The Brights' Bulletin


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Issue #89
September 30, 2010

(Note that links in archived Bulletin issues may no longer be valid.)


BRIGHTS BULLETIN -- OCTOBER 2010


Brights Forum Improvement
 
On September 9, Brights Central implemented an upgrade to the Brights Discussion Forums' software. The new software offers an attractive new interface which we hope will be more compatible with modern internet browsers, preserving the functionality of the Forums into the future.
 
You may have noticed that the URL to the Forums has changed; if you found your access interrupted by this, please be aware that the old address will now redirect you to the new. Please take time to update your bookmarks. The current address of the Forums page is
http://www.the-brights.net/forums/forum/
 
For the most part, the change went smoothly -- though not without a few technical hang-ups and a bit of a learning curve for users. Some of the issues affect the readability of pre-update content, the functionality of emoticons, and the navigation sidebars (which were previously provided by a third-party package, the provider of which is now out of business). At present, discussion is proceeding smoothly, and we hope to make incremental improvements to the usability of the new forum software going forward.
 

Yikes - It Was the Equinox, Wasn't It?
 
Maybe you didn't notice that a recent email message sent from Brights Central was actually the Equinox fundraising reminder, alerting Brights to the twice-a-year fund appeal. Trouble was, it didn't say so in the subject line. Oops! - a definite flub. But now that you know, please do your part to support the central hub of this international Internet constituency. For those who did notice the Equinox appeal and have already contributed, we sincerely thank you!
 
Besides the option of sending a check by postal mail to support The Brights' Net, there are a whole variety of "donate quickly" ways to contribute. You can locate guidance for all of the methods on the website.
 
A six-month subscription at PayPal or any online channel is very helpful to planning. PayPal handles international currencies, but there are other online pathways available (JustGive, GuideStar/Network for Good, Givv.org , Facebook Causes). And, if you'd like to access the explanation given in the appeal letter, you can read it on the website.
 

And How Did You Hear?
 
It's fascinating how word of the Brights can skip across geographical boundaries by way of private relationships between people! Christopher (Herefordshire, United Kingdom) reported in his registration how he found the way to the website due to an event taking place in France:
"My brother saw a notice about a lecture in Rouen entitled 'le mouvement des Brights'"
 
Message to all Brights: Don't forget to tell someone else about the Brights movement. It is the way we grow!
 

New View for Evolution Enthusiasts
 
If you favor more and better teaching about evolution, or if you yourself are teaching that topic, then have we got something for you! It's a new classroom wall poster on evolution that is quite unique. Its sweeping vista records development of life on earth along with changes in the earth itself. The pictorial presents life and physical development jointly.
 
To get a notion of how this poster would fit on the classroom wall, just stretch out both of your arms (pretty wide, right?) And it is in full color, too, bursting with illustrations of the evolution of all sorts of creatures as well as a geological timeframe.
 
And it is to be provided free to high school science teachers. Well, it could be, anyway. But that will really be up to Brights and their friends. The Brights' Net has acquired permission to disseminate this unique wall poster. We have an opportunity to provide eager science teachers with a superb teaching resource, so we are responding by initiating an interesting and important "supporting science" project for just that purpose.
 
Want a peek at the poster? First go to:
http://www.the-brights.net/images/earthandlifeposter.jpg
Click on the pictorial to enlarge it. Use your arrow keys to see the entire image.
 
Want a preview of information on the project we have in mind? Click here and check out the "Classroom Poster Project
 

Morality Project Task Team
 
Thanks go to ALL the applicants who volunteered to join the Morality Project's "Area C Task Team." The evaluation process is well underway for all applicants seeking a role, with final decisions being made now. We received a surprising number of applications for this phase of the project!
 
The pool of candidates exhibits a wide range of personal, professional and academic experiences, demonstrating both excellence and commitment. Consequently, we have adjusted our vision somewhat, deciding not only on the project's "executive team" but also designating some ancillary activities. Mr. Bala is targeting mid-October to have all players in place for roles in what is loosely projected to be a 6-month endeavor to define and achieve outcomes.
 

Least Religious Americans Know Most about Religion (USA)
 
A recently published survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life has revealed that atheists, agnostics, Jews and Mormons know more about religion, religious history, and religion in public life than do any in the spectrum of evangelical Protestants, Catholics, mainline Protestants, and those who claim "nothing in particular." Least knowledgeable on the 32-item survey of 3412 Americans were Black Protestants and Hispanic Catholics, with the category of atheists/agnostics scoring the highest.
Articles can be found in the LA Times and the NY Times.
 

More New Books by Brights
 
Less than Human: Solving the Puzzle of Dehumanization by David Livingston Smith, Ph.D.
(An interdisciplinary approach; traces the history of dehumanization from ancient Greece to the persent; to be published by St. Martin's Press in March; available now for pre-order from Amazon)
 
Remember that when you purchase a book (or anything!) from Amazon, you have an opportunity to financially contribute to the Brights movement at no cost to you! But, it's only an opportunity! To bring it to reality, you have to use one of the Brights' site's available Amazon links to reach the Amazon site, which supplies The Brights' Net a commission on your shopping during that session. That 6% or 7% bonus is oh-so-helpful to the basic operational expenses at Brights Central. So, please bookmark or click (each time you shop there):
http://www.the-brights.net/funding/supportbrights/amazon.html 
 
You can always locate the Amazon portal on the home page of The Brights Net - right hand column. Thanks for remembering!
 
The Humanist Approach to Happiness: Practical Wisdom by Jennifer Hancock
(Primarily for teens and young adults; applying humanist ethics to real-life situations of dating, grief, self-identify, addiction, recovery and, of course, sex)
 
Beyond the Age of Mythology by Lynn Dewey (pen name of an Oklahoma author)
(A science fiction look at a mature civilization with no supernaturalism)
 

Volunteer Your Graphics Expertise?
 
Brights Central has finalized textual content to be presented in a brochure for the Brights. We'd like to add a tri-fold brochure to the other downloadable items on the website (wallet cards, mini-flyers, etc.).
 
What is needed now is someone to take the project forward with a creative and professional transformation that incorporates Brights' imagery and a strong dose of creativity. Many Brights are graphics professionals who might be willing to volunteer their expertise. If you are among them, we would welcome your interest in taking the tri-fold text forward, working work with BC to end up with an eye-catching interpretation of the material that can be viewed online, then downloaded and printed attractively in black and white or in color. Please e-mail to the-brights@the-brights.net a brief statement indicating your qualifications and interest.
 
Our preference is that you provide in your email a link to enable BC's viewing of your work, particularly any (likely-to-be) similar tri-fold that you have produced. Please do NOT send any attachments in your initial contact email. (We can always request an example based on your statement of interest.) Thanks!
 

The "Inbox" (New Brights)
 
Gavin (Suffolk, UK): "Good to find people who put science first."
 
Paul (Illinois, USA): "Best long term hope for the human race, I'll wager."
 
Glen (British Columbia, Canada): "We need to break through the stigma and fight the social repression of our thoughts imposed upon us…"
 
Paul (Oregon, USA): "It seems I have been a Bright all my life and never knew it!"
 
Robert (Australia) "Being gay I hope the term 'bright' becomes as widespread and increasingly accepted as the term 'gay' so that others will understand when I identify as a 'bright gay' or perhaps a 'gay bright'"
 
From BC: A "gay bright" it is, Robert. At least until a new meaning catches on, it is best to put "bright" into the noun position.
 
Tim (Australia): "Good to have a positive identity, since atheism is so negative."
 
William (California, USA): "What a refreshing change to mainstream ideology. I've been looking for a term that doesn't tick people off when they ask me my religious affiliations. Thank you!"
 

Spanish Translation Now in the Works
 
Mike, the web guy at Brights Central, has done some groundwork to enable volunteers to engage in language translations. Brights Central is designating some crucial information (now presented in English on the international site) that can be made available in other languages in a very similar way. Given the structure of the site and the site hosting situation, the task presented Mike with a "chain of pain" (as our prior webmaster, Kevin, termed such challenges), but things are now moving along.
 
Volunteers Francesc and Manel have taken on the challenge of the first translation (into Spanish). With this pilot effort, we're hoping to smooth out enough wrinkles that more volunteer translations can be accomplished. When completed, the link will be http://espanol.the-brights.net/ (it's already taking recognizable form, so if you are curious, have a look).
 

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