An Afternoon with Senator Elizabeth Warren

This isn’t necessarily ‘Geek’ related, but it’s interesting. The Phoenix Bookstore will be hosting Senator Elizabeth Warren on June 20th at 3:30pm in Burlington. The senator will speak about her book and answer questions, although there isn’t going to be a signing. This is a ticketed event. $35 will get you a book and a ticket.

Phoenix Books welcomes Massachusetts Senator ELIZABETH WARREN for a discussion of her bestselling memoir A Fighting Chance.
An unlikely political star tells the inspiring story of the two-decade journey that taught her how Washington really works—and really doesn’t.
In A Fighting Chance, Warren shows why she has chosen to fight tooth and nail for the middle class—and why she has become a hero to all those who believe that America’s government can and must do better for working families.

Here’s the details:

  • DATE & TIME: Friday, June 20, 2014 at 3:30 PM. Doors open at 2:30 PM. Seating is first come, first served. Ticket required.
  • LOCATION: First Unitarian Universalist Society Meeting House, 152 Pearl Street, Burlington, Vermont 05401
  • EVENT FORMAT: Elizabeth Warren will discuss her book and answer audience questions. Due to the Senator’s schedule, this program does not include a book signing. All books will be pre-signed by Senator Warren with a limited number available for purchase at the event.

Full details.

Vermont Senate votes to label GMO foods

One of the more high-profile political issues has been voted on in the Vermont Senate: they passed a bill that requires GMO foods to be clearly labeled.

From the Burlington Free Press:

The Senate gave a decisive 26-2 vote Tuesday for a bill that would require labeling of foods that contain genetically modified ingredients, a strong indication that Vermont could become the first state in the nation to enact such a law.

“We are saying people have a right to know what’s in their food,” said Senate President Pro Tempore John Campbell, D-Windsor, adding that he thinks lawmakers have done the best job they can to make the bill legally defensible.

Now, it remains to be seen whether or not Vermont is sued into oblivion by major corporations. Apparently, the state is bracing itself to such an action.

The Vermont Library Association Statement on Paul Ryan Budget

The Vermont Library Association released a statement last week about the passage of the budged authored by Rep. Paul Ryan:

The Vermont Library Association joins American Library Association President Barbara Stripling in rebuking the budget plan by House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan (R-WI). This budget plan seeks to eliminate federal funding for multiple programs dedicated to the public good that directly benefit Vermont libraries and their patrons.

Ryan’s budget resolution effectively calls for the dissolution of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), a federal agency that administers grants to libraries and museums, including the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) state funding program. In Vermont, LSTA funds represent approximately 25% of the state’s $3.8 million Department of Libraries budget for fiscal year 2014.

President Stripling writes, “Libraries depend on the support they receive from IMLS to help patrons learn new skills, find job opportunities and access reading materials that they otherwise could not afford. More than $180 million has been appropriated to the Institute for Museum and Library Services through September 2014 to help libraries make information and services available to the citizens they serve. In Rep. Ryan’s own state of Wisconsin, more than 65 percent of libraries report that they are the only free access point to Internet in their communities.”

Vermont libraries serve the same critical role in ensuring equitable access to the Internet, books, and other educational materials. In Vermont LSTA funding has allowed libraries to create summer reading programs, offer adapted resources to blind and physically disabled patrons, provide Vermonters with reliable access to online databases, enhance public programs, train librarians, and much more.

The Vermont Library Association commends Vermont’s Congressional delegation for their unanimous support for LSTA. Senator Leahy, Senator Sanders, and Congressman Welch all signed on to “Dear Colleague” letters in support of the program. Ryan would like to make similar cuts in federal funding to agencies such as the National Endowment for the Arts, Public Broadcasting Service, and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), a move that would result in the loss of cultural heritage on an epic scale. In Vermont, the NEH has funded $1,118,552 toward identifying and preserving nearly 1,000 historic Vermont newspaper titles through the Vermont Newspaper Project. Most recently NEH funded digitizing over 200,000 pages through the Vermont Digital Newspaper Project.

Vermont Library Association President Amber Billey says, “In a budget that also proposes the elimination of community block grants and the drastic reduction of anti-poverty measures such as food stamps, perhaps it should be no surprise to see such disregard for America’s libraries. Vermont’s most recent libraries statistics indicate widespread use of services – nearly 4 million visits to our facilities, over 20,000 public programs offered, and 4.5 million items such as books circulated. Paul Ryan’s budget would seriously impact our ability to provide these critical services to Vermonters.”

An Alternative History of the Green Mountain State

Flag of the Republic of Vermont.

Flag of the Republic of Vermont.

Fleeting in its coverage, the Green Mountain article on the Althistory wiki nevertheless points out some interesting wrinkles in a potential alternative history of Vermont.

Reversing the numbers on the vote for Vermont to dissolve the republic and join the fledgling United States leads to avoid the War of 1812, but fend off a number of annexation attempts by the United States and the United Kingdom, including the American Invasion by Abraham Lincoln.

Amusingly, it all shakes out to roughly the same in the end: “Vermont, although not a political superpower, leads in internal peacefulness, having been at peace since 1810,[1] and also has a large tourism industry, due to its large amounts of scenic overlooks and 5-star hotels.

What do you think? Could Vermont have maintained itself as an independent republic, even with the acquisition of New Hampshire’s lands? Would the populace have wanted to?

[1] Apparently the invasions don’t count as wartime?

Geek Things for April 6th

  • Chittenden County Philatelic Club, 6:15PM, GE Healthcare Building, South Burlington. Free. (Stamps)
  • ‘Dead Poets Society’, 7PM, Savoy Theater, Montpelier. Free. (Film)
  • High School Book Group, 5–6PM, Fletcher Free Library, Burlington. Free. (Libraries)
  • Middle School Book Group, 4–5PM, Fletcher Free Library, Burlington. Free. (Libraries)
  • Science Magic. Preregister. 3PM, Dorothy Alling Memorial Library, Williston. Free. (Kids)
  • ‘How to Compost’, 7–9PM, Robert Miller Community & Recreation Center, Burlington. Free. (Composting)
  • ‘Tech Savvy’, 6–8PM, Bradford Public Library, Bradford. Free. (Computers)
  • Chris Wren – “The Rule of Law and the Arab Revolt: A Journalist’s Perspective,” 5:30pm, Oakes Hall, Room 012, Vermont Law School, South Royalton. Free. (Current Events)
  • Dave Zirin – “Sports and Resistance in the United States: A Political Legacy,” 4:30PM, Concert Hall, Mahaney Center for the Arts, Middlebury College, Middlebury. Free. (Politics)
  • Gordon Robison – “The Obama Administration and the Middle East,” 7PM, St. Johnsbury Athenaeum, St. Johnsbury. Free. (Politics)
  • Haviland Smith – “Dealing With Instability in Today’s Middle East.” 7PM, Goodrich Memorial Library, Newport. Free. (Current Events)
  • Mark Stoler – Historical perspective on the United States and the war in Vietnam, 7PM, Cornerstone Community Center, Hartford. Free. (History)
  • Meg Brook – “World Without Borders.” 6:15PM, Burlington College, Burlington. Free. (Talk)
  • Peter Schumann – Bread and Puppet Theater, 6PM, Fleming Museum, UVM, Burlington. Free with museum admission, $3-5, or $10 per family. (Talk)
  • Robert Hager – “Courting Disaster: From the Vietnam War to 21st-Century Terrorism.” 7PM, Rutland Free Library, Rutland. Free. (Current Events)
  • Shahan Mufti – “A World of Trouble: Reporting a Clandestine American War in Pakistan.” 7pm, Cardinal Lounge, Angell College Center, SUNY Plattsburgh, Plattsburgh. Free. (Current Events)
  • ‘Disney’s Beauty and the Beast’: Dress Rehearsal for Senior Citizens – 3–5:15PM, Albert D. Lawton Intermediate School, Essex Junction. Free. (Theater)
  • ‘Romeo and Juliet’, 7PM, McCarthy Arts Center, St. Michael’s College, Colchester. Free. (Theater)
  • Poetry Alive! Various downtown locations, Montpelier. Free. (Poetry)
  • Magic Booster Draft – $12, 6pm – 11pm, Quarterstaff Games, Burlington. (Gaming)
  • Pathfinder Society, 6:30pm – 11:00pm, Game Lounge, Quarterstaff Games, Burlington. (Gaming)
  • Book Talk: American Plastic, 5:15 – 7:15pm, 51 Main at the Bridge, Middlebury College, Middlebury. (Talk)
  • Books About Libraries, 10am, Barnes and Noble, South Burlington. (Kids)
  • Naruto, 4:30pm – 8:00pm, The Gamer’s Grotto, Bennington. (Gaming)
  • Wednesday Night Board gaming at Triple Play, 6:00pm – 10:30pm, Triple Play, Lebanon, New Hampshire (Gaming)
  • D&D Encounter, 6:00pm – 8:30pm, The Gamers Grotto, Bennington. (Gaming)
  • L5R Night at Triple Play, 6:30pm – 10:00pm, Triple Play, Lebanon, NH. (Gaming)
  • Touch the Sound at NU, Sullivan Museum, Northfield. (Museum)
  • Do Bats Really Attack Humans? All about bats, presented by Barry Genzlinger. 1:30pm, VT College of Fine Arts, Noble Hall, Montpelier. $5 for non-members. Info. 454-4675. (Bats)
  • April Showers Bring Salamanders. Preschool discovery program for kids age 3-5. Dress for a walk on the trails. 10-11:30am. North Branch Nature Center, Montpelier. $5 per child, Info. 229-6206. (Kids)
  • Red Cross Blood Drive, 10:30am-3:30pm, Vermont Law School, South Royalton. (Blood Drive)

Apple Removes ‘Gay Cure’ app after VT Group Starts Petition

This in from a local group called Truth Wins Out, which issued a petition for Apple to remove the app from its app store:

BURLINGTON, Vt. – Truth Wins Out and praised Apple today after the company removed a virulently anti-gay iPhone app launched by Exodus International that promoted “curing” gay people. The move came after 150,000 people signed a Truth Wins Out petition on calling on Apple to remove the app from iTunes.

“Apple made a wise and responsible decision to dump an offensive app that demonized gay and lesbian people,” said Wayne Besen, Executive Director of Truth Wins Out. “The real winners today are LGBT youth who are safer and less at risk for receiving Exodus’ malice and misinformation.”

“We’re thrilled that Apple has removed this ‘gay cure’ app from the iTunes store after more than 150,000 people signed this petition,” said Mike Jones, Editor at, the platform used by Truth Wins Out to launch the petition. “The message Apple is sending here is clear: there is no place for ‘ex-gay therapy’ on the Apple platform.”

The full press release can be found at Truth Wins Out’s website.

The petition, with well over a hundred thousand signatures, demonstrates a couple of key points that deserve to be highlighted: the first is that petitions and viral outrage do matter in instances – this is certainly a good example of where a collective voice helps to right a wrong. At the same time, it demonstrates the power of technology: the importance and influence of the app environment and market.

Geek Things for March 15th

  • ‘Smart About Solar’, 7–8:30PM, Shelburne Town Offices, Shelburne. Free. (Solar)
  • American Red Cross Blood Drive, 11AM–4PM, Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital, St. Johnsbury. Free. (Blood Drive)
  • ‘The Illusionist’, 7PM, Catamount Arts Center, St. Johnsbury. $4-7. (Films)
  • Creative Tuesdays, 3–5PM, Fletcher Free Library, Burlington. Free. (Kids)
  • Open Computer Time, 3–4:30PM, Fletcher Free Library, Burlington. Free. (Computers)
  • Science & Stories, 11AM, ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center, Burlington. Regular admission, $8.50-10.50; free for kids 2 and under. (Kids)
  • Adam Clymer -“American Politics and the New Congress”, 3:30–5PM, Livak Room, Davis Center, UVM, Burlington. Free. (Politics)
  • ‘Speaking From Experience’ Lecture Series – Wisdom gained from going green, 7pm, Perry Hall, Champlain College, Burlington. Free. (Environmentalism)
  • Creative Writing Group, 10:30AM, Champlain Senior Center, McClure MultiGenerational Center, Burlington. Free. (Writing)
  • Boardgame Night, 6pm – 11pm, Quarterstaff Games, Burlington. (Gaming)
  • HeroClix!, 7:30pm – 11:00pm, Game Lounge, Quarterstaff Games, Burlington. (Gaming)
  • “Ecological Effects of Healthcare,”, 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Living and Learning Commons, 315, UVM Campus, Burlington. (Talk)
  • “Research from Extracted EMR Data in a Multi-Vendor Environment: Promise, Pitfalls and Progress”, 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., MedEd 300, UVM, Burlington. (Talk)
  • Teacher Workshop: Weather: Understanding and Teaching the Big Ideas, For Grade K-8 teachers., 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. $55, pre-registration required. Register online. Monshire Museum of Science, Norwich. (Teaching)
  • Why Organic is a Better National Policy than Genetic Modification, 12:30 – 1:30pm, Franklin Environmental Center 103, Middlebury College, Middlebury. (Talk)
  • Lecture: “Mao Zedong and China: Perspectives on the Twentieth Century World” 4:30 – 6:30pm, Robert A Jones ’59 Conference Room, Middlebury College, Middlebury. (Talk)

Geek Things for March 10th

  • American Red Cross Blood Drive, 12–5:30PM, Fire Department, Brandon. Free. (Blood Drive)
  • American Red Cross Blood Drive, 8:30AM–1:30PM, Hartford High School, White River Junction. Free. (Blood Drive)
  • Chess Club, 7PM, Faith United Methodist Church, South Burlington. $2-3. (Chess)
  • Mobius Community Science Night, 5:30–7:30PM, ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center, Burlington. Free, preregister. (Science)
  • Vermont Cartoonist Laureate Appointment, 9:15AM, Various locations statewide. Free. (Cartooning)
  • ‘GasLand’, 7PM, Catamount Arts Center, St. Johnsbury. $4-7. (Documentaries)
  • Open Computer Time, 3–4:30PM, Fletcher Free Library, Burlington. Free. (Computers)
  • Poetry-Writing Group, 4:30–5:30PM, Fletcher Free Library, Burlington. Free. (Writing)
  • Bill McKone – “Vermont’s Irish Rebel: The Story of John Lonergan.” 7PM, Chester Arthur Room, Municipal Building, Fairfield. Free. (History)
  • Jennifer Finney Boylan – diversity, multiculturalism, gender and women’s issues, 7-8:30pm, Warren Ballrooms, Angell College Center, SUNY Plattsburgh, Plattsburgh. Free. (Talk)
  • Lunch & Learn – Designing the Museum, 12PM, Sullivan Museum & History Center, Norwich University, Northfield. Free. (Architecture)
  • Panel Discussion – “If You Lose Your Old-Fashioned Town Meeting, Are You Losing Democracy?”, 7PM, Vermont Folklife Center, Middlebury. Free. (Politics)
  • Warren Spinner – The issues affecting forest health, 7–8:30PM, Leddy Park Arena, Burlington. Free. (Trees)
  • ‘Underneath the Lintel’, 7:30PM, FlynnSpace, Burlington. $24.30-32.50; special $10 tickets available at the door 10 minutes before curtain. (Theater)
  • Open Miniatures Tables!, 5pm – 11pm, Quarterstaff Games Gamespace, Burlington. (Gaming)
  • “The Risky Lives of Professional Guinea Pigs: Alienation and Boredom at the the Pharmaceutical Industry Margins”, 4:30 – 5:45pm, McCardell Bicentennial Hall, 216, Middlebury College, Middlebury. (Talk)
  • “Mental Machines” Film Series, Mar 6 – 13 2011, Cambridge, MA (Films)
  • James Kochalka Superstar at Tupelo Music Hall, 8:00 pm, Tupelo Music Hall, White River Junction. (Music)


Poli Sci-Fi Radio: #137

One of the fascinating things that I’ve found with this site is just how deep the rabbit hole really goes. Every day, I’ve found new people, places, and things that highlight the purpose of this site, to bring it all together. I’d forgotten about Bill Simmon’s Candleblog (I remember it now) and found that he, along with Steve Benen host a weekly radio show and podcast called Poli SciFi Radio. You can listen in on Sunday evenings from 4-6 pm eastern time in Burlington, Vermont on WOMM-LP 105.9 FM. You can also tune into a live stream of the show by clicking here, and if you’ve missed it, there’s a podcast from iTunes or your favorite RSS aggregator.

About the show:

“Poli-Sci-Fi Radio is a weekly radio show and podcast featuring Steve Benen and Bill Simmon talking about politics and science fiction. We define both terms somewhat broadly. For example, while the show does focus on the week’s big political stories, topics can also include free speech, the democratization of media, and technology issues as well. Likewise, we interpret “sci-fi” to mean any sort of genre fiction in pretty much any medium — books, movies, TV, comics, fan-fic, etc.”

We’ll be sure to follow along! Here’s the information on the latest episode:

Original air date: 2/20/2011
Total run time: 1:55:40
File size: 55.5 MB

Being Human (Syfy)
Being Human (BBC)
Clone Wars – Tarkin

Roland Emmerich is going to forever destroy adapt Isaac Asimov’s “Foundation” trilogy

New Wonder Woman cast: Adrienne Palicki

Firefly-related news
* Science Channel will air series starting March 6 (with Michio Kaku insights), in their correct order
* Fillion makes an innocent comment…
* …and starts an interesting hullabaloo
* NBC’s “Community” offers a great shout-out

Detroit Robocop statue will happen

Geek Things for February 9th

  • Solar-Power Seminar, 7–8PM, Dorothy Alling Memorial Library, Williston. Free. (Solar Power)
  • High School Book Group, 5–6PM, Fletcher Free Library, Burlington. Free. (Teens)
  • Highgate Story Hour, 10–11AM, Highgate Public Library, Highgate Center. Free. (Kids)
  • Middle School Book Group, 4–5PM, Fletcher Free Library, Burlington. Free. (Teens)
  • George ‘Peskunck’ Larabee – The history, culture and language of the Abenaki Sokokiak Nation, 7PM, Jaquith Public Library, Marshfield. Free. (History)
  • Keith Morris – “Intro to Permaculture Design: Human Beings as Keystone Species,” 6–8PM, UVM Horticultural Research Center, South Burlington. $10-20. (Talk)
  • Lamoille County Osher Lecture Series – “American ‘En-Gulfed’: Why Every American President Gets Caught in the Persian Gulf.” 1:30PM, Town & Country Resort, Stowe. Free. (Politics)
  • Todd Lecture Series – “The Effects of Climate Change on Human Health: What We Must Do to Save Our World.” 7PM, Plumley Armory, Norwich University, Northfield. Free. (Climate Change)
  • ‘Why Fair Trade?’, 5pm, Farrell Room, St. Edmund’s Hall, St. Michael’s College, Colchester. Free. (Fair Trade)
  • Writers’ Group, 7–9PM, Johnson Public Library, Johnson. Free. (Writing)
  • Magic Booster Draft – $12, 6pm – 11pm, Quarterstaff Games, Burlington. (Gaming)
  • Pathfinder Society, 6:30pm – 11:00pm, Game Lounge, Quarterstaff Games, Burlington. (Gaming)
  • Science on Tap – Montshire After Hours, 5:30-8pm, Monshire Museum, Norwich. Tickets are $10/person (includes one complementary drink) (Science)
  • Exhibit: Raise the Roof, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, ECHO, Burlington. (Kids)
  • Getting to Know NOOKcolor, 6:00 PM, Barnes & Noble, South Burlington. (eReaders)