David Almandsmith

SciSchmoozing to the Future

Octavia Butler Landing

From the desk of Dave Almandsmith

Percy (Perseverance Rover) has been feeling its oats, doing calisthenics, and moving about at its landing spot dubbed “Octavia Butler Landing.” ((Butler’s 1998 book, Parable of the Talents, tells of the election of the populist, misogynistic, xenophobic Andrew Steele Jarret to the White House, whose rallying cry is “Make America Great Again.” During President Jarret’s administration, white supremacist groups grow powerful.)) Jump forward a few decades and there may be a plaque placed at Octavia Butler Landing. Jump forward a few centuries and it might be a tourist site.

((I keep falling into the error of imagining that the surfa

The Undertaught Element of Critical Thinking

The Foundation for Critical Thinking has an excellent definition of “Critical Thinking”:
[T]he intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action.
Note that the above definition is no less accurate when we separate it into two elements: Element #1: The intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication. Element #2: The intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, and synthesizing evaluated information as a guide to belief and action. Element #1 skills, also known as critical evaluation skills, are not usually required to judge the quality or veracity of the information students receive in class; sch

Sputnik to Sputnik with the SciSchmooze

from the desk of Herb Masters
  Greetings Science Students!

After all I think that if you are a supporter of science or a scientist you never really stop being a student.  What an amazing time we are living in.  Do you remember the statement that started with "If they can put a man on the moon"?  It seems like such a naïve question these days.

Today we face massive challenges that may very well change how we live on the planet in our lifetimes.  Some would say that it all started back in

Travel to Mars with the SciSchmooze

from the desk of Herb Masters
  A Belated Happy Valentine's Day Science Fans,

This is a bit late for actual Valentine Day Science but it's not like we don't have the opportunity of extending some fun these days.  It's hard to imagine that we have been in the Covid-19 mode for a year now.  As they say, "it's been a hell of a year" between politics and science (note the date on that!).  These days deciding what and who to believe can be a challenge.  There are so many people with so many different ideas

SciSchmoozing into Orbit

from the desk of David Almandsmith

I just bought 25 raffle tickets for a multi-day orbital journey. Since each orbit takes about 90 minutes, i’ll make 16 orbits each day while i’m up there. First, however, i need to win the raffle. ¿Would you like to buy a few tickets? Just donate to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Each dollar you donate in February gives you one raffle ‘ticket.’ The winner will ride in a SpaceX Dragon capsule with three other folk. Because of olfactory fatigue, you shouldn’t be too concerned about spending a few days in an unventilated capsule with three others - - and no bathroom - - and no DoorDash deliveries. (Hmmm. ¿Have you read or seen “No Exit” by Jean-Paul Sartre?)


Mars Missions:

An Anniversary Schmooze

from the desk of Bob Siederer Hello again Science Fans! Tomorrow marks the anniversary of the reporting of the first COVID-19 cases in the US.  Let that sink in a bit.  In some ways it doesn't seem like it, but we've been hearing about and dealing with this virus for a year now, and it has affected all aspects of our lives. It has changed the way we work, shop, recreate, and entertain ourselves.  It has cost the lives of more than 400,000 of our friends, relatives, and neighbors.  It has contributed to an awareness of racial and economic inequality.  It has taught businesses around the world that just in time manufacturing has downsides (remember the toilet paper shortage?). We've responded in heroic fashion, with medical researchers around the world developing vaccines in record time.  Those working on the front lines, first responders, hospital personnel, super market employees, delivery people, have risked exposure to keep things going.  New treatments have lowered the percentage of cases resulting in death from over 5.9% to under 1.59%. What a difference a year can make. Going forward, there is reason to feel relief.  The Biden administration has taken over, replacing a non-existent plan to address the pandemic with promises to fix the vaccine supply issues, coordinate and prioritize at the Federal level, and provide consistent guida

Science in the Cabinet with the SciSchmooze

from the desk of Herb Masters

Greetings Science Acceptors!

I have to say that I'm having a hard time deciding what to write about this weekend.  I'm not sure about you but it has been difficult to avoid doom scrolling.  So let me share a bit of great news for a change.  In a couple of days we will have a new president.  His challenges are many and staggering to think about.  I am really encouraged by many things but this is great…  Finally there will be a Presidential Science Advisor in the

Facts and the SciSchmooze

from the desk of Herb Masters

Hello Reasonable and Science Accepting Folks,

Is it still 2020?  Is this the 42nd of December?  It has been a rough start to the new year that everybody was so hopeful about. 

Here at the SciSchmooze we focus on science, reason, and critical thinking.  Many people are struggling with what happened last week in Washington DC.  I think we have been watching a corollary of what happened for years and denying the importance of it.  The "freedom" to deny facts has morphed into something really crazy.  Many people have been able to deny facts and let that affect other people's lives to the detriment of us all. 

Consider our own home, Earth.  Over 2000 years ago Pythagoras and Aristotle figured out that the earth must be round. Eratosthenes even came up with a reasonable estimate of the circumference of the earth!

Something Old, Something New with the SciSchmooze

from the desk of David Almandsmith

Let me welcome you to 2021, dear Reader,
(In case you were wondering, 2021 is not a prime. It is the product of 43 and 47.)
I cannot welcome you to the “present” however, because as soon as i greet you at the present, it is already in the past. ¿Sophistry? Perhaps, but perspectives of time are inspirational among poets, numerous among philosophers, and contentious among physicists. (That was Sabine Hossenfelder’s video. Because i lived in Germany, my mnemonic for her surname is “Hasenfelder,” which means “fields of rabbits.”) If you really want to take a deeper-dive on this topic, check out this article or

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