Bay Area Skeptics

The San Francisco Bay Area's skeptical organization since 1982

How many Smoots in a Schmooze? 7.16.18

Greetings Inquiring Minds,

Wow, another week has passed.  I have to admit that the political news has overshadowed much of what I normally find fascinating.  I still find time to glance around and find more throughout the week than I can possibly put in the Schmooze.  One subject that I am always struck with is the history of whatever we think we know.  I think it is good to remember that many science “facts” were later discovered to be incorrect, outright wrong, or just plain crazy and dangerous!  I was never a good student of history and only after I had a few decades under my belt did I try and figure out what I had to do with history, or vice versa.  How the topics of today are rooted in history fascinates me.  Consider many of the diseases that wreak such a toll as a pandemic or just as an accepted part of the way things are if you live away from where it has such a great effect.  (Nearly half of the world’s population is at risk of malaria.)  Note that in all of the talk and research, the hunt for a malaria vaccination is still on

There are so many things that need to be agreed on in science for it to work.  Consider measurement.  If you are one of those rare scientists that measure things in smoots you need to be able to convert them to other units of length.  Both in science and business you need to have an agreed on common standard.  Science certainly faces many challenges that are far less entertaining that how I present the problem of measurement though some costly mistakes have happened.  Such as landing on Mars but not checking to see if everyone was using metric measurements.  Have you ever wondered why we never went back to the moon?  (Don’t even try to argue we didn’t!) 

I heard today that we are halfway through summer break for schools.  If that’s so there are still a lot of cool learning opportunities in the area.  Here are a few that I think merit your attention.

  1. SciComm Studio 008: Empathy Versus the Machines  Tue  6:30  San Francisco
  2. Wonderfest Science Slam: Computing & Anthropology, Astronomy and More Fri 6:00 Mountain View
  3. Summertime Science  Sat  11:00 Oakland  (note of pride… I helped install this exhibit. hm)

This past week saw tremendous success and tragic failure in efforts to make the world a better place.  I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that Thailand pulled off an incredible rescue with the help of many countries and the tragic death of one of the rescuers.  Did you also hear about the death of 8 black rhinos?  They weren’t killed by poachers; they were being moved to protect them from poachers.

The explOratorium has posted the announcement for hiring Field Trip Explainers.  It has to be one of the coolest jobs a high school graduate can have.  The deadline is July 23 to apply. 

Words and ideas for thought…

The struggle will continue, we can help…  How to Encourage More Girls to Pursue Science and Math Careers

What’s the biggest misnomer about human origins?

Neurology of the Sports Fan’s Brain  “Sports are a potentially constructive outlet for the tribalist tendencies of modern humans.”    I’m not a sports fan, this helped!-}

Carbon Footprint of Superheroes  (listen here)

Generation Anthropocene Is Upon Us

 

Have a great week learning cool new things you didn’t know you’d be interested in!

herb masters
ScienceSchmoozer
and a shameless promoter of the SciSchmooze email list: www.BayAreaScience.org 

 
“We must not forget that when radium was discovered no one knew that it would prove useful in hospitals. The work was one of pure science. And this is a proof that scientific work must not be considered from the point of view of the direct usefulness of it. It must be done for itself, for the beauty of science, and then there is always the chance that a scientific discovery may become like the radium a benefit for humanity.”
Marie Curie, Lecture at Vassar College, May 14, 1921French (Polish-born) chemist & physicist (1867 – 1934)

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