WILLFUL COVIDNORANCE with the SciSchmooze

from the desk of Herb Masters

Hello Fans of Science, Facts, and Reason

My apologies in advance but I find I must rant.

First off, I accept that the news and media can distort the scale of a problem.  Given that, there seems to be a significant number of people that seem to demonstrate a vast capacity for WILLFUL COVIDNORANCE.  I think this is a subset of willful ignorance.  It seems to be largely contained to a group of covidiots who are willing to put family and friends as well as coworkers at risk as well as themselves.  It doesn't seem to be as big of a problem here in the SF Bay Area and especially in San Mateo County where I live as it is in other parts of the state and country.  Let me be clear about one more thing.  I spent 25 years working in emergency services.  I treated every person I came into c

from the desk of Herb Masters

Greetings Science Supporters,

You can't say these aren't interesting times!  Let's, for a brief moment, look at the big picture.  It's not spring anymore!  There has been a lot going on that isn't related to the problems we are facing here on earth that is either uplifting or uplooking!  Even the news today casts a shadow over what we can enjoy in the universe and right here on good ol' planet Earth. 

Though I have to admit I haven't seen it yet, there is a great night show going on.  Neowise sounds like some sort of pseudointellectual slang

R-E-S-P-E-C-T with the SciSchmooze

from the desk of David Almandsmith

Greetings from Southern California!
 
Yes, i escaped in my Prius with masks, hand sanitizer, two cats, and my partner, Carmen, to her brother's home in Carmensbad. I am pleased to report that even here, nearly everybody is wearing masks in public. With all the kerfuffle around mask wearing, just consider: in countries where it has been mandated, they have gone on to stomping the curve flat.

If you missed a major fireworks display on the 4th, you may have done your body a favor.

On July 6th, just 31 years ago, the first photograph of a red sprite was made, proving it was a real phenomenon; not understood, but real. Today they are fairly well understoo

Seeing the Light with the SciSchmooze

from the desk of Bob Siederer

Hello again Science fans!

Summertime!  Just the word can evoke memories of fireworks, days at the pool or lake, family road trips, camps, food from the grill...I'm sure you can add to this list from your own memories.  More now than when I was a child, summer vacation may no longer mean time off from learning as there are many good opportunities for school aged children to further their education during the summers, especially in scientific areas.

UC Merced is starting a series of webinars aimed at middle and high school students and teachers this week.  You can see the full list here.  Seminars range from single to multi-day sessions and include some general topics on how to be ready for college in the STEM fields.

Of course, the coronavirus crisis has changed how we'll conduct ourselves this summer.  It is really disconcerting to see the number of cases rising so rapidly in some areas of the country that weren't initially that seriously affected.  I've pointed you to the

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

Equity and Thinking at the SciSchmooze

from the desk of Herb Masters

Hello Science Supporters,

It's been a few weeks since I took to the keyboard for the SciSchmooze.  It has been a terrible time in many ways. I don't want to list all of the topics and items that I could write about as many are so important and expansive that I am simply not able to make that much of a contribution.  Right up front let me say that the murder of George Floyd seems to have triggered a long delayed national discussion about the underlying current of racism and its' effect in every neighborhood in this country.  I hope that everyone whether they have actively protested or not, stop and reflect on what some of the best of our society stands for and does.  Equally important is that we must reflect on the problems that exist where we don't see them.  We really need to acknowledge this and I believe we all need to stand up when we see something that is wrong and shine light on it.  Whatever you think of the phrase "Black Lives Matter", understand that they do.  Black lives are an important indicator of how we

Schmoozing in Solidarity: Black Lives Matter

from the desk of Meenakshi Prabhune

The murder of George Floyd has reawakened the nation to speak up against police brutality targeting African Americans. While there have been nationwide protests in the last two weeks to raise awareness and concerns about the racism in America, “What can I do to help in the long run?” is perhaps the most common question I have heard in discussions. This thorough Anti-Racism Resources guide is a great starter with compilation of resources around where to donate, what petitions exist, and what to read for further delving into these issues.

Here are some ideas that I would like to emphasize:

Speak up: “See something say something” is not just for the airport. If you witness injustice, do speak up; it can make a huge difference. One such strong example from two weeks back is the

SciSchmoozing into Orbit

from the desk of David Almandsmith

Greetings, All,
 
I just watched Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken gain an amazing amount of kinetic energy as they rode a commercial rocket up to the ISS. Just before the 2nd stage rocket engine shut down, I noted that they were gaining a bit more than 100 km/hr every second.  My slide rule says that is about a 3g acceleration; more than my electric motorcycle delivers. After rocket shutdown, they deployed their Dragon Capsule “Zero G Indicator”, looking remarkably like a shiny toy dragon. (As an airplane pilot, I just watched my pencil float about the cabin.) [The Dragon Capsule docked with the ISS

Living and Learning with the SciSchmooze

from the desk of Bob Siederer

Hello again Science fans!  We hope you are enjoying this very different Memorial Day weekend!

The changes brought to our daily lives by the coronavirus and the shelter-in-place orders give us lots of opportunities to learn new things, both about ourselves and about subjects we might not normally pay attention to.  I was reminded of this earlier this week.  I attended (virtually) NightSchool, a new online talk from the California Academy of Sciences that is sometimes taking the place of their weekly NightLife sessions.  NightLife is aimed at the 21 and over crowd and includes four hours of music, dancing, talks, planetarium shows, and a weekly theme.  It is a very popular place to see and be seen, to meet new friends, and learn things.

This NightSchool was a virtual tour of the universe.  Ryan Wyatt, Senior Director of the Morrison Planetarium at the museum used a version of the software that runs the spectacular planetarium dome to "fly" around the solar system, the Milky Way, and the Universe on our home computer screens.  Ryan gave a fairly basic introduction to what we were seeing.  While watching and listening I was also reading the real time comments coming in and was amazed at the lack of knowledge of many of the posters.  Then I came to a realization

Science counts even more! Your SciSchmooze

from the desk of Herb Masters

Greetings Fans of Science,

We certainly are living in a very strange time.  It's hard to separate the facts from the fiction and lies these days without discussing politics.  Generally, we try to leave the politics out of the science here at the Schmooze but please forgive us when we just can't let some things go unaddressed.  I have written many times about my belief that "science and art" are the best tools we have to survive in and understand the universe we share and wonder about.  The denial of the science, and the evidence of the science, of probably the biggest challenge shared by all on the planet in a bit over 100 years is astonishing and frightening to me.  That this denial is being prompted, spread, and even generated within, by some members of our own government is truly shocking.  That so many people seem to want to deny the facts at not only their own risk but those they may love as well leaves me speechless. 

When we hear claims that the effects of Covid-19 have been far less than predicted I can't help but reflect on what was going on just over 20 years ago and the accusations of what a hoax it was.  Consider this… 

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