The Brights' Bulletin


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Issue #137 (latest issue)
August 31, 2014

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


BRIGHTS BULLETIN -- SEPTEMBER 2014 


Header

Modifying for Mobile

The September bulletin header indicates to you that Brights Central is revising its monthly bulletins in order to increase suitability for mobile devices.

While we are still experimenting with changes, your feedback to Brights Central specific to that topic is welcome. Email to the-brights@the-brights.net with FORMAT in upper case letters in your subject line.

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Prepare to Share!

The Infographic Launches This Month... in Ten Languages!  

This is the international opportunity we have been awaiting. A special “BrightenOp” will be sent later in September to all Brights' Bulletin subscribers.  We are counting on Brights to spread this infographic far and wide in the language(s) of choice. 

You can help us lessen the popular presumption that morality necessarily relies on, or relates to, some sort of supernatural constraints or involvement. When you receive the outreach announcement, please convey the information. Shed light on “The Reality of Human Morality” with your friends and everyone in your social networks. You can ask them to share the infographic, too, as you will.

The Brights’ Net is factually addressing misunderstandings with candid information that has been scientifically reviewed.  The evidence provided is authentic.  Evidence alone may not be sufficient to convince many, but it will likely plant seeds. And seeds grow. Our assertions are empirically substantiated by research.  There will be readings recommended by scientists to entice those who want to learn more. those who wish to explore further will have access to the many supportive peer-reviewed studies publicly available online.

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Bouquets of Thanks

This month, BC is sending a bouquet of gratitude to the many volunteers who helped during August with the “Reality about Human Morality” project’s infographic translations. Naming names here: 
Ilja, Joke, Steven #1, Egbert, Ted, Peggy, Yves, Ilona, Steven #2, Jean-Claude, Georges, Josef, Dieter, Petr, Alexander, Loretta, Ivo, Mark, Daniel, Arnaldo, Sofia, Manuel, Olga, Silvino, Robert, Torbjörn, and Magnus. It is the efforts of these volunteer translators that will enable BC to initially issue the infographic with supporting information in ten languages. (Some non-European languages are in the pipeline for later.) 

A Bright bouquet also goes to Paula! (Paula is the artist who is modifying the English version infographic to produce the various versions.) She deserves special appreciation. So does Jason at Brights Central, whose survey and analysis BC employed last month in search of a version that would be understood by the most people. (If you were someone who participated in last month’s survey, we thank you, too!) 

While we are sending appreciations, let’s not forget the constituents who continually remember that The Brights’ Net earns commissions on purchases from Amazon and via the iGive network (1800 stores), as well as transactions on eBay: We can’t say thanks often enough for your habitually taking advantage of those options. You really help BC keep up a physical home base by using the available pathways on the website, which are always accessible from the website’s home page (right column).  If only everyone gave some support in this easy-and-free way!

Gratitude, too, for the generosity of the American Brights who, when requesting a free "No Supernatural Ingredients”  static cling, enclosed a dollar (or more! ) with the stamped envelope to pay the international postage for Brights elsewhere. Thanks to you, we successfully sent out the free “static clings to all the Brights who requested one from other countries! The small excess we received went into to the general fund’s postage category.

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Next Poster Printing Needed…

…and coming!  With the supply of the Earth and Life: changes across time evolution posters having dwindled once again, we are returning to mention of this issue. This featured project of The Brights’ Net is a notable nonprofit service activity. The dissemination has already ensured that many thousands of students will receive more effective education about evolution. We are placing a unique resource in the hands of a knowledgeable teacher.  

This evolution poster’s image combines the physical changes on earth across billions of years with the biological changes as they came about. Science teachers absolutely love it!  They find the content of the image outstandingly helpful to their teaching about evolutionary change so that the students really do understand.  

Big Chart / Bargain Cost

However the image may appear to you here online, this classroom resource) when printed is over 5 feet wide!  

The commercial printing cost, if ordered singly, is at least $45. Of course, the more we can order in a batch, the more dramatic the cost drop… up to a point. And, with contributions from registered Brights who value the project, we reached that point the previous time we ordered a printing! If we can repeat the success with a large enough print order now, we can once again lower the printing cost below $13.

At the commercial (corporate) printer we used last, we successfully negotiated a bargain price (admittedly with aid from a worker there who was friendly to our educational project). That printer's quote was definitely better than anyone else’s. When BC pressed the issue by requesting further discounting, the (friendly) employee responded, and we quote from the email exchange:  “Sorry, can't discount anymore. You have got the best rate I have ever seen come through here.”  

How You Add Posters!

Donate to The Brights' Poster Project

Now we have a chance to promote a naturalistic understanding to thousands more students! How many? – That part is up to you!

With dissemination ceasing once again, we are accumulating a backlog of requests from qualified high school science teachers for Earth and Life: changes across time. To help things along, Brights Central is earmarking some of the funds recently received from the James Hervey Johnson Charitable Educational Trust (for the general purposes of The Brights’ Net). Despite many other possible targets for its use, BC is earmarking a goodly portion of the grant to an internal matching program for the poster in hopes that your strong support will let us double the number we can purchase and disseminate to qualified educators. We will match from the grant up to $3000.

Donate to The Brights' Poster Project

With this opportunity, there’s no better time to support this project.  Please help us to keep that “best discount ever” and acquire twice the number of posters!  This project offers Brights a unique opportunity to give future citizens a strong understanding of “the natural way” life has come about on earth.  You will make a difference in education (it will illuminate naturalistic understanding)!

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Raise a Savvy Skeptic

Educating youngsters toward “savvy skepticism” is seldom high on the priorities in typical classrooms.  In many schools, it is not even a consideration.

Consequently, this month’s blog post from The Rational Woman will be of interest to parents who do favor this attribute and would like to nurture it in their offspring. She offers "12 Ways..." to achieve the worthwhile goal.

• The focus of #1 is on helping your child acquire the habit of finding the novelty in any situation.
(Having this habit of mind augurs well as insurance against boredom.)

• The strategy posed in #8 is well suited to households in which youngsters may be spending hours upon hours at the TV screen. It centers on using television mindfully.
(Following the offered advice will coax your youngster in the direction of astute handling of all forms of media.)

If you are both a Bright and a parent, you will likely find value in many of the tactics proposed in this article.

You can survey the dozen topics and their accompanying tactics here.

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Right Answers vs. Honest Answers

A classroom teacher is asking the question and expects “the right answer” from the youngsters.

But what youngsters propose is something entirely different. The students have in mind “the reality” and that, in this school situation, as you will see, may be wrong!

Reality, wrong? How can that be?  If you’re curious, check out this first BloggingBrights.net contribution in the “Luster” category. It reports the contributor’s personal observation of an elementary school classroom.

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Headed Uphill?

“Each Day, a Little Further”
Life is like that.
An illustrated comment by Thrashin’ Jack

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Got Glimmers of Brightness?

The Brights’ blog welcome contributors in two bloglines. Luster is for any topic (education, public policy, parenting, civic engagement, etc.) while The Science-Minded Citizen” has a somewhat narrower focus. Descriptions of both are provided. A contributor to either will, it is hoped, provide some shimmer of “brightness” (as the author sees it).

If you would like to contribute an article in either category, check out the instructions provided at www.the-brights.net/people/blog/me2blog.html.

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Education and Action


(TheBrightsRussia)

At the Russian social network, Vkontakte. thousands are participating under a “TheBrightsRussia” label. Viktoria and Eugene’s “Help Wanted” call for volunteers with design talents to apply in ancillary projects has prompted conversations about the difference in “artists” and “designers”.

Of likely greater interest to Brights at large would be the entry conveying Barry Bayershtayn’s contrast of (1) what is known from neurological science about how much of the brain is used and (2) the assertion that humans have more brainpower than they use. (If you believe the persistent  "only 10%" myth, then the piece is worth even a machine translation.)

The YouTube channel of “TheBrightsRussia” covers widely varied subjects, translating into Russian from presentations, blog posts, and articles by those who write in other languages. The latest Russian entry translates journalist Heather Brooke, whose revealed information on the costs of the British Parliament led to a major political scandal in 2009. “It encourages us to ask questions to officials through mechanisms provided by the legislation on freedom of information - and finally start getting answers.”

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Report from the International Forums

This month the Forums are seeing sustained interest in the Topic “Morality and Religion,” which, as the name implies, orbits around the “proper” (or at least actual) source of moral value as contributors see it.  Whatever your stance, it’s clearly still an issue that society — even atheists  — think that those lacking god-belief also lack a moral compass.  Why not cruise the Topic, and weigh in on the subject matter?

Richard Dawkins has triggered a bit of a brouhaha on the subject of women’s choice with respect to carrying to term fetuses diagnosed prenatally with genetic disease, after tweeting his advice to a woman speculating on whether she’d terminate a pregnancy if she knew of problems.  Love him or leave him, Dawkins is certainly one of the world’s most visible atheists; whether you’re celebrating the victory of reason or bracing for the backlash, why not help fellow brights think it through by contributing in the Topic?  

Anyone may read the Forums; contributing requires only an email account and confidential registration.

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Donate to The Brights' Net

Playing a Part?

Brights don’t tithe to support houses of worship. But some do help to sustain the hub of communications and activities of The Brights’ Network. We are very grateful to “the sustainers” who support the Brights' initiative with their regular ongoing contributions of small monthly amounts (tax deductible in the U.S.).

If you can see your way to do contribute regularly, please add yourself to cadre of fellow Brights on which all of us depend. Sign up and join this hardy squad of helpers!  You’ll be a partner in our projects.

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