Bay Area Skeptics

The San Francisco Bay Area's skeptical organization since 1982

Go to a Museum with the SciSchmooze

from the desk of Herb Masters

Hello and Happy 53rd Anniversary!

Yes, 53 years ago on September 8, Star Trek premiered… and the rest is history!  

As always there is so much to write about since I haven’t done the Schmooze in 2 weeks.  I’ll never catch up!  As we enter the fall season there are many more opportunities to learn cool things about our blue marble, the ocean of stars we float in and the amazing things that go on in and around us that make up what we call life.  One tip I can give you is that if you have weekdays free this is a great time to go to a museum, be it science or art.  The kids are back in school but haven’t started heading out on field trips.  (Which are much harder to do than they were when I was a kid.)  Many tourists have taken their kids home to go back to school.  This means that the museums are not nearly as crowded or chaotic.  Take a day off, call in sick, or call in well and go visit a museum.  I love the fusion of art and science.  While I tend to view science as art more than I view art as science they really are both efforts to bring new understanding and knowledge to light.  Of course science is pervasive in the kitchen, consider the future of guacamole!  Are you a kombucha fan?  I’m amazed at how many varieties and brands have shown up in regular supermarkets.  I have to admit that I have been skeptical of the purported benefits and wonder about the science behind it.  I do like it and occasionally buy a bottle!  One more on art for now…  An Exploration of Art & Physics

The force of nature is often humbling.  Recently we have been stunned by the devastation done by hurricane Dorian.  It is staggering to see and try to understand what the people living under it must have gone through and what lies ahead for them.  Like so many things in the news, some things aren’t really based on fact, science, or evidence.  Here’s a good article about how to analyze the value of them…  A quick guide to avoiding hoaxes and false news about Dorian (or any other hurricane)

Coming in the next week or so there are some special programs that I would like you to consider. 

  1. Nobel Prize: Blessing or Curse?  Tue 7:00 Menlo Park   This will be an interesting talk with some excellent presenters.  As always the story behind the story can be really fascinating.  It’s more than just free parking for life!
  2. SciComm Studio 018: The Sky is Not the Limit  Thu 6:00 San Francisco  Here are two bonus links that should inspire you to attend this…  It’s Time These Ancient Women Scientists Get Their Due and Quick, close your eyes and picture a scientist.
  3. We really need some laughs so…  After Dark: Humor Me Thu 6:00 San Francisco
  4. Sean Carroll: Quantum Worlds and the Emergence of Space-Time  Sat 1:00 Palo Alto

Regarding #2…  Here are two bonus links that should inspire you to attend this…  It’s Time These Ancient Women Scientists Get Their Due and Quick, close your eyes and picture a scientist.

Other hot programs…
Wonderfest: The Most Famous Equation Mon (9.16) 2:00 Alameda   Many of you probably have been to a Wonderfest talk.  This is going to be a special one.  Tucker Hiatt has been bringing great science minds to us through Wonderfest for many years.  This though will be different.  Professor Wonderfest, Tucker Hiatt will be presenting himself. 
How To: Absurd Scientific Advice for Common Problems  Tue 7:30 Berkeley
There are more presentations being scheduled, seemingly every day.  Be sure to check the calendar at the website for new listings and changes. 

Last week David Almandsmith offered up a challenge question and it remains unanswered and the prize unclaimed.  Here’s the video he was referring to, Spring Theory.  Here’s the challenge… 

¿Did you want to interrupt Dr. Pettit during the “Spring Theory” episode to supply an answer? At 3 minutes into the episode, he doubles the mass of a pendulum. On Earth, this would not affect its period, the time it takes to swing back and forth. He remarks, “Something interesting is going on… Perhaps the spring does not exactly replace gravitational force.” Reply to with your answer to this “interesting” observation and, if correct, you will be entered into a drawing to win an ISS model kit.

You can just reply to this edition of the SciSchmooze and he’ll get your answer.  Good luck!

Do you ever think about time and how history portrays it?  Think about how recently in history we actually had accurate measurement of time.

Here’s a great animation reminiscent of Powers of 10… The Super Zoom  

Have a great week learning some cool new and old things.

herb masters

“I remember being with my grandmother and mother and my uncle came in and asked what I wanted to be when grew up. I said ‘A doctor,’ which took him aback. He was expecting me to say ‘nurse’ or ‘actress.’ And my mother and grandmother laughed like, ‘Kids say the darndest things.’ I grew up in a time when women were not expected to do anything interesting.”   — Susan Lindquist

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