Bay Area Skeptics

The San Francisco Bay Area's skeptical organization since 1982

Celebrate Thankscience with the SciSchmooze

In the 1920’s, Edwin Hubble recognized that our universe is expanding. The Hubble Space Telescope is names for him.
Researchers prepare to deploy buoys below the frozen surface of Siberia’s Lake Baikal as part of a telescope to detect neutrinos from space.

Hello Science Lovers and Shoppers, and Happy Birthday Ed.

I have not paid much attention to what is coming up on the calendar for awhile. Needless to say I had no idea that Thanksgiving is just a few days away! It’s been a crazy year and I have to say I’m looking forward to it being 2024. Aside from my friends, I am also thankful for applied science. For instance, science based medicine, recently it’s been big in the life of friends, family, and myself. Watching people get excited about science and understanding a little bit better is always very cool. I think it is how we come to understand most of what we know about just about everything. Especially when you use art to enhance and inspire. Sadly, politics has gotten too involved in the process of science though.

One of many cool natural phenomena that happen this time of year is the migration and wintering over of Western Monarch Butterflies in California’s State Parks. If you haven’t been to see the monarchs you really should. If you have consider this a reminder to do it again!

I’m still grappling with genetics, I was never a very good student in the life sciences. (herb says… Please at least read the abstracts and intros to the following links.) There is much to learn but science often gives us hints as we learn more about a subject that should make us be more careful until we really know. Consider fetal alcohol syndrome for instance. I, like many guys (and probably a lot of women), never thought much about the epigenetic effect of alcohol on sperm. Not so though, sperm carry a vast amount of epigenetic information.

You have probably heard about TikTok and maybe fallen down the time/webhole watching it. The question of privacy is a common issue there, but how about your car? The wider discussion of this and what’s in your refrigerator is telematics. You might want to think about it when you are buying the latest tech for the holidays for yourself or as gifts.

Speaking of gifts, I can’t stress enough how we should be making good decisions about gifts, especially during the holidays. I think the best gifts are those that engage people and make them curious and want to think. It’s also a chance to turn someone on to what you think is cool! (after the 3rd paragraph, you may not want to give so much alcohol as gifts!-} For my take on gifts I think that museum stores are the places to go. Whether you want art, history, or SCIENCE gifts we have local museums all over the bay area to take care of your gift list. Your patronage there supports the institution and it is a local business as well. Not only that, consider joining it, the discount you get on quality gifts may cover the cost of admission and get you in for a full year! I know there are others, but I recently discovered REACH & TEACH local business in San Carlos. “Reach and Teach – Books, Toys, and Fair Trade Gifts is a highly interactive and hands-on immersive environment focused on peacemaking, gender equality, and sustainable living.” They also have a lot of great science and tinkering stuff for mostly youth but I have to admit I know a lot of adults that would love and learn from them as well. It really is a cool place. There’s a ton of restaurants, pubs, and shopping options there as well. (OK, that’s a pitch for San Carlos in addition to R&T!) Here’s something else to consider…

We’re heading into the holiday breaks and the number of presentations in and around the SF Bay Area is lower as usual. Don’t be too concerned though, there’s still more than you could attend if you tried to make it to them all!

1- Astronomy on Tap Tucson #93: The Dark Matter Double Feature – Livestream – 11/21/2023 06:30 PM
2- Science Saturday: Monarch Madness – 11/25/2023 10:00 AM
3- Family Astronomy: The Moon and Tides – 11/25/2023 06:00 PM

Here are a few articles I have seen recently that I have been saving to share with you…

The First Scientist’s Guide to Truth: Alhazen on Critical Thinking

It’s a bit of a cliche that tourists screw it up wherever they go

A Slow-Moving Disaster in California looks like a good holiday read.

Opinion: To Boost Gender Equity in the Sciences, Follow the Evidence

Did you know that the origin of the pentaradial body plan of echinoderms from a bilateral ancestor is one of the most enduring zoological puzzles1,2Starfish are walking heads with their buttholes pointed to the sky.

Here’s a News in Brief from Science Magazine for further reading!

We don’t endorse or get compensated for anything we list here. Every once in awhile we do come across something that looks interesting and fun. Mathematics: A Quick Revue falls under that category. It says “The show is a celebration of mathematics and the performing arts intended for the general public.”

Learn some Science Lessons from Thanksgiving Traditions this week!
herb masters

Forget the yule log on TV… put a loop of this on your screen! (Find some better music though!)

“Since you cannot do good to all, you are to pay special attention to those who, by the accidents of time, or place, or circumstances, are brought into closer connection with you.” Saint Augustine

“I celebrated Thanksgiving in an old-fashioned way. I invited everyone in my neighborhood to my house, we had an enormous feast, and then I killed them and took their land.” Jon Stewart

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