The Cowtown Humanist
A chapter of the American Humanist Association
The Alliance of Secular Humanist Societies
August 2002 Volume 4, No. 5

Another teeny-weeny, lean and meany newsletter. Hopefully, this edition marks the end of the drought of summer news . . . .

This Month
Our meeting will be 7 p.m. Wednesday, August 14, at Westside Unitarian Universalist Church, 6901 South McCart. The speaker will be Samir Mavrakis. Samir is a member of Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee, and he will be speaking on how the new anti-terrorism laws have impacted our civil rights, and in particular the rights of Arab-Americans.

Also, we will hold our usual pre-dinner meeting. This month, we are convening at Jason's Deli, just down the street from Hulen Mall, on the east (left-hand) side of the street. Dinner hour is 5:30 p.m.

Last month
Our intrepid little group continues working to make the world -- or at least a half-mile of it -- a better place. We did our regular adopt-a-street cleanup on Granbury Road. We had great weather, a good turnout and the job was a snap. Afterward, we all convened at the estate of member Wallace Harrison, where he and his wife Gail treated us to a wonderful breakfast. Thanks to everyone who pitched in, and special thanks to Wallace and Gail for their hostility . . . .er, hospitality.

Changing of the lard
Some members may not be aware that our chairman and grand poo-bah, Shane Taylor, is having to resign his seat (the one he was elected to, not the one he sits on). Shane is moving to Dallas to attend graduate school, and as we all know, once someone goes into Dallas, they can never get out. All of the roads there just lead to shopping malls.

Anyway, that means we need to re-shuffle the management deck. We held a very informal meeting at Wallace's house after he fed us our breakfast, and we came up with a tentative plan: Mike Haney will assume the chairman's role, and the vice-chair duties will fall to . . . Wallace. (See what happens when you try to do something nice for people?) The other officer positions would remain intact.

However, we emphasize that this plan has NOT been formalized; we will probably discuss it and vote on it at Wednesday's meeting. So if anyone has a keen interest in being the vice-chair, or has any objections to the plan, you are welcome to share your thoughts. Or if you prefer, you can just have all of us over for the next breakfast . . . .

Just for fun
(Puported to be a true story.) A professor of chemical engineering at the University of Oklahoma has a reputation for asking unusual test questions, such as, ''Why do airplanes fly?'' A few years back, the final exam for his class on "Momentum, Heat and Mass Transfer" consisted of only one question:

''Is hell exothermic or endothermic? Support your answer with proof.'' Most of the students wrote their responses using Boyle's Law or some variant. One student, however, took a different apporach:

"First, we postulate that if souls exist, then they must have some mass. If they do, then a mole of souls can also have a mass. So, at what rate are souls moving into hell and at what rate are souls leaving? I think we can safely assume that once a soul gets to hell, it will not leave.Therefore, no souls are leaving.

"As for souls entering hell, let us look at the different religions that exist in the world today. Some of these religions state that if you are not a member of their religion, then you will go to hell. Since there are more than one of these religions and people do not belong to more than one religion, we can project that all people and souls go to hell. And with birth and death rates as they are, we can expect the number of souls in hell to increase exponentially.

"Now, we look at the rate of change in volume in hell. Boyle's law states that in order for the temperature and pressure in hell to stay the same, the ratio of the mass of souls and volume needs to stay constant. Therefore,only two options exist:

"1. If hell is expanding at a slower rate than the rate at which souls enter hell, then the temperature and pressure in hell will increase. And eventually, all hell will break loose.

"2. If hell is expanding at a rate faster than the increase of souls in hell, then the temperature and pressure will drop until hell freezes over.

"So which is it? If we accept the theory stated to me by Theresa Manyan during my freshman year that "it will be a cold night in hell before I sleep with you'' and take into account the fact that I still have NOT succeeded in having sexual relations with her, then Option 2 cannot be true. Thus, hell is exothermic."

The student got an A.

Hope to see you Wednesday,


How to reach us
Shane Taylor, Chairman

Mike Haney, Vice Chairman

Reed Bilz, Secretary

Dolores Ruhs, Treasurer

Jeff Rodriguez, Newsletter Editor