State of the CNPS: 2016-2017
As we close out the year 2016, the CNPS’ future could not look brighter. Let’s take a look at where have been this year, and where we are going in 2017.
In 2016, the CNPS saw it’s second annual conference as the CNPS held in Maryland, next to The University of Maryland. The attendance was double the year before and the papers were quite strong (they can be purchased at http://proceedings.naturalphilosophy.org). Some of the highlights included a very impressive video conference with Dr. Alexander Unzicker who was by far, the most popular presentation at the event. We also broadcast live on Facebook for the first time which was watched around the world.
Science blogs are going strong. All paying CNPS members get their own blog on the CNPS which then get sent to over 1000 scientists world wide. This has been working quite well with new articles weekly. If you need help with your blog, see http://help.naturalphilosophy.org.
Mailchimp is now our newsletter software. Before, I used our own system which is less ample and less powerful when sending out thousands of emails given we have only one server for the CNPS. Mailchimp gives us a powerful newsletter capability. As you well know, the CNPS is now on its own server and owns all the software and data including what was the World Science Database (http://db.naturalphilosophy.org),
Proceedings with ShareLatex has been a great success and we will continue to use it for the future. This is a much easier system for the Proceedings book boss and this is a perk for paying members of the CNPS. The CNPS has a monthly subscription and all paying members are free to use it.
Our membership drive is now completely automated and has resulted in over 20 members renewing their membership dues or paying for the first time. This is new custom PHP software that I finally got around to writing and it has worked beyond our expectations. I also fixed a number of other bugs in the software that I have been meaning to fix. Now, CNPS members will be reminded by email 30 days before and after their memberships expire and those who have not paid in a longer while, will be reminded every 60 days.
In 2016, we also created a wiki site for the CNPS (http://wiki.naturalphilosophy.org). As I stated in one of our video conferences, I wrote computer code to transfer people and books from our database to the wiki automatically. You are free to register and edit the wiki including your own entry. Our goal for 2017 is to form a work group for the wiki so it can start to grow. We need a place for “rewriting” science as it should be with criticism of mainstream science a viable alternative.
And finally, we recently started our Saturday morning video conferences again, this time lead by CNPS member Franklin Hu. Everyone is enjoying the open discussion forum. We are on break until January 7, 2017 for the holidays. Franklin has been doing a great job!
From Dissident to Critical Thinker
But in my opinion, the biggest leap in 2016 was our shift in the theme of the CNPS from “dissident scientist” to critical thinker. This new “branding” of our group seems to be the right track with our meme campaign bringing in new members, mostly from Facebook and Google searches.
In my opinion, this was a great turning point to growing the organization.
We have several projects in the works, yet to be announced. In my opinion, we are not quite ready for prime time. Our website is lacking in several key features which we are currently working on.
Bruce Nappi, who gave an inspiring talk at CNPS 2016 in Maryland, is working on getting our email chain discussions recorded and organized. We hope in early 2017 to launch this new endeavor to the membership of the CNPS. This will be very exciting.
The CNPS 2017 Conference should be announced in January. Things are looking good for Vancouver to be the site of our 2017 conference. We hope to finalize the venue in January for the announcement. We plan to bring someone this year to the conference and to have a debate of the “titans” on a hot topic and to grow once again our attendance. We are doubling our conference attendance every year since our reorganization. We look to have 40-50 people in 2017. Great plans are in the making including choosing one or two people to receive the John Chappell Lifetime Achievement Award. Ron Hatch received this in 2016.
Proceedings are already started for 2017 online with our ShareLatex system. We will have a formal announcement on this soon.
In general, the way forward in 2017 will be to create “work groups” with managers and helpers. We are in the middle of creating these work groups. If you are interested in volunteering a few hours a month to a work group, please contact me or Nick Percival at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Another area we are currently working on for 2017 is our “Featured Scientists” page. This will feature some of the CNPS most prominent scientists in articles that resemble a science magazine. New visitors to our site will have a place to quickly read modern articles about the best and brightest from our group. We are currently developing a “template” article which we will use for every scientist.
The Future is Bright!
So the future looks bright for the CNPS! And thanks to all of you who are participating. We are all connected and no one’s work means anything without others to read it, discuss it, challenge it, and make it better.
I want to thank our CNPS Directorate for it’s great support and help in making this 2016 a great year! Thanks much!
Happy Holidays to everyone!