Bay Area Skeptics

The San Francisco Bay Area's skeptical organization since 1982

Nobel Ig Nobel with the SciSchmooze

Cat’s Eye Crater, Mercury (NASA)

Greetings Fans of Science and Reason,

I hope that you had a great week. As great as some things can be, sometimes it seems like it’s not that big of a deal since it seems to happen so much around here. Take for instance the Nobel Awards… how many have heard about our California winners? There have been quite a few over the years… Most recently, congratulations to David Julius for his work and award. A far more entertaining science program to watch is the 31st First Annual Ig Nobel Ceremony and dare I say almost as important!

It seems like just a couple of weeks ago but it’s been almost 8 months since Perseverance landed. Here’s an update from some mission scientists.

I continue to be amazed by how readily people are still denying science, knowledge in general or some particular part of science while embracing so much more of it. I recently saw a dear friend who is a great nurse. Within moments of seeing each other she was going on about how masks (we were inside a restaurant) don’t work and can actually increase covid-19 transmission. I had to just ask that we enjoy the get together with many friends and not go down that path.

Listen. Just listen. You don’t have to agree. Just see if you can understand that there’s another person who has a completely different experience of the same reality.” Esther Perel

I’d like to point you to a few articles in case you are struggling, as I am, to understand why what we think makes sense doesn’t to others… How to Spot Misinformation OnlineHow to Talk to a Science Denier (Oct 14), You don’t have to worry about covid vaccines being “unnatural” or “synthetic”Pseudoscience and COVID-19 — we’ve had enough already. Here in the SF Bay Area we seem to be doing really well containing covid. Of course now we are heading in to some more potential spreading events… Please be safe over the holidays.

In these days of social change and awareness I thought that I’d share some items with you without any comment. I’m curious what your reactions will be. Forces of Nature Naming a new space telescope The misguided history of female anatomy

As usual there are more presentations this week than anyone can watch. Choosing will be difficult. I think these will be particularly informing…

Code Red for Humanity”: The IPCC Sixth Assessment Report on Climate Change Tue @ 1:00
The Impacts of Wildfires on Health Wed @ 6:30
International Observe The Moon Night Virtual Telescope Viewing Sat @ 9:00

Don’t forget to act on this gentle reminder. Register now for SkeptiCal 2021 will be online October 23-24, 2021

Social media has been in the news a lot lately. Facebook is under the microscope these days. I do recommend that you watch the social dilemma. I also recommend checking out Take Control at the Center for Humane Technology. If you have been dealing with kids, remote or distance learning, zoom, or just getting through the last 18 months or so you might find some interesting ideas.

I’m not a sports person but I did get a trophy for bowling. The technology has changed immensely from when I bowled with the Monday Nite Leftovers! Is there nothing that science can’t make better? I think there is, if by better you mean debunking. Today the SF Chronicle ran one of those items that remind me of having a 1st Lady consulting an astrologer. It’s not just social media sites that are spreading wrong, incorrect, or crazy stuff. How can they publish an article like this with no clarification or warning about its baseless content… Your guide to buying, selling when Mercury is in retrograde

It seems like there has been more talk about life other than here on Earth. Have you thought about what life elsewhere might be learning about us and where it is“Although has radiowaves reaching over 100 lightyears into space, due to the Inverse Square Law of Propagation, any terrestrial radio broadcast would become nothing but background noise just a few light years away from Earth. So take comfort in knowing that all those awesome constellations up there will never hear Rebecca Black.”

These are truly amazing times we live in. In 2019, an estimated 409,000 people died of malaria—most were young children in sub-Saharan Africa. I can’t wait for the antivax people to voice their opinions on this! Who blew the whistle on an anti-vax plot?

I hope you have an amazing week, in part because you learned something new and cool.

herb masters

“The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd.” ~ Bertrand Russell

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