CNPS Strategy For 2016 And Beyond
This is MUST reading for all CNPS members.
As a high percentage of the CNPS membership were members of the NPA in the prior decade, most of you are aware that Greg Volk and David De Hilster engineered a great leap forward for the dissident “critical thinking” community in general and for the NPA in particular by lifting the NPA into the digital age. Two major advances were first the creation of an interactive web site that greatly facilitated communication between members via formal (e.g., papers) communication and informal, ad hoc communication and second, the regular Saturday morning video conferences which allowed members to present their ideas and receive feedback from fellow members. These two advances were also a catalyst for significant growth in membership.
In 2015, David De Hilster created a strategy for the next great leap forward for the new CNPS. Despite working full time and working with a small group to create the CNPS and doing all sorts of CNPS administrative work and recreating a new website for the CNPS, David laid the foundation for and, in several cases, created the whole package for a number of very significant initiatives.
At the first CNPS directors meeting, David was elected President of the CNPS (see the February 12th post entitled “Election Of CNPS Officers”) and articulated his vision and gave details on the status of several initiatives and, most important, outlined how all members could contribute to moving the CNPS forward.
The vision and strategy might be called Selling The CNPS As The Home Of Critical Thinking Using Social Media and Other New Technologies. Most of us tend to focus more or less exclusively on our own theory or physics view. However, unless we can sell the CNPS and the “critical thinking” movement, all that work will remain hidden. Hence, there is a great need to sell the CNPS to a much broader audience. To do this, the CNPS needs to be seen as a source of interesting and readily understandable information. We need to defeat the mainstream message, which is often mindlessly parroted by the media, that anyone who questions currently accepted mainstream thinking is by definition a quack if not certifiably insane. To do that David discussed a variety of initiatives that we can all help with.
Member Commitment and Participation
The key component across the board is the need for every member to make a commitment to spend some time (e.g., an hour) every week helping the CNPS grow and prosper. Some tasks are:
Facebook & Memes:
Facebook is the new meeting place for social interchange – it has pages not just for individuals, but also for organizations and even ideas. David has created a Facebook page for the CNPS (https://www.facebook.com/chappellnaturalphilosophy/)– be sure to view the page for the “John Chappell Natural Philosophy Society” and Like the page and explore it. In addition, every member should create a Facebook page to promote their physics thinking and/or the CNPS. If you have a Facebook page that you use to communicate to grandkids, etc., you can create another for your science alter ego. Social media is the new accelerating trend and it’s the way to sell the critical thinking movement to the public including other free thinkers.
Facebook is a great tool to for changing the dialog between the mainstream and us critical thinkers. In particular, memes (literally “ideas”) are a staple of Facebook communication. Some examples of memes that can and should be used by CNPS members are displayed on the CNPS web site. People who agree with a catchy meme posted on Facebook can click on it and be brought to your page.
You can right click on the memes on the CNPS site and save them to your computer and then post them to some popular Facebook pages to spread the critical thinking message and they will link back to your Facebook page which in turn can continue the message and also link to the CNPS Facebook page or web site. David is starting various campaigns such as to stop hero worship of Albert Einstein and treat him as a human – a possibly fallible human – just as Einstein himself would have recommended.
Facebook allows us to broadcast events live as they happen so one can broadcast, for example, the Keynote speech at the convention. YouTube also provides this type of capability so functional capabilities are increasing rapidly.
Write A Blog:
This effort is well underway. Ideally, the blog would discuss some science topic in a relatively short and to the point blog entry – it should be understandable and interesting to the science literate public. Blogs can be categorized, organized and be readily searchable by those who are interested in the blog topic. People will revisit the CNPS web site if we can provide new and interesting info on an ongoing basis – blogs have helped to do this.
The top blog articles get about 50 readers in the CNPS web page. In addition, David uses Mail Chimp to email blog articles to a distribution list of a bit under 1200 – typically the tracking mechanism shows that between 200 to 300 read the email – for technical reasons the mechanism tends to underreport reads. In addition, David puts them on the CNPS Facebook page and Jocelyne Lopez then posts them on her European Facebook page which is widely read. This is important because as multiple occurrences of an article appear, Google and other search engines increase the weight of that article.
This is in contrast to emails even with a huge distribution list going to many disinterested recipients as the emails tend to become hidden to all except those following the thread during the short period the thread is active. The emails are not visible to the public.
Posted blogs can be “work in progress’ ideas that solicit feedback that helps evolve a line of thinking to maturity. Even more informally, if you have an idea, you can start a blog entry, maybe just a title, and NOT post it until time has passed and your thinking on that topic has become more robust.
Similarly, statistics show that the type of blog entry described above tends to be accessed by those outside the CNPS an order of magnitude more frequently than an online paper.
Blogs are also a good vehicle for attracting new members. Someone interested in a science topic can use a search engine to find references and be directed to your blog entry and discover the CNPS.
Click here to see the current set of blog articles on our website.
Recruit A New CNPS Member:
We need to consciously pursue recruiting new members to the CNPS. The whole campaign to redefine ourselves as “critical thinkers” is aimed aid attracting the science literate public to the CNPS. In addition, whenever we find people interested in science, we need to step by step start leading them to understanding what the critical thinking movement and CNPS are all about and selling their credibility and value.
If you are a member of another science group, you can look for those who might enjoy the CNPS as well. Also, creating a Meetup group in your local area can be a very fruitful way to recruit new members.. If you like to talk science, this can be a great forum for you.
Volunteer To Help With The Conference:
Help is needed for many tasks before and at the conference. – if willing, contact David. Obviously, the success of the conference is key to the success of the CNPS. The theme for this year’s annual conference is a critique of “100 Years Of General Relativity”. In addition, of course, all science topics are eligible.
As a way to interest potential new members, faculty and students of the conference host, the University of Maryland at College Park, are invited to drop in and attend talks. In addition, there will be a Universe Hackathon where everyone will work together to solve a specific problem – this year the topic will likely be The Tides.
Outreach And Branding Committee:
This important committee will work to get CNPS content onto the Internet including, but not limited to, enhancing the CNPS Facebook page, using the CNPS twitter account effectively and providing content and exposure for the YouTube channel. Equally important, will be getting rid of derogatory statements about “dissidents” and the CNPS on Wikipedia and correcting much other misinformation on Wikipedia. Another goal is to find celebrities or well know science figures who can bring positive critical thinking messages to the media.
To make information more accessible to the public, a viewer can come to the CNPS web site and click on “Forums” and see a list of the major CNPS categories and explore the topics that interest him.
Join A CNPS Subgroup:
We have active subgroups for Gravity, Aether, Structures and Expansion Tectonics and we plan to re-establish a Relativity subgroup. If you have a strong interest in any of those topics, you should consider joining the applicable group. Also, auditing the Structures Group should be interesting and informative for most anyone.
Add To The CNPS Wiki:
Since Wikipedia not only restricts physics and cosmology entries to just the mainstream party line, but also is openly and aggressively hostile to alternatives, even to the point of re-writing history, there is a need for a Natural Philosophy Wiki with a broader scope. David has created such a Wiki facility. You can write entries that responsibly give the whole story for your specialty. This can be a revelation and an inspiration for science students instead of the uninspiring message from mainstream that physics and cosmology have been finalized via relativity, the Standard Model, etc.
To learn more about CNPS’s Natural Philosophy Wiki take a look at the first two sections of its Home Page. Also, take a look at the structure of the Wiki by viewing the menu items starting under the CNPS logo at the upper left corner of that Home Page. You can see the content that has already been setup in the Wiki. If you want to add to the Wiki, you will need an ID as allowing updating by the general public would be fatal. The Wiki is based on WordPress and as such uses the same format as for other contributions such as blogs.
Most members who have wanted to present to a Video Conference have done so once or more in the past decade. So there is not a backlog of Video Conference presentation requests. Let us know if you would like to make a presentation. The plan is to encourage Subgroups by having an interactive conference for each group regularly, for example, once every two months.
Video conference presentations are being added to the CNPS YouTube channel.
CNPS YouTube Channel:
David set up a CNPS channel on YouTube. CNPS video conference presentations are being added to the channel. To get to the CNPS YouTube channel on an ad hoc basis, you need to go to the CNPS web site and in the menu at the top of the page, put your cursor on “Our Science” and from the resulting drop down sub menu select “CNPS YouTube Channel”. You can explore the display of what’s on that channel. Members are strongly recommended to scroll down the resulting screen and select Instructional Videos. You should then see a list of 4 videos containing useful info for suing the CNPS web site, etc.
The videos are “How To Use The New CNPS Web Site”, “Welcome CNPS Bloggers”, “Submitting An Abstract To A Proceedings” and “ShareLatex Tutorial – New System For Papers, Proceedings and Books”.
SciFlix Film Festival:
David set up Science Film Festival (SciFlix) so that it’s completely automated as in all submissions are done online and are 100% digital. So for anyone wanting to help in this area it can be relatively easy. Last year, I viewed and reviewed all the documentary/film entries. The science documentaries were all very professional and interesting. There were even a few short SciFi entries from those who misunderstood “SciFlix”. You can go to SciFlix.org to get a feel for the site and click on Participate in the top menu for more info.
We need to use every medium we can and David produced the “Einstein Wrong” movie that has been viewed by many people.
For Interviewers, There’s Dissident Science Podcasts:
If you like talking science, you can become an interviewer of other critical thinking scientists. Go to DissidentScience.com to see the site and sample the podcasts, etc. I’m sure it will be updated to Critical Thinking Podcasts soon.
ShareLatex is the new standard for people wanting to publish a paper in the CNPS proceedings or in any other journal for that matter. ShareLatex can also be used if you want to write a book. An excellent standard format for a book has already been defined. For more info on ShareLatex, you can view David’s January 2nd video conference presentation, “ShareLatex Tutorial – New System for Papers, Proceedings, and Books”.
The CNPS has become a book publisher using ShareLatex. David & Bob De Hilster’s forthcoming book will be a CNPS published book.
World Science Data Base:
Many of you are familiar with the epic World Science Data Base which took an incredible amount of work to produce. It has now been moved over to the CNPS server – an incredibly difficult and time consuming task and it is now owned by the CNPS. The Data Base is interactive. It’s a most interesting portal page.
There are many famous paradoxes and unsolved problems in science. If we can post interesting solutions, we can get people interested in the CNPS.
I don’t know how David found the time to set up all the above initiatives/facilities, but clearly to make rapid progress requires that all CNPS members pitch in and help.