edition; Montana Audubon.
  • Taylor, John E. & Lacey, John R. 1994 (2007 reprint), Range Plants of Montana; EB 122, Montana State University Extension.
  • Werner, J. Kirwin, Maxell, Bryce, Hendricks, Paul & Flath, Dennis; 2004, Amphibians and Reptiles of Montana; Mountain Press Publishing Co.


  • Bonhan, Charles D. 2013, Measurements for Terrestrial Vegetation, 2nd edition. Wiley-Blackwell, publishers.
  • Henderson, P.A. 2003, Practical Methods in Ecology; Blackwell Publishing
  • Phillips, Edwin A. 1959, Methods of Vegetation Study; Henry Holt & Company, Inc.
  • Scott, Ralph D. 1969, The Macro-invertebrate Biotic Index:  A Water Quality Measurement and Natural Continuous Stream Monitor for the Miami River Basin;  Technical Paper, Miami Conservancy District, Dayton, OH.
  • Zimmerman, Melvin C. 1993, The Use of the Biotic Index as an Indication of Water Quality; Association for Biology Laboratory Education.




Update on the Billings City Council Election

By Donald Seibert

Last evening Leila and I attended an event entitled “Candidate Meet and Greet” held at the Mayflower Congregational Church. The meeting was excellent. The following candidates were there:

  • Ward 1
    • Brent Cromley (Incumbent)
  • Ward 2
    • Walt Donges
    • Jeremy Rindahl’s wife, Jeremy was working
  • Ward 3
    • Karen Moses
    • Becky Bird (Incumbent) had an operation that day and was not able to attend
  • Ward 4
    • Bill Brown
  • Ward 5
    • Ken Crouch (Incumbent)

There was a woman, a candidate, who came in midway through the discussion; I don’t know her name nor which Ward she was running in. Her comments were similar to the other candidates.

Announcement – Karen Moses said that Becky Bird would be running and that she, Karen will not run, but rather will be supporting Becky Bird. Karen only put her name in the hat because she was not sure Becky would be running. Because of the present time frame, Karen’s name will still be on the ballot.

Each candidate said that they supported many of the present City Council initiatives or areas they felt the City Council should support. These included (to the best of my recollection):

  • Infill the vacant land in the city of Billings rather than expanding to the West – Cromley, Donges,  Rindahl, Moses, Brown, Crouch
  • Non-Discrimination Ordinance – Cromley, Donges, Rindahl, Moses, Brown, Crouch
  • City growth – Cromley, Donges, Crouch
  • Conservation – Donges
  • City Parks – Cromley, Crouch
  • Reduce the use of water on city properties – Donges, Crouch
  • Fair pay for city employees – Donges, Rindahl

One person in the audience said that he had a problem with each City Council meeting starting with a Christian prayer. I do not recall any candidates addressing this practice, but it appeared to be well received by many in the room.

The Billings Gazette, Friday, July 10th ran an article in the Local & State section entitled “Crowded ballot will face Billings voters in September.” This article gave additional information about each candidate. Also the Last Best News ran an article entitled “Troubling phone calls reported in City Council race,” which outlined additional information about the various candidates.

As you know in each Ward the top two vote getters in the September 15th municipal primary ballot will run against each other in the election in November.

You need to be aware that the Tea Party and Republican conservatives are working to get out the vote for their candidates. Two persons last evening stated that several conservatives are running only to stop a Billings Non-Discrimination Ordinance. Also, this morning at the Democratic Breakfast, Tom Towe mentioned the same thing. He also said the Tea Party is focused on getting their candidates elected to stop a Billings City Non-Discrimination Ordinance from being approved by the City Council.

I strongly suggest the following be done in our Fellowship:

  1. An article be published in the Valley Voice about the importance of voting and being involved in our great community.
  2. The Board needs to take a strong stand on the City Council election.
  3. Individuals within the Fellowship need to write editorial comments to the Billings Gazette and the Outpost regarding our position on electing positive, open-minded persons to the Billings City Council.

A second “Candidate Meet and Greet” session will be held on:

Wednesday, August 12 from 5-7pm at the Q 360 Health, 50 – 27th St. West

The 7:00 am Wednesday morning Democratic Breakfast will introduce the candidates at each Wednesday in August and the first Wednesday in September. One Ward will be presented each week.

I do not have the schedule for which Ward will be presented on which Wednesday.


Startup Weekend comes to Billings

StStartupWeekend_Primary_V1_600_254artup Weekend is a great way to experience a startup environment and to see if your billion dollar idea has any legs.  This weekend long event starts on Friday night when all the ideas are pitched to the room.  Participants then vote with their feet, picking the project he or she wants to work on over the weekend.  Late Sunday afternoon, each team pitches to a panel of judges who are experienced in the world of startups, business, and business finance.  The top ideas win prizes that will help them move the startup forward. Startup Weekend Billings will be held at Losekamp Hall on Rocky Mountain College starting Friday October 10, 2014 at 6pm and running through Sunday evening (October 12). For more information go to http://billings.startupweekend.org. To register go to http://swbillings1014.eventbrite.com/.

Calendar Project: Undated

UN Proclamations for years and decades

2015 Year and Decades

International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies A/RES/68/221 Draft: A/68/440/Add.2
International Year of Soils A/RES/68/232 Draft:  A/68/444
International Decade for People of African Descent A/RES/68/237
United Nations Decade of Sustainable Energy for All A/RES/67/215
Third International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism A/RES/65/119
United Nations Decade on Biodiversity A/RES/65/161
Decade of Action for Road Safety A/RES/64/255
United Nations Decade for Deserts and the Fight against Desertification A/RES/62/195
Second United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty A/RES/62/205
Decade of Recovery and Sustainable Development of the Affected Regions (third decade after the Chernobyl disaster) A/RES/62/9
International Decade for Action, “Water for Life” A/RES/58/217

Undated BAH recommendations

This just means I was unable to pick a month.

Name & Event Reason important to Secular Humanism Calendar Month
The Social Contract (Du contrat social ou Principes du droit politique) is also the title of a 1762 book by Jean-Jacques Rousseau on this topic.   “The first man who, having fenced in a piece of land, said “This is mine,” and found people naïve enough to believe him, that man was the true founder of civil society. From how many crimes, wars, and murders, from how many horrors and misfortunes might not any one have saved mankind, by pulling up the stakes, or filling up the ditch, and crying to his fellows: Beware of listening to this impostor; you are undone if you once forget that the fruits of the earth belong to us all, and the earth itself to nobody.” — Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Discourse on Inequality, 1754 In moral and political philosophy, the social contract or political contract is a theory or model, originating during the Age of Enlightenment, that typically addresses the questions of the origin of society and the legitimacy of the authority of the state over the individual.[1] Social contract arguments typically posit that individuals have consented, either explicitly or tacitly, to surrender some of their freedoms and submit to the authority of the ruler or magistrate (or to the decision of a majority), in exchange for protection of their remaining rights. The question of the relation between natural and legal rights, therefore, is often an aspect of social contract theory. The Social Contract (Du contrat social ou Principes du droit politique) is also the title of a 1762 book by Jean-Jacques Rousseau on this topic. Although the antecedents of social contract theory are found in antiquity, in Greek and Stoic philosophy and Roman and Canon Law, as well as in the Biblical idea of the covenant, the heyday of the social contract was the mid-17th to early 19th centuries, when it emerged as the leading doctrine of political legitimacy. The starting point for most social contract theories is a heuristic examination of the human condition absent from any political order that Thomas Hobbes termed the “state of nature”.[2] In this condition, individuals’ actions are bound only by their personal power andconscience. From this shared starting point, social contract theorists seek to demonstrate, in different ways, why a rational individual would voluntarily consent to give up his or her natural freedom to obtain the benefits of political order. Hugo Grotius (1625), Thomas Hobbes (1651), Samuel Pufendorf (1673), John Locke (1689), Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1762), and Immanuel Kant (1797) are among the most prominent of 17th- and 18th-century theorists of social contract and natural rights. Each solved the problem of political authority in a different way. Grotius posited that individual human beings had natural rights; Hobbes asserted that humans consent to abdicate their rights in favor of the absolute authority of government (whether monarchial or parliamentary); Pufendorf disputed Hobbes’s equation of a state of nature with war.[3] Locke believed that natural rights were inalienable, and that the rule of God therefore superseded government authority; and Rousseau believed that democracy (self-rule) was the best way of ensuring the general welfare while maintaining individual freedom under the rule of law. The Lockean concept of the social contract was invoked in the United States Declaration of Independence. Social contract theories were eclipsed in the 19th century in favor of utilitarianism, Hegelianism, and Marxism, and were revived in the 20th century, notably in the form of a thought experiment byJohn Rawls.[3] Theory of Natural Human[edit]

Hard to pick a month for social contract theoyr   Also hobbes, Grotius, locke, kant and pufendof The statue of Rousseau on the Île Rousseau, Geneva.
David Hume Epistemology   A Treatise of Human Nature is a book by Scottish philosopher David Hume, first published at the end of 1738. The full title of the Treatise is ‘A Treatise of Human Nature: Being an Attempt to Introduce the Experimental Method of Reasoning into Moral Subjects’. It contains the following sections: The is–ought problem in meta-ethics as articulated by Scottish philosopher and historianDavid Hume (1711–76) is that many writers make claims about what ought to be on the basis of statements about what is. However, Hume found that there seems to be a significant difference between descriptive statements (about what is) and prescriptive or normative statements (about what ought to be), and it is not obvious how one can get from making descriptive statements to prescriptive. The is–ought problem is also known as Hume’s law and Hume’s Guillotine.   ?
Epicurus http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/epicurus/ ?
Percy Bysshe Shelley & Baruch Spinoza The Necessity of Atheism/ the birth of deism Ethics 1811 / 1667  
Da vinci. Gallileo Copernicus Libnitz Newton    
C S Lewis    
Paul Tillich    
savings and loans, coop banking    
zukov beats hitler    
John muir. bob marshall    
Ralph waldo emerson.    
Jesus and budda    
Margaret Sanger    
Jonas Salk, Pasteur,    
Panama canal Engineering?            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Panama_Canal#Dealing_with_disease  
William Shakespeare Merchant of Venice  
Felix Adler Adler talked about “deed, not creed”; his belief was that good works were the basis of ethical culture. In 1877 the Society founded the District Nursing Department, which organized a team of nurses who visited the homebound sick in poor districts.[4] A year later, in 1878, the Society established a Free Kindergarten for working people’s children. Because it served the working poor, the kindergarten provided basic necessities for the children when needed, such as clothing and hot meals.[6] It evolved over time into the Ethical Culture Fieldston School. Well known as a lecturer and writer, Adler served as rector for the Ethical Culture School until his death in 1933. Throughout his life, he always looked beyond the immediate concerns of family, labor, and race to the long-term challenge of reconstructing institutions, such as schools and government, to promote greater justice in human relations. Cooperation rather than competition was the higher social value. He gave a series of six lectures on “The Ethics of Marriage” for the Lowell Institute‘s 1896–97 season. Adler was the founding chairman of the National Child Labor Committee in 1904. Lewis Hine was hired as the committee’s photographer in 1908. In 1917 Adler served on the Civil Liberties Bureau, which later became the American Civil Liberties Bureau and then the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). In 1928 he became president of the Eastern division of the American Philosophical Association. He served on the first Executive Board of the National Urban League.   May deed without creed February EC started   in 1876, Adler at age 26 was invited to give a lecture expanding upon his themes first presented in the sermon at Temple Emanu-El. On May 15, 1876 [5] he reiterated the need for a religion, without the trappings of ritual or creed, that united all of mankind in moral social action. To do away with theology and to unite theists, atheists, agnostics and deists, all in the same religious cause, was a revolutionary idea at the time. A few weeks after the sermon, Adler started a series of weekly Sunday lectures. Aided by Joseph Seligman, president of Temple Emanu-El, in February 1877, Adler incorporated the Society of Ethical Culture.[4]
442 RCT   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/442nd_Infantry_Regiment_(United_States)  


Calendar Project: December 2015

December BAH Short List

Earthrise is the name given to NASA image AS8-14-2383, taken by astronaut William Anders during the Apollo 8 mission, the first manned voyage to orbit the Moon. Taken on December 24, 1968.


On 26 December 1898, the Curies announced the existence of a second element, which they named “radium”, from the Latin word for “ray”.

Marie Skłodowska-Curie (7 November 1867 – 4 July 1934) was a Polish and naturalized-French physicist and chemist who conducted pioneering research on radioactivity. She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, the only woman to win in two fields, and the only person to win in multiple sciences. She was also the first woman to become a professor at the University of Paris, and in 1995 became the first woman to be entombed on her own merits in the Panthéon in Paris.

Bertrand Russell 1950 Nobel Prize for Literature

Views on religion[edit]

Russell described himself as an agnostic, “speaking to a purely philosophical audience”, but as an atheist “speaking popularly”, on the basis that he could not disprove the Christian God similar to the way that he could not disprove the Olympic Gods either.[138] For most of his adult life Russell maintained that religion is little more than superstition and, despite any positive effects that religion might have, it is largely harmful to people. He believed that religion and the religious outlook serve to impede knowledge and foster fear and dependency, and are responsible for much of our world’s wars, oppression, and misery. He was a member of the Advisory Council of theBritish Humanist Association and President of Cardiff Humanists until his death.[139] (from wikipedia)

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Name & Event Reason important to Secular Humanism Calendar Month
Bertrand Russell 1950 Prize for Literature The Nobel Prize in Literature 1950 was awarded to Bertrand Russell“in recognition of his varied and significant writings in which he champions humanitarian ideals and freedom of thought”.l  Principal publications l  German Social Democracy, 1896 l  Foundations of Geometry, 1897 l  A Critical Exposition of the Philosophy of Leibniz, 1900 l  Principles of Mathematics, vol. 1, 1903 l  Philosophical Essays, 1910 l  (with Dr. A. N. Whitehead) Principia mathematica, 3 vols, 1910-13 l  The Problems of Philosophy, 1912 l  Our Knowledge of the External World as a Field for Scientific Method in Philosophy, 1944 l  Principles of Social Reconstruction, 1916 l  Mysticism and Logic and Other Essays, 1918 l  Roads to Freedom: Socialism, Anarchism and Syndicalism, 1918 l  Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy, 1919 l  The Practice and Theory of Bolshevism, 1920 l  The Analysis of Mind, 1921 l  The Problem of China, 1922 l  The ABC of Atoms, 1923 l  (with Dora Russell) The Prospects of Industrial Civilisation, 1923 l  Logical Atomism, 1924 l  The ABC of Relativity, 1925 l  On Education, 1926 l  The Analysis of Matter, 1927 l  An Outline of Philosophy, 1927 l  Sceptical Essays, 1928 l  Marriage and Morals, 1929 l  The Conquest of Happiness, 1930 l  The Freedom and Organisation 1814-1914, 1934 l  In Praise of Idleness, 1935 l  Which Way to Peace?, 1936 l  (with Patricia Russell editor of) The Amberley Papers, 2 vols, 1937 l  Power: a new Social Introduction to its Study, 1938 l  An Inquiry into Meaning and Truth, 1941 l  History of Western Philosophy, 1946 l  Human Knowledge, its Scope and Limits, 1948 l  Authority and the Individual, 1949 l  Unpopular Essays, 1950   December 1950
Earthrise and the Apollo project Earthrise is the name given to NASA image AS8-14-2383, taken by astronaut William Anders during the Apollo 8 mission, the first manned voyage to orbit the Moon.[1] [2]    Initially, before Anders found a suitable 70 mm color film, mission commander Frank Borman took a black-and-white photograph [3] of the scene, with the Earth’s terminator touching the horizon. The land mass position and cloud patterns in this image are the same as those of the color photograph entitled Earthrise. [4]       December 24, 1968  The photograph was taken from lunar orbit on December 24, 1968, with a highly modified Hasselblad 500 EL with an electric drive. The camera had a simple sighting ring rather than the standard reflex viewfinder and was loaded with a 70 mm film magazine containing custom Ektachrome film developed by Kodak. An audio recording of the event is available [5] with transcription [6] which allows the event to be followed closely – excerpt:[7]   Anders: Oh my God! Look at that picture over there! There’s the Earth coming up. Wow, is that pretty. Borman: Hey, don’t take that, it’s not scheduled. (joking) Anders: (laughs) You got a color film, Jim? Hand me that roll of color quick, would you… Lovell: Oh man, that’s great!    
Marie Curie At that time, no one else in the world of physics had noticed what Curie recorded in a sentence of her paper, describing how much greater were the activities of pitchblende and chalcolite than uranium itself: “The fact is very remarkable, and leads to the belief that these minerals may contain an element which is much more active than uranium.” She later would recall how she felt “a passionate desire to verify this hypothesis as rapidly as possible.”[29] On 14 April 1898 the Curies optimistically weighed out a 100-gram sample of pitchblende and ground it with a pestle and mortar. They did not realize at the time that what they were searching for was present in such minute quantities that they would eventually have to process tons of the ore.[29]In July 1898 Curie and her husband published a joint paper announcing the existence of an element which they named “polonium”, in honour of her native Poland, which would for another twenty years remain partitioned among three empires.[7] On 26 December 1898, the Curies announced the existence of a second element, which they named “radium”, from the Latin word for “ray”.[17][24][30] In the course of their research, they also coined the word “radioactivity”.[7]   At that time, no one else in the world of physics had noticed what Curie recorded in a sentence of her paper, describing how much greater were the activities of pitchblende and chalcolite than uranium itself: “The fact is very remarkable, and leads to the belief that these minerals may contain an element which is much more active than uranium.” She later would recall how she felt “a passionate desire to verify this hypothesis as rapidly as possible.”[29] On 14 April 1898 the Curies optimistically weighed out a 100-gram sample of pitchblende and ground it with a pestle and mortar. They did not realize at the time that what they were searching for was present in such minute quantities that they would eventually have to process tons of the ore.[29] In July 1898 Curie and her husband published a joint paper announcing the existence of an element which they named “polonium”, in honour of her native Poland, which would for another twenty years remain partitioned among three empires.[7] On 26 December 1898, the Curies announced the existence of a second element, which they named “radium”, from the Latin word for “ray”.[17][24][30] In the course of their research, they also coined the word “radioactivity”.[7] April, July, December  Radium article in December


Calendar Project: November 2015


Arthur C Clarke, 10 November, World Science Day

Wins the Kalinga Prize in 1962 for achievements in popularizing science.

Origin of the Species Published 4 November 1859

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Name & Event Reason important to Secular Humanism Calendar Month
Arthur C Clarke In a 1974 taped interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, the interviewer asked Clarke how he believed the computer would change the future for the everyday person, and what life would be like around the year 2001. Clarke accurately predicted many things that became reality, including online banking, online shopping, and other now commonplace things. Responding to a question about how the interviewer’s son’s life would be different, Clarke responded: “[H]e will have, in his own house, not a computer as big as this, [points to nearby computer], but at least, a console through which he can talk, through his local computer and get all the information he needs, for his everyday life, like his bank statements, his theatre reservations, all the information you need in the course of living in our complex modern society, this will be in a compact form in his own house … and he will take it as much for granted as we take the telephone.”[37]     !0 November World Science Day Kalinga Prize awaded Clarke was a lifelong proponent of space travel. In 1934 while still a teenager, he joined the British Interplanetary Society. In 1945, he proposed asatellite communication system—an idea that, in 1963, won him the Franklin Institute‘s Stuart Ballantine Medal.[7][8] Later he was the chairman of the British Interplanetary Society from 1946–47 and again in 1951–53.[9][10] Clarke was also a science writer, who was both an avid populariser of space travel and a futurist of uncanny ability, who won a Kalinga Prize (award given by UNESCO for popularising science) in 1961. These all together eventually earned him the moniker “prophet of the space age”.[11]  
Laika Laika (Russian: Лайка, meaning “Barker”; c. 1954 – November 3, 1957) was a Soviet space dog who became one of the first animals in space, and the first animal to orbit the Earth.   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animals_in_space   Laika[edit] Main article: Laika     Laika on a Romanian post stamp Laika (Лайка, “Barker”), became the first living Earth-born creature (other than microbes) in orbit, aboard Sputnik 2 on 3 November 1957. Some call her the first living passenger to go into space, but many sub-orbital flights with animal passengers passed the edge of space first. She was also known as Zhuchka (Жучка, “Little Bug”) and Limonchik (Лимончик, “Lemon”). The American media dubbed her “Muttnik”, making a play-on-words for the canine follow-on to the first orbital mission, Sputnik. She died between five and seven hours into the flight from stress and overheating.[10] Her true cause of death was not made public until October 2002; officials previously gave reports that she died when the oxygen supply ran out.[6] At a Moscow press conference in 1998 Oleg Gazenko, a senior Soviet scientist involved in the project, stated “The more time passes, the more I’m sorry about it. We did not learn enough from the mission to justify the death of the dog…”.[11]   November 3, 1957
Baruch Spinoza First secular Jew God not directly involved in history (deism) November 11/24/1632 CE Birthday
Charles Darwin Origin of the Species November Published 4 November 1859, 2 /12/

Calendar Project: October 2015

October 2015 BAH Short List

George Carlin And Saturday Night Live, First host on October 11, 1975

Saturday Night Live first show aired on October 11, 1975 with George Carlin as its host.

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Name & Event Reason important to Secular Humanism Calendar Month
George Carlin And Saturday Night Live When the first show aired on October 11, 1975 with George Carlin as its host, it was called NBC’s Saturday Night because ABC featured a program at the same time titled Saturday Night Live with Howard Cosell. The first season of Saturday Night Live, the weekly late-night 90-minute American sketch comedy/variety show on NBC, aired during the 1975–1976 television season. Saturday Night Live premiered on October 11, 1975 First host on October 11, 1975
John Brown’s Raid on Harper’s Ferry, the under ground railroad Raid Main article: John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry Harper’s Weekly illustration of U.S. Marines attacking John Brown’s “Fort” Brown arrived in Harpers Ferry on July 3, 1859. A few days later, under the name Isaac Smith, he rented a farmhouse in nearby Maryland. He awaited the arrival of his recruits. They never materialized in the numbers he expected. In late August he met with Douglass in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, where he revealed the Harpers Ferry plan. Douglass expressed severe reservations, rebuffing Brown’s pleas to join the mission. Douglass had actually known about Brown’s plans from early in 1859 and had made a number of efforts to discourage blacks from enlisting. In late September, the 950 pikes arrived from Charles Blair. Kagi’s draft plan called for a brigade of 4,500 men, but Brown had only 21 men (16 white and 5 black: three free blacks, one freed slave, and a fugitive slave). They ranged in age from 21 to 49. Twelve of them had been with Brown in Kansas raids. On October 16, 1859, Brown (leaving three men behind as a rear guard) led 18 men in an attack on the Harpers Ferry Armory. He had received 200Beecher’s Bibles—breechloading .52 (13.2 mm) caliber Sharps rifles—and pikes from northern abolitionist societies in preparation for the raid. The armory was a large complex of buildings that contained 100,000 muskets and rifles, which Brown planned to seize and use to arm local slaves. They would then head south, drawing off more and more slaves from plantations, and fighting only in self-defense. As Frederick Douglass and Brown’s family testified, his strategy was essentially to deplete Virginia of its slaves, causing the institution to collapse in one county after another, until the movement spread into the South, essentially wreaking havoc on the economic viability of the pro-slavery states. From the Southern point of view, of course, any effort to arm the enslaved was perceived as a definitive threat.   October, 16, 1859

Calendar Project: September 2015

September BAH Short List

September, 26, 1900, Jesse Lazear dies of yellow fever after allowing himself to be bite by a mosquito.

September, Hull House started in Chicago, Jane Addams and Starr established Hull House as a settlement house on September 18, 1889

The settlement movement was a reformist social movement, beginning in the 1880s and peaking around the 1920s in England and the US, with a goal of getting the rich and poor in society to live more closely together in an interdependent community. Its main object was the establishment of “settlement houses” in poor urban areas, in which volunteer middle-class “settlement workers” would live, hoping to share knowledge and culture with, and alleviate the poverty of their low-income neighbors. The “settlement houses” provided services such as daycare, education, and healthcare to improve the lives of the poor in these areas.[1] In the US, by 1913 there were 413 settlements in 32 states.[2]  (From wikipedia)

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Name & Event Reason important to Secular Humanism Calendar Month
Racheal Carson Silent Spring is an environmental science book written by Rachel Carson and published by Houghton Mifflin on September 27, 1962
Jane Addams Jane Addams (September 6, 1860 – May 21, 1935) was a pioneer settlement social worker, public philosopher, sociologist, author, and leader inwomen’s suffrage and world peace. In an era when presidents such as Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson identified themselves as reformers and social activists, Addams was one of the most prominent[1] reformers of the Progressive Era. She helped turn the US to issues of concern to mothers, such as the needs of children, public health, and world peace. She said that if women were to be responsible for cleaning up their communities and making them better places to live, they needed the vote to be effective in doing so. Addams became a role model for middle-class women who volunteered to uplift their communities. She is increasingly being recognized as a member of the American pragmatist school of philosophy.[2] In 1931 she became the first American woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and is recognized as the founder of the social work profession in the United States   Addams followed the example of Toynbee Hall, which was founded in 1885 in the East End of London as a center for social reform. She described Toynbee Hall as “a community of university men” who, while living there, held their recreational clubs and social gatherings at the settlement house…among the poor people and in the same style they would in their own circle.[10] September, Hull House started in Chicago Addams and Starr established Hull House as a settlement house on September 18, 1889.[11]   Nobel Peace Prize 1931; December  
Yellow fever and mosquitos Walter Reed, Jesse Lazear, Carlos Finlay   After a few months in Quemados, Lazear, together with Walter Reed (1851–1902), James Carroll (1854–1907) and Aristides Agramonte (1869–1931), participated in a commission studying the transmission of yellow fever, the Yellow Fever Board. During his research at Camp Colombia, he confirmed the 1881 hypothesis of Carlos Finlay that mosquitos transmitted this disease. A portion of his study, though, had been conducted on himself: without telling his colleagues, he had allowed himself to be bitten by yellow fever-infected mosquitoes, and died of the disease at age 34. A dormitory at Johns Hopkins University was named after him in honor of his sacrifice, as was a former chemistry building at Washington & Jefferson College, Lazear’s alma mater. September, 26, 1900, Lazear dies of yellow fever after allowing himself to be bite by a mosquito.