Bay Area Skeptics

The San Francisco Bay Area's skeptical organization since 1982

A Slice of π with the SciSchmooze

by Herb Masters

Happy DST Science Fans,

I’m always amazed when I sit down to write the Schmooze.  It seems like it should be a quick thing to knock out, but there are so many things to write about in any given week.  The problem is magnified for me because there is such a wealth of new things to learn about what I am already fascinated by!  Science just keeps marching forward at a pace that we can never seem to catch up with.  So when we jumped ahead an hour this morning I was again distracted.  So if you have the time, here are a few items that I found difficult to turn away from.  Of course you have to wonder what the History of Daylight Saving Time (DST) is.  Then I fell down the well of time in history…  Ctesibius and Archimedes and back to more recent times with The Clock That Changed the World.  Which reminded me of a great book that I should go and reread…  Longitude  Then of course I had to have a look at the tinkerer’s artist of artists which wrapped a bunch of this up in Tim Hunkin and the Neal’s Yard Water Clock.  (As an aside, Tim Hunkin made a massive clock for the explOratorium that you really should see if you haven’t already.  Be sure to be there on the hour for the full experience.)  Have a great DST.

Every time I mention the importance of vaccines and the problems of not receiving them, I get some shall I say, strong feedback.  To answer some of the comments, I am not a scientist, doctor, or in the pocket of pharma.  I do believe that the evidence is overwhelmingly in favor of the efficacy, need, and safety of vaccinations.  I do recognize that many do have some concerns about this this.  Here is a video that I think addresses many of the issues and is worth a bit of time if you or someone you know is Vaccine Hesitant.  If you are interested in more info check out Vaccine hesitancy.

You might want to celebrate Albert Einstein’s on its’ own but celebrating it in conjunction with Pi (π) Day is the best way to celebrate.  Did you know that π Day, the national holiday, was started at the explOratorium by Larry Shaw?  Needless to say, this is why you should make it down to the explO for Pi (π) Day at 1:59 PM this coming Thursday March 14.  Note that the whole museum is open and admission is a “Community pay what you wish” day and might be a very popular place.  There are lots of π celebrations at local merchants and museums.  If you can’t make it to the explO celebrate at a π near you.  (Even Arizmendis Bakery is serving a slice for $π !)  For more bang for the celebration it is also the birthday of Eugene Andrew Cernan and Frank Borman.

Of course there are a lot of non-π things happening this week that warrant your attention…

  1. Reconstruction of pioneering physics experiments: Importance and lessons learned Mon @ 3:30 in Menlo Park
  2. Rangeland Matters Tue @ 7:00 in Albany
  3. Exploring Ultima Thule: humanity’s next frontier  Wed 7:00 Menlo Park
  4. SkepTalk: Australia’s Psychic Detectives & “Predictions”  Thu @ 7:30 in Berkeley.  (Note: The speaker is a renowned Skeptic from Australia and really worth the time and effort to get there.)

Bonus… Low Tide Walk Sat 1:15 Pescadero…  Make a day of it and catch the Pigeon Point Light Station and Año Nuevo State Park!

The Astronomical Society of the Pacific has a great program coming up this summer that you should look at now as preregistration is required and it may fill up pretty quick.  Summer Astronomy Institute: Space Science and the NGSS is a Hands-on Workshop for Teachers of Grades 5-12 and starts July 29.  Make sure your kid’s teachers know about this!

You may have seen some recent discussions about NGC 6052.  I have to share this comment on one of the sites about it.  It seems to speak to what I occasionally think of when hearing someone from SETI talk.  It is from “Surveillance_Egg_Unit” and reads “What a wreck. Terrifyingly beautiful. I feel sad for the sentient life forms on the planets affected by this collision. But perhaps most or all of the Stars and their planets managed to survive according to their distances from the melee’. If their scientists knew that this was coming, perhaps they may have taken steps to save at least some of their “people”. Hope springs eternal.”

Welcome home Ripley.

Have an amazing week learning new and amazing stuff.
herbert a. masters III
ScienceSchmoozer and a shameless promoter of:
the SciSchmooze email list: 

“A mind which has once imbibed a taste for scientific enquiry, and has learnt the habit of applying its principles readily to the cases which occur, has within itself an inexhaustible source of pure and exciting contemplations.”  – Sir John F. W. Herschel
“The trees are man’s best friends; but man has treated them as his worst enemies. The history of our race may be said to be the history of warfare upon the tree world. But while man has seemed to be the victor, his victories have brought upon him inevitable disasters.”   — Nathaniel H. Egleston

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