Bay Area Skeptics

The San Francisco Bay Area's skeptical organization since 1982

Traffic Watch with The SciSchmooze

from the desk of Herb Masters

Hi Science Fans,

So much to consider yet so little time. How often have you thought of something similar to that? Let’s hold off on a lot of covid topics this week and just say that things are changing all the time and people are probably disagreeing just as much. It isn’t going to happen for a long time but I have to admit that the idea of a traffic jam on Mars is entertaining. CuriosityPerseverance, and Zhurong are all on the surface checking things out and doing scientific research. I doubt that Ingenuity will require an Extraterrestrial Control Tower any time soon! There’s a lot of equipment around Mars as well. The latest to join the dance is Hope a project from the UAE.

Back to covid for a moment… The explOratorium is going to be opening on July 1! Aside from the success of the vaccines it is some of the best news I have heard in a long while. Also in the opening news for local science museums is Chabot Space and Science Center. They are making big changes that are taking a bit longer. Watch for them too.

It seems that a refresher as to what critical thinking is might be worthwhile. Of course a lot of people could use a good orientation to it as well. One important thing to understand is that while many of us think we are good at critical thinking, that doesn’t mean that two skilled critical thinkers will actually agree. The accuracy or “truthiness” of what people accept varies in many ways, and due to the tendency or orientation of what is accepted, agreement is still not assured. So, do you think you are a critical thinker? The importance of understanding context, facts, intent, and source are critical. An interesting column popped up in the SF Chronicle this morning. What do you know about Fun Vax? Today it is really difficult to tell if some citation or resource is accurate and trustworthy. Most people know about and use the excellent Snopes but there are many others that are worth using. Here’s a good list that covers a lot of resources and also how to evaluate information that you come across. You can also do a lot on your own to check things out.

As always there is a lot available for learning this coming week. Here are a few to check out…

Some hopeful news but possibly not good news from Earthweek this week. The Western Monarch Butterfly may not be disappearing/going extinct but just adjusting to climate change. The fight over nuclear power isn’t getting any simpler. Chernobyl is literally heating up again and Fukushima Daiichi is going to be releasing more than one million tonnes of contaminated water.

One of the fun things to do around sunrise or sunset is look for the International Space Station. Here are current times for San Francisco. Actually, if you know where to look there are a lot of things “up there”. On view this week sometimes even with binoculars or your eyes. Here’s another site that you can spend a lot of time at… The Royal Institution, they really know how to celebrate!

Do you feel like getting out and checking out the California coast and ocean? You might want to enter the California Ocean and Coastal Amateur Photography Contest


I hope you have a great week learning new things and enjoying a bit more maskless time!
herb masters


You can’t fact someone out of something they got into by ignoring facts.” a paraphrase by me.

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