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Happy Birthday Ingersoll
Robert Green Ingersoll: born August 11, 1833 To celebrate his birthday we will learn about his history, influence, and have some readings (one by Ingersoll himself.
Aug. 02, 2015, 10:30
August Book Club
The book for our August meeting is “Sons of Wichita: How the Koch Brothers Became America's Most Powerful and Private Dynasty" by Daniel Schulman. Like the Rockefellers and the Kennedys, the Kochs are one of the most influential dynasties of the modern age, but they have never been the subject of a major biography until now. Not long after the death of his father, Charles Koch, then in his early 30s, discovered a letter the family patriarch had written to his sons. "You will receive what now seems to be a large sum of money," Fred Koch cautioned. "It may either be a blessing or a curse." Fred's legacy would become a blessing and a curse to his four sons-Frederick, Charles, and fraternal twins David and Bill-who in the ensuing decades fought bitterly over their birthright, the oil and cattle-ranching empire their father left behind in 1967. Against a backdrop of scorched-earth legal skirmishes, Charles and David built Koch Industries into one of the largest private corporations in the world-bigger than Boeing and Disney-and they rose to become two of the wealthiest men on the planet. Influenced by the sentiments of their father, who was present at the birth of the John Birch Society, Charles and David have spent decades trying to remake the American political landscape and mainline their libertarian views into the national bloodstream. They now control a machine that is a center of gravity within the Republican Party. To their supporters, they are liberating America from the scourge of Big Government. To their detractors, they are political "contract killers," as David Axelrod, President Barack Obama's chief strategist, put it during the 2012 campaign. Bill, meanwhile, built a multi-billion dollar energy empire all his own, and earned notoriety as an America's Cup-winning yachtsman, a flamboyant playboy, and as a litigious collector of fine wine and Western memorabilia. Frederick lived an intensely private life as an arts patron, refurbishing a series of historic homes and estates.
Aug. 09, 2015, 2:00 - 4:00 pm
Third Sunday Meeeting
RET member Michael Lance will present a talk based on the book "Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America", by David Hatcher Fischer. This cultural history explains the European settlement of the United States as voluntary migrations from four English cultural centers. Families of zealous, literate Puritan yeomen and artisans from urbanized East Anglia established a religious community in Massachusetts (1629-40); royalist cavaliers headed by Sir William Berkeley and young, male indentured servants from the south and west of England built a highly stratified agrarian way of life in Virginia (1640-70); egalitarian Quakers of modest social standing from the North Midlands resettled in the Delaware Valley and promoted a social pluralism (1675-1715); and, in by far the largest migration (1717-75), poor borderland families of English, Scots, and Irish fled a violent environment to seek a better life in a similarly uncertain American back country. These four cultures, reflected in regional patterns of language, architecture, literacy, dress, sport, social structure, religious beliefs, and familial ways, persisted in the American settlements. The significance of these regional cultures for American history up to the present.
Aug. 16, 2015, 10:30 am - 12:30 pm
1st Sunday
A DVD documentary on William Miller and the End of the World 1844 This is an interesting history of the religious situation during this time. It is the story of thousands of Americans preparing for the end of the world and their campaign to convince others. This also a story about those who (sometimes physically) opposed them. A fascinating history of the times.
Sept. 06, 2015, 10:30
Sketic Book Club for September
The Book for our September Meeting will be “Culture Wars: The Threat to Your Family and Your Freedom” by Marie Elena Castle. Boldly stated and passionately supported, this argument against religious influence on the American government and legal system analyzes the impact that religion has on culture in the United States. The book makes the claim that many laws based on religious beliefs, specifically theology promoted in the Middle Ages, are misattributed as long-standing social values and that changing the theology itself threatens the religious institution supporting it-igniting a cultural war engulfed in fear and resulting in political dysfunction. It reveals that from sexuality to family planning and the tax system, religious doctrines permeate and direct American life without accounting for the differing views of individuals, and in response, the author provides strategies for overcoming the imposition of external religious views and demonstrates the value in standing up for a secular nation where morality is not tied to one particular religious group. Sunday, September 13, at 2:00 pm at Books-A-Million, 8513 Kingston Pike, Knoxville.
Sept. 13, 2015, 2:00 pm
Third Sunday Meeting
Professor Thomas Papenbrock of the University of Tennessee Physics Department will present a talk titled "The atomic nucleus — core of matter, fuel of stars". The atomic nucleus is the tiny center of an atom that carries almost all its mass. It consists of protons and neutrons and is held together by the strong force. Contemporary research in atomic nuclei focuses on rare isotopes, i.e. short-lived nuclei that exhibit an unusual ratio of protons and neutrons. Studies of rare isotopes inform us about unknown details of the strong force, about the origin of elements heavier than iron, and the fate of massive stars. This presentation aims to give a short overview of the exciting questions in contemporary research in the physics of nuclei.
Sept. 20, 2015, 10:30 am - 12:30 pm

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