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David Almandsmith

SciSchmoozing Our Warming Planet

Greenland’s rapidly shrinking Helheim Glacier (Photo by Nick Cobbing © Greenpeace International)

Welcome dear science-aware reader,

I’ve been slogging through The Climate Book created through the efforts of Greta Thunberg. It is an astounding collection of 84 short ‘essays’ by scientists, economists, visionaries, philosophers, and respected authors. The book has 5 sections:

– How Climate Works
– How Our Planet is Changing
– How It Affects Us
– What We’ve Done About It
– What We Must Do Now

SciSchmoozing the Egg Shortage

Welcome dear science-appreciative reader,

When Avian Influenza H5N1 is detected in one chicken on an egg farm, it and all of the tens of thousands of other chickens there are destroyed. Over 50 million birds in the U.S. were destroyed this way last year. ¿Why not vaccinate chickens? It isn’t expensive. It’s because eggs and chickens sold for food are tested for infection and the vaccine causes a positive result. A vaccinated bird appears to be an infected bird and cannot be exported for food. ¿What is the danger of eating an infected bird or egg? 

SciSchmoozing Extinction & Life

Thylacine - Credit: Al Jazeera

Thank you, dear reader, for joining us again and for your kind comments.

Christmas Island Rat, Wooly Mammoth, Passenger Pigeon, Thylacine (a marsupial: carries newborns in a pouch). These animals are extinct but efforts are currently underway to “bring them back.” In each case, researchers are compiling the complete genomes of the extinct animals using frozen carcasses and museum specimens. This 26-minute video on current efforts to de-extinct the Thylacine is fascinating and well-crafted. Personally, i question efforts to de-extinct the Passenger Pigeon. It traveled in flocks numbering in the hundreds of millions that stripped crops and orchards and left towns covered in Passenger Pigeon poop. Best of course is to

SciSchmoozing into 2023

An option in 2023?

Happy New Year, science fans. Thank you for joining me today.

As technology promises better and longer lives, the ‘situation on the ground’ is dismal for much of the world’s 8 billion people - but over the long arc of history, “it’s getting better.” As we and our neighbors and our children tune into how alike we all are - emotionally and physiologically - caring for ‘strangers’ becomes easier. I’m expecting 2023 to show progress in this regard. Consider this for a New Year’s Resolution: I will increase the range of people that I consider to be coequal with myself, deserving of the same rights, dignities, and protections. (Tim Minchin gives an 

SciSchmoozing Curses

Belief in ‘Wicked’ Witchcraft

Dear reader, so glad you’re reading this. Let me start by laying out some work we need to do.

I love maps of all kinds. The map above is based on Pew Research data of the percentage of people who agreed that "certain people can cast curses or spells that cause bad things to happen to someone." The stippled countries are those with insufficient data. No country had less than 9% of its population believing in wicked witchcraft. 

Vote SciSchmooze for Emperox

Lunar Eclipse - Election - Asteroid

Hello, my fellow Earthlings. So glad you are reading this.

Tuesday at 0-dark-30 the entire moon will be fully covered by Earth’s shadow. (2:17 a.m. Pacific) It will begin emerging from the shadow at 3:42 a.m. Andrew Fraknoi has provided an informational page on the event.

Tuesday at 7 a.m. the polls open in California and will stay open until 8 p.m. The SciSchmooze isn’t really running for Emperox (cf. 

SciSchmoozing Halloween Horrors

Courtesy McGill University

Hello again, dear science fan,

No one - arguably - knows more about ghost hunting than Kenny Biddle. At this year’s SkeptiCal, he shared stories from his ghost-hunting forays, including the techniques and the electronic instrumentation he used. Some years ago, however, Biddle did a turn-around, climbed out of the ghost-hunting rabbit hole, and became a scientific skeptic joining the likes of Carl Sagan, Neil deGrasse Tyson, et al. Read about his ‘conversion’ here as told by Jonathan Jarry, a recent SkepTalk presenter.

On Target with the SciSchmooze

DART Clobbers Dimorphos

Dear science aware reader, 

Last Monday, September 26, the 600 kg DART spacecraft struck the 4.8 billion kg asteroid Dimorphos. An Italian CubeSat detached from DART 15 days earlier to take pictures of the collision with cameras Leia and Luke. The collision ‘should’ slow the asteroid’s speed by 2 cm/sec from its initial (stellar) velocity of about 2.3 million cm/sec (about 0.00009%). It is impossible to directly measure that tiny change in velocity, but it ‘should’ detectably alter Dimorphos’ orbit around Didymos, its parent asteroid weighing in at 523 billion kg. A spacecraft named Hera will launch in 2024 and rendezvous with the asteroids in 2027 to study effects of last Monday’s experiment. Stay tuned!

SciSchmoozing Earth


Happy Labor Day dear reader,

I recall the first time i saw a geochron clock on the wall of my hometown bank. Instantly i knew where in the world there was sunrise, sunset, night, and day. It lifted me for several minutes from living in a town in California with a few thousand others to living on an entire planet with its billions. Perspective. Perspectives grow. After a year in Berlin, Deutschland, earning a degree in biology, volunteering with the Peace Corps in Lesotho, helping to establish a wildlife rescue organization, having kids, etc., etc., my perspectives are multifaceted and messy - sort of like a cluttered attic. What stays with me is the reality of living on a planet with billions of others and sharing responsibility for protecting the whole.

You can have a geochron clock for your very own if you are willi

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