Welcome to Southeast Michigan Mensa!

Mensa is the largest of the international high-IQ societies. The purpose of our Southeast Michigan chapter is to provide opportunity for intellectual and social belonging and networking among diverse people. Bookmark this site to see SEMM’s calendar of events for members and their guests. In addition to local events and monthly meetings, SEMM hosts a Winter Bash (games party), SEMMer Bash (picnic), and a Regional Gathering held each April and known as SEMMantics. We're also on Facebook!

02 March 2015

March Monthly Gathering: SEMM Elections

Each voter is eligible to vote for Local Secretary (President), Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer.

Only members residing in the Ann Arbor Subgroup area may vote for the Ann Arbor Area Vice President. The Ann Arbor Sub-group area includes Northville, Plymouth, Canton, Belleville and South Lyon mailing addresses; most of Livingston County south of I-96, and most of Washtenaw County. It is expressed by the following ZIP codes: 48103, 48109, 48111, 48114, 48116, 48118, 48130, 48137, 48139, 48143, 48158, 48160, 48167, 48169, 48170, 48175, 48176, 48178, 48187, 48191, 48197 and 48198.

Only members residing in the Northeast Michigan Sub-group area may vote for the Northeast Michigan Vice President. The Northeast Subgroup area includes Lapeer and Sanilac counties and northern Oakland County, and extends northward to just south of Alpena. It is expressed by ZIP codes: 48400 to 48799.

Only members residing outside the two sub-group areas may vote for two General Representatives. The General Area encompasses St. Clair and Macomb counties, and most of Oakland, Wayne and Monroe counties and all members-by-choice living outside the physical SEMM boundaries. It is expressed by ZIP codes 48000-48399 except as provided above, and except for ZIP codes that are not part of the SEMM area.

How to Vote:
1. Check the latest issue of M-Pathy for the ballot and address. Mailed ballots must arrive at the voting address by March 20, 2015.
2. Come to the March monthly gathering on Saturday, March 21, 2015. Ballots must be placed in the ballot box by 8:30pm.

The list of candidates and their candidate statements are printed in the March issue of the M-Pathy newsletter.

WHEN: Saturday, March 21, 2015
6:00pm: The ExComm meeting begins. All members are welcome to attend.
7:00pm: Mingling begins.
8:00pm: Program starts.

LOCATION: Northwest Unitarian Universalist Church
23925 Northwestern Highway, Southfield, MI 48075

22 March 2015

Kids Events at the RG

· Weekend long Lego building and Life Size Minecraft Block building. This year we have added Lego Mindstorm robot building!
· Weekend long Lego Building Contest, winner awards to be presented at Sunday’s presentation of prizes.

6-7 pm – Mystery Icebreaker and Pizza
7-8:30 pm – Video Games Programming with GameStart School: http://www.gamestartschool.org/ – At GameStart School, we teach kids how to program using video games! Design, build and write code for games like Minecraft, StarCraft, Roblox and Portal in a variety of software development environments. Our 90-minute workshop will give you a chance to write Python code that directly impacts the Minecraft world around you!
8:30-9:30 pm – Kids’ Pool Party!
9:00 pm – Kids’ Attend Chocolate Orgy – We’ll have some great kid-friendly options at our chocolate orgy this year. We have a chocolate fondue fountain and sprinkles!

9-10:30 am – Kids’ Take-It-Apart Party – A number of people have volunteered to bring “old junk” in for this event. We’ll have basic electronics, computer equipment, etc., and we can always use more. Bring your old junk to find out what is inside of it! We will have our special head screwdriver set and some other tools available, but please feel free to bring your own wrenches, screwdrivers, pry tools, socket wrenches, nut drivers, adjustable wrenches, hex drivers, or pliers, if you would like. Please do not bring dangerous tools such as hatchets, hammers, razors, chisels, saws, etc. to help us insure everyone’s safety. Thank you!
10:30 am – noon – Kids’ Karaoke – Everyone loved our Kids’ Karaoke workshop last year. This year we will be having a Karaoke contest! Our Karaoke machine uses your mobile device, so download your song ahead of time, if you can and practice at home! Bring your device in for the contest. Many Karaoke songs are downloadable for free from the web. If you can’t bring a mobile device just bring the name of your favorite song and we will bring it up for you at the event!
Noon to 1 pm – Lunch
1:00 – 2:30 pm – Genes and ConSEQUENCES Lab – Have you heard of bioinformatics? This field merges molecular biology with computational techniques. Do you want to use the same tool geneticists worldwide use to analyze genetic sequences and use detective work to find out what has caused a patient’s disease? Then this is the lab for you! This is a great chance to learn about the BLAST tool: http://blast.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/Blast.cgi and the Human Genome Project, too.
3:00 – 5:00 pm – Mystery Chemical Lab – Learn first hand about the properties of chemicals and reactions in this lab. You will be given a set of mystery chemicals and reagents, and will use them to create multiple reactions. You will follow the scientific method, making careful observations like a good detective, which every scientist must be. With your careful technique, you will successfully identify these mystery compounds and learn about chemical stoichiometry in the process!
5:00 – 6:30 pm – Finger Loom with Cat Allison of Party On in Farmington Hills: http://partyon-supplies.com/ – There will be a short lecture about the history of Rainbow Loom, products, and creations. Then we will use a variety of colorful rubber bands and a small Finger Loom to create bracelets. This is a great class for beginners of any age who enjoy crafting with their hands. Adults are encouraged to join in on the fun and either assist younger students, or make their own. Not recommended for 4 years and younger.
6:30 – 7:30 pm – Dinner
7:30 – 9:30 pm – Kids’ Science Fiction / Gamer Convention – Bring your favorite Sci Fi Costume to wear to this fun event. We will have games, snacks, Sci Fi movies, etc. for your favorite young Sci Fi fan. We’ll also have a contest for best costume!

10 am – 11 am – Polyhedra Power! – Have you heard of Stella http://www.software3d.com/Stella.php? This is a funky software program which allows you to design, print and assemble your own personal polyhedron. We will be operating Great Stella and a color printer to produce polyhedra only limited by your imagination! Come join us for fun polyhedra creation!
11 am – noon – Arts & Scraps Workshop – Let’s learn to finger weave and make some great hippy headbands!
11 am – noon – Lego Project Judging – Be sure to have your child’s Lego project ready for judging in the Kids’ Room at this time!

Noon – Prizes Ceremony – Lego, Karaoke and Sci Fi Costume contest prizes/certificates to be awarded here!

02 March 2015

April Monthly Gathering: The Hoffa Hit

Nearly four decades after Jimmy Hoffa vanished from the face of the earth, his disappearance still remains one of the greatest crime mysteries of all time. At his zenith, Hoffa was reputed to be one of the most prominent and powerful figures in North America. Yet, the former Teamsters boss went missing at a West Bloomfield restaurant in 1975, and was never seen again, marking one of history’s most unforgettable and notorious cold cases.

Join us for an in-depth discussion on Hoffa’s disappearance and death. The “Why, Who and How” of this fascinating mob mystery will be divulged through unique photos and perspective that few have ever seen nor had access to. Some stories never die and as we approach the Hoffa case’s 40-year anniversary on July 30th, obviously, this is one of them.

To share his views on this epic mystery, our guest speaker will be Scott Burnstein, a leading true-crime expert, author and journalist, who has written four books on the subject. He is considered the premiere authority on Detroit’s mob activity, both past and present, and has also written about organized crime in other American locales like Chicago (Family Affair) and Philadelphia-Atlantic City (Mafia Prince). Appearing on numerous television and radio shows, including NPR’s “Fresh Air” and the History Channel’s “Gangland”, Mr. Burnstein currently works for The Oakland Press, where he writes about crime and sports. His work has appeared in the Detroit Free Press, the NY Daily Post, Chicago Magazine, Ambassador Magazine and on-line at AOL & The Huffington Post. Born and raised in Metro Detroit, Scott has an undergraduate degree from Indiana University and a law degree from John Marshall in Chicago.

WHEN: Saturday, April 18, 2015
6:00pm: The ExComm meeting begins. All members are welcome to attend.
7:00pm: Mingling begins.
8:00pm: Program starts.

ADMISSION (Exact change appreciated)
Adult members: $4, Adult guests: $5; Children 13 and under: $3
Members receive free admission in the month of their birthday

LOCATION: Northwest Unitarian Universalist Church
23925 Northwestern Highway, Southfield, MI 48075

28 February 2015

Book your RG hotel room now!

Last year, our Regional Gathering hotel was sold out the weekend of our event. There are so many things happening at the RG that most people prefer to stay at the hotel so they can party late, then go across the hall for some coffee and hospitality to get going first thing again in the morning. We also get our hotel function room prices decreased based on the number of sleeping rooms booked, so staying at the hotel is a definite win-win.

We will be at the Holiday Inn Hotel and Suites in Farmington Hills where all rooms are suites. Register by phoning 248.477.7800 or online at http://goo.gl/JDVrHw, and be sure to mention the group code SEM for the special rate of $89 plus tax.

23 February 2015

Scheduled Speakers for SEMMantics

John Blinke
Our New Solar System
Remember when there were just nine planets, plus the asteroid belt? Our idea of what the solar system is like has changed. We’ll talk about the newest view of our local solar neighborhood. John is an electrician and thermograph for Ford and hosts the Rochester Area Mensa science discussion group. John is the recipient of a Mensa Service Award and has spoken at numerous Mensa Regional and Annual Gatherings, as well as the World Gathering in Orlando. His spare time finds him enjoying model rocketry, flying a drone, and experimenting with his microscopes, telescopes, and Van Graaf generator, amongst others.
Doug Grosjean:
Since the 1970s, human-powered vehicles, or HPVs, have evolved into streamlined two- or three-wheeled recumbent bicycles, sweeping all speed and distance records in bicycling with top speeds of over 80 MPH, and racing coast to coast in five days. Join Doug Grosjean as he discusses HPVs and shares one of his own.
Doug became interested in human-powered vehicles while looking for a way to make his bicycle commute faster and easier. He has been car-free since October 2012.  Doug currently works as a specialist (mechanic) in the Historic Operating Machinery department of Greenfield Village, and as a CAD designer at a fluid dynamics consulting firm. Doug is a member of the Michigan Human-Powered Vehicle Association (MHPVA), and his current daily driver is a carbon-fiber Quest XS velomobile,made in the Netherlands..
Candy Jones-Guerin
Social Media 101—The Basics of Social Media and Marketing for Small Business Success
This presentation is a guide for small businesses or nonprofits who have been using social media marketing but need some tips to take them to an intermediate level and/or add new channels to their marketing efforts. This seminar will give you a closer look at the popular social media networks – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google+. We’ll show you the benefits of using each, how other organizations are marketing with them, and some dos and don’ts of each channel. You’ll also get tips on how to tell if your social media activity is working. Candy is the owner of WebWorld Advantage and a ConstantContact Area Lead Expert specializing in new marketing techniques. She has worked with local governments, non-profits and corporations in Japan, Germany, the Netherlands, Scandinavia, and Portugal, as well as in the United States and Canada.

Martin H. Leaf
Priming in the Media—An Emerging Danger
As the technology of manipulation increases and viewer awareness of these techniques remains low, more and more manipulation by the media takes place below the viewer’s level of awareness. This talk will touch upon the types of manipulation, priming, and some examples of promoting offensive ideologies without the viewer’s awareness. This practice is threatening to everyone. Martin H. Leaf is a graduate of the University of Michigan and the University of Detroit Law School, where he was a recipient of the AmJur Award in criminal law. Martin works as a trial attorney in Keego Harbor and as Chairman of the HP Benson Foundation, Inc. The foundation’s mission is to keep media free of unfair manipulation by the means of viewer education and lawsuits against media companies.
Bonnie Mulliner:
Herbs 101
This how-to experience will detail the uses of wild medicinal herbal infusions, such as dandelion oil and capsaicin for arthritis and lavender water for linens. Decorative uses of herbs will also be covered, as will how to recognize medicinal herbs during nature walks. The session will conclude with a tutorial on drying and preserving medicinal herbs. Bonnie Mulliner is a certified medical assistant who currently works as a triage assistant for the University of Michigan Health Services. Her interests lie in using natural remedies to avoid the side effects that accompany mass-market pharmaceuticals. She is also a Reiki master and an energy worker.
Sofia Nelson:
Michigan Prisoner Reentry
Roughly 1.8 million people in Michigan have criminal records. More than 40,000 people are incarcerated in Michigan’s prisons at any given time. Nelson will discuss the various legal and social barriers faced by people returning to their communities from prison and jail. Sofia Nelson is a graduate of Yale Law School and an attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan. 
Paul Phipps
Homebrewing: From Grain to Glass
This session will cover the basics of home brewing and how easy it is to get started in the hobby. We will discuss: 1) a step-by-step process; 2) ingredients that go into beer; and 3) the flavor contributions both techniques and ingredients make to the finished beer. Paul is a knowledgeable home brewer; in February, his brown ale was awarded first place in the home-brewing competition at Eternity Brewing Company in Genoa Township.
Harry Ringermacher
Is the Universe Ringing Like a Crystal Glass?
We know the universe has been expanding since that discovery by Edwin Hubble in 1929.  In 1998 it was discovered that its expansion has been accelerating for the last 6 billion years toward “the big rip”. In 2014 I have found that the universe is not only accelerating its expansion but also is ringing while expanding—in a sense, it is “breathing.” I’ll talk about my latest research on the expanding, accelerating, ringinguniverse. Dr. Ringermacher is a retired Senior Research Physicist from the General Electric Global Research Center. He is the chairmain of the American Mensa Copper Black Creativity Award Committee and is the only Mensan to win the award twice.
John D. Speth:
Neanderthals: Could They Walk and Chew Gum at the Same Time?
Ever since their first discovery, Neanderthals have gotten a bad rap. But were they really dimwits or humans with mental capacities much like ours? Are they ancestors or failed experiments in human evolution? Our views are changing rapidly, with new insights from archaeology, biochemistry, and genetics. Though we remain far from consensus, the plot has thickened…John D. Speth holds an Arthur F. Thurnau Professorship (Emeritus) for Outstanding Contributions to Undergraduate Education; he is also Professor (Emeritus) of Anthropology in the Department of Anthropology and Curator (Emeritus) of North American Archaeology in the Museum of Anthropology at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor). Dr. Speth studies hunter-gatherers, past and present, New World and Old World. He is interested in the evolution of forager diet, subsistence strategies, and food processing technologies and, more specifically, in the ways that hunter-gatherers (and small-scale farmers) cope with seasonal and inter-annual unpredictability in their resources.
Steven C. Stanford:
Henry Ford: The Way He Worked Us
What would it have been like to work for Henry Ford? This talk explores the impact of the moving assembly line on working at the Highland Park Plant and how the Five Dollar Day and the Sociological Department revolutionized factory work. We then go on to talk about the impact of unionization on the Ford empire and finally come to see how Henry Ford transformed work for all of us today.
Steve is an author and lecturer specializing in subjects involving the early auto industry. Steve serves on the board of directors for the Henry Ford Heritage Association, a group that promotes an accurate and balanced history about Henry Ford and his accomplishments. In addition, Steve is a member of The Society of Automotive Historians, The Early Ford V8 Foundation, The Michigan Historical Society, and the Michigan Society of Oral Historians. Steve operates H is for Henry Publications in Howell, Michigan.
James E. Trosko: 
The Imperative of Scientific Concepts of Human Nature To Solve Global Bioethical Crises
Human beings are moral animals. However, today we have life- threatening global ecological, health, and psychological/social crises, due to the misuse of knowledge and technologies, caused by bankrupt philosophical and religious views of human nature that give rise to conflicting ethical values. New scientific views of human nature are required for universal use of knowledge and technologies. James E. Trosko, Ph.D. is a Professor-Emeritus in the Department of Pediatrics/Human Development, College of Human Medicine, Michigan State University. His current research interest is in how radiation and epigenetic chemicals can alter human adult stem cell numbers during development that might lead to chronic diseases later in life (Barker Hypothesis), and the use of adult stem cells, grown in three dimensions, for both drug discovery and toxicity safety assessment.