2019 has been quite a year for your humble correspondent. A busy end to the decade. I finished a book, started another, wrote several articles for Skeptical Inquirer magazine, and gave talks in São Paulo, Brazil, Vienna, Austria, and Ypsilanti, Michigan. Somewhere in there, I also managed to break my foot, but I’m all better now.
Since you last heard from me (back in October), I’ve written two articles for Skeptical Inquirer. The first was, “Skepticism Blooms in Brazil,” a recap of my trip to São Paulo and a report on the amazing expansion of skepticism and science advocacy led by Natalia Pasternak, Carlos Orsi, and the other members of the new group Instituto Questão de Ciência (Question of Science Institute). The Institute just celebrated its first anniversary in November, but it has already established itself as an important force for science communication and reason in Brazil.
My most recent article for Skeptical Inquirer was inspired by a Facebook debate a few months back about whether atheists are more intelligent than religious people. This is obviously a rather sticky topic, but there is research that can help to sort it out. Given that I’d already stepped into a controversial topic, I went on to look at the relationship between religion and happiness. The upshot is that no one gets off completely cleanly, but I hope you will find the article interesting. A fitting piece for the coming holiday season.
As I write this, it is two days away from Friday the 13th. I am scheduled to do a couple of interviews on the topic, one for a Perth, Australia radio station and another for Voice of Islam Radio in London.
I leave you with a fun fact. This Friday, December 13, will be Taylor Swift’s thirtieth birthday. Thirteen has always been her lucky number. She sometimes paints 13 on her hand for concerts, and her twitter handle is @taylorswift13. She may have done more than anyone else to demystify the number 13. Happy Birthday, Taylor!
And Happy Holidays to you all. See you in the next decade.