January 4, 2016 Weekly Newsletter Roundup

This past Sunday, January 3, 2016, a group of 25 Humanists watched Guy Standing's video about the Precariat Charter. The Charter is a manifesto for a new social contract to address the growing inequality of wealth and lack of stable employment. As little as 20% of the world's working age population can find gainful employment as jobs and commodities markets are increasingly globalized.

Starting in 2016, the BC Humanist Association is now a Partner for Life with Canadian Blood Services. This means that we'll be sponsoring a number of Adopt-a-Clinic days when we encourage our members to donate blood. The first date is coming up on Saturday, February 13. I hope to see you there!

Upcoming Vancouver Sunday Meetings

On Sunday, January 10, 2016, David Simpson speaks on How to be a Christian Atheist, the story of his loss of faith, while he retained his positive attitude to life and morality. 

On Sunday, January 17, 2016, John Ince returns to speak on Happiness - what it is and how to achieve it

On Sunday, January 24, 2016, Nader Abdullah of the Syrian Canadian Council speaks on the Syrian Refugee Crisis. Read more about our own effort to sponsor a refugee family.

On Sunday, January 31, 2016, Cherise Louie of Canadian Blood Services on the Value of Donating Blood. Read more about how, starting in February, we will be hosting regular blood donation sessions in Vancouver.

Our Vancouver Sunday meetings take place at the Oakridge Seniors' Centre. The centre is at the west side of Oakridge Mall at 41st and Cambie. The mall has a large parking lot and is accessible by the Canada Line. Doors open at 10:00 am for BYO coffee, tea and socializing. Please help us welcome all attendees by introducing yourself and asking about themselves (if you are comfortable doing that). We want all attendees (and especially first-timers) to feel welcome and part of our Humanist community. At 10:30 am we start our presentation.

BCHA Book Club

The January book club selection is A Fair Country by John Ralston. The meeting will be on Tuesday, January 5, 2015 at Goldis and Kirsten's home. At the beginning of the meeting we will decide on the April 5, 2016 book club selection.

The February book club selection is Believing Bullshit by Stephen Law. The February meeting will be on Tuesday, February 2, 2016 at Goldis and Kirsten's home. At the beginning of the meeting, we will decide on the May 3, 2016 book club selection.

The March book club selection is With or Without God by Gretta Vosper. The March meeting will be on Tuesday, March 1, 2016 at Goldis and Kirsten's home. At the beginning of the meeting, we will decide on the June 7, 2016 book club selection.

See all upcoming events.

Check the BCHA Vancouver Meetup page for more details on the meetings mentioned above and for what we have lined up. Also, please RSVP so others have an idea of how many people usually attend these meetings. Please be aware that while we do our best to ensure that the scheduled programs go ahead, there are no guarantees and last minute changes may be necessary due to circumstances beyond our control.


Through our weekly newsletter, we like to let you know about our upcoming events as well as our current campaigns. 

To keep our email newsletter digestible, we save extra news tidbits for this roundup. The opinions which appear in this roundup are not necessarily shared by all or even most of the members and board of the BC Humanist Association. Let me know if you have any suggestions to include in future roundups. Email: secretary@bchumanist.ca

And for the latest news items, be sure to like the BC Humanists on Facebook and follow @BCHumanist on Twitter.

The Good

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Andy Borowitz of The New Yorker has an amusing spoof of Donald Trump's assumed reaction to an al-Qaida recruitment video featuring one of Trump's infamous rants.

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Here is a heartwarming story from NPR about a Muslim couple who set up an "Ask a Muslim" stand outside a library in Cambridge in order to combat fear of Muslims in the community.

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Kudos to the government of Ontario for being the first jurisdiction in North America to ban the use of neonicotinoid pesticides. Some scientists have linked neonicotinoids to the growing crisis of dying bee hives and possible the massive die-offs of several species of small birds.

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Elon Musk, head of Space-X, says the Falcon 9 re-usable rocket is ready to go again just 11 days after its historic launch.

Charlie Booker hosts a hilarious review of the news of 2015 on the BBC's The 2015 Wipe program. Many of the major (and many minor) news events of the year are expertly lampooned.

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Quillette.com has an interesting article regarding the possible alternative uses for the blockchain system behind crypto-currencies such as Bitcoin.

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This cartoon by Maria Scrivan explores the eternally perplexing question of free will in the context of a cat's New Year's Resolution.

Working with the Ministers of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and Health, create a federal-provincial-territorial process that will lead to the legalization and regulation of marijuana. - See more at: http://pm.gc.ca/eng/minister-justice-and-attorney-general-canada-mandate-letter#sthash.mIi2SoF2.dpuf
Working with the Ministers of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and Health, create a federal-provincial-territorial process that will lead to the legalization and regulation of marijuana. - See more at: http://pm.gc.ca/eng/minister-justice-and-attorney-general-canada-mandate-letter#sthash.mIi2SoF2.dpuf
Working with the Ministers of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and Health, create a federal-provincial-territorial process that will lead to the legalization and regulation of marijuana. - See more at: http://pm.gc.ca/eng/minister-justice-and-attorney-general-canada-mandate-letter#sthash.mIi2SoF2.dpuf

The Bad

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Michael Nugent of Atheist Ireland presents an insightful, if somewhat lengthy review of 2015 for atheists and secularists.

Tony Ortega explains why Scientology is in at least one respect worse than other religions.

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From Live Science comes a shocking story of a 41 year old HIV-positive Columbian man who died of the effects of a tapeworm's cancer.

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The New Yorker has an interesting story by Katherine Schultz about the last magnitude 9 earthquake to hit the west coast of North America and the possible effects of the next, long overdue, such quake. 

The Ugly

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Panels responsible for evaluating the costs and benefits of projects like a proposed LNG terminal on the Fraser River still have appointees from the previous federal government. Please consider signing this petition demanding an end to this project.

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Majid Nawaaz has an excellent article in The Daily Beast on what the Hijab and other Islamic dress codes mean.

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Germany's Bayer corporation is suing the European Union over its ban on neonicotinoid pesticides. 

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In Oregon a right-wing militia group has occupied the Malhuer National Wildlife Refuge interpretation centre. If these guys were black or Muslim does anyone doubt they would be dead already instead of merely being observed from a safe distance by law enforcement?

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Freelance cartoonist Carlos Latuff comments on the appointment of Saudi Arabia to chair the UN Human Rights Commission.

 The Promotions

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Anyone interested in taking part in Philosophy Dinners must sign up and pay the small fee ($5) in advance via Meetup since there a limited number of physical seats (and their format involves no more than 6 people to a table in order to keep the groups small). Glen is also coordinator of psychology dinners, and Calopia, your one-stop shopping site for worthwhile causes.

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