Bay Area Skeptics

The San Francisco Bay Area's skeptical organization since 1982

Science Musings with the Schmooze

from the desk of Bob Siederer

Hello again Science Fans!

Much as we might not want to admit it, summer is nearing its end, although September is often the warmest month in the Bay Area.  Various departments at the local Universities are releasing their schedules for Fall term seminars which we, of course, list.  And if you, like me, sleep better when the sun comes up later, you have probably noticed that you are sleeping a bit longer in the morning now than you were a couple of weeks ago.  School is back in session for many Bay Area children, with the rest starting soon.  Want to get your kids more interested in science?  Here’s a list of 20 Science websites with content that might interest them, and all are free.  They might interest you too!

  1. NASA
  2. Scitable
  4. Nature
  5. ScienceDirect
  6. How Stuff Works
  7. Science Daily
  8. Scientific American
  9. Smithsonian
  10. New Scientist
  11. Science
  12. Popular Science
  13. Tree Hugger
  14. Live Science
  15. Physics Central
  16. American Association for the Advancement of Science
  17. Science News
  18. NOVA
  19. National Public Radio
  20. Public Library of Science (PLOS)

The depth of detail and audience level at each of these sites differs, but there’s sure to be one of them that interests you or someone you know. The list came from  The source article had some errors in it, so I extracted and validated the names and links for you.  And of course, there are plenty of other sites dedicated to various aspects of science and science reporting out there for you to find on your own.

My picks for the week include:

  1. Nerd Nite East Bay #78: Art and Math, Punishment and Gravitational Waves – 08/26/2019 07:00 PM in Oakland and Nerd Nite Silicon Valley #7: Giant Insects and Star Wars Law – 08/27/2019 07:00 PM in San Jose
  2. After Dark: Bottom of the 9th – 08/29/2019 06:00 PM Football season may be about to start, but at the ExplOratorium baseball still rules.
  3. Pliocene World: Earth’s Climate 3 Million Years Ago and How it Relates to our Future – 08/29/2019 07:00 PM at the USGS in Menlo Park

The Mercury News reported that California is having its mildest fire season in 20 years.  The article includes a graphic comparing the amount of acreage burned in California with the total rainfall for each year since 1994.  While thing are looking up here for this season, I’m sure you’ve read or heard about the problems in the Amazon, and the government’s lack of attention to the fires burning there.  NASA released a sequence showing the amount of carbon monoxide released into the atmosphere since the fires started on August 8.  It isn’t looking good.

Meanwhile, a field of floating rock as big at the island of Manhattan has been spotted in the Pacific.  It was created by an underwater volcanic eruption near Tonga.  Events such as this aren’t that unusual, but the size of this one is.  And their existence may help explain how some life moves from isolated places to other locations.  In fact, this one may help replenish life on the Barrier Reef!

Sometimes I ponder things that can’t be answered.  One such thing deals with what we see.  I look at the sky and see that it is blue.  You look at the sky and say the same thing.  But are you actually seeing the same thing?  Are the colors exactly the same?  There’s no way to know.  Scientists have developed a math model that helps explain how what our eyes see gets interpreted by our brains.  How to turn a little bit of information into something much larger!  It still doesn’t confirm that what I see is the same as what everyone else sees though.

Have a great week in Science!

Bob Siederer

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