Saturday Evening Nirmukta Hangout Sessions (SENHS)
After a couple of earlier attempts to hold online discussions on Google+, last week a small group of Nirmukta members came together and "hung out" in cyberspace.

Our topic- 'A Freethinker's view on the Science and Ethics of the Environmentalism Movement'. The idea was to keep the conversation light and accessible to all, and still cover ground in the relevant area. We were able to have a fun discussion, and also record it properly. Having finally sorted out the technical issues involved, I'm glad to announce that this will now be a weekly feature.

Every Saturday at a predetermined time the SENHS group will meet to discuss a predetermined topic. The meet will be structured loosely, with the objective to have a thoroughly informative and engaging discussion on a topic related to science and freethought. Each SENHS meet will be recorded and an edited version will appear in the Nirmukta podcast.

Suggestions are welcome for topics that we can discuss. If you have an interesting idea, please do contact us. Also, we are looking for experts and people with experience/know-how in various fields. Please send me an email: ajita (at)

The recording of last week's meet should be ready by the coming Saturday, when we will be holding the second meet.
"Fossil rabbits in the Precambrian"
~ J.B.S.Haldane, on being asked to falsify evolution.
Here are some requirements that are unfortunately necessary to prevent technical problems.

1. Internet connection. We cannot afford to have even one person with a slow connection, because it can ruin things for the others. I realize this is a critical issue for some of us, but there is no way around this. Hopefully in a few years every part of India will have a fast connection.

2. A good microphone. This is an absolute requirement. Poor quality microphones can ruin the recording, and the discussion in general. Inbuilt laptop/monitor microphones are usually no good. Ideally we’d all have decent quality recording microphones (there are some semi-professional ones that work with a usb connection), but a cheaper solution is a good usb microphone headset, of the type used in call centers.

3. Headphones. This is also absolutely necessary. When 9 or 10 people are present and talking to each other, external speaker noise can completely ruin the experience as well as the recording. This problem is fixed easily, since we should all be able to get hold of a pair of headphones without any problem. If you can get a microphone headset as proposed in the previous point, you’d kill two birds with one guided missile.

4. Ambient noise. Please make sure you are in a secure environment where there is as little ambient noise as possible. I understand that some of it is unavoidable, and some special cases complicate things, but let us try to make the meet go as smoothly as possible with less distractions and interruptions.

5. The SENHS meet is audio only. If you don't have a web camera, don't worry! If you do have one, please remember to "mute" it when the Google Hangout plugin loads.

Unless otherwise stated, the SENHS meets will start exactly at 8 pm IST every Saturday.
"Fossil rabbits in the Precambrian"
~ J.B.S.Haldane, on being asked to falsify evolution.
New to hangouts? follow these steps.
source :

1 Go to the home screen of Google+, where you should see your stream of friends' activity. In the right sidebar, you should see the Hangouts section. Click on the green "Start a hangout" button.
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2 A window will pop up, asking you to check your video camera and microphone. Click "Add more people" to select specific circles to hang out with.
Google+ automatically inserts everyone you have placed into a circle in the field, but you can click on the "x" next to "Your circles" to avoid inviting everyone to hang out.
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3 Once you have clicked "Add more people," a drop-down menu will pop up to help you select from your circles to add.

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4 Click the green "Hang out" button to confirm your invitations. A window will pop up with everyone else in the room, and you all can begin to use the available features in the bottom toolbar.

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The topic for the coming Saturday's SENHS meet is 'Secular Festivals'.
The SENHS will start exactly at 8 pm IST.

During this Diwali/Deepavali season many of us are reminded of the influence of religion when it comes to culture at large. Most of us have had many debates on the subject of Secular Festivals- creating new ones, reclaiming old ones, naturalizing (de-mystifying) religious festivals many of which were appropriated from older festivals, etc. At this week's SENHS we will argue for and against some of these different ideas.

If you are or know someone who is knowledgeable about the history of religious festivals, and about secular festivals around the world, get in touch. If you have some great ideas for secular festivals/events, perhaps we can discuss them.
"Fossil rabbits in the Precambrian"
~ J.B.S.Haldane, on being asked to falsify evolution.
or alternatively , you can join a hangout you have been invited to.This can appear in your notifications or friend's activity (you should see your stream of friends' activity on the home screen of Google+)
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5 To invite more people into the hangout, press the "Invite" button. It's the leftmost button in the toolbar. Press the "add" link to select specific people or circles to add to the room.

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6 To instant message everyone in the hang out, press the "Chat" button. It's the button that's second from the left in the toolbar.
Type your message in the box and press the enter key on your keyboard to send. Your message will be available to everyone, and it will be formatted like a conversation on Google Chat and Google Talk.
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7 To watch a YouTube video with everyone in the room, press the "YouTube" button. It's the third from the left in the toolbar. YouTube will popup in the main window for everyone, and then you can begin picking videos to watch.

8 To mute your video, press on the icon that's fourth from the right. This will make it so that your camera blacks out and no one in the room can see you.
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To mute your video, press on the icon that's fourth from the right.

9 To mute your microphone, press the icon that's third from the right. This will make it so that when you speak, no one in the room can hear you.

10 To change your camera, microphone or sound settings, choose the icon that's second from the right. A popup window will appear over the other things in the room and you can adjust your options as necessary.
[Image: 2vwwlz8.png]

11 When you are finished with the hangout, say goodbye to everyone and press "Exit." It's the rightmost icon in the toolbar.

Hangouts with Extras
If you want to try out some new features, click "Try hangouts with Extras." This feature is available for a limited time and will allow you explore new features of Google+ before they're technically live on the site.
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Hangout-Extra features include

Choose a hangout name.

Collaborate on documents. Hangouts with extras allows you and your friends to video chat while you work on a googledoc. To add a document to the hangout, click the plus sign at the top of the sidebar. If you do not see a sidebar, open it by clicking the arrows on the left hand side of your screen.
Choose the documents you'd like to share and click "Select." The document will show up in the left portion of the video screen.

Use the Sketchpad. To do so, click "Sketchpad" in the video sidebar.
Agree to showing your email address. To open a shared document, you must agree to let others viewing the document see your email address.
Click "Insert" to begin drawing. Choose the feature you'd like to use.
Begin drawing!

Share your screen Click the "Share Screen" button at the top to share your screen with others.
To stop sharing, click the "Stop Sharing" button at the top of the page.

[+] 4 users Like LMC's post
Hey i have two suggestions for topics for future hangouts
1)Vaccination(and/or GM foods) and 2)Zeitgist (I know they have been discussed before but still Cowboy )
After the unfortunate death of ajita kamal,the SENHS were stalled for some time.
This sunday on the occassion of Darwin Day, we hosted an open-for all hangout.
Starting this coming saturday,
We would be hosting closed hangouts every odd saturday and
open hangouts every even saturday here.
The time would be around 9-11 pm IST
The open hangouts would be live-streamed at the facebook pages(1,2) , the blog and the channel .
And closed hangouts would recorded,edited and composed to a podcast.
To be a part of the closed hangouts reply in this thread or send an email to you prefer, your details will be maintained confidential)

With the body of the message containing Brief introduction,Key area of expertise,Other areas/related fields of interest and Time-zone(in case not IST)

Your suggestions for topics of discussions are most invited.
Topic for the meet on 18th is how religion infects our lives and culture
Guest is Darrel Ray

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