Bay Area Skeptics

The San Francisco Bay Area's skeptical organization since 1982

The First SciSchmooze of Fall, 2018

by Bob Seiderer

Hello again Science Fans,

It is now officially Fall, although around here you would be hard pressed to prove it. While I realize some people miss having four seasons, I’m not one of them. Having grown up in the northeast, I’m glad to not have winter’s snows to deal with here. Still, the signs of change are there, just more subtle. One of those signs is the quantity of events on the calendar! This edition of the Schmooze lists 145 events over the next two weeks. That’s the most I’ve seen of the newsletters I’ve edited. Having this many events to pick from makes selecting just three to highlight impossible. I’d highlight three on Monday alone! So here are a few that seem unusually interesting to me:

  1. Monday: The Challenges of Self-Driving Trucks – 4PM in Berkeley, Nerd Nite East Bay – 7PM in Oakland, and Wonderfest: Big Ideas about Big Animals – 7PM in Novato, all on Monday
  2. Tuesday: Tech and the Dark Side of Prosperity – 5:30PM in San Francisco at the Commonwealth Club, and September LASER Event– 7PM at Stanford
  3. Wednesday: Foundation for the Future: Reducing Earthquake and Flood Risk along the Embarcadero Seawall – 5:30PM at the ExplOratorium, San Francisco, and taste of science: Science of taste and finding E.T. – 7PM in Palo Alto
  4. Thursday: PubScience: The CRISPR Generation – How might we edit ourselves? – 6:30PM in El Cerrito, and The 150th Anniversary of the Damaging 1868 Hayward Earthquake – 7 PM at the USGS in Menlo Park
  5. Friday: Friday Nights @ CHM: The Silicon Valley Science Fiction Short Film Festival – 5PM in Mountain View
  6. Sunday: Community Science Day – 11AM in Berkeley

Synthetic Biology Week begins on Sunday, 9/30. SynBioBeta 2018 is a conference that includes some free, public events, some of which are listed on our calendar.

Ever since Man began exploring Space, we’ve been leaving stuff behind. It isn’t bad enough that we clutter up our home, but we have to do it to space also. Perhaps we’ll finally do something about it. A test of technology designed to capture space junk was successful, and there is video to prove it. After viewing the video and watching the “junk” wriggle around, it reminded me of a freshly caught fish!

Another article I came across deals with climate change and ice loss and how we’re improving our ability to measure this loss. However, the editing and writing are so poor that I’m sharing the article for that reason, not necessarily because of the subject. We often write here about the need to communicate science topics to the public effectively. This article is a great example of how NOT to do that. I’m going to quote the second paragraph of the original article just in case they decide to fix it:

The satellite, ICESat-2, which is traveling every 91 days, is the size of a Smart car and will send lasers back down to Earth countless times in order to give scientists a precise measurement—down to within a centimeter—of the planet’s polar ice sheets and how they’re changing, according to the agency.

Traveling every 91 days? Where’s it going? Sending lasers back down to Earth? I sure hope I don’t get hit by one! Perhaps he meant laser beams? But I suppose that I’m asking a lot given that the source of the article is Fox News.

Here’s the link to the original.

On that note…have a great week in Science!

Bob Siederer

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