Bay Area Skeptics

The San Francisco Bay Area's skeptical organization since 1982
Vaneeza Rupani,a junior at Tuscaloosa County High School in Northport, Alabama named NASA’s Mars Helicopter

from the desk of Herb Masters

Hello Fans of Science and Reason,

I was so hoping to be able to get this out in time to remind you to watch NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter take flight this afternoon.  Sadly Ingenuity has been told to wait a couple of sols.  It is amazing that this is all happening here under the direction of people here on earth but it has to do it by itself!  At least they aren’t chasing stories of little green men

We’re now over a year in to the covid pandemic.  It has been a sad and tragic year for many people.  It is also a remarkable testament to the power of and understanding of how science works.  One of the stars of helping us understand it is Ed Yong.  We have come a long way in understanding and learning how to control the virus.  There have also been many people pushing  the denial of the problem against all we know about science and many scams as well.  We all need to stand up to misinformation and lies.  It hasn’t always brought out the best in us either.  The distribution challenges have been an incredible problem.  These haven’t always brought out the best in us.  Trying to get ahead of the line for vaccines that others may need more hasn’t been one of our finer responses.  It has even lead to some warranted and unwarranted Vaccine Guilt!  That’s the thing about science, it continues to grow, understand, learn, and correct itself when it got something wrong.  Tricks websites use to make you say yesHas the Era of Overzealous Cleaning Finally Come to an End?  It isn’t just here in the Bay Area, California, or even the USA.  This is a global problem that cuts across many topics.  Here’s one more resource/course that you might want to consider…  MediaWise for Seniors Fact-Checking 101

Many people have lost friends, family, jobs and so much more while struggling to get through this.  It does seem that many people are getting more optimistic about the end of the pandemic as we have known it.  I’d like to make a pitch that I made last year.  Now that you probably have your taxes done, you may find that you have some extra $$$ that you weren’t able to spend.  Guess what.  Many institutions are hanging on by a thread and have a long way to go to recover.  NOW IS THE TIME TO SUPPORT THE SCIENCE MUSEUMS here in the Bay Area.  Actually there are a bunch of museums that could use some help.  They are all working hard to make reopening safe while having had to cut so many projects, programs, and people over the last year.  If your favorite place of learning isn’t listed in those links don’t let that stop you.  Write them a check.

So what are you interested in learning this week?  Here are a few presentations that look particularly intriguing to me… 

It doesn’t fit our format for the Bay Area Science Calendar or the SciSchmooze but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t a great opportunity to learn about the oceans around us. Check out the 8TH ANNUAL INTERNATIONAL OCEAN (Virtual) FILM FESTIVAL APRIL 15 – MAY 2, 2021

I have always had difficulty with chemistry and biology.  I was good at physics because it made sense to me.  There were a lot of class demonstrations that made it tangible.  When it came to small things that we couldn’t see I was always asking “how do we know this if we can’t see it?”  Visualizing always helped me understand.  I used to be able to fold some great paper airplanes but I never figured out how to fold paper DNA!  Here’s one from the department of How Did They Figure That Out?  Now with Legos!

Starting later this week you should be looking up at night.  It might be a good time to take a shower

Have a great week.  Hope for rain.
herb masters

“Art is not merely for putting statues in plazas any more than science exists for the purpose of having electric shavers.” Frank Oppenheimer

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