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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

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
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

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… 

DON’T PANIC it’s the SciSchmooze

from the desk of Herb Masters

HELLO TO MOMS WHO LOVE SCIENCE and to everyone who had a mom as well.

I hope that you have been having a unique Mother's Day.  When I think back on the lessons of life on a day like this I realize that my mom didn't teach me this about towels.  In two weeks that might be really relevant.  Have you ever wished you could learn from the future and be able to avoid it or make the best of it

I don't know about you but I'm kind of tired of Covid-19 all the time.  I'm sure that you have seen plenty of resources and websites with info about i

from the desk of David Almandsmith

Hello fans of science,
I mentioned Zooniverse many moons ago and it merits a repeat recommendation. “Zooniverse gives people of all ages and backgrounds the chance to participate in real research with over 50 active online citizen science projects.” Currently I’m identifying marine invertebrates in the ocean depths off the coast of Norway - from the dining room table! Cool.
Then there’s CatchAFire where you can volunteer online to assist a non-profit. Currently they have 149 non-profits looking for help.
SciStarter has another set of science projects eager for online volunteers.
from the desk of Bob Siederer

Hello again Fans of Science!

Welcome to the end of week six of the shelter-in-place order for the Bay Area.  I hope you are all coping well.  It feels nice to have warmer weather, even if just enjoyed from indoors!

To start, a word or three on our calendar.  Once we list an event, we don't remove it for cancellations or date changes, we just update it.  These are very dynamic times.  While most event sponsors are updating their web pages, a few are not, and we're forced to leave a listing as is rather than speculate whether or not it is actually happening.  Since the shelter in place orders only extend through May 4 (so far), some organizations have announced events after that date that are in-person events.  We expect many of those will be canceled, but as of now, they are scheduled.  So, before you go to something, verify that it is actually taking place. 

One of our favorite events, the Lick Observatory summer series of talks, concerts, and telescope viewings has been canceled for this year.  Also note that Neil Degrasse Tyson's talks in San Jose for May 11 and 12 have been rescheduled for May 24 and 25, 2021.

Many events have moved online, which is great.  I watched the monthly "SETI Talks" from home this week.  One

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