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Granite Gathering
Love Potion '09
A Mix of Magic, Romance, and Fun!
 

RG Program

Notes from the Chair
as of 2/9/2009

The RG is just days away - I hope you can join us. If you haven't registered yet, you can still do so at the door. The program book is now posted on the web page - check it out. Musical acts are still being added, so the Music Hospitality schedule is not listed in the program book but will instead be available at the RG. So far, it looks like we will have folk music and a blues duo on Friday night and on Saturday, a pianist, a clarinetist, a folk song sing-a-long, a folk/rock trio, karaoke, and more. There will also be jamming sessions throughout the week-end, so do bring instruments if you have them!


as of 2/2/2009

T-Shirts for the 2009 NH RG are now available.  Please e-mail RG Chair Holly Green or Registrar (also LocSec) Deb Stone if you would like to order one. They cost $10.00, and are 100% cotton and available in black or maroon (click pictures below) in the following adult sizes: small, medium, large, X-large, XX-large, and XXX-large. They will also be available for purchase at the RG.


as of 1/6/2009

I hope you will be joining us for the Granite Gathering this year on February 13 - 15 at the Radisson Hotel in Nashua, NH.  Our theme this year is:  Love Potion '09: a Mix of Magic, Romance, and Fun!

Friday night, the Great Crock Pot Cook Off returns - just like magic - and we will have magical cream sodas (creamsicles with vanilla ice cream and old fashioned root beer floats) for dessert.  Our ever popular shrimp will appear late in the evening.  Pete the Bartender also returns for both Friday and Saturday Night.

Saturday will feature all the usual delicious goodies, including waffles for breakfast, sandwiches on various homemade breads, snacks all day long, pasta dinner with assorted homemade sauces and desserts, chocolate late in the evening.  We have lots of interesting speakers lined up, as well as a magician and a juggler.  We will also bring in a portable planetarium and a Plymouth State University professor will give a show for adults and a show for children.  There will be game tournaments for all and a magic tournament in the late afternoon for the kids.

There will be romantic and magical movies playing all week-end long in the movie room, including:  Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull; Love Potion # 9; Bell, Book, and Candle; All of Me; The Illusionist; Fools Rush In; Wall-E; Princess Bride; Stardust; Ever After; Enchanted; and Donna Flor and her Two Husbands.

Finally, back by popular demand, the talented Bob Oxford and his friends will be there to entertain us with their music - so if you haven't already registered, please do and join in on the fun.

- Holly Green, 2009 NH RG Chair

 

Speaker Descriptions & Bios

From Alchemy to Chemistry in Picture and Story
by Art Greenberg

Program Description: This book by University of New Hampshire professor Arthur Greenberg chronicles the beauty, mystery, truths, lies, and even humor of chemistry. “From Alchemy to Chemistry in Picture and Story” connects five centuries of the development of chemistry to human history with 200 brief essays and a rich array of historical artwork, including 24 color plates.

Speaker Bio: Arthur Greenberg is a professor of organic chemistry at the University of New Hampshire. He joined UNH in 2000 as dean of the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences and served a full five-year term in this position. Prior to that he was Chair of the Department of Chemistry at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (1994-2000) and this followed five years as Professor and Director of the Graduate Program in Environmental Sciences at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. He received his Ph.D. from Princeton University and his current research interests include physical organic chemistry and environmental organic chemistry. He has published 120 refereed papers and book chapters, authored 5 books, and edited 18 books.

 

View from the Top: Imaging the Earth's Environment from Space
by David Bartlett

Program Description: The last 30 years have witnessed a revolution in the use of aerial and orbital sensors to image and study the Earth (AKA “remote sensing”). UNH’s Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space (EOS) has been at the forefront of research developing and applying these techniques. In this presentation, examples of imagery and other data from remote sensors will be used to demonstrate applications under development at EOS. Sample imagery and research topics include assessment of forest health in the US and Europe; mapping migratory bird habitat in the White Mountains; measuring plant production in the oceans and on land; and, contributions to predicting bird flu outbreaks in Asia.

Speaker Bio: David Bartlett holds a Bachelor's degree in Geology from Amherst College and a doctorate in Marine Sciences from the University of Delaware. He spent ten years as a research scientist at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Langley Research Center, conducting studies of the environment using sensors on Earth-orbiting satellites. His research interests are in chemical interactions of vegetation with the atmosphere, causes and effects of global-scale climate change, and management of coastal resources. He has published extensively on the use of aerial and orbital sensors for measurement of important environmental parameters. Since 1989, Dr. Bartlett has been Associate Director of the Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space (EOS) at the University of New Hampshire. He is responsible for the management of the Institute's research and educational programs and assists the Director in planning and in developing new avenues for external support of the Institute. EOS' research in space and Earth sciences is supported by more than $30 million per year of grants and contracts. Dr. Bartlett is the founding Director of the New Hampshire Space Grant Consortium, an educational and public information collaboration of New Hampshire Universities, Colleges, and science organizations. Dr. Bartlett continues his research in applications of satellite sensors to assess large scale variation in environmental conditions and the impact of terrestrial ecosystems on global biogeochemical cycles. He serves on the Policy Advisory Committee of the New Hampshire Sea Grant Program.

 

You Are the Mess You Make
by James Krasner

Program Description: Storage is a growth industry in America today because we have too much stuff. We pack our things in closets and attics and Tupperware bins, and we never seem to be able to get rid of anything. Rather than decrying our materialistic ways, this talk offers a defense of mess by looking closely at the relationship between memory, identity and accumulated objects. Why can't we stand to get rid of clothes that no longer fit, broken knick-knacks and books we'll never read? By using gerontological studies of space management, as well as literary and cultural examples, we can find the hidden message in our mess.

Speaker Bio: James Krasner is an associate professor of English at the University of New Hampshire where he teaches British literature, the Bible as literature, and secondary school English teaching. His research interests include British Victorian literature, interdisciplinary studies, aesthetics, and science and nature. He was a recipient of the Excellence in Teaching Award in 2006.

 

The Presidential Book of Lists
by Ian Randal Strock

Program Description: Ian Randal Strock is the author of The Presidential Book of Lists. The book grew from his search for comparisons of the Presidents, and not finding the book he wanted, he wrote it. In this interactive, trivia-laden talk, he'll take the audience on a verbal journey through 219 years of the US Presidency, pointing out interesting facts and fascinating connections.

Stupid Author Tricks
by Ian Randal Strock

Program Description: Ian Randal Strock is an author, but he's also an editor. He's seen the good, the bad, and the truly outrageous ways authors sabotage their own careers, and shares the best, worst, and funniest. It's easy to learn how not to do it when you're laughing at the truly clueless (no names will be used). He's been collecting stories about authors (as opposed to stories by authors) for twenty years, and shares them to be both instructive and entertaining. Non-writers welcome (after all, the world needs far more readers than writers).

Speaker Bio: Ian Randal Strock is the author of The Presidential Book of Lists: From Most to Least, Elected to Rejected, Worst to Cursed -- Fascinating Facts About Our Chief Executives (Random House/Villard, October 2008, ISBN 978-0-345-50736-5) and the keeper of the blog at http://uspresidents.livejournal.com. His fascination with the Presidents dates to his childhood, but when he realized he was unlikely to ever become President himself, he turned to studying and writing about them.

In his other guise, Strock is an editor, author, and reporter. He started as the Deputy Editorial Page Editor of Boston's Daily Free Press, before realizing the science fiction was the life for him. Moving to New York, he started as the Editorial Assistant of Analog and Asimov's science fiction magazines, rising to the position of Associate Editor before he left to publish and edit his own Artemis Magazine. He's also been the News Editor of Science Fiction Chronicle, and currently edits and publishes SFScope.com, the online trade journal of the speculative fiction fields. He's been on both sides of the editorial desk (sometimes simultaneously) for two decades.

In addition to all that, Strock blogs at http://ianrandalstrock.livejournal.com. He was the President of Greater New York Mensa, Editor of GNYM's Mphasis , and chairman of GNYM's RG, before moving on to being Treasurer of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

 

What Makes Us Human
by Wil Howitt

Program Description: We humans share almost 99 percent of our genome with our closest living relatives, the chimpanzees.  Yet the differences between humans and other primates are striking.  How did we come to be this way, and what caused this divergence?  We will investigate the genetic and fossil evidence, and discuss various theories of how we became human. The result may surprise you!

Disclaimer: This talk includes frank discussion of sexual behavior, both human and ape.  We really can't talk about primates without talking about sex.  If this will offend you, please be elsewhere.

Speaker Bio: Wil Howitt is a doctor of computer science and electrical engineering,
specializing in physical acoustics and psychoacoustics.  He has worked at MIT and BU, developing human auditory system models and speech recognition systems. He also enjoys drumming, dancing, and playing didjeridu and other rhythmic instruments.  He teaches Taoist martial arts, rides a black BMW motorcycle, fences with a German longsword, and looks around a lot

 

10,670 miles
by Lori & Ron Norris

Program Description: This summer, Lori and Ron, took a nine-week coast-to-coast driving trip enjoying some of the spectacular scenery this country has to offer.  They drove through 29 states and 2 provinces.  They will share stories and pictures with you.

Speakers: Ron Norris has belonged to Mensa for almost a quarter of a century and is the Program Coordinator for Rhode Island Mensa. Ron is a high-school math teacher in his spare time.  Lori has been a member of Mensa for 18 years and currently serves as the RVC (Regional Vice Chairperson) for Region 1 and is currently running for her second term.  Lori is an attorney practicing in Warwick, RI.  Ron and Lori enjoy traveling especially to the Caribbean during winter vacation and for extended summer camping trips.  The rest of the year they enjoy escaping for long weekends and Regional Gatherings whenever possible.  And for those of you who haven’t heard, Lori and Ron were married on their way to the NH RG in 2001 and actually spent their honeymoon with us.

 

Magick in the Middle Ages
by Tchipakkan

Program Description: Most people have a general idea of medieval witches and wizards from fairy tales, and modern witches stories of the “burning times”. What we think of as magic is a way of making effects in the real world using mechanisms and techniques that were developed through many cultural and personal perspectives. I'll concentrate on Europe between the 6th and 16th centuries, and attitudes toward magick and witches, and perhaps lean more toward some of the less mentioned aspects.

Speaker Bio: Tchipakkan is an artist, writer, healer, and soothsayer, author of Divine Cookies and the Rune article series in The Blessed Bee Pagan Family Magazine.  She practices and teaches RuneValdr and Reiki, huna healing, herbalism, and soothsaying with runes, palmistry, tarot, and other systems.

 

Education in Exile: Teaching in a Tibetan Refugee Community in the Himalayas
by Carolyn White

Program Description: When His Holiness the Dalai Lama of Tibet was forced to flee his homeland in 1959, he settled in Dharamsala, a hill station in the Himalayan foothills of northern India. Dharamsala is now the center of a vibrant Tibetan refugee community: it is the seat of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile and home to thousands of Tibetans who have escaped political and religious oppression in their homeland and followed their leader into exile. It is also a backpacker’s paradise, with tourists from around the world—drawn to the town’s mountainous landscape and promise of spiritual awakening—mixing with the Tibetan and Indian residents in a true cultural mélange. In 2007, Professor White spent her six-month sabbatical living and working in Dharamsala, where she taught English to Tibetan refugees and experienced firsthand the beauty of their ancient, rich, and tragically threatened culture. Join Carolyn for a discussion of her adventures in India, where she braved monsoon downpours—and roaming livestock—to get to language class; learned about the rules of cricket from sports-crazy monks; studied Buddhist philosophy with a respected lama; and discovered that ultimately her Tibetan students were the true teachers.

Speaker Bio:  Carolyn White is the head of public services at the University of New Hampshire Manchester Library, where she focuses on library instruction and reference services. Her research interests include information literacy, faculty collaboration, and peer tutoring in the library. Professor White is very interested in the history and civilization of Tibet, and is the secretary and web master of the Monadnock Friends of Tibet, a New Hampshire-based Tibet support group. As a result of this interest, and as a result of her deep concern about the current plight of the Tibetan people and their nation, she pursued a long-held dream by spending her academic sabbatical in the foothills of the Himalayas, teaching English to Tibetan refugees in Dharamsala, India, home of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Government-in-Exile. While in Dharamsala, she put her library skills to good use as well by reorganizing a volunteer organization’s community reading room.

 

Community Preparedness: the First Step
by Captain Eugene Heighton

Program Description: Learn how you, as a local community member, can partner and engage volunteer services and create a framework to enhance local community disaster readiness.

Speaker Bio: Captain Eugene Heighton is the Interim Director at NH Citizens Corps, an organization that has as its mission harnessing the power of every individual through education, training, and volunteer service to make communities safer, stronger, and better prepared to respond to threats of terrorism, crime, public health issues and disasters of all kinds.

 

Cohousing: "Drawing on the strength of community to live sustainably"
by Françoise Paradis

Program Description: Cohousing visionary and project developer, Françoise Paradis, Ed.D., will give a presentation on the characteristics of cohousing and its many benefits – for the individual, the community and the environment.  The concept originating in Denmark in the 1970's, is growing in popularity in this age of "Green" consciousness, and the desire of many for a greater sense of connection and community.  Many cohousing communities are a mix of families, retirees and single individuals who share some time together at weekly community meals, engaging in common interests or just helping each other out by sharing errands, tending a garden, childcare, or pet sitting.

The number of cohousing communities in the United States is on the verge of doubling, with 111 cohousing communities nationwide, another 113 are currently in the process of development.  One of those new projects, being developed by Dr. Paradis with support from members of the community, is Greensward Hamlet, located in Buxton, Maine.

Dr. Paradis is quick to point out, "These are not 'hippie communes', but an intentional way to live independently AND in community at the same."  It is a well documented fact that people are happier, healthier, more productive, and live longer when they are connected to a nurturing social network.  In addition, Dr. Paradis promotes the sustainable use of geothermal, solar, and wind power for generating energy, greatly reducing the "carbon footprint", energy consumption, and monthly utility bills.

Participants will learn the characteristics that make cohousing communities unique and timely in the 21st century

Speaker Bio:  Françoise Paradis is a psychologist by profession and a sociologist at heart.  Her bachelor's degree from the University of Maine was in sociology and her doctoral degree from Boston University in Counseling Psychology.  Her world view, influenced by growing up in a large Franco-American family in northern Maine, starts with the "whole" that encompasses all the "parts." Thus, in her work as a psychologist she focuses on enhancing the client's community: their family life, social circle, support network, and living environment.   It was a natural progression for her to initiate a "green" cohousing community at a time when our planet is in jeopardy.

 

Asperger's Syndrome / High-Functioning Autism: Probing the Diagnosis and the Population
by Robert Lagos

Program Description:  This talk will examine the nature of the diagnosis and research, as well as the symptoms, characteristics, and issues involved for persons with Asperger's Syndrome and High Functioning Autism, and also against certain stereotypical concepts.

Speaker Bio:  Robert S. Lagos is employed as a computer programmer/analyst/developer for a company in Portland, Maine, which is dedicated to health and health insurance, and has been in this industry for about 20 years. He is a graduate of UCLA (University of California at Los Angeles) with a Bachelor's degree in Chemistry and a certificate in the upper-division extension program in Computer Science. He is also a musician (pianist), but is not currently performing professionally.

He has been a member of Mensa since October 2005.   He was diagnosed with autism (in 1980), and is currently the facilitator for the Maine Adult Asperger group which meets monthly in Portland, as well as an advisory board member for the Maine chapter of the AANE (Asperger Association of New England).

 

Formation of the Many Conspiracy Special Interest Group
by Kevin Tremblay

Program Description:  Kevin Tremblay, founder of the MC-SIG, is a Maine Mensa member from Ripley. From early childhood when his parents, relatives and neighbors (those he trusted) tried to fool him that there was a Santa Claus, he knew something was wrong in the universe. Why lie to give him presents? It did not make sense. That is a warping conspiracy. There are thousands more.

From Kris Kringle to the third building collapsing at the World Trade Center on 9/11, there are conspiracies. Disinformation, misinformation, truth paired with lies; are techniques, and technologies exist, that are used to shape thinking and behavior. MCSIG proposes to explore these events, capabilities and investigate the world of “non-lethal weapons” to elicited meaning out of the chaos of conspiracy theories. The approach of our news sources that say: “we report, you decide,” is spin that is used to led mass thought to slanted views.

The areas suitable for this group’s discussion are: MK-Ultra, Remote Viewing and Stargate, L. Ron Hubbard, Nazism, Gang, Vigilante or Cause Stalking; Andrija Puharich, the False Memory Foundation, Reptilians, Aliens and Demons; Religions and Occult Sciences, Mind Control, Cybernetics, New World Order, Chemtrails, Illuminati, Secret Societies, Eugenics, and the Biodiversity Treaty and Declaration of Human Rights; are some of the subjects to discuss in the MC-SIG.

No subject should be considered taboo. Some subjects are wise not to discuss in public! Help shape MC-SIG. Join and belong! May the force be with you.

 

Financial Planning
by Chuck Bovaird

Program Description:  An informational speech covering the basics of investment. asset classes, investment accounts, financial products, basic concepts of financial planning, and basic strategies in financial planning.

Speaker Bio:  Chuck Bovaird started off as a financial advisor at MassMutual, and then later moved to Prudential. He primarily does retirement planning for his clients. He also works with small businesses.

 

How to play safely as an adult, with or without a partner: The ins & outs (so to speak) of romance in the 00's, or "Naught-ies" as one might say ;-)
by Denise (Penkalski) Brown

We will have fun talking about protecting yourself and those you care about, the technical plusses and minuses of various materials and accessories (props will be on hand), and will try to field any technical  questions you may have. This is an adult themed discussion, and is not intended for younger attendees.

Speaker Bio:  Denise is both a Mensa member and the sole proprietress of her own business(home-parties and online store) for over 2 years, with hopes of one day opening a boutique.

 

Climate Update and Changes in Climate Change
by Ric Werme

Program Description:  NH Mensa has offered a talk in each of the last several RGs on global warming and what's happening on the subject.  Last year one of our members, Ric Werme, realized it was finally time to pay attention and this year he's giving the talk.  There will be a little bit of everything - CO2, ocean currents, solar minimum, fading sunspots by 2015, and even temperatures.  Hint: it looks like the world is cooling.  Spread the word!

Speaker Bio:  Back in 1974 when Ric Werme joined Mensa, he was already interested in meteorology and climatology, in addition to pretty much anything else that is related to science.  However, after finding that programming computers was more fun, his career has been working as a software engineer on operating systems and networks.

Ric has testified to the NH Governor's Climate Change Task Force about the importance of separating conservation measures from climate change because the reasons for conservation goes beyond climate.  That testimony and much of his climate-related interest (or is that obsession?) over the last year is recorded at his climate web site.

At the end of this month, Ric will be attending American Mensa's Colloquium 2009: Weather or Not - the past, present, and future of climate change.

 

Ghost Quest
by
Raven Duclos, Beckah Boyd, and Katie Boyd

Ghost Quest is a paranormal society based out of New Hampshire that has been in operation for over seven years. They have investigated some of New Hampshire's most haunted places! They are an all female team consisting of Raven Duclos - Psychic Medium, Beckah Boyd - Psychic Medium and Katie Boyd - Demonologist and Occult Sciences Expert. Each came to the group with previous experience, Katie - has studied the Occult for over 20 years and Demonology for the same amount of time. She blends the two to create a neutral system that helps the client expel the negative or demonic entity. Katie is the author of Devil's and Demonology in the 21st Century which will hit stores at the end of the month. Raven Duclos is a psychic medium who knew from the age of three that this plane was not home. She uses her abilities in Ghost Quest to speak with the spirits in a home and help those same spirits cross over if they choose (and sometimes even if they don't). Beckah Boyd is also a Psychic Medium with over fifteen years practice and seven years professionally. She has worked with some of New Hampshire's top businesses as a consultant and reader at corporate events. She lends her abilities to validate spirit hauntings and give closure to families. She also uses her abilities to cleanse the home, help spirits cross over and find vortexes. Ghost Quest uses a mix of spirituality and hard evidence to validate the hauntings. Using the same tools that many other groups do, they go in with a skeptic's eye and are on a never ending quest to find out exactly what goes bump in the night.

 

Antarctica: More than Just Ice
by
Jane Davis

Program Description:  Jane Davis's recent trip to Antarctica was an adventure tour that took her to the continent itself, rather than just the outlying islands. Crossing the Drake Passage twice was an experience all its own but more of that on the 14th....

Speaker Bio:  Jane Davis is a two-time cancer-survivor who decided, after beating her 6-month death sentence in 2002, to see as much of the world as possible and to share the experiences with others in order to expand their view of their own backyard. She has a BA in Communications and an MSB in Business and has worked as a professional photographer and videographer in a long career of trying a little bit of everything. She is the mother of three grown children and is used to them answering the phone with, "HI Mom, Where are you now?"

 

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