Bay Area Skeptics

The San Francisco Bay Area's skeptical organization since 1982

from the desk of Herb Masters

Hello Science Fans and Geeks,

Well, it looks like we are in it for quite awhile longer.  I’m not very good at history when you get to the minutia but general dates and concepts I’m pretty good at.  Here are a few historical things to think about and wonder what we have learned since.  How many of you remember Johnny Carson and The Great Toilet-Paper Panic of the 70s?  Some of you might want to also look at Johnny and Uri.  Here’s a bit on Randi.  Finally here’s a TED Talk that might be interesting.  Where am I going with this?  Well we are starting to see some pretty bad ideas, that shouldn’t be done, about opening up the economy.  Such as those that are out protesting against the closures of the economy, often without the safety precautions that I hope all of us are using.  Consider how conspiracy theories spread online – it’s not just down to algorithms.  Here’s an Inoculation Against Misinformation

Frauds and charlatans are nothing new.  It’s just that they can lead people to make really bad decisions.  Here are two websites that I have learned about recently that are worth checking out for details on the pandemic… JHU CORONAVIRUS RESOURCE CENTER & JHU maps and trends info          Looking ahead a bit more… The fight against the coronavirus won’t be over when the U.S. reopens.

I started off talking about learning from history.  First, a toast to newly minted homeschooling teachers, let’s have a musical interlude.  (Be sure to turn your sound on.)  Is there any question that we pay the wrong people huge amounts of money, instead of paying  those that work just as hard or harder and really keep us going, what they are worth?  This pandemic has shown us who the heroes and important people really are!    Here’s a history question:  What do Nov 27, 1918 and Feb 1, 1919 have in common?  Here’s another historical lesson as well:  How to Quarantine … in 1918  Speaking of living in small spaces… in space.

One victim of the pandemic is SkeptiCal 2020.  You may know that I’m a skeptic and support skeptic organizations.  I am very loosely involved in putting the conference together.  Be assured that those that have been working really hard on it will be back next year and you should watch for it. 

Upcoming things to catch…  (I’m not going to select any.  There are some great ones coming up on-line this week.  Be sure to check the presenting website for final details.  We try to keep up but there’s some that we miss.)
Lyrid meteor shower 2020 peaks this week!  Wednesday is Earth Day, if you have kids get them started on what comes after Covid-19. 

If you are a home student, or someone with one, here’s a really interesting looking project to get involved in… 
Do you have a biology project that you are really proud of? Maybe an article or a piece of artwork? Be an emerging leader of science education by submitting a written or artistic work to Teens In Health by May 1st so you may have a chance to get your work published publicly on the teen-led blog — Science Now!. Written works may be submitted at and art may be sent to

Have you ever heard the term ‘spooky action at a distance’?  I’ve watched some incredibly smart friends disagree on it.  Maybe this will help, if it doesn’t give you a brain cramp!  Quantum entanglement is tough to dumb down, but this analogy can help detangle it  After that you might want to ask a different question…  Have you ever wondered where cats come from?  Just for some time reference, Curiosity has been On Mars For More Than 7 Years and it was 7 years ago that the explOratorium opened at P15! 

All of this reminds me to remind you from the SciSchmooze last week.  The checks may have arrived or are in the mail.  Please.  Pretty Please.  With a Cherry on top.  Support your favorite science museum, cultural institution, and of course any group that you think is helping people get through this horrible time. 
Be Safe   Be Healthy   Make sure someone you know, knows that you are thinking about them.
herb masters

“Today, give yourself permission to be outrageously kind, irrationally warm, improbably generous. I promise it will be a blast.” Sasha Dicter

“This is the time for facts, not fear. This is the time for science, not rumours. This is the time for solidarity, not stigma. We are all in this together, and we can only stop it together.”  Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organisation

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