I have to say that these truly are amazing times. The denial of science and reason is truly astounding. We have made so many amazing discoveries and transformed them in to amazing technologies and raw understanding of what is reasonably possible I am awed every time I open a new email from one of the many email lists and blogs that I get. Sometimes I wonder if there are limits! I can't really go through all of them. I
I realize the current situation is unsettling so let me recommend Steven Pinker’s Enlightenment Now to put things in an historic and less grim perspective. Please continue supporting science and extending your circle of compassion.
On Saturday July 27th, 27 wonderful volunteers presented an all-day science event, the Billion Year Walk around Oakland’s Lake Merritt. With enough support, it will become an annual event. Check out some of the photos.
There was a live demonstration of photosynthesis at the Billion Year Walk and coincidentally, photosynthesis is in the news: cyanobacteria may have achieved oxygen-generating photosynthesis earlier than thought,
Weather is something we all like to talk about. Be it nice or bad outside, it always generates comments. We're lucky here in the Bay Area in that we don't have extremes like much of the rest of the country. Our summers are primarily dry and sunny, our winters mild. A recent visit to the midwest reminded me, once again, of the heat and humidity that is there for much of the summer, along with severe storms.
There are several things of note in Astronomy this week. The Perseid Meteor shower is usually the most reliable show of the summer, but this year it will coincide with a full moon, making it far more difficult to see. Instead, look for the
I hope that the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 landing triggered some thoughts and reflection for you. It certainly did for me. I have had a lot of conversations about it and watched many programs on the history and technology of how and why "we" did it. In no particular order… It was one of those events that almost everyone who was around remembers where they were when it happened. Most events in history that people remember where they were generally were horrible things. I don't need to list them here. But if you remember where you were and what you were doing, ask yourself a question. What time of day was it where you were when it happened? Now see if you remember the time correctly! (You may not. But that's how human memory works sometimes!)
July 20th was the anniversary of the landing. The adventure continued for several more days. You can drop in and listen to what was going on
Looking up at the sky has been something that I think everyone does many times in their lives, probably several times a week at a minimum. 50 years ago people were doing it a lot more than today. Of course there was a bit of extra interest then. In case you haven't heard, this coming Saturday, July 20 is the 50th anniversary of humans landing on the moon. I have been a fan of space exploration since I started growing up in the 50's. There is so much going on for this celebration I can't begin to tell you about all of it. Fortunately Bob has loaded the calendar with everything space we could find in the extended SF Bay Area. In fact there are only 3 days in the next two weeks that don't have a program linked to space and its' exploration.
Aside from the normal 3 to see that we list each week I really want to highlight three more. The USS Hornet now in Alameda was the aircraft carrier that plucked the Apollo 11 crew from the ocean when they returned.
Hope you had (and still having) a great 4th of July weekend. Summer is always a great time in any place, where people are full of energy and ready to participate in numerous activities. June was especially fun with all the pride celebrations to support the LGBTQ community. We also had a small gathering at my workplace with great food, colorful drinks, and custom Pride-Tshirts. A few people spoke about the history of Stonewall riots and the long way we have come since then as a society. It was very emotional and at the same time a great feeling, considering the progress we have made (especially being in California, we may take these things for granted).
Why bring this up in a science newsletter? Because these social issues are not separate from our professional life. STEM labs and workplaces also have to actively trying
The SciSchmooze sorta kinda avoids politics, but it is hard to ignore what’s going on in this country and what it means for our future and our descendants’ future. Don’t allow yourself to become numb; supporting science must be more than occasionally visiting one of our numerous and wonderful Bay Area science venues. ‘Nuff said.
A temporary science venue is scheduled for Saturday, July 27. It’s the Billion Year Walk around Oakland’s Lake Merritt. For the first time it will be integrated with the cellphone app, Geology Park, from the National Center for Science Education. Also, for the first time, there will be dinosaur fossils. A great event for all ages.
With the 50th anniversary of the first walk on the Moon coming up July 20th, museums around the Bay are going all out to celebrate this monumental achievement. When President Kennedy said we would put a man on the moon by the end of the decade, most of the technology to accomplish that feat had not yet been invented. Yet on that July night, Neal Armstrong set foot on the moon.
This was one of those events where everyone who witnessed it can tell you where they were at the time. I was home from college for the summer. My parents woke me up to watch the event on TV, but I dozed off for the actual first step. Of course, I got to watch the replay, but it wasn't the same thrill as it would have been to see it in real time.
The moon will cause a total solar eclipse on July 2...but it will be visible in South America. No need to travel all the way to Chile, however, as the ExplOratorium will be live streaming the event from the Cerro Tololo Observatory.
One can't ignore that we all think we try to make our decisions based on knowledge. Often though, we make them on a hunch, or a hope. Often we are at a loss for enough or accurate information to even know who or what to believe. The more you dive in to the philosophy of knowledge, the more you realize that it's more complicated than you hoped! It's a bit of a long read but I think Knowledge is crude is really worth a read. When you start learning about something new to you, I hope you will consider the source. It might be a very reliable source with a great reputation but they all make mistakes! Science Schmooze included!
If you read my missives very often you will undoubtedly know that I am a proponent of
Hello again Science fans, and welcome to another edition of the SciSchmooze.
Cleveland, Ohio. What sort of image does that conjure in your mind? A sports haven? Rock and roll? Birthplace of Bob Hope? How about an incredibly polluted body of water? The Cuyahoga River begins its journey some miles east of Cleveland, near Lake Erie. It doesn't flow directly to the lake there, rather flowing south, then west through Akron, then north through a National Park that bears its name until finally emptying into Lake Erie near downtown Cleveland. It was there in 1969, that the river famously caught fire. Randy Newman wrote a song about it.
How can a river burn? Dump enough pollutants into a river and you will find out. The Cuyahoga had quite a polluted history. It had burned before, but 1969 was to be the last time. That incident led to the Clean Water Act and the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency.
Fifty years later, the Cuyahoga is thriving. It has been cleaned up and is a centerpiece of downtown C