Bay Area Skeptics

The San Francisco Bay Area's skeptical organization since 1982

from the desk of Herb Masters

Hello Reader of the Science Persuasion!

As I understand it…  Throughout history and prehistory, humans would observe something and try to understand it.  I think it is our nature to try and understand.  Early on there was little information to help understand what they were observing or experiencing.  This might be the reason there have been or are so many gods.  Over the years more things were observed and humans began to establish an understanding of what was real and what was supernatural.  They even tried to understand more about what real things, like progressing from the original four elements of earth, water, fire, and air to the periodic table, which has many  variations  itself!  This probably led to the concept, practice, and acceptance of science.  To quote many in the public eye, “I am not a scientist”.  I think I have a reasonable understanding of science and accept it as the best tool we have to understand much of what goes on in our universe and how to hopefully make life better here.  Many think there is a conflict between science and the various foundations of the many faiths of the world.  I leave that to those who want to debate it.  I’m not really interested in that discussion.  Consider the age old question of which came first and why

(Please bear with me on this.  For some reason the info that mailchimp is adding to the links I have included is randomly not working.  They test fine for me, but they don’t come through the mail.  If you get a bad link if you look at the link itself you will see that other info has been added after the / or ?.  It looks like this…  mc_cid=23f527985f&mc_eid=[UNIQID]   If you strip that stuff off you should be able to see what I’m pointing you to. Needless to say this is why this is so late coming out to you!  herb)

That was a long way of saying that when we find out the results of the collective decisions made on November 3, 2020, our collective understanding of science, reason, and facts will have had a great influence on what our future looks like.  I can’t emphasize it enough that voting is what allows progress to happen but can also result in regressive actions as well if it is not done by an informed, reasonable, rational, and contemplative community.  I like to think that if you are reading this, you part of this community. 

This week is part of the new normal!  We don’t get to go to interesting presentations and ask informed speakers insightful questions.  That doesn’t mean that there aren’t opportunities to learn cool new things.  The Bay Area Science Festival is happening!    Consider this, Reaching for the Heavens – Celebrating 30 years of the Hubble Space Telescope – Livestream this Tuesday.  Halloween trivia…  If you were born after Oct 31, 2000, during your entire life a few humans at a time have continuously been living in space on the ISS!  Here’s how you can actually see it.  You and many more missed the flyby of Halley’s Comet in 1986.  This week you may be able to see some of what’s left of it and soon an asteroid will get a “fist bump” of sorts.

We recently lost another scientist we should have known better.  She was a major player in helping to protect threatened species.  Just what do you think of when you picture a scientist?  I hope we get a chance to share that soon.

Some fun food science items came across my monitor this week.  Check out How Artisanal French Butter Is Made and A Disturbing Twinkie That Has, So Far, Defied Science

Last week I suggested that The Making of my Octopus Teacher was worth your attention.  There’s an interesting follow up to it…  The Making of My Octopus Teacher  If you have been feeling a little distracted in these times of covid.  You might want to consider if It Pays to Be a Space Case

I share this with you only because it is amazing, even though good science isn’t necessarily part of the story here!  Meet the Opossum Lady, the Undisputed Queen  I hope you enjoy.

Have a great election; I’ll be back at the SciSchmooze Sunday after the elections.

herb masters

“Science literacy isn’t about figuring out how to solve equations like E=MC². Rather, it’s about being able to read an article in the newspaper about the environment, about health care and figuring out how to vote on it. It’s about being able to prepare nutritious meals. It’s about being able to think your way through the day.”  — Mae C. Jemison, M.D., Astronaut

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