Maximum Containment Labs!

Maximum Containment Labs contain the most dangerous microbes…. How are they designed and tested so that we know they’re safe?

“Biological Safety Level 4” is the phrase used to describe the practices, procedures and facilities for working with the most deadly pathogens known to man.  The facilities where the laboratory work is conducted is known as a Maximum Containment Lab.  We will explore what goes into building one from the ground up.

Suzanne (Zan) Krall has been Mensa groupie for the past 19 years when she “married-in.” She was graduated by the University of Maryland in the field of Individual Studies of Occupational Safety and Health. She has worked for the Federal Government for over 30 years and is one of the few people who actually started as a GS-1.   She has toiled in the field of Occupational Safety and Health for various agencies.  She specializes in biological safety and has participated on the design, building and testing of 3 Maximum Containment Laboratories as well as other facilities. In her “copious free time”, she loves camping and playing with her many dogs.

Suzanne Krall


Revolt of the Deplorables: The Inside Story of the Greatest Political Upset in U.S. History

The 2016 presidential campaign pitted one of the best-credentialed candidates ever to seek the presidency against a shoot-from-the-lip billionaire whose followers considered themselves part of a worldwide populist movement. The outcome was the greatest upset in U.S. political history. What happened?  Based on his forthcoming book Revolt of the Deplorables, Dr. Steven J. Allen tells the inside story of a grassroots rebellion that changed the course of America and the world. Allen has been called a “digital revolutionary” (the National Journal) and “the Tea Party’s editor in chief” (The Daily Beast/Newsweek). He served as press secretary to Sen. Jeremiah Denton and senior researcher in Newt Gingrich’s presidential campaign. Currently, he is vice president and chief investigative officer of the Capital Research Center in Washington, D.C. A former Membership Officer of Metropolitan Washington Mensa, he coordinated MWM’s Politics SIG for 10 years.

Steven J. Allen grew up on a chicken farm in the Appalachian foothills and earned his MA in political science at age 19. He was a Senate press secretary; was nominated for the Alabama school board and the state Public Service Commission; held positions in the Reagan and Gingrich presidential campaigns; assisted the Clinton administration on Internet policy; and is VP of a Washington think tank.

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An Introduction to Practical Gemology

Joe will present a basic introduction to practical gemology. This will include a discussion and demonstration of the three essential instruments that are the basis of gemological testing. The instruments are: the Hand Loupe, the Dichroscope and the Chelsea Filter. These simple tools can be used to identify almost 90% of the gemstones you are most likely to find in jewelry. The audience will learn the proper usage of these basic tools. Joe will also give a brief overview of some of the more advanced tools used by gemologists. If time permits, Joe will conduct a hands-on workshop that will provide an opportunity to try using the three basic tools.

Joseph Haber is a Graduate Gemologist and a member of the Accredited Gemologists Association. Joe sells gems, jewelry and crystals from his business, “Middle Earth Treasures.” Joe has been intimately involved in the gem and jewelry industry for over forty years and has taught classes in Gem Identification.


The Case for Libertarianism

Libertarianism is the political philosophy according to which a person should be allowed to do as he (or she) pleases, as long as his actions do not harm others or put others at risk of harm without their informed consent. Unlike liberals and conservatives, whose positions on issues are the result of historical accident, the positions held by libertarians are derivable from fundamental principles, analogous to the way that Kepler’s laws, which describe how the planets revolve around the sun in elliptical orbits, can be
derived from the more fundamental Newton’s laws of motion.
In this presentation, Stanley Korn will compare the positions held by libertarians with those held by liberals and conservatives, and show how most major societal problems, including but not limited to unemployment, inflation, and the budget-busting rate at which entitlement cost are increasing, are the result of government policies and can be solved by the libertarian approach. The ideas put forth in this presentation may seem radical to some and will require the attendees to be willing and able to think outside the matrix of our cultural indoctrination in order give these ideas serious consideration.
Stanley Korn received a B.S. in physics from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and did
graduate work in physics and mathematics at the University of Maryland. He was employed by the Defense Department as a physicist, operations research analyst, and computer specialist; he has since retired.

Why Scribbling is So Hard – An Art Therapist’s Observations

Alicia Hurst obtained an M.S. in Art Therapy from Eastern Virginia Medical School. Her thesis was a very rudimentary look at how moving the body before creating art might affect the outcome.  After spending 3 years working with forensic populations for the state of California, she moved back to the east coast and have worked with all ages in an outpatient and inpatient setting.   Currently, she is an Art Therapist for the Co-Occurring Partial Hospitalization Program for Fort Belvoir.

Her journey in this field is forever evolving as she learns more about herself and the world, however her focus hasn’t wavered much.  It’s creating a safe place for people to connect with themselves and be authentic. This presentation touches upon this topic.

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Creating Universes via String Theory

How was our universe created? Where did all the matter and energy in it come from String Theory offers surprising answers, and even more surprises because of those answers. This presentation will help you understand those possible answers and some of the other fundamental questions that excite astronomers and physicists today, in words rather than math.

Howard Jeffrey Bender has had a long career both in and supporting scientific research. At Penn State University he helped study Jupiter’s Great Red Spot using radio astronomy and discovered a new variety of tin while assisting in high-pressure physics research. He did physical and chemical analyses at the U.S. Customs Laboratory in New York for three years, was a computer scientist at NASA for 13 years, and taught software engineering at the University of Maryland for 27 years. He has written a paper on his DNA/RNA sequence research and has assisted in environmental biodiversity research in Japan, France, and the Galapagos. He was recognized for his visual improvement system by a Johns Hopkins University competition for Personal Computers to Aid the Handicapped and was awarded a patent for a process computers use to understand human languages.

He’s a mediocre bridge player, a very mediocre tennis player, and an extremely mediocre banjo player, known for being able to clear a room in less than a minute. He has a B.S. in science from Penn State University, an M.S. in computer science from Polytechnic Institute of New York, and a Ph.D. in education from the University of Maryland.

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GAMES! Tournaments! GAMES!

Presenting the Pandemic RG Games Room!!!! Featuring what is really the best variety of games at any RG, any place, any time, hands down, no question, no competition, no doubt, in these categories:

  • Party Games
  • Easy Strategy Games
  • Strategy Games with more rules than many Mensans like to bother reading, but someone will know how, so hook up with them and you’ll like it
  • Word Games
  • 2-Player Games
  • Kids Games
  • Adults Games
  • Mensa-Select Winners
  • Mensa-Select Losers
  • Skill Puzzles
  • Jigsaw Puzzles




Friday night, Euchre: Get a partner and sign up right away. The Euchre tournament will last the weekend, as pairs are able to find time to meet.

Saturday: Choose two! Catan, Dominion, Ticket-to-Ride, or Splendor; sign up for any in which you would like to participate, and the top two vote-getters will be featured.

Saturday afternoon: Name That Tune! Featuring songs from particular genres and eras as subrounds, and a final round featuring songs from any genre and era.

Saturday night: expect some Cards Against Humanity and some Werewolf.

If any of you would like to host a tournament yourselves, please contact John Hornberger:

Onboarding Military Talent

There are significant challenges for employers who have a desire to hire veterans but do not understand how to attract, evaluate, onboard and retain military talent. Conversely, service members and their families face similar challenges in presenting themselves to the employer community which makes for an attractive hire. The reason is the hidden cultural divides between the military and civilian culture. David’s expertise in both worlds allows him to uncover these differences and think through strategies for both sides to make more successful matches for long-term success.

Mr. Muir is the SVP of a social enterprise project of Easter Seals Serving DC|MD|VA, the Veterans Staffing Network (VSN). The VSN is dedicated to providing top-tier military talent to employers while assisting veterans, guardsmen, reservists and military spouses secure long-term, meaningful jobs. Prior to joining Easter Seals, Mr. Muir developed a job search curriculum utilized by the Commonwealth of Virginia and was the Solution Architect and Lead Instructional Designer of the redesign of the TAP Program, delivered by the Department of Labor.

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Building Intelligence!

The physical sciences aren’t the only ones that have made gigantic leaps forward in the past several decades.  Win Wenger has assembled revolutions in neurology, behavioral sciences, brain-building, creative problem solving methods, and his own research into why the historic Socratic Method was able to advance intellectual development so profoundly. One of the most promising methods of brain-building thus far is from Win Wenger – “Pole-bridging the Brain”, which is the topic of this program.

Win Wenger, Ph.D., is a writer, researcher, educator, creativity trainer, ideasmith and consultant.  He has authored more than 60 published books and a best-seller audio course, and conducted training sessions in more than 20 countries. The set of educational methods he developed has quadrupled the intellectual development of the students in the first two schools to test his methods, and he is offering to provide for free the means to more than double the intellectual development of other schools’ bodies of students. Unlike most other methods for reforming education, this method – modern maiutic Socratic Method – is much easier to use than the methods schools and teaches are using now.

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Volunteer Sign-ups are live!

Just a reminder that an RG is an all-volunteer affair.  Volunteering assures you will meet lots of great people and experience what it’s like to be part of the team.  And it helps us put on a much better party 🙂

We are looking for people to help out with set-up, hospitality, registration, games room, speaker shepherds, and tear-down. Shifts are typically only two hours each, and time flies when you’re having fun!

We’ll be rewarding (… OK…. bribing) volunteers with a gift card raffle again this year.  To reserve a choice volunteer slot in advance, go to: