David Almandsmith

The Room, the Elephant and the SciSchmooze

Jupiter’s northern hemisphere jet stream. Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech/SoRI/MSSS

Hello again fans of Science and Reason.

Particularly if the later is part of your DNA, then your head is probably spinning this week following two decisions by the US Supreme Court, one on guns, the other on abortion. We can’t ignore the elephant and blithly go on talking about events in the science community this week without addressing these but we’ll add some science to the debates.

For a historical perspective on the Court’s decision to remove a constitutional right from the American people (the first time that has happened, and one considered a fundamental right by most liberal democracies in the world) I’ll provide a link to 

Butting Heads with the SciSchmooze

Butting heads - Not good for Musk Oxen or People

It was given knowledge that a musk ox is protected from concussive brain injury by having an intracranial air pocket and a very broad horn. Research now shows they suffer from chronic traumatic encephalopathy - just like boxers and American football players - and may suffer some degree of dementia. The researchers surmise that mild dementia in a musk ox - unlike with humans - probably doesn’t much affect its life. 

SciSchmoozing around the Edges

Brown Bess, a muzzle-loading smoothbore musket from the Revolutionary War

The U.S. Constitution as of 1791 held that:

  • Slavery was legal;
  • For census purposes, slaves counted as ⅗ of a person;
  • Slaves and women were not entitled to vote;
  • People had the right to bear muzzle-loaded firearms.

The only “Arms” covered by the Constitution’s 2nd Amendment were single shot weapons that had to be 

SciSchmoozing through Categories

Sagittarius A* Black Hole proxy -- © Krispy Kreme

Recently your SciSchmooze has come all too often with ‘cosmic’ images: Sunday’s lunar eclipse, a solar eclipse by Phobos, low temperatures of the James Webb Space Telescope, Hubble’s image of Earendel, etc., etc. This week i was planning on an image of something closer to home, but along came the image of the supermassive black hole that warps space and time at the center of our galaxy. In spite of my intentions, the first ‘category’ is again, “SPACE.”


SPACE

Sgr A* (pronounced “Sagittarius A-star”) is our galaxy’s supermassive black hole. It has never been observed, only surmised, 

Celebrating Mothers with the SciSchmooze

A Lunar Eclipse - Getty Images

Hello again fans of Science!

Today is Mother’s Day, that day where we honor mothers everywhere. I had always thought that, while certainly mothers are worth celebrating, the day itself was the invention of the hospitality industry. Not so!

According to historian and fellow Substack writer Heather Cox Richardson, 

Getting Spacey with the SciSchmooze

This image of a star was taken as part of the evaluation process as the James Webb Space Telescope’s mirror segments were carefully aligned. Credit: NASA/STScl

Hello again Science fans!

When I last wrote the SciSchmooze a month ago, the war in Ukraine had just started. Little did I expect things would go in the directions they have. From the attacks on civilians, health care facilities, and whole cities, to the resistance, ingenuity, and persistence of the Ukrainian people and army, this has been a month full of surprises. News r


Ukrainian Sunflowers & the SciSchmooze

Sunflower field in Ukraine

Hello again, faithful follower of science,

It’s been a stressful week for the world. I made a small donation to UNICEF. I trust you are also doing what’s right.

Now for science:


CLIMATE CHANGE

The United Nations report, “Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability,” was released last week by the Intergove


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