Bay Area Skeptics

The San Francisco Bay Area's skeptical organization since 1982
NASA Details 2023 and 2024 Solar Eclipses in the US

Hello Science/Art fans,

I’d like to start out a bit different this week.

First I suggest that you watch this… David Attenborough: ‘Nature once determined how we survive. Now, we determine how nature survives’ (This starts a few minutes into the talk. You can go back to the beginning.)

Second I suggest that you start to listen to this podcast series… ‘Innate: How Science Invented the Myth of Race’


Well we may be getting to the end of the rains but don’t put your towels away or store your wet weather gear. As you might notice above, there are two eclipses coming up with great viewing opportunities in the next 13 months. Hopefully you won’t need wet weather gear to see them, it’s kind of hard to appreciate an eclipse if the weather is cloudy or worse. Both offer great chances to experience an amazing natural phenomenon. Each eclipse will offer its’ own unique sight (and sound) of nature. Check out the annular solar eclipse on October 14, 2023, and total solar eclipse on April 8, 2024. Don’t be left in the sun, head for the dark if you can. Of course those on the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico coasts have something else on their minds…

Here’s a bit more astronomy fun, Monday 3.20 at 21:24 UTC is the official March equinox. Remember that Earth Day is coming up soon. There’s a lot more you can do than just watch for this. If you’d like to get involved there are still free DIY Earth Day Climate Action kits available. Do you ever think about how long the sunrise/sunset twilight lasts at different times of the year?


Here’s some hot talks and topics to explore this week…

Life and Science in an Absolute Monarchy– Mon in Menlo Park and stream 3:30
Women in STEM Day– Sat in Oakland 11:00
Wonderfest: Wallace, Darwin, and the Discovery of Evolution by Natural Selection– Sun 1:00 Livestream

Of special note:::

Science Saturday: Sneaky Natural Tricksters!– Sat 10:00 Pacific Grove. herb says… “If you have never been to the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History you haven’t been to the Monterey Peninsula!”

After Dark: ¡Plantásticas! Opening Night | Noche de apertura– Thu 6:00 San Francisco. herb says… “the explO fuses science, art, and culture (human perception) like nowhere else. You know opening nights are a hassle but they are rich as well. This one will be amazing. They are even going to have the Great Tortilla Conspiracy!”


While I haven’t seen it yet (it’s on my short list) the word is out about the human story at the heart of science. I hope that if you haven’t seen it, you will and you won’t be disappointed. The history of science and how it is used is filled with amazing accomplishments and triumphs. It is also littered with episodes of oppression and denial of the benefits that we all would and have benefited from if politics and greed hadn’t gotten in the way that continues to this day. Here’s one such story from the last century… The Living Library of Resilience

Even today there is so much resistance to science based medicine it is amazing. Here’s a story about someone that may have saved more lives than any other human… The Great Vaccinator, it really is worth listening to. Here’s a bit that argues that real science is alive and kicking! Thank goodness that the LFHCfS is out there. Though I wonder if they allow the folicly challenged to join. There is so much to look forward to. Have you thought what you would wear to an award ceremony on the moon?

There are so many things coming across the web that just don’t make sense if you think about them and apply some critical thinking. Have you heard of the SLAP Test? Here’s an interesting article about Psi one of many pseudosciences that get way too much promotion thanks to the web.

There are so many cool ways to see the universe now it is amazing. Both David and I have mentioned the mesmerizing webcam views in Namibia in the Kalahari desert and the Namib desert. The Omaheke Region is in the Kalahari desert (sorry but I haven’t found a space based webcam). Someday I hope to get there.

Here’s another look at the past. Do you remember Johnny Horizon?


Have a great week learning something new and cool about how the universe works.
herb masters


“The first person in history who actually took Mithridates’ principle to a useful place was Edward Jenner (1749-1823), a  devout Christian. As a young medical student, he had noticed that milkmaids who tended cows who had cowpox did not get cowpox. He took fluid from a cowpox blister and scratched it into the skin of an 8-year-old boy named James Phipps. A blister arose, formed a scab and Phipps suffered no after effects. About six weeks later on May 14, 1796, Jenner injected fluid from small pox blisters into the boy. No disease occurred.

This was world-shattering. Jenner had developed the first vaccine. Since then, scientists and doctors have followed Jenner’s principle and have developed vaccines for polio, measles, typhoid fever and other diseases.” 

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