I just watched Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken gain an amazing amount of kinetic energy as they rode a commercial rocket up to the ISS. Just before the 2nd stage rocket engine shut down, I noted that they were gaining a bit more than 100 km/hr every second. My slide rule says that is about a 3g acceleration; more than my electric motorcycle delivers. After rocket shutdown, they deployed their Dragon Capsule “Zero G Indicator”, looking remarkably like a shiny toy dragon. (As an airplane pilot, I just watched my pencil float about the cabin.
Hello again Science fans! We hope you are enjoying this very different Memorial Day weekend!
The changes brought to our daily lives by the coronavirus and the shelter-in-place orders give us lots of opportunities to learn new things, both about ourselves and about subjects we might not normally pay attention to. I was reminded of this earlier this week. I attended (virtually) NightSchool, a new online talk from the California Academy of Sciences that is sometimes taking the place of their weekly NightLife sessions. NightLife is aimed at the 21 and over crowd and includes four hours of music, dancing, talks, planetarium shows, and a weekly theme. It is a very popular place to see and be seen, to meet new friends, and learn things.
This NightSchool was a virtual tour of the universe. Ryan Wyatt, Senior Director of the Morrison Planetarium at the museum used a version of the software that runs the spectacular planetarium dome to "fly" around the solar system, the Milky Way, and the Universe on our home computer screens. Ryan gave a fairly basic introduction to what we were seeing. While watching and listening I was also reading the real time comments coming in and was amazed at the lack of knowledge of many of the posters. Then I came to a realization
We certainly are living in a very strange time. It's hard to separate the facts from the fiction and lies these days without discussing politics. Generally, we try to leave the politics out of the science here at the Schmooze but please forgive us when we just can't let some things go unaddressed. I have written many times about my belief that "science and art" are the best tools we have to survive in and understand the universe we share and wonder about. The denial of the science, and the evidence of the science, of probably the biggest challenge shared by all on the planet in a bit over 100 years is astonishing and frightening to me. That this denial is being prompted, spread, and even generated within, by some members of our own government is truly shocking. That so many people seem to want to deny the facts at not only their own risk but those they may love as well leaves me speechless.
When we hear claims that the effects of Covid-19 have been far less than predicted I can't help but reflect on what was going on just over 20 years ago and the accusations of what a hoax it was. Consider this…
HELLO TO MOMS WHO LOVE SCIENCE and to everyone who had a mom as well.
I hope that you have been having a unique Mother's Day. When I think back on the lessons of life on a day like this I realize that my mom didn't teach me this about towels. In two weeks that might be really relevant. Have you ever wished you could learn from the future and be able to avoid it or make the best of it?
I don't know about you but I'm kind of tired of Covid-19 all the time. I'm sure that you have seen plenty of resources and websites with info about i
I mentioned Zooniverse many moons ago and it merits a repeat recommendation. “Zooniverse gives people of all ages and backgrounds the chance to participate in real research with over 50 active online citizen science projects.” Currently I’m identifying marine invertebrates in the ocean depths off the coast of Norway - from the dining room table! Cool.
Then there’s CatchAFire where you can volunteer online to assist a non-profit. Currently they have 149 non-profits looking for help.
SciStarter has another set of science projects eager for online volunteers.
Welcome to the end of week six of the shelter-in-place order for the Bay Area. I hope you are all coping well. It feels nice to have warmer weather, even if just enjoyed from indoors!
To start, a word or three on our calendar. Once we list an event, we don't remove it for cancellations or date changes, we just update it. These are very dynamic times. While most event sponsors are updating their web pages, a few are not, and we're forced to leave a listing as is rather than speculate whether or not it is actually happening. Since the shelter in place orders only extend through May 4 (so far), some organizations have announced events after that date that are in-person events. We expect many of those will be canceled, but as of now, they are scheduled. So, before you go to something, verify that it is actually taking place.
One of our favorite events, the Lick Observatory summer series of talks, concerts, and telescope viewings has been canceled for this year. Also note that Neil Degrasse Tyson's talks in San Jose for May 11 and 12 have been rescheduled for May 24 and 25, 2021.
Many events have moved online, which is great. I watched the monthly "SETI Talks" from home this week. One
Well, it looks like we are in it for quite awhile longer. I'm not very good at history when you get to the minutia but general dates and concepts I'm pretty good at. Here are a few historical things to think about and wonder what we have learned since. How many of you remember Johnny Carson and The Great Toilet-Paper Panic of the 70s? Some of you might want to also look at Johnny and Uri. Here's a bit on Randi. Finally here's a
I sincerely hope that you all are safe and finding ways to remain sane inside the confines of your home. What a time to be alive! Most of us are not only witnessing the first pandemic of our lives, but in this digital age, we are also fortunate to witness the progress of science firsthand. Never have I ever felt so exhilarated as I feel now on reading about every new COVID-19 diagnostic test, every new therapy tested, or every new lab opening its doors to coronavirus research. And of course, the solidarity of healthcare professionals who are working day and night to save lives.
While we all need to stay informed, it is natural to feel anxious about the situation and get overwhelmed not to have anything else to talk or read about. So, in the spirit of positivity (and distraction), here’s something I liked. Check out the “Some Good News” YouTube channel by John Krasinski; it is full of positivity that we all need during these times. Want to bring in some fun in your work-from-home life? I am sure you have heard of