Schmoozing in Upcoming Festivity 10.16.17

Hello Sci-Schmoozers,

I had sincerely hoped after my last Schmooze that I would not have to write about more tragedies. Yet here I am hoping that we get through the North Bay wildfires soon. It's sad that so many people are out of their homes, while some missing or have lost their lives. As the firefighters go on tirelessly, all we can do is hope for everyone's safety and maybe help in small ways. I saw some very kind posts on Twitter with  people opening up their homes to those who were looking for help. The California Academy of Sciences and San Francisco Zoo have also taken an initiative in opening their doors to provide relief to those affected.

Secondly, I absolutely cannot move on before I address the other tragic incident this month — the loss of more than 50 innocent lives in Las Vegas on Oct 1. While the incident itself was devastating, it is sad that all we will do is pray and move on, hoping things to change without changing any policies. While we try to steer away from politics in the Schmooze, I will just let the  statistics speak for the need of stricter gun laws.

Moving on to cheerful topics, I attended the...

Synbiobeta conference in SF early October. It focused on Synthetic biology, which is a fancy term for engineering biological systems. Mind you, I have spent a fair amount of time in the lab, and yet for me this conference was mind boggling! Silicon Valley has always been the heart of technology, but now it is a hub of biotech too. To give you a flavor of some of the talks: we have companies producing meatless burgers that bleed inside to offer meat-lovers the same taste and texture that they are accustomed to; we have ties of spider silk made in the lab being sold as we speak; we have leather spewed out by bacteria; and we have apples that don't go brown. I could go on, but you get the idea. It's fantastic to see the kind of progress biotech has made; at its current growth rate, we expect a bio-revolution in the upcoming years.

Before I go on to the upcoming events this week, let me remind you that the  Bay Area Science Festival starts on Oct 26. Like every year, it's going to be packed with fun events for adults and kids, so keep your eye out for those. You can view the current festival schedule  here.

And now, this week's picks:

  1.  Electrifying the World, Tuesday 7 PM, Fremont
  2.  Nerd Nite SF #89: Brain Science, Neon Signs, and Dark Matter! Wednesday 7 PM, San Francisco
  3.  Extraterrestrial NightLife, Thursday 6 PM, San Francisco


Enjoy your week, and as always, stay curious!

Meenakshi Prabhune (a.k.a Minu)
 Science writer and journalist

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