Bay Area Skeptics

The San Francisco Bay Area's skeptical organization since 1982

Persevering with the SciSchmooze

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  (COVID-19).  Many cities and counties are also distributing info.  I’m sure there is a bunch of redundancy in what they are saying but you will find some local items such as places that are closing or have special provisions to stay open.  Here’s one of the less well known websites that is worth checking out in general but they do have a Coronavirus page as well…  worldOmeter   As is so often the case, Covid-19 has provided a whole new range of opportunities for fraud and corruption.  Read and watch with a critical eye and listen with a critical ear.  There are some out there that are just trolls and rumor mongers, beware. 

I really like to see outreach to get more young people involved and excited in how we can be inspired by a deeper understanding of the universe we hopefully share.  NASA just wrapped up a very cool way to do this.  One thing that has, I think, characterized science and humanity is PerseveranceKatherine G. Johnson was another inspiration to many and also demonstrated an exceptional “perseverance”.  She overcame so many challenges since she wasn’t a white male while persevering her passion and career.  Maybe the next Mars rover should be named Katherine! 
If you’re going to spend time looking at the March sky look here first.  You might also want to check out these presentations in the next week

  1. After Dark: Fungi  Thu 6:00 San Francisco
  2. Why storytelling is vital to science communication  Thu 7:30 Berkeley 
  3. Pi (π) Day 2020  Sat  10:00-5:00  San Francisco

Just to point it out separately.  As  a docent at the CalAcademy I rely on storytelling to create context for how science has evolved and how it influences our lives today.  Why storytelling is vital to science communication may very well be the most important presentation this week.  We are all teachers, every parent, friend, and mentor.  Learning the value of storytelling can enrich everyone’s life.

Often some evidence or explanation helps us understand why some things are the way they are.  Have you ever considered the Microbiological Hazard of Bearded Men?  This research was so far ahead of Corona-19 it was awarded the Ig Nobel Prize in 2010! 

Are you curious about what may be ahead?  Are you ready for the PLANKTON INVASION?  Science often leads us to new questions we never thought of.  Have you ever considered how many ways you could answer a seemingly simple question?  What’s the most toxic chemical?

NOTE:  We always recommend checking the website of the presentation/event before you actually go to it.  We can’t keep up with all of the changes that happen on a daily basis.  Many organizations and venues are making decisions on a daily basis whether they should close due to the Corona-19 infections that are still spreading.  Be healthy, be aware, and check before you go!

Have a great week.  Persevere.  Learn new stuff.

herb masters

“Such is the tendency of the human mind to speculation, that on the least idea of an analogy between a few phenomena, it leaps forward, as it were, to a cause or law, to the temporary neglect of all the rest; so that, in fact, almost all our principal inductions must be regarded as a series of ascents and descents, and of conclusions from a few cases, verified by trial on many.”   — Sir John Herschel

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