Bay Area Skeptics

The San Francisco Bay Area's skeptical organization since 1982

Knowledge? with the SciSchmooze

by Herb Masters

Hello Science Fans,

One can’t ignore that we all think we try to make our decisions based on knowledge.  Often though, we make them on a hunch, or a hope.  Often we are at a loss for enough or accurate information to even know who or what to believe.  The more you dive in to the philosophy of knowledge, the more you realize that it’s more complicated than you hoped!  It’s a bit of a long read but I think Knowledge is crude is really worth a read.  When you start learning about something new to you, I hope you will consider the source.  It might be a very reliable source with a great reputation but they all make mistakes!  Science Schmooze included! 

If you read my missives very often you will undoubtedly know that I am a proponent of science based medicine.  As some have said alternative medicine would be called medicine if it worked.  There are accepted science based medical practices that deserve some extra review as well as “alternative” practices.  Here’s an interesting article that sheds some light on the subject.  Almost 400 Medical Practices Found Ineffective In Analysis Of 3,000 Studies

We just made it through our first real heat wave here in the SF Bay Area.  Karl has arrived to keep us comfy but Cal Fire (it will always be CDF to me!) reports that between 1.1.19 and 6.9.19 there have already been 1,171 fires burning 9,478 acres.  That’s about 1/3 the area of San Francisco!  Most have never experienced being surrounded by fire or having their lives completely turned upside down by it.  NIST one of my favorite government agencies has produced a series of impressive fire research videos that are worth checking out.  (Be sure to click and drag your cursor.)

There are, as always, some great presentations this week that are worth the attention of those who are curious…

  1. Tectonic Problems: Why the Foundation of Modern Geology Remains Elusive by Wonderfest Mon 6:00 Novato
  2. Alcatraz Waterbirds Tour  Tue 8:00 AM Alcatraz
  3. Marine Science Sunday: What Are Marine Mammals Saying?  Sun 10:00 Sausalito

They’re the closest thing to aliens you can get without actually having to get on a spaceship. We’re studying an alien that’s kind of present in the room all the time and I really liked that.

In the irony department…  July is pretty much Space or Moon Month for most every science institution as it is the 50th Anniversary of the first humans to land on the moon.  (Yes, they really did.)  The July issue of Scientific American will be about the mind! 

What happens when Art Meets Science ? Music for the Cosmos: An Exploration of Art & Physics might yield some insight!  You might also wonder how far you can go with crazy Legos projects.  Here’s one…  The NIST Do-It-Yourself Kibble Balance or even to the Moon!

Have a great week learning new cool things.
herb masters

“Here is one way to conceptualize NASA’s heroic era: in 1961, Kennedy gave his “moon speech” to Congress, charging them to put an American on the moon “before the decade is out.” In the eight years that unspooled between Kennedy’s speech and Neil Armstrong’s first historic bootprint, NASA, a newborn government agency, established sites and campuses in Texas, Florida, Alabama, California, Ohio, Maryland, Mississippi, Virginia, and the District of Columbia; awarded multi-million-dollar contracts and hired four hundred thousand workers; built a fully functioning moon port in a formerly uninhabited swamp; designed and constructed a moonfaring rocket, spacecraft, lunar lander, and space suits; sent astronauts repeatedly into orbit, where they ventured out of their spacecraft on umbilical tethers and practiced rendezvous techniques; sent astronauts to orbit the moon, where they mapped out the best landing sites; all culminating in the final, triumphant moment when they sent Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to step out of their lunar module and bounce about on the moon, perfectly safe within their space suits. All of this, start to finish, was accomplished in those eight years.”   ― Margaret Lazarus Dean, Leaving Orbit: Notes from the Last Days of American Spaceflight

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