December, 1999

Y2K Finally Arrives
Marvin V. Zelkowitz
Professor of Computer Science, University of Maryland and NCAS Board member

Will January 1, 2000 be the end of the world, as we know it? After several years of warnings, fear, planning, ignorance, hype, and anticipation, the calendar is rapidly moving toward the end of the millennium* on December 31, 1999. When we wake up on oh-one-oh-one-uh-oh (01/01/00), what kind of world will we find? This talk will discuss the Y2K computer bug, what government and industry have done about it, and look at how other aspects of our society (e.g., cults, religions, media) are preparing for the next century.

Marvin Zelkowitz is a professor at College Park with research interests in the development of large-scale computer systems.

* - Those purists who insist that the millennium ends December 31, 2000 can stay home this New Year's Eve and miss all the fun.

Saturday, December 11, 2:00 p.m. 3:30 p.m.

Bethesda Library

7400 Arlington Road

Bethesda, Maryland

Free Admission

All Welcome Members and Nonmembers



NCAS is looking for someone with marketing experience to help with publicity and other NCAS projects. If you feel you can help in any capacity, please contact Paul Jaffe at 703-329-0270 or


The Smithsonian is planning a weekly lecture series from late January through late February with topics of interest to NCAS members. Registration information can be found at:

January 20, 2000 - "Think Like a Scientist": Chip Denman, Statistics Laboratory, University of Maryland

Jan 27, 2000 - "Alien Life": Michael Meyer, PhD, Astrobiology Discipline Scientist, NASA

Feb 3, 2000 - "A Reality Check on Cryptic Animals" George Zug, PhD, Curator, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Smithsonian Institution.

Feb 10, 2000 - "Communicating with the Afterlife" Michael Epstein, Mount Saint Mary's College

Feb 17, 2000 - "Science vs. Pseudoscience: The Scorecard" Robert Parks, American Physical Society

Feb 24, 2000 - "Magic and Fooling the Senses" Jamy Ian Swiss, Magician


The January 8, 2000 meeting of NCAS will feature Bill McDonald who will discuss the State of Maryland K-12 science standards and how they are being implemented in Montgomery County.


Tuesday, November 16 was the final episode of the first series of Exploring the Unknown, the skeptics' perspective on the paranormal and other mysteries. Michael Shermer is eagerly awaiting a

reorder of another series of episodes (Fox Family ordered a pilot and six one-hour episodes to start) and your letters can make a difference. Mail to:


The November 2 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association includes a very favorable review of the Scientific Review of Alternative Medicine (SRAM). To read the review, go to


Check your mailing label. If the renewal date has passed, please send $20 (for 1 person) or $30 (for 2-member households) for a one-year renewal to the NCAS address at the top of this page or you will be dropped as a member.