Before going into anything else, I want to begin this month's column with a request for a homepage. Those of you who are connected to one of the many online services which have Internet access may know what I'm talking about. The rest of you probably haven't the foggiest idea. In brief, a homepage can be a location on the Internet where others from around the world can come to find information, be it important or trivial. In order to set up a homepage, one must have an Internet account on a machine which allows them to do so.
I know that we have officers and other members at various universities in Central Illinois. I know that these universities have Internet hookups. What I don't know is whether or not these sites allow somebody to set up their own homepage. So, if anybody out there is interested in setting up a REALL homepage, please let me know either by phone, letter, or, of course, E-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
A REALL homepage would make electronic versions of REALL and other newsletters and information available around the world (some of these are already available via other Internet sites), as well as including links to other places of interest, such as the homepages for CSICOP, the Skeptics Society, False Memory Syndrome Foundation, etc.
So, like I said, if you're interested and able, please let me know.
Now, on to other subjects. This time last year, I reminded our members that many of you will have subscriptions which expire in February (which is the month in which REALL started in 1993). We have been using a different program to print labels, and so we may not get the expiration date on them just yet (we're trying, though, I promise), but will definitely use different colored labels and other methods to let you know when you're close to having your REALL membership/subscription lapse.
Also this time last year, I asked people to consider becoming Patron members. As I said then you won't see me (or anybody else from REALL) sending you letters or filling newsletter space begging for money. In fact, I absolutely guarantee that I won't mention it at all for the rest of the year! But seriously, if you like what you see in REALL, and can afford it, I only ask that you consider becoming a Patron member. Even if you don't, we still value each and every member, so please feel free to write to us and let us know what you think -- what we're doing well or (perish the thought) what you think we can improve.
And speaking of our meeting, let me tell you more about it. It is on December 20th, at 7:00 at the Lincoln Library, Carnegie Room South. We'll be seeing a videotaped lecture on Mysterious and Amazing Atmospheric Phenomena (which was democratically selected at our previous meeting) by plasma physicist Dr. Bernard Leikind. Here's the description from the tape:
"Rare atmospheric phenomena have been a source of inspiration and wonder to humankind throughout history. Because many people are unaware of the richness and variety of such phenomena, they have tended to perceive them as supernatural occurrences, or assign them paranormal causes.
In a fascinating slide presentation, Dr. Leikind will illustrate many rare atmospheric phenomena and discuss the psychology of perception. He will offer natural explanations for several Biblical descriptions such as the crossing of the Red Sea or walking on water, often assumed to be supernatural events. Dr. Leikind will demonstrate his hypothesis with slides that he has taken of contemporary examples. Plus Dr. Leikind will advise us on how to see and photograph these amazing wonders of nature."