Bay Area Skeptics

The San Francisco Bay Area's skeptical organization since 1982

from the desk of Herb Masters

Greetings Science Fans,

Are you ready for the next New Year celebration?  How about Saturday January 25th?  It’s time for the Lunar New Year.  Known by many names it is also the Year of the Rat.  Don’t get me wrong on this, I don’t for a minute believe in astrology, but I am reminded of the Pizza Rat!  It seems that we are by our very nature prone to using stories to explain ourselves.  Stories are a great insight into a culture.  We see something and we tend to wonder how or why it is the way it is.  I personally think science is a great tool for sorting out the fact from fiction of the stories of our experiences.  I think science (including technology) and art are very similar in that they are both ways we hope to better understand “everything”.  Even the meaning of 42 seems to have a question!  You might even wonder Why the Laws of Physics Are Inevitable.

I really think it is important for all (or at least a lot of us) to get involved in sharing the stories that help us understand.  This is your last reminder of one excellent opportunity to learn new stories and retell them in your style.  On Jan 26th you should consider the Volunteer Information Session at the California Academy of Sciences

Just before the end of the lunar year, NASA is going to have what looks like an interesting program about the Spitzer Space Telescope that will soon be ending.  Be sure to watch NASA Say Goodbye to One of Agency’s Great Observatories this Wed 1.22.20 @ 10:00 AM PST.  Here’s a sample of amazing images from the last 10 years (not just Spitzer).

This coming week offers, as usual, a whole lot of stories and learning opportunities.  Consider these…

  1. Unintended Consequences of Autonomous Vehicles   Tue 6:00 Sunnyvale
  2. Wild Northern California Watersheds   Sat 1:30 Sausalito
  3. Salmon Spawning Field Trip  Sun 10:00  Lagunitas

A special note about Thursday… at the explO it’s After Dark: Flights of Fancy and last night of Glow: Festival of Lights, at the CalAcademy it’s Lunar New Year Nightlife, and at the USGS it’s The Rise of the USGS in Space Exploration  

A few more ruminations…
Can science understand everything?
A parrot has a question for humans.
Fear is Nothing But an Illusion

Have a great week learning new cool things about life, the universe, and us.

herb masters

‘How often people speak of art and science as though they were two entirely different things, with no interconnection. An artist is emotional, they think, and uses only his intuition; he sees all at once and has no need of reason. A scientist is cold, they think, and uses only his reason; he argues carefully step by step, and needs no imagination. That is all wrong. The true artist is quite rational as well as imaginative and knows what he is doing; if he does not, his art suffers. The true scientist is quite imaginative as well as rational, and sometimes leaps to solutions where reason can follow only slowly; if he does not, his science suffers.‘  Isaac Asimov “Prometheus,” The Roving Mind (1983)

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