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!

01 April 2015

SEMMantics: Regional Gathering in April

April 24-26, 2015
Holiday Inn Hotel and Suites
37529 Grand River Ave, Farmington Hills, MI 48335

An “RG” is a Regional Gathering, so called because even though it is hosted by a local group of Mensa, it is such a special event that members come from surrounding groups, as well. Our RG is called “SEMMantics” and is the only RG in Michigan. Next year, it will be held on a new weekend: April 24-26, 2015.

The RG runs from Friday late afternoon to Sunday afternoon. One-day registrations are available, but most people come for the weekend. The registration is a super bargain compared to most conferences, especially since it includes all meals and 24-hour hospitality. The earlier you register, the less you pay. There is a discount for current Mensa members and although members can always bring guests, you must come with a current member to register. Children 5-18 are ½ price, and kids under 5 attend for free.

The kids hang out at the kid’s room, which is away from alcohol and has it’s own schedule of amazing activities, especially on Saturday. The list of gifted children speakers and activities is probably the best of any RG in the country, thanks to Melissa Jenkins and her helpers. Watch Melissa’s column for details.

There is a lineup of fascinating speakers on a wide variety of topics. See Tiffany DeVos’s list of speakers and descriptions about their talks, and other program information, under the SEMMantics tab above. It is our goal to make it hard to choose what to do in each time slot!

Two areas are open all weekend: the hospitality room and the games room. Avid gamers spend most of the weekend in the games room; it is great to have true peers to play against. Local M Karen Smith brings an amazing assortment of games, all available in the games room.

There are many different types of tournaments throughout the weekend. In addition to “regular” games (poker, euchre, songburst, double-deck-cancellation hearts, cribbage etc.), there will be special SEMMantics only tournaments, such as MensaBowl, Carnelli, and Movie MashUp. Contact Joan Rayford if you would like to lead a new tournament or game.

Hospitality is stocked with fruit, munchies, good beer and wine, a wide assortment of sodas, water, and coffee. We always have some healthy things and something for those who cannot have sugar or gluten, as well as those sinful treats you only eat at a party—which this pretty much is, for three days. You will always find conversation in the hospitality room on an endless array of topics, and since many people at an RG are new to each other, jumping into a conversation is not only okay, but encouraged. An RG is a great place to meet new people!

Did I mention the wine tasting and Chocolate Orgy Friday night, and the beer tasting and Decadent Desserts on Saturday night? Since there is so much to do and most of us are up far later than usual, staying in the hotel is recommended.

Call 248-477-7800 for hotel reservations. Reservations may also be made online. To get the discounted $89 rate, be sure to mention Mensa or Southeast Michigan Mensa for phone registrations, or use the Group Code SEM for the online registration. If you wish to select a specific room in the hotel, please be advised that Hospitality will be located on the 3rd floor and the Games Room will be on the 4th floor.

Register to attend!

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

11 April 2015

New Service for Youth in Mensa


In an effort to help people stay abreast of the many opportunities for youth in Mensa, we have a new, free service called Remind for which people interested in what Mensa is offering for youth may sign up.

This service will enable them to receive text or email messages (their choice) that are sent from the national office with information about events, deadlines, resources and services for youth in Mensa.

Anyone may sign up, and their phone numbers will not be visible to anyone, even us.

The service does not accept replies, so privacy is guaranteed. People may unsubscribe at any time, and you may find information on signing up or unsubscribing here https://www.remind.com/join/mensaym. We have also uploaded a printable instruction sheet into the Sharehouse, tagged “Gifted Youth” and named “Youth Text Sign Up Instructions.” Feel free to share this sheet or upload it your local group website. The simple instructions are that in order to subscribe you should enter this number (682) 593-4959 with this message: @mensaym

Here are some FAQs:

What is this service?
Remind is a free, safe, easy-to-use communication tool that helps teachers connect instantly with students and parents. We have received permission to use this service for our youth program.

Why do we need this service?
We are trying to meet people’s needs to be contacted about our services in the way that works best for them. As the youth membership is so fast growing, we want to keep that membership, especially those who are new and may not be as familiar with our programs and services, informed about how to make the most of their membership. Additionally, we have a number of members who have children or grandchildren who can benefit from Mensa’s program who do not receive our email mailings with information because they go to youth under eighteen.

What about privacy?
Phone numbers are always kept private so communication is 100% safe and secure. We can easily access their stored message history for any administrative requests. We cannot see the numbers or emails of people who subscribe, but we can see names.

I don’t have access to the LocSec list, so anyone who has questions should please direct them to me privately off-list.
Lisa Van Gemert
Youth & Education Ambassador |mensafoundation.org
lisav@nullamericanmensa.org | 817.607.5578
get resources: pinterest.com/brightkids |explore: mensaforkids.org

29 March 2015

May Monthly Gathering: “The Grid” – Is It Safe?

One of the greatest threats to America is also one of the least known, namely the threat to “The Grid”.

unnamed“The Grid” is the system that delivers electricity to the entire country and parts of Canada. It consists of a complex interconnected network of power plants and transformers and more than 450,000 miles of high-voltage transmission lines. Stop and think for a moment about the devastating effect it would have on every aspect of our lives if “The Grid” were to be disabled. The Northeastern U.S. had a taste of this in the great power outage of 2003. But the possibility of losing the entire U.S. grid is all too real, and the consequences of such an event are potentially catastrophic, with electricity unavailable for up to two years and possibly millions of people dying.

So, is “The Grid” safe? According to our speaker this month, it is not!

Join us on Saturday May 16, when Dr. Dale Partin, of Macomb Community College, will discuss the current threats to the U.S. electric power grid, including the greatest, yet least considered threat: Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) from the Sun. Dr. Partin will also discuss recent “close calls’ that have already occurred and possible response scenarios.

Dr. Dale Partin has a B.S. and M.S. in physics and a Ph.D. in electrical engineering. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society and a member of Sigma Xi. He teaches astronomy at Macomb Community College, and is also the Program Chairman of the Warren Astronomical Society.

This presentation promises to be a real “eye opener” for most of us!

WHEN: Saturday, May 16, 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

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

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