Science Musings with the Schmooze


from the desk of Bob Siederer

Hello again Science Fans!

Much as we might not want to admit it, summer is nearing its end, although September is often the warmest month in the Bay Area.  Various departments at the local Universities are releasing their schedules for Fall term seminars which we, of course, list.  And if you, like me, sleep better when the sun comes up later, you have probably noticed that you are sleeping a bit longer in the morning now than you were a couple of weeks ago.  School is back in session for many Bay Area children, with the rest starting soon.  Want to get your kids more interested in science?  Here's a list of 20 Science websites with content that might interest them, and all are free.  They might interest you too!
  1. NASA

Any quokkas have any questions for the SciSchmooze

from the desk of Herb Masters

Greetings Science Lovers and Supporters,

Have you ever been to CuriOdyssey?  If you haven't, you should.  Like the explOratorium it is much more than a kid's museum. I'm happy to report that CuriOdyssey was just ranked one of the top 20 zoos in the country by USAToday. Zoos present an interesting conundrum.  In one sense they seem like horrible places to keep animals locked up and many zoos around the world are and even here in the past were.  Fortunately respect and concern for the animals has increased dramatically.  Now, I think, most zoos here and in many countries do a great job of caring for the animals they have.  They give us all a chance to appreciate the diversity and beauty of nature without having to burn up tons of carbon and money, to go see them in their habitat. 

Science: Real and Imagined with the SciSchmooze

from the desk of Herb Masters

Hello Science Fans,

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'm sure that you get more than you can read as well.  There is more out there that some people are trying to get us access to as well. 

SciSchmoozing Hither and Thither

from the desk of David Almandsmith

Hello science fans,
 
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,

Summer with the Schmooze

from the desk of Bob Siederer

Hello again Science fans!

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.

Our old friend Phil Plait (@BadAstronomy) just posted an item about this that includes some time-lapse photography taken by Mike Olbinski of supercells and the resulting weather they create that's worth a look.

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

50 years, then and now, with the SciSchmooze

from the desk of Herb Masters

Hello Moon Lovers and not,

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

One Small Leap for the SciSchmooze

from the desk of Herb Masters

50 Years?  Really?  

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. 

Pride and Freedom in the SciSchmooze

from the desk of Meenakshi Prabhune

Hello all,

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

Mooning and Booming with the SciSchmooze

from the desk of David Almandsmith

Hello again, science supporter,
 
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.
 
There is a science event on Tuesday that is not in the Bay Area; it is a total eclipse of the sun in South

Mooning the Schmooze

from the desk of Bob Siederer

Hello again Science fans!

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.

Here are my picks for this week:

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