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from the desk of Herb Masters

Hello Reader of the Science Persuasion!

As I understand it…  Throughout history and prehistory, humans would observe something and try to understand it.  I think it is our nature to try and understand.  Early on there was little information to help understand what they were observing or experiencing.  This might be the reason there have been or are so many gods.  Over the years more things were observed and humans began to establish an understanding of what was real and what was supernatural.  They even tried to understand more abou

from the desk of Herb Masters

Hello Science Acceptors, 

It seems like a bit of a break has been happening in the smoke from so many fires throughout the west.  The respite we have had has been welcome by everyone I have talked to.  They aren't over and there will probably be more houses, memories, and even lives lost.  I have a bit of experience in fighting fires like this but I'm not going to claim expertise or experience in what has been going on or what is coming.  I have to admit that I find it a bit humorous to see people involved announcing that they have never seen anything so big, powerful, or destructive.  Of course they haven't, that's why it is so staggering to experience it or view it from afar! 

It seems that most scientists and media are willing to proclaim that climate change is responsible for the magnitu

The SciSchmooze and the Powers That Be

from the desk of David Almandsmith

Welcome aboard, dear reader,
 
Chewbacca, our 2-year-old rescue cat, died this last month of a coronavirus infection - not COVID-19, but Feline Infectious Peritonitis, FIP. The feline coronavirus is called - logically enough - FCoV. Roughly half of all house cats have been infected with FCoV, but less than 5% show symptoms. Once a cat shows symptoms, however, the power of the disease almost always kills with pathologies eerily similar to COVID-19. In view of this, it’s not surprising that cats can become infected with the human SARS-CoV-2 virus without getting sick and then shed the virus with the power to infect others. Two experimental drugs - GC376 & GC442534 - have been developed to cure cats of FIP. Results have been very positive: GC376 reduced mortality in sick cats to 25% and GC442534 reduced mortality to zero. Now, a test tube study has shown that

A little history with your SciSchmooze

from the desk of Bob Siederer

Hello again Science Fans!

It is easy to forget that much of what we know about the world around us today wasn't known, or generally accepted not that long ago.  It has always been thus.

The Earth was once generally believed to be the center of everything, with the sun and other planets revolving around us.  A few scientists weren't so sure and developed mathematical models based on observations to prove that the Earth revolved around the Sun, as did the other planets.  These scientists were ridiculed and persecuted by the institutions of the day for their heretical ideas.  Eventually they were proven correct.

The Earth was also once believed to be flat.  After all, if you look as far as you can see, there appears to be an edge.  Go to that edge, and you will fall off.  Again, scientists theorized that this was incorrect, and explorers proved it, eventually circumnavigating the planet.  But many didn't believe the science.  Some still don't today!

I bring this up because it seems like we're fighting for our very existence against those who deny science today.  We somehow got a leader who ignores science when it doesn't suit his purpose.  He removes senior scientists from their leadership positions and replaces them with people

Voting for Science with the Schmooze

from the desk of Herb Masters

Hello Fans of Science and Reason,

I'm not sure about you, but I have had enough of 2020 and am ready to move on.  It seems like it's one challenge or loss after another.  The loss of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg hit particularly hard.   Unfortunately we still have 3 months to go.  I don't think it will be any less distracting and stressful.  One point of light we have had in the last week is an annual celebration of science.  Last Thursday 9.17 was the The 30th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony.  I've never made it to see, but every year I tell myself I'm going to make it next year to see it live.  Next year, for sure.

Have you made a

Psephology with the SciSchmooze

from the desk of Herb Masters

Hello Science Supporters and Students, (aren't we all both?)

What an amazing couple of weeks of turmoil we have seen.  We here at the SciSchmooze are focused on science and how it informs us and how it helps make the world a better place to live for all.  Fires, Covid-19, the struggle for equity in society, and the upcoming election in just a few weeks can be overwhelming.  Often, science relies on elections.  Our new word for the week is psephology

There will be more "science" after this missive about elections! I personally think that if you can arrange it at all you should

from the desk of Meenakshi Prabhune

Hi Schmoozers,
 
Happy Labor Day weekend! Hope you are all findings ways to enjoy it safely in our new normal. I had honestly decided to not write about COVID-19 but two reasons compel me to- 1) we cannot get bored and relax about the necessary measures and 2) there were a few important news articles that I wanted to share with you all.
 
The first one was this piece in New York Times saying that a large percentage of people who tested positive for COVID-19 may not have been infectious. Here’s why. Current diagnostics tests use a technique called PCR, polymerase chain reaction. PCR amplifies viral genetic material multiple fold to detect its presence. This means that even the tiniest load of virus can be detected with a high number of cycles. Why does this matter in diagnostic testing?
 
People who have had COVID-19 will carry viral generic material over several weeks in their body, but those minute quantities are not enough to infect others. However, a high number of PCR cycles in the diagnostic test will still show these peop

Juxtaposing with the SciSchmooze

from the desk of David Almandsmith

Greetings to YOU, a defender of science,
 
This missive will arrive in your inbox on Mary Shelley’s birthday, August 30. Nikita Gill writes on Twitter: “Since it’s Mary Shelley’s birthday today, it would be a good time to remind everyone again that she was a teenager when she started writing Frankenstein and that teenage girls are badass.”
 
Juxtaposing “teenage girls” with “badass” is an attention-getter, yet anyone who has survived living with a teenage daughter knows there is a fair amount of truth to it. Let’s continue with ‘juxtapositions’ a bit further. Please have fun watching this video which involves chemistry/alchemy, rubber ducky/Frankenstein, and Vincent Van Gogh/Ms. Shelley. [However, Mary and Percy may not have been closer than a few kilometers from Castle Frankenstein; hard to know.]
 
Another juxtaposition in the news this week was the announcement that

What’s Next, with the SciSchmooze?

from the desk of Bob Siederer

Hello again Science Fans!

A month ago, if you had told me what was about to happen, I'd have said "no way, the year can't get stranger than it has been already".  Yet, here we are, with 500+ wildfires in the general area, a prolonged heat wave, and another round of dry thunderstorms headed our way.  And that's just locally.  In the Gulf of Mexico, two hurricanes are brewing at the same time! This is what it has taken to push the Coronavirus from the front pages.

Our hearts go out to those affected directly by the wild fires.  The complex of fires north of Santa Cruz has displaced thousands, destroyed the buildings at California's original State Park, and made simple breathing unsafe.  We've collected some sources of information to pass along:

CalFire Incident Maps and Status: Click on the Active Incidents bars for details on a particular fire.
from the desk of Herb Masters

Greetings Science Supporters,

I'm beginning to think that the reason it's getting so hot is that the astrophysicists and astronomers have been lying to us.  It seems pretty apparent that the reason it is getting so hot can only be because the earth is moving closer to the sun!  This must be because of the drag on the atmosphere by so many of the world's population wearing masks, making them less aerodynamic.  (just kidding!  Wave as we drift farther away!)

I can't come to grips with the idea that so many people insist on having their own "true understanding" of how the universe works and

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