Bay Area Skeptics

The San Francisco Bay Area's skeptical organization since 1982

Knotting with the SciSchmooze

Hello SciSchmoozians (only when Halloween is nigh!),

As you may know the Ig Nobel Awards were awarded last month at the 32nd First Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony in their continuing recurring annual series celebrating science that makes you laugh and then makes you think. I really recommend that you listen to it on Fri Nov 25 on an NPR Science Friday special. Should you want to get a jump on the awards and learn about such wondrous things as whether or how constipation affects the mating prospects of scorpions nobody will accuse you of cheating! Please note that these awards are fun, crazy, entertaining, and educational as well!

On to other sciencey things… I think that science and technology have different purposes. Science leads to the knowledge we use to develop technology which helps make the tools we use for everything to do anything and everything. I think there is a good argument that technology is applied science. Mathematics is one of the points where the crossover from science to technology occurs. We tend to think mostly or only, of things we have been exposed to for most of our lives. Often we don’t learn how other cultures or groups of people have done this. Please consider what the Inca did with a khipu. We have so much to learn from the past! When I consider the khipu being a relatively recent tool, how hard it is to shoot a pool ball in a straight line, then to consider hitting an asteroid 7 million miles away… that is remarkable. Have you ever wondered how scientists figure it all out and what they use to do it?

Science can also help weed out inaccurate or wrong information that could even harm us. Often it is difficult to evaluate claims of medicine and so many other things. One topic I hear discussed often is medicine and cures or treatment. Not only do you have to sort out your hopes, fears, and preconceptions, you have to sort out the claims from others that may truly believe in what they are doing. Check out As some lose faith in the factory-like care of conventional medicine, these curious remedies are ascendant. Score One for the Good Guys—A Major Battle Won in the Continuing War on Homeopathy Fraud

The offerings of informal science learning are increasing now that schools are starting up, many have come back from vacations, and covid seems to be becoming less problematic. Though it is still a very real problem. Here’s the most important video clip I can offer today… the cost of bothsideism of science. I hope that you watch the whole video as well, it’s more than science and technology it has some blunt talk. You might also want to catch Science vs. … History? – Livestream Thu @ 7:30

There are a lot of opportunities to learn more. Here are a few for the week…

KQED Live: Art & Tech in a Warming World with The New York Times Tue @ 7 on-line
After Dark: Conversations about Landscape Th @ 6 live in SF
Investigating Space: Understanding our Oceans Sa @ 1
Raindrops to Streamflow: The Pathways of Water Through a Central Coast California Landscape – Livestream Su @ 1:30

Have you ever considered what a species is? I ask that because I came across this article that I’m still trying to grok. Six recent discoveries that have changed how we think about human origins Here’s one more to look at to make us all think… How many early human species existed on Earth? This isn’t closely related but if you donate blood…

Another great advocate for Science has retired. Joe Palca Here’s a sample 25 years later, looking back on the accomplishments of the Mars Pathfinder

Have a great week learning cool new (and old) stuff about science,
herb masters

If we teach only the findings and products of science – no matter how useful and even inspiring they may be – without communicating its critical method, how can the average person possibly distinguish science from pseudoscience?”
– Carl Sagan

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