Bay Area Skeptics

The San Francisco Bay Area's skeptical organization since 1982

from the desk of David Almandsmith

Hello fans of science,
I mentioned Zooniverse many moons ago and it merits a repeat recommendation. “Zooniverse gives people of all ages and backgrounds the chance to participate in real research with over 50 active online citizen science projects.” Currently I’m identifying marine invertebrates in the ocean depths off the coast of Norway – from the dining room table! Cool.
Then there’s CatchAFire where you can volunteer online to assist a non-profit. Currently they have 149 non-profits looking for help.
SciStarter has another set of science projects eager for online volunteers.
Californians for All is a state program looking for volunteers, but I signed up on the first day Governor Newsom announced it and have yet to hear from them. (My age might be a factor there.)
Warning: any of the above may cut into your time playing solitaire!
Remember the claim that “Nessie”, the Loch Ness Monster, might be a plesiosaur? As awesome and common plesiosaurs, ichthyosaurs, and mosasaurs were during the age of the dinosaurs, you might also remember that they were reptiles, not dinosaurs. An article in Nature reveals that apparently there was an aquatic dinosaur – a huge one: Spinosaurus aegyptiacus, and it swam much like a crocodile. Again, cool.
Not to be overshadowed by dinosaurs, a mammal that lived in the age of the dinosaurs also made it into the news this week. Adalantherium hui is the name and it lived in Madagascar.
Last week’s SciSchmooze had a broken link, so here it is corrected: Putin’s Long War Against American Science.
Also from last week, Bob Siederer steered us to an illuminating page that constantly updates, so here is your chance to see how things currently stand: Coronavirus Outbreak Concern.
Since I’m now on the topic of COVID-19, here is a video that you may like: How COVID-19 immunity compares to other diseases. (I first wrote “that you will like,” but that was a wee bit presumptive.)
At the beginning of March, I wrote in the SciSchmooze, “My back-of-the-envelope guesstimate suggested that as many as 3 – 6 people out of every thousand worldwide might succumb to this disease before it is brought under control.” At present, the State of New York has 1.3 deaths per thousand residents, so 3 per thousand globally still sounds grimly possible. Hopefully, a vaccine will come mercifully early. The people most at risk of succumbing to COVID-19 – folk with underlying health problems or of advanced age (Huh? Who, me?) – may need to remain in some level of isolation until vaccinated. Profits and Pride at Stake, the Race for a Vaccine Intensifies.
My picks for the week are all “Livestream” so I’ve listed more than usual since the inconvenience of traveling is not an issue:

As you come across medical information this week, be aware there is a surfeit of bullshit bogus information out there.
There is plenty to enjoy, as always, but stay safe,
David Almandsmith
Bay Area Skeptics board member
“It’s natural to think that living things must be the handiwork of a designer. But it was also natural to think that the sun went around the earth.”
StevenPinker, Cognitive psychologist (1954 –  )

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