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David Almandsmith

¿Whales Schmoozing with Scientists?

Humpback Whale: Courtesy of HawaiiLife.com

Hello again science fans! Kumusta muli mga tagahanga ng agham! [Three out of every 100 people in the Bay Area speak Tagalog/Filipino at home.]


In 1967, Roger Payne and Scott McVay discovered that sounds made by male humpback whales were complex arrangements that lasted as long as 30 minutes before being repeated. Multiple males even sang in unison. From year to year some ‘phrases’ were replaced by new ones. ¿Language? More recently we’ve learned that brain anatomy suggests whales could be capable of language. Also, t

Bob Siederer
March 24, 2024

Coronal loops on the Sun, captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory.

Hello again Science fans and welcome to another SciSchmooze!

There are 87 events on the calendar over the next two weeks. My picks include:

  1. Wonderfest: BLACKBERRY and Corporate Psychology - 03/26/2024 05:00 PM
  2. The Psychology of Misinformation and Its Remedies&nb

SciSchmoozing the Past & the Present

Face of a Denisovan based on DNA alone. Credit: Maayan Harel/Hebrew University

科学迷们,大家好!(Hello again science fans!)

Neanderthals (H. neanderthalensis) and Denisovans (H. denisova ??) interbred at various times and places. (The “??” following H. denisova refers to the current situation where insufficient Denisovan fossils exist to firmly classify them.) Modern humans interbred with Neanderthals so today we H. sapiens have varying snippets of DNA derived from Denisovans. Also, study of blood types of these three groups suggest that Rh incompatibility may have affected the health of some hybrids. (By the way, D

Taking a Leap with the SciSchmooze

Bob Siederer
Feb 26 2024

JWST NIRCam image of SN 1987A, the remnants of a supernova in the Large Magellanic Cloud

Hello again Science Fans!

This year is a leap year, when one day is added to the calendar to account for the difference between the tropical year and the common year. The tropical year is the time it takes Earth to make one complete orbit around the Sun, or 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 45 seconds. It would be pretty difficult to have a calendar that matched that exactly, so we use the common year length of 365 days. That means we fall slightly behind the actual year by almost 1/4 day. So every 4 years (with exceptions) we add one day to the calendar, that being February 29, to get back in synch, more or less.

Back in the day, namely 46 BC, the Julian cal

Storm Schmoozing

14th and Mission, San Francisco, 12/31/2023. (Gideon Rubin/Patch)

Hola, fans de la ciencia,

“Toto, I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.” Hurricanes and tornadoes and floods, oh my! ¿Tornadoes in California? Yes. Nine tornadoes were documented in California during 2023 with Los Angeles County getting three of those. A friend’s house in SoCal had part of her roof torn off during a storm in early January leaving a 5 meter strip of metal flashing grotesquely twisted. Several of her close neighbors had metal panels ripped off their carports at the same time. ¿Was that a tornado? There’s not enough evidence to know but if so, it only qualified for an EF0 rating on the 

SciSchmoozing a Thought Experiment

Hello again science fans!

I hope your new year is off to a pleasant start and i trust the new year will bring joy along with a few minor unavoidable travails and challenges. And if learning new things brings you joy - read on!

¿If an advanced species of vertebrate arose hundreds of millions of years ago and invented - all in the space of only 10,000 years - agriculture, mathematics, automobiles, jet airplanes, atomic power, and spaceflight before self-destructing, how would we know about it? That’s the crux of the thought experiment called the “

SciSchmoozing at COP28

Heads of state at COP28 in Dubai — Credit: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Dear reader,
Welcome aboard for a flight on this week’s SciSchmooze. {Snacks optional.}


¿Why is the climate conference taking place called “COP28”? Because it’s easier than calling it the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference Of the Parties #28. ¿And why is it being held in Dubai, a country where fossil fuels account for over 4% of its revenue?  [The United States is the world’s largest producer of fossil fuels - Ed.]; a country that denies entry to travelers who ‘might’ protest government policies?; a country that does not confer upon its own citizens the right to protest? However, things change - at least temporarily. 

Drifting along with the SciSchmooze

Storm Ciarán flooding, Dorset, England - Courtesy Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images

Dear science fans,

Storm Ciarán bashed England and left many thousands without power across Western Europe last week. 

The Panama Canal is restricting shipping since a drought left the region without enough fresh water to operate the locks for normal ship traffic. Some container ships had to off-load enough containers to meet weight restrictions. The container

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