We have a lot to cover today, beginning with the California wildfires. The Camp fire has been responsible for our unhealthy air quality these past days. Just how bad it is where you are depends on the wind direction and strength, as well as proximity to the fire. Many events around the area have been postponed or canceled, including some on our calendar. This serves to remind you that you should always click through from our calendar to the website of the sponsoring organization for last minute updates before you take off to attend an event. We often don't receive notification of changes, so always check with the organizers.
Hope you all are safe from the raging Camp Fire, one of the most devastating wildfires that California has ever seen. It is sad to watch the trail of destruction helplessly on news; one can only hope that we will get through this tragedy soon and try to help those affected in whatever way we can. Also, while wildfires are not necessarily caused by climate change, their severity is certainly linked to it. If you are looking for more information around this association, here’s a good article.
Speaking of wildfires, you must have noticed the terrible
¿Did we mention voting? If you have a vote-by-mail ballot, be certain to mail it early enough to have a postmark on or before Tuesday or take it to any polling station in your county on election day. Heck, someone else can take it there for you; just write their name on the envelope where there is a space for that.
Speaking of space (huh?), the planet-finding Kepler spacecraft is finally beyond resuscitation. Kepler was designed to last 3.5 years but clever work-arounds for failing components kept it working for 9 years. It detected 2,800 planets and another 2,600 ‘possible planet’ candidates.
Eleven years ago, the Dawn spacecraft left Earth for the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Four years later it arrived at its primary destination, Vesta, an asteroid over 500 kilometers in diameter. It remained orbiting and studying Vesta 14 months before rocketing off to Ceres, the largest of the asteroids at over 900 km diameter. It reached Ceres in 2015 and has been sending back data ever since – that is until last Thursday when
Have you voted yet? If you read the SciSchmooze, I like to think you are an informed and thoughtful voter. Granted for many of us it won’t take a lot of thought to decide on some issues but there are some that really do need some careful analysis, especially if you are trying to make a decision based on what’s best for all rather than just for you and me. (Thanks if you were really thinking about me!)
This has been a rough week for the country. I’m not even going to comment on the hate that some folks have for others. I will only say that those that think their rights supersede those of others, really missed something in school and growing up. As Jim Jeffries closes every show with “I think we can all do better”, I just wish we could all be better sooner.
What an incredibly busy two weeks we have coming up. There are over 180 events listed on our calendar right now, with more sure to be added as the week goes by.
For starters, the Bay Area Science Festival kicks off Friday, October 26 and runs through November 3. Many of the tours and events require advance registration, which began on the 19th. Many are sold out or taking wait list reservations already. You can look at the festival calendar directly here. The three Discovery Days events do not require registration, so just show up for those.
UC San Francisco Medical School will be holding a Mini-Med School starting this week. There are two lectures each week, one each on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, through December 6. Check out the topics on our calendar.
The first Digital Heritage conference to be held in the US begins Friday, 10/26 in San Francisco. It runs through Monday and, while pricey, has a rich event list for attendees, should your interests run in this area.
My top three non-festival events are:
Greetings Voters for Science (and Future Voters too!)
What can every adult in the country do to promote and protect science? VOTE!!!VOTE FOR SCIENCE!!! What can every kid do to help? Tell everyone you know that is old enough to vote that they need to make sure their voter registration is up to date, and they need to vote for science, reason, and critical thinking. Why is this so important? I'm only going to address one subject for this need now. I think there is a good case to be made that we need to get rid of people in places of power or leadership that say things like this or this. By voting we can help make it a better world for all of us.
Do you take "dietary supplements"? Do you think they are a waste of money? Have you ever considered that most of them have some sort of disclaimer saying they haven't been tested for efficacy or safety? Here's an article that might make
I have been thinking of the ideas I mean to cover in the Schmooze this week and the Synbiobeta meeting, held from 1 Oct to 3 Oct in SF, tops my list. I hope some of you had the chance to participate in the associated synthetic biology week that took place from Sept 30 to Oct 6. There were different synthetic biology related talks and activities for kids and adults during the week. Here's my favorite pic from the "Be a Scientist and Explore DNA" day at Innovative Institute of Genomics: https://twitter.com/igisci?lang=en
Anyway, circling back to Synbiobeta meeting: it is a congregation of synthetic biology experts from academia and industry. For many people outside t
The season for colds is upon us. [Hack, hack, a-CHOO] On average, adults average 2 to 4 colds a year and kids 6 to 10. Billions of dollars of lost productivity every year can be attributed to the common cold. So why isn’t there a cold vaccine? Because there are at least 160 varieties of rhinovirus, the ‘bug’ that causes colds. We can always hope for some future medical breakthrough. For those of us over 60, we get fewer colds since our immune systems have learned to deal with most of the rhinovirus varieties. In the meantime i follow time-trusted advice: if you do the right things to get rid of a cold, you’ll be over it in a week; otherwise it’s bound to last 7 days.
Fortunately, i’ve avoided the flu ‘bug’ for a couple of decades. Good thing. The last bout made me so miserable that i wondered whether survival was even possible. I got my annual flu shot a few days ago. Last flu season in the U.S., there were 180 children who did not survive the flu. You can do something about this: If you know someone with young children, perhaps you could encourage them to vaccinate against the f
It is now officially Fall, although around here you would be hard pressed to prove it. While I realize some people miss having four seasons, I'm not one of them. Having grown up in the northeast, I'm glad to not have winter's snows to deal with here. Still, the signs of change are there, just more subtle. One of those signs is the quantity of events on the calendar! This edition of the Schmooze lists 145 events over the next two weeks. That's the most I've seen of the newsletters I've edited. Having this many events to pick from makes selecting just three to highlight impossible. I'd highlight three on Monday alone! So here are a few that seem unusually interesting to me:
I'm always amazed by what comes across my monitor, radio, or ears on the street. Seemingly crazy or unfounded challenges to science just don't seem to go away, both internationally and nationally, conspiracies that just don't make sense, and why some people just won't pay attention to the smoke, the clouds, or the professionals trying to protect them. Here's a different take on that. We certainly are fascinating animals!
There also many things that should be celebrated. Consider th