Bay Area Skeptics

The San Francisco Bay Area's skeptical organization since 1982

Science works with the SciSchmooze

from the desk of Herb Masters

Welcome to Summer?

Where were you on Saturday, June 20, 2020 at 21:43 GMT?  Yes, it was another one of those amazing phenomena that you can’t really sense without “tools”.  You may have missed catching an annular eclipse today as well!  It’s amazing how there always seems to be something amazing going on that science helps us understand, even when we humans are so engaged or distracted, depending on your point of view, by what is going on in our lives and the news.  I think most of the graduation ceremonies are over now.  I’d like to share what I think was one of the best I’ve seen.  John de Lancie really nails it.  It’s a great one for all of us to watch.  Don’t wait until the next graduation, watch it now and share it far and wide.

Bear with me on this if you don’t mind.  The last few months have, I think, shown the need for understanding science by everyone especially leaders.  For a society or government to actually respond effectively to something like a pandemic, there really does have to be knowledge, leadership, and trustThoughts and prayers just aren’t going to solve problems like a pandemic, climate change or cultural inequity.  Science, I think, is the best tool we have.  Informing or teaching the public is a real challenge.

We lost a great science reporter, writer, and educator this week.  Many of us hope for a long fulfilling retirement.  However, David Perlman only retired in 2017, so you might think 3 years would be a short retirement.  (Note that 37 seconds into the video you can see a picture of Frank Oppenheimer at the early explOratorium.  David was a key player in getting it established.)  The catch is he was 98 when he retired from the SF Chronicle!  So much for a long retirement!  If however, you love what you do so much that it doesn’t really seem like work, maybe you are already retired!  Thank you David. 

As things are starting to open up, though normal is yet to be described or defined, I hope you will continue to use what we have learned from the past to help you navigate what is coming.  Many of the organizations that we have on the calendar will probably be careful and slow to create many live presentations for awhile or they may offer an opportunity to a small audience and on line at the same time.  There’s no substitute for a live audience!

With so many opportunities on line I’m not listing a few as I normally do.  Time and distance are not a hindrance to checking things out.  Try a few different ones and if you aren’t taken by one don’t feel like you have to stay.  Try another one that is happening at the same time.  I will highlight one for Pride Month though… Full-Spectrum Science: Rainbows – Livestream is this Thursday @ 7:00.  It will be available on line afterwards as well.  Here’s something if you would like a bit of summer distant learning

I hope that you enjoy some of these diversions…

-Since it’s Father’s Day 
Look, it’s the moon.
-Check this one out.  I can’t help but think of how my understanding of science (anatomy and physics) helps me appreciate this even more.  Note: color in 1938.
-I’m not a fan of flies but this is amazing.  They don’t really make you think of June Magic  be sure to listen to Goo and you for extra credit.
-Julia Clarke grew up here in the SF Bay Area but has gone on to many amazing discoveries.  Did you hear about “The Thing” on NPR?

Let’s hope summer goes better than spring did.

herb masters

“Scientific research is based on the idea that everything that takes place is determined by laws of nature, and therefore this holds for the actions of people. For this reason, a research scientist will hardly be inclined to believe that events could be influenced by a prayer, i.e. by a wish addressed to a supernatural Being.
However, it must be admitted that our actual knowledge of these laws is only imperfect and fragmentary, so that, actually, the belief in the existence of basic all-embracing laws in Nature also rests on a sort of faith. All the same this faith has been largely justified so far by the success of scientific research.”
  — Albert Einstein

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