The San Francisco Bay Area's skeptical organization since 1982

Sci|Art|Schmooze 6.18.18

Hello Fans of Science,

Well it certainly has been an interesting year so far, not only in politics but in science as well. We are learning a lot of new stuff about how the universe works thanks to the USGS and other science institutions around the world, many supported by government funding so they can do the science and not worry about influence based on special interests. Though, that is certainly being challenged these days with advisors in the White House like Dr. Oz who is actually citing astrology as a way to understand your health!

Speaking of bang for your buck… Are you familiar with MRO? MRO was meant to last two years but is still going at it 12 years later! And it is still making new discoveries! While MRO has been orbiting Mars, Opportunity Rover has been wandering below for 15 years instead of the planned 90 days! Even Curiosity is getting in on this!

I am in awe of scientists and what they do. It has to be one of the best jobs I can imagine, since I never was one. Keep in mind that science is all around us and even in us. We benefit in so many ways from the talent, creativity, and genius of all of the people that work with the scientists to help and be a part of this quest for knowledge and ways to improve life for all of us.

Do you already have plans for every day this coming week? I hope some of them include learning something new or inspiring someone to do this. I really hope it is something in the world of science! Here are a few options for you, family, and friends…

  1. Near Earth Asteroids and Space Missions Wed 7:45 San Francisco
  2. PubScience – Big Ideas About Big Animals Thu 7:00 El Cerrito
  3. Iron Science Teacher Fri 12:00 San Francisco
  4. Also check out these that are too interesting not to list as well! CuriOdyssey’s Bubbles & Rainbows Weekend, Jailbirds of Alcatraz: Monitoring Nesting Seabird Colonies, and CuriOdyssey’s Bubbles & Rainbows Weekend

You may know that I am a big fan of the explOratorium. The current temporary show is Inflatable. It has grown on me since I first saw it; I missed the installation of it. The explO is now open Thu and Fri evenings. Thu is adults only and Fri is for families. I suggest you make it to one of these evenings to see Inflatables in the evening lighting. It is also a great place to watch the city slide in to evening and night.

I find the boundary or intersection of how people think about science, pseudoscience and religion to be really intriguing. It seems, to some science is a religion and to some religion is science. Even when people disagree about this it seems that accepting evidence that is generally reproducible and demonstrates a connection or mechanism for it is a good place to try and get to. I came across these articles that I think are respectful of disagreement and also put forth the arguments well. I hope you find them interesting and stimulating…

Is Penn Jillette the World’s First Praying Atheist?

How Religion Turned American Politics Into a Bizarre Anti-Science Spectacle

Motivated Reasoning Is Why You Can’t Win An Argument Using Facts

What makes people distrust science? Surprisingly, not politics

I’ll add this to the list but I’m not sure how I would introduce it… Gwyneth Paltrow and GOOP say the joke is on you if you followed their advice

Last week I hit a nerve that I have hit before. The controversy over vaccinations is similar, I think, to the controversy over climate change, homeopathy, environmental hazards, alternative medicine, and other topics. When there is overwhelming agreement amongst people who look at the data and actual outcome of research I think it is a good choice to accept what they are finding and saying. Science is not static and the need to reexamine previous research and outcomes is always there. Likewise there is always room to question a portion of a finding or belief. In the case of our bodies and health, even with the most deeply researched topic there will always be an exception. The exception does not disprove the overall benefit of something though. It only proves that there is still more to learn. Should you decide you disagree with someone, I suggest two things to try and apply to how you address them whether in public or privately. Avoid ad homonym attacks and sign your name if you want a reply.

Have you ever wondered why don’t cows wear long underwear?


Have a great week.
Celebrate Science, we already had Mother’s and Father’s day.
herb masters


“Well … it’s more complicated than that.” Paul Doherty


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