Bay Area Skeptics

The San Francisco Bay Area's skeptical organization since 1982

from the desk of Bob Siederer

Hello again Science Fans!

It is time for the Winter Solstice.  Next Saturday will mark the most southern point in the sun’s apparent position in our northern sky, and the day with the least amount of daylight in the northern hemisphere.  Got kids asking why?  This article contains a neat graphic visualizing the difference in daylight across the planet at both the Winter and Summer solstices.

The end of the year is fast approaching and you know what that means…Top 10 (or 20) lists!  It is also the end of the decade, so there are some Top lists of the Decade too.  National Geographic published just such a list of science discoveries and, in reviewing it, I was pleased to see that most of the things mentioned were also things we covered here at the Schmooze. 

The last item on that list was the redefinition of the meter, the standard of scientific measurement.  Turns out that this week there’s also news of redefinition of the foot!  There have been two standards for the foot and while only slightly different, there are real world, expensive consequences, as the article notes.  This isn’t really new news, as we’ve been migrating from one standard to the other for 60 years!  Yes, the government is involved.

Our planet lost a number of species in 2019.  All lived on islands, with loss of habitat due to rising sea level being a contributing cause.

The New York Times reported on the difference between the US and Denmark when it comes to raising pigs, and asked the question “Why can’t the US raise antibiotic-free pigs?

Which language you speak has an effect on eye movements due to similar sounding words.  This is one of those subconscious reactions your body has to stimuli.

Greta Thunberg, the 16 year old climate activist, was named Time Magazine’s Person of the Year.  What does it say about the current state of the world that another potential recipient of this honor spent a portion of the week trying to tear her down?  I wish I had the composure she has when faced with such scorn.  Be like Greta!

The Schmooze will be off next week.  David Almandsmith will be here with a year-ending edition on the 29th. 

From all of us, best wishes for a peaceful, healthy, happy Holiday season, no matter how you celebrate it.

Bob Siederer

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