Interesting Times with the SciSchmooze

from the desk of David Almandsmith

Hello science fans,
We live in interesting times. Actually, that could be said at any time in history.
The BIG topic this week is COVID-19, a.k.a. Coronavirus. I chatted with the head of communications at Zuckerberg General Hospital, and was surprised to learn there is a rampant rumor that chinese food carries the disease. Ouch! The most wide-spread absurd rumor is that COVID-19 is a virus engineered by Chinese scientists as a bioweapon but it accidentally escaped. Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) suggested that conspiracy theory two weeks ago. How about the theory that the epidemic is actually caused by the roll-out of 5G networks rather than by a virus. Cures? Ah, quackery abounds. Try ingesting

Leaping with the SciSchmooze

from the desk of Bob Siederer

Hello again Science Fans!

This week we celebrate leap day, the one time every fourth year that we add a day to the calendar to resynch it with Earth's orbit around the sun, which takes about 365 1/4 days.  Think of it as a bonus!

It is shaping up to be a warm week, with temperatures in the 70s by week's end.  While that's nice, we're very short on rain this winter.  Snow pack in the Sierra Mountains is almost non-existent.  All that snow that's missing is important to California's agriculture, but it is also important to the population of several other states and portions of Mexico.  The Colorado River provides water to a large portion of the west, and by the mid-2000s it is predicted to lose as much as 31% of the current water flow.

I read another story about climate change on Facebook this week, and a comment from someone I knew in high school who posted something to the effect that climate has been changing throughout time.  Nothing to see here, move along.  He completely discounts nat

Weathering It with the SciSchmooze

from the desk of Herb Masters

Greetings Science Fans,

I hope this finds you comfortable.  Unfortunately, that might not be best for all of us!  Some items to ruminate on…  The weather is looking awfully dry and there doesn't seem to be a lot of optimism about some rain in the near future.  You may remember that Antarctica set a record for temperature last week.  Well… That record isn't the record anymore!  CO2 is certainly getting a lot of attention lately.  The amount of global climate change attributable to it only makes the data look bleaker.  Have you noticed the trees and flowers seem to be acting like its spring already? 

As the world turns with the SciSchmooze

from the desk of Herb Masters

Hello Science Geeks and Non-Geeks alike,
If you are a science geek I hope you are proud of it.  If you aren't but still think science is one of the best ways to figure out how and what makes things the way they are that is equally cool, and you should also be proud!

I was reminded last week that the world is a dynamic place and subject to change.  Some of it we have no control over.  Natural disasters can be unavoidable like earthquakes or though they have occurred naturally for centuries and longer, we seem to be making them worse.  Some is because we as humans can't get along as well as many of us think we should.  So

Coronavirus 101 with the SciSchmooze

from the desk of Meenakshi Prabhune

Hello Sci Schmoozers
Happy Palindrome 02022020! As we head into February, I have seen memes on social media about how long January 2020 felt, and although I didn't realize it at first myself, it did ring true on afterthought. Perhaps it felt long because of all the things happening around us—in particular, the coronavirus scare.
You might have seen a lot of articles circulating around the coronavirus cases; some are useful, some not. So I thought it might be good to include some information around the same in today’s Schmooze because it is an important health concern after all! 
What is coronavirus
This is a family of viruses-few of the ones from this family that you may know of are MERS and SARS. Belonging to the same family means that these viruses are similar but not exactly the same, which makes it difficult to anticipate their behavior and subsequent danger. The one recently identified in Wuhan China is called Novel coronavirus because this particular strain was not known to us before.
As with the flu, the virus spreads when one inhales germy droplets (when someone sneezes for instance). Infected people may suffer from typical flu-like symptoms, including fever, cough, and runny nose. As with most virus

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.  Now scientists have discovered the structure connecting the stars in the Milky Way, called the Radcliffe Wave.

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

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