Summertime Schmoozing 6.26.17

Hello again Fans of Science!

It is a light Schmooze this week, what with the upcoming holiday weekend upon us already. Seems just the other day I was laughing that it was too cold to open swimming pools on Memorial Day weekend and here we are, suffering through 100+ degree days just a month later. Even with the lighter schedule, there are some good events to consider this week:

  1.  Nerd Night East Bay 54: eSports, Insects, Early Baseball - Monday 7PM in Oakland
  2.  SciComm Studio 003: Science in Unexpected Places - Thursday 6:30 PM in San Francisco
  3.  Heavenly Vision: Galileo’s Telescopes & Observations - Saturday 8:30 PM at Mt. Tamalpais

I was on a trip this past week and was heartened to overhear several different people talking about their summer plans, which included going to see the solar eclipse in August. While I still think there are many people who will just hop in the cars on August 21st without planning who won't get to see much beyond a traffic jam, at least some folks are planning ahead.

Sit back for a minute and consider how...

man has conquered space travel, sending probes far into our solar system to bring back information, not only about the objects they observe, but possibly about the origins of our planet. The plucky little rovers on Mars have given us so much information about that planet, as well as stunning views of the Mars-scape. The Gale Crater on Mars is currently being explored by the Curiosity rover. Discoveries there indicate that  the crater may have been habitable for 700 million years of Mars' history. Fascinating stuff!

I'm one of those people who, while I appreciate technology, also believe we need to preserve what came before. I was privileged to ride behind a relic of a bygone era last weekend, taking part in a steam engine excursion in Chicago behind Nickle Plate Road 765. Other friends are riding behind Southern Pacific 4449 between Portland and Bend, Oregon this weekend. These mechanical marvels illustrate complex, amazing engineering and machining, harnessing the power of boiling water to move thousands of tons down steel rails. Today these engines seem archaic, but before diesel electric locomotives were invented, they were leading edge technology.

What we can do is limited only by our imagination. This is why it is so important to encourage our children to be curious and to explore. They can build on the technology of today to do things we can't even dream of yet, but that will seem commonplace to them in the not-so-distant future.

Have a great week in science!
Bob Siederer

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