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Saying goodby to Spitzer with the SciSchmooze


from the desk of Bob Siederer

Hello again fans of Science!

This Friday, NASA will turn off the Spitzer Space Telescope, ending a 16 year mission that produced significant contributions to our understand of the cosmos.  Discoveries include the study of hot Jupiters and the red dwarf Trappist-1's seven tightly packed planets.  Spitzer will be replaced by the James Webb Space Telescope, but not until 2021, at least.  Here's more on Spitzer's mission and legacy.  It has been a wonderful ride.

The birth of stars and planets is a sub-field of astrophysics where great discoveries have been made in the past few years. 

Stories are important with the SciSchmooze

from the desk of Herb Masters

Greetings Science Fans,

Are you ready for the next New Year celebration?  How about Saturday January 25th?  It's time for the Lunar New Year.  Known by many names it is also the Year of the Rat.  Don't get me wrong on this, I don't for a minute believe in astrology, but I am reminded of the Pizza Rat!  It seems that we are by our very nature prone to

A new decade with the SciSchmooze

from the desk of Herb Masters

Happy New Decade Science Fans,

I hope that whatever you celebrated over the last few weeks was great.  I was amazed at how busy things were in the science museums.  It was great to see families learning together and enjoying it.  There are a lot of great opportunities for families to go out and explore together both indoors and outdoors.  We love to have family friendly listings in the SciSchmooze.  If you know of some that we don't list, please have the folks putting the activity on submit it to us and we'll get it posted. 

I'm always amazed at how many retrospective emails I get at the end of the year, decade, or even the millennium!  I suspect that most of you reading this are old enough to remember the last millennium!  I hope we can agree and appreciate what the folks in the world of science accomplish.  I'm not going to create another list of the

Ringing in the SciSchmooze

from the desk of David Almandsmith

Greetings friends of science,
 
A little bit of rain and what have we got: Mushrooms! The fascinating flurry of fungi can best be enjoyed at fun fungus events: ¿Are there fungi on Mars? The Mars 2020 Mission might be able to determine whether life exists or once existed on Mars and you can watch th

The Past and Future SciSchmooze

from the desk of David Almandsmith

New Year’s Day is Wednesday! ¿But why is it not on a scientifically logical date? Ancient Greece, for example, celebrated the New Year on the winter solstice. Blame it on the Romans. Starting in 153 BCE, the Roman calendar designated January 1st as the beginning of the new year but there was no protocol to keep it aligned with the stars. The Julian and Gregorian calendars also kept it as January 1st. In some places, the New Year is still related to astronomical events: (A) the Chinese New Year begins on the new moon between 21 January and 20 February; (B) the Persian New Year is celebrated at the spring equinox.
 
In the United States, you are likely to hear the song Auld Lang Syne at the New Year. If you are in Japan, you are likely to hear Nanakusa Nazuna (Seven Herbs, Shepherd's Purse) and

Getting in the Holiday Spirit with the SciSchmooze

from the desk of Bob Siederer

Hello again Science Fans!

It is time for the Winter Solstice.  Next Saturday will mark the most southern point in the sun's apparent position in our northern sky, and the day with the least amount of daylight in the northern hemisphere.  Got kids asking why?  This article contains a neat graphic visualizing the difference in daylight across the planet at both the Winter and Summer solstices.

The end of the year is fast approaching and you know what that means...Top 10 (or 20) lists!  It is also the end of the decade, so there are some Top lists of the Decade too.  National Geographic published just such a list of science discoveries and, in reviewing it, I was pleased to see that most of the things mentioned were a

Time to Schmooze 12.9.19

from the desk of Herb Masters

Hello Friends of Science and Reason,

Well here we are on the verge of our shortest day of the year.  Of course the day remains essentially the same but the period of daylight is what is really getting to the minimum!  I think we all think about time, one way or another.  It's sort of like money, there's never enough!  Set aside some time for this one I think it is fascinating and makes me think a lot…

We CAN Get There with the SciSchmooze

from the decrepit cerebrum of David Almandsmith

My dad remembered when folk in his town got around on horse-drawn wagons and young men would gather for ‘drag races’ - astride their favorite horses. A couple of richer folk bought unreliable automobiles that reliably got stuck in the mud on the unpaved roads. “Get a horse!” was the taunt of everybody else. The last 110 years has brought nearly incomprehensible changes - at least to first-world countries.

¿What will the next 110 years bring?

On the plus side, there will be fewer and smaller pockets of undereducated folk and

Happy Thanksgiving from the SciSchmooze

from the desk of Bob Siederer

Hello again Science Fans!

Did you know that today is the anniversary of the first publication of "On The Origin of Species" by Charles Darwin?  It was published in 1859.  Still controversial in some circles today, it presented the theory of evolution.  Today it is often misused by those who don't understand how the word theory applies to scientific research.

I have a lot of articles to point you towards, but first let's look at my picks for this week:
  1. Nerd Nite East Bay - 11/25/2019 07:00 PM in Oakland
  2. Science Saturday: Magnificent Monarchs - 11/30/2019 at 10:00 AM at the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History
Yes, it is a light week due to the Tha

To Arrokoth! with the SciSchmooze

from the desk of Herb Masters

Hello Science Fans,

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the need for museums (I would include schools in this as well) to stand up to bad, fake, false, or pseudo-science as well as support, promote, and teach real science.  I did get some responses to what I mentioned.  I received one in particular that really hit home.  It was from the son of Tom and Marlene Dickerman, both docents at the California Academy of Sciences that I was privileged to work with.  I think it is a better statement than any I have made.  So here it is…

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I had discussed with both my parents, for quite some time, how the CAS (California Academy of Sciences) needs a permanent exhibit explaining how discern provable fact from conjecture, fable, and (for fans of the musical The Book of Mormon) metaphor. With mom on the evolution cart, and dad discussing climate change, each saw their share of debate on topics which are widely considered indisputable.  

There is a resistance to scientific acceptance which is worryingly strong in the US compared to other parts of the world, but is hardly new. Great researchers have been jailed, tortured, and killed over concepts we accept as obvious today. Worse, many today begin biased against science, viewing it as the anti

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