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David Almandsmith


from the desk of David Almandsmith

Hello again, science fans,

If you’re feeling bored, Google “food bank volunteer near me” (or similar).

If you’re caught up in the frenzy of providing essential services, we deeply appreciate you.

If you’re a little worried, good; a little worry is appropriate. If you are under 60 and in good health, worry about getting infected, becoming horribly miserable, and passing it on to everyone around you. (Best to practice self distancing.)  If you are over 60 or in poor health, practice self distancing. If you have cold or flu symptoms, self isolate. Also, check this out: Coping With Anxiety and Depression During the Coronavirus Pandemic.

The Center for Inquiry has a

Shelter in Place with the SciSchmooze

from the desk of Bob Siederer

Hello again Science fans!

My, what strange times these are!  Here at the Schmooze, we hope you are being safe, as we are.

Herb and I have been updating the calendar to show canceled events as we learn of them.  Some organizers are marking their events as such.  Some are just deleting the events from their websites.  A few are holding their events virtually.  And some aren't updating at all.  We've been reaching out to those to see if we can get a confirmation. We suspect just about everything is canceled, and, even if it isn't, you should be staying away from group gatherings.

Our practice is to keep canceled events on our calendar, marked as such.  For rescheduled ones, when we know the new date, we make a copy of the original event with the new date, but leave the original as is, but marked as rescheduled.  Our reasoning is that you may have looked at the event on the main calendar and decide later on that you want to revisit the listing.  If we deleted it, you would be left wondering if you had the wrong date in mind, or imagined it.  This way you know it was canceled or moved.

Several organizers have been archiving presentations online for years.  Now might be a good time to watch past lectures from the
from the desk of Herb Masters

Greetings People of Science and Reason,

I have to say that we are living in a very interesting time.  Rest assured I am not going to repeat or rephrase what we are hearing so much.  There is a wealth of generally agreeing sources for how to get through these times of challenge, and yes, some fear.  I only want to share a couple of items directly relating to covid-19.  I am often concerned about the proliferation of bad science and bad information and the potential they have for doing harm.  Here's an article that I think warrants some attention… Fake news about Covid-19 can be as dangerous as the virus.  A source of info that I have found interesting is Worldometer, and their two pages at

Ticket Sales Are Open

The Northern California conference on science and skepticism

Tickets are limited and prices go up on April 15. Get your tickets early! Ticket sales are at http://www.skepticalcon.com/tickets

Discount and t-shirts for SkeptiCal are available to Patrons of Bay Area Skeptics. Click here to support critical thinking and get a discount for this year’s conference.

This year’s program includes:
  • In Conversation with Mary Roach, author of “Stiff”, “Spook”, “Bonk”, and “Packing for Mars”
  • Jen Gunter, Obstetrician, Gynecologist, and author of “The Vagina Bible” on Women's Health
  • Susan Gerbic, Wikipediatrician & Skeptical Activist on Grief Vampires
  • Ross Blocher, “Oh No, Ross and Carrie!” Podcaster on Justifying Belief
  • Pamela Ronald, Plant Pathologist & Geneticist on Plant Genetics and the Future of Food
  • Thomas Westbrook,

from the desk of Herb Masters

Greetings to all who have Faith in Science,

Well it has been quite a roller coaster of news for science in the last few weeks (or years!).  Of course the elephant in the media is Covid-19 these days.  There is little to add to the discussions, rants, cries, fears, and bad information.  Coronavirus: Fears and Facts  All I can say is read the reports carefully, with a skeptical mind, and think calming thoughts while you read them.  I suggest that you follow these three links Coronavirus  disease  

Interesting Times with the SciSchmooze

from the desk of David Almandsmith

Hello science fans,
 
We live in interesting times. Actually, that could be said at any time in history.
 
The BIG topic this week is COVID-19, a.k.a. Coronavirus. I chatted with the head of communications at Zuckerberg General Hospital, and was surprised to learn there is a rampant rumor that chinese food carries the disease. Ouch! The most wide-spread absurd rumor is that COVID-19 is a virus engineered by Chinese scientists as a bioweapon but it accidentally escaped. Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) suggested that conspiracy theory two weeks ago. How about the theory that the epidemic is actually caused by the roll-out of 5G networks rather than by a virus. Cures? Ah, quackery abounds. Try ingesting

Leaping with the SciSchmooze

from the desk of Bob Siederer

Hello again Science Fans!

This week we celebrate leap day, the one time every fourth year that we add a day to the calendar to resynch it with Earth's orbit around the sun, which takes about 365 1/4 days.  Think of it as a bonus!

It is shaping up to be a warm week, with temperatures in the 70s by week's end.  While that's nice, we're very short on rain this winter.  Snow pack in the Sierra Mountains is almost non-existent.  All that snow that's missing is important to California's agriculture, but it is also important to the population of several other states and portions of Mexico.  The Colorado River provides water to a large portion of the west, and by the mid-2000s it is predicted to lose as much as 31% of the current water flow.

I read another story about climate change on Facebook this week, and a comment from someone I knew in high school who posted something to the effect that climate has been changing throughout time.  Nothing to see here, move along.  He completely discounts nat

Weathering It with the SciSchmooze

from the desk of Herb Masters

Greetings Science Fans,

I hope this finds you comfortable.  Unfortunately, that might not be best for all of us!  Some items to ruminate on…  The weather is looking awfully dry and there doesn't seem to be a lot of optimism about some rain in the near future.  You may remember that Antarctica set a record for temperature last week.  Well… That record isn't the record anymore!  CO2 is certainly getting a lot of attention lately.  The amount of global climate change attributable to it only makes the data look bleaker.  Have you noticed the trees and flowers seem to be acting like its spring already? 
from the desk of Herb Masters

Hello Science Geeks and Non-Geeks alike,
 
If you are a science geek I hope you are proud of it.  If you aren't but still think science is one of the best ways to figure out how and what makes things the way they are that is equally cool, and you should also be proud!

I was reminded last week that the world is a dynamic place and subject to change.  Some of it we have no control over.  Natural disasters can be unavoidable like earthquakes or though they have occurred naturally for centuries and longer, we seem to be making them worse.  Some is because we as humans can't get along as well as many of us think we should.  So

Coronavirus 101 with the SciSchmooze

from the desk of Meenakshi Prabhune

Hello Sci Schmoozers
 
Happy Palindrome 02022020! As we head into February, I have seen memes on social media about how long January 2020 felt, and although I didn't realize it at first myself, it did ring true on afterthought. Perhaps it felt long because of all the things happening around us—in particular, the coronavirus scare.
 
You might have seen a lot of articles circulating around the coronavirus cases; some are useful, some not. So I thought it might be good to include some information around the same in today’s Schmooze because it is an important health concern after all! 
 
What is coronavirus
 
This is a family of viruses-few of the ones from this family that you may know of are MERS and SARS. Belonging to the same family means that these viruses are similar but not exactly the same, which makes it difficult to anticipate their behavior and subsequent danger. The one recently identified in Wuhan China is called Novel coronavirus because this particular strain was not known to us before.
 
As with the flu, the virus spreads when one inhales germy droplets (when someone sneezes for instance). Infected people may suffer from typical flu-like symptoms, including fever, cough, and runny nose. As with most virus

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