Bay Area Skeptics

The San Francisco Bay Area's skeptical organization since 1982

Voting for Science with the Schmooze

from the desk of Herb Masters

Hello Fans of Science and Reason,

I’m not sure about you, but I have had enough of 2020 and am ready to move on.  It seems like it’s one challenge or loss after another.  The loss of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg hit particularly hard.   Unfortunately we still have 3 months to go.  I don’t think it will be any less distracting and stressful.  One point of light we have had in the last week is an annual celebration of science.  Last Thursday 9.17 was the The 30th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony.  I’ve never made it to see, but every year I tell myself I’m going to make it next year to see it live.  Next year, for sure.

Have you made a plan to make sure your vote is cast and counted for this coming election?  The presidential election is about a lot more than science.  Please cast your vote to help the Ilomantis ginsburgae.  For me though science is a great advisor on elections though.  There is even a science side to the National Voter Registration Day on 9.22.20

The denial of science by many politicians and fellow Americans is something that I can’t fathom.  As a child in the 50’s I was already embracing science.  By the time the space race was on, I was all in.  I can’t understand how people can now deny so much that we have learned and developed thanks to the use of the scientific method.  You have probably heard about it but have you read what Scientific American has done for the first time in 175 years?  You really should.  Then send it to any willfully covidnorant people you know.  I would be remiss if I didn’t point you to at least one covid/science link wouldn’t I?  “American Pathogen”  and there’s a new anti-science movement in town

This week, as is often the case, has a lot to offer.  Of course it is mostly on-line these days.  Of special note is that after several postponements The scientist, the teacher, the legend: Alex Filippenko will finally be presented this Tuesday @ 4:00.  I really hope you’ll be able to catch this one.   In these trying times when you hear of a weird gas on Venus, don’t you wish there was some entity/thing/being coming to rescue us?  Wonderfest: Are We Alone? – Livestream may offer hope on Wednesday.  The After Dark online programs from the explO this month have been pretty deep and required a lot of attention.  This coming Thu will be another one that I think is important.  After Dark Online: Agree to a Degree – Mediated Messaging – Livestream (See the arrest challenge below!)

Many of us worry about how much information is out there and how people can get information that could be used to harm us.  Here’s a rather long blog posting that I think you might find disturbing, informative, and entertaining.  You might want to think about what you allow to be posted on social media.  Do not get arrested challenge 2020

Science helps us dispel rumors and myths.  If it wasn’t for science and reason some might call this a Lemurian cloud.  Sometimes it seems like our desire to classify everything (everyone) has lead to some interesting ways of understanding who we all are and how we identify ourselves.  For instance… Are Hispanics White? sure opened my eyes!  This book review might shine some light on all of this as well…    Opinion: Zoology’s Racism Problem

Let’s wrap this up on another bit of science success.  Magic shouldn’t be offered up as a mechanism in a scientific paper.

This week, make sure your vote will be counted, stay safe, wear a mask, and be well.

herb masters

“Science and everyday life cannot and should not be separated.”  — Rosalind Franklin, chemist and X-ray crystallographer

“The situation with regard to insulin is particularly clear. In many parts of the world diabetic children still die from lack of this hormone. … [T]hose of us who search for new biological facts and for new and better therapeutic weapons should appreciate that one of the central problems of the world is the more equitable distribution and use of the medical and nutritional advances which have already been established. The observations which I have recently made in parts of Africa and South America have brought this fact very forcible to my attention.”  — Charles Best

“It is shameful that there are so few women in science…There is a misconception in America that women scientists are all dowdy spinsters. This is the fault of men.”  — Chien-Shiung Wu, experimental physicist

“Social equity is based on justice; politics change on the opinion of the time. The black man’s skin will be a mark of social inferiority so long as white men are conceited, ignorant, unjust, and prejudiced. You cannot legislate these qualities out of the white – you must steal them out by teaching, illustration, and example.”John Boyle O’Reilly

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