Double a donation to Food Bank of the Rockies

Today only! Donate to the Food Bank of the Rockies and the Gay and Lesbian Fund for Colorado will match your gift – dollar for dollar – up to $100,000! So give $5 and they will make it $10! This offers expires Wed, March 31, 2021, so give today.

With $10, Food Bank of the Rockies can provide 40 meals to people in the Rocky Mountain region.  So join me today in helping people still struggling with the effects of  the pandemic.

Give at https://secularhub.org/y/fbr-glfc

Persistence

Percy Lavon Julian was the embodiment of persistence. Julian was an American research chemist and a pioneer in the chemical synthesis of medicinal drugs from plants. He was the first to synthesize the natural product physostigmine, plus a pioneer in the industrial large-scale chemical synthesis of the human hormones progesterone and testosterone from plant sterols such as stigmasterol and sitosterol. His work laid the foundation for the steroid drug industry’s production of cortisone, other corticosteroids, and birth control pills.

Julian attended DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana, when the college and town were segregated, graduating in 1920 as a Phi Beta Kappa and valedictorian.  He attended Harvard University and obtained an M.S. in chemistry, but the school withdrew his teaching assistantship, preventing him from completing a Ph.D. there.  Later while teaching at Howard University, Julian received a Rockefeller Foundation fellowship to continue his graduate work at the University of Vienna, where he earned his Ph.D. in 1931. 

Returning to a teaching position at Howard University, Julian became embroiled in university politics and a personal scandal that forced him to resign.  He accepted a position at DePauw University where he completed the synthesis of physostigmine, a drug for treating glaucoma.  He left DePauw in 1936 when he was denied a professorship because he was African-American.  After being denied jobs with DuPont and the Institute of Paper Chemistry, Julian was offered a position of director of research at Glidden’s Soya Products Division in Chicago.

In 1950, Julian moved into Oak Park, a Chicago suburb, the first African-American family to do so, but not before his new home was fire-bombed!  Later his home was attacked with dynamite.  Soon after these incidents the community rallied behind them.

Julian’s work yielded over 100 patents and he work includes synthesis of cortisone, producing hormones including progesterone, steroids, vitamins, amino acids and other chemicals mostly from soybean extracts.

The PBS series Nova produced a docudrama about Percy Julian called the Forgotten Genius.  In the film, historian James Anderson says “His story is a story of great accomplishment, of heroic efforts and overcoming tremendous odds…a story about who we are and what we stand for and the challenges that have been there and the challenges that are still with us.”

Mars 2020 – Countdown to Landing

On Thursday, February 18, 2021 at about 1:55pm MST the Perseverance rover and the Ingenuity helicopter drone will land on Mars! The NASA TV broadcast from Mission Control starts at 12:15pm MST. 

Watch live online the events on Earth with “some” delay from Mars.

The Perseverance rover has four science objectives that support the Mars Exploration Program’s science goals:

Looking for Habitability: Identify past environments capable of supporting microbial life.
Seeking Biosignatures: Seek signs of possible past microbial life in those habitable environments, particularly in special rocks known to preserve signs of life over time.
Caching Samples: Collect core rock and “soil” samples and store them on the Martian surface.
Preparing for Humans:

Test oxygen production from the Martian atmosphere.

  • Mission Name: Mars 2020

  • Rover Name: Perseverance

  • Main Job: The Perseverance rover will seek signs of ancient life and collect rock and soil samples for possible return to Earth.

  • Launch: July 30, 2020, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida

  • Landing: Feb. 18, 2021

  • Landing Site: Jezero Crater, Mars

  • Mission Duration: At least one Mars year (about 687 Earth days)

  • Tech Demo: The Mars Helicopter is a technology demonstration, hitching a ride on the Perseverance rover.

More information and other stuff at NASA Mars Landing Toolkit.

Darwin Day 2021

Packing the Hub
Packing the Hub

The Secular Hub held it’s grand opening on February 12, 2013.  Eight years later we could not have our traditional Darwin Day/Hub Birthday event.  2020 was a strange year for the Hub, stopping all in-person events at the 3100 Downing St. location in March.  We let our lease expire and moved into a storage Pod in December – our last event at 3100 Downing St.

Of course February 12, 1809 was Charles Darwin’s birthday as well as Abraham Lincoln (same year) and Olivia Hooker.  Who???

Olivia Juliette Hooker was born February 12, 1915 in Muskogee, Oklahoma. Hooker was one of the last known survivors of the Tulsa race massacre of 1921, and the first African-American woman to enter the U.S. Coast Guard in February 1945.

In 1947, she received her master’s from the Teachers College of Columbia University, and in 1961 she received her PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Rochester, with her dissertation on the learning abilities of children with Down syndrome.

Olivia Hooker in 2011

On February 9, 2015, Kirsten Gillibrand spoke in Congress to “pay tribute” to Hooker. In the same year, the Olivia Hooker Dining Facility on the Staten Island Coast Guard facility was named in her honor. A training facility at the Coast Guard’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. was also named after her that same year. On May 20, 2015, President Barack Obama recognized Hooker’s Coast Guard service and legacy while in attendance at the 134th Commencement of the United States Coast Guard Academy. On November 11, 2018, Google honored her by telling her story as part of a Google Doodle for the Veterans Day holiday. Hooker died of natural causes in her home in White Plains, New York on November 21, 2018, at the age of 103.

Officially Homeless!

As of January 1, 2021, the Secular Hub is homeless!  Since we have not met at the Secular Hub’s location since March 2020 and our lease was expiring at the end of 2020, the Board of Directors decided that it was best to save our funds for a new location.

Packing the Hub
Packing the Hub

A team of volunteers braved the COVID-19 virus to pack the Hub’s belongings into a storage pod.  Thanks to Bill, Ron, Becky, Dana, Marty, both Joes, Jesse, Jonathan, Danelle, Steve, Brandon, Jeff, and Richard.  Forgive me if I did not mention your name because you all look alike in masks!  Thank you again for your help in dislocating the Hub.

Packing the Pod
Packing the Pod

Loading the Pod
Loading the Pod

Packing our belongings into a Pod was kind of like doing a 3D jigsaw puzzle. I hope it does not end up looking like multiple puzzles in the same box.

Then a couple of days later, Paul and I said good-bye to the Pod as it was loaded on a truck to be stored elsewhere.

Our last act of helping the homeless at this location was two people that showed up asking for help.  We gave them some sweaters and blanket from the AHH barrel.  They also received a box of water and food.

Empty Hub
Empty Hub.

It is sad to see the Hub emptied out.  But it is a step to moving to a new location.  My hope is next year at this time when we can gather in person, we can be in a new larger location that better accommodates our goals.  You can help us reach this goal by donating to our Building Fund.

Food Bank of the Rockies Fundraiser Results

You donated $2,395 to the Food Bank of the Rockies!

Our fundraiser for Food Bank of the Rockies raised $2,395 for feeding people in-need along the Front Range and Colorado!  Thank you to everyone that donated.  The money was sent to Food Bank of the Rockies and should provide more than 9500 meals for people in need this holiday season!

R.I.P.-R.B.G.

On September 18, 2020, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, died from complications of metastatic pancreatic cancer at her home in Washington, D.C., at the age of 87. The Supreme Court may not be the same for decades to come! Anyone that says nothing has changed in the last fifty years, only has to look at Ginsburg’s history as an academic, creating and working for ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project, as a federal judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals, and finally on the Supreme Court to see that progress was made by this extraordinary person.

More recently, Ginsburg gained status as a “pop culture icon”. Ginsburg’s profile began to rise after O’Connor’s retirement in 2006 left Ginsburg as the only serving female justice. Her increasingly fiery dissents, led to the creation of “The Notorious R.B.G.”, an internet meme on Tumblr comparing her to rapper The Notorious B.I.G., created by law student Shana Knizhnik. Knizhnik later turned the blog into a book titled Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Ginsburg told Nina Totenberg in a 2014 interview, she had a “large supply” of Notorious R.B.G. t-shirts, which she gives as gifts.

If you need a role model, you can find few better that Ruth Bader Ginsburg!  It is up to us to carry on her legacy.

Women’s Equality Day

Women suffragists picketing in front of the White house.
Women suffragists picketing in front of the White house.

Women’s Equality Day, first designated by Congress in 1973 and proclaimed by Richard Nixon, the proclamation read in part:

The struggle for women’s suffrage, however, was only the first step toward full and equal participation of women in our Nation’s life. In recent years, we have made other giant strides by attacking sex discrimination through our laws and by paving new avenues to equal economic opportunity for women. Today, in virtually every sector of our society, women are making important contributions to the quality of American life….While we are making great strides to eliminate outright job discrimination because of sex in the Federal Government, we must recognize that people’s attitudes cannot be changed by laws alone. There still exist elusive prejudices born of mores and customs that stand in the way of progress for women. We must do all that we can to overcome these barriers against what is fair and right….

Forty-seven years later and 100 years since women gained the right to vote in the United States, there a still many prejudices that block women in our society.  Change has occurred, too slow for some, too fast for others, but it will continue.  It is up to us to make it happen.

National Day of Reason

Expressing support for the designation of May 7, 2020, as a “National Day of Reason” and recognizing the central importance of reason in the betterment of humanity.

National Day of ReasonThe National Day of Reason is a response to the Federal Government’s National Day of Prayer which is enshrined in law.  Donald Trump, being the law-abiding President dutifully proclaimed today for prayer.  What about the approximately 23 percent of people in the United States who aren’t religious and don’t pray.  That is why we need the National Day of Reason!

With about 80% of the nation presumably praying for an end to the COVID-19 pandemic, why does it continue?  Basically because there is no evidence that prayer ever work for anything, aside from the benefit of meditation.

Only science and reason will defeat the pandemic.  It is science that is used to create a vaccine.  It is science that creates the tests for the disease to help manage the pandemic and help our economy to recover.  So where is our commitment to science and reason by our representative government?  Buried in the House Committee on Oversight and Reform.  In the spirit of the day, I give you H.Res.947  that states:

Expressing support for the designation of May 7, 2020, as a “National Day of Reason” and recognizing the central importance of reason in the betterment of humanity.

Whereas the application of reason has been the essential precondition for humanity’s extraordinary scientific, medical, technological, and social progress since the modern Enlightenment;

Whereas reason provides vital hope today for confronting the environmental crises of our day, including the civilizational emergency of climate change, and for cultivating the rule of law, democratic institutions, justice, and peace among nations;

Whereas irrationality, magical thinking, and superstition have undermined the national effort to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, and reason is fundamental to creating an effective coordinated response to beat the virus involving the Federal Government, the States, and the scientific and medical communities;

Whereas America’s Founders insisted upon the primacy of reason and knowledge in public life, and drafted the Constitution to prevent official establishment of religion and to protect freedom of thought, speech, and inquiry in civil society;

Whereas James Madison, author of the First Amendment and fourth President of the United States, stated that “The advancement and diffusion of knowledge is the only guardian of true liberty”, and “Knowledge will forever govern ignorance, and a people who mean to be their own governors, must arm themselves with the power knowledge gives”; and

Whereas, May 7, 2020, would be an appropriate date to designate as a “National Day of Reason”: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the House of Representatives

(1) supports the designation of a “National Day of Reason”; and

(2) encourages all citizens, residents, and visitors to join in observing this day and focusing on the central importance of reason, critical thought, the scientific method, and free inquiry to resolving social problems and promoting the welfare of humankind.

Well said!

Thank you for supporting Food Bank of the Rockies

Thank you for supporting Food Bank of the Rockies in our recent fundraiser!  You donated $1,000 which was matched by the Secular Hub and fellow Hub Members for a total of $2,000 going to help provide food to your fellow Coloradans.

If you would still like to give, click the button below or scan the QR code to donate and we will see that it gets to the Food Bank of the Rockies.

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