Bay Area Skeptics

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Wait, just an attosecond, please.

Herb Masters
It’s 5.20.24 with the SciSchmooze

Melvin Way, “Ruler of the Universe” (c. 1996) Courtesy Andrew Edlin Gallery

Greetings Friends of Science and Reason,

I have recently been noticing a lot of articles about how our world seems to be working now that we have really been tampering with it for the last few hundred years. One of the most compelling is Human Footprint | Top Predator | Episode 2 | PBS from PBS. (If you only open one link from this week’s missive I hope you can watch the whole 1 hour program. The whole series is excellent and there are elephants!) You may be aware of the trophic cascade discussions during the last few years. The program starts there but goes where you might not expect and how another apex predator has effected nature.

The discussions of how humans may positively or negatively effect nature are interesting because they usually are based on somewhat short timelines and whether we or the rest of the ecosystem benefit or suffer. Here are a few more considerations… If you are “less young” enough you might remember driving trips where you needed to stop and clean your windshield before you needed to refuel. Remember the decline in insect populations? What about the The surprising biodiversity of abandoned coal mines? So many things we think are constant actually aren’t. Consider how Rivers keep on moving. Native plant gardening is thought by many to be important. It’s OK to mow in May − the best way to help pollinators is by adding native plants. What should we think of all of the dwindling biodiversity we observe and hear about? Imagine being Deep in the lab with California’s last museum taxidermy specialist and pondering what nature looked like not too long ago. I personally believe we could do well with a lot less people on the planet, especially the industrialized ones!

Here’s a bit of astronomy. (Hopefully to cheer you up after that!) It wasn’t that long ago that the sun and moon were dominating our conversations and even travel. Here’s a reminder of it. Well … Early analysis finds eclipse had noticeable effect on birds Here’s some more NASA Eclipse Science.

Of course I have some suggestions for things to learn about this coming week as well… (It’s late in the school year. I can’t list all that I think would be cool but…)

Nerd Nite #142: Time, Tentacles, and Most Delicious Poison – 05/22/2024 07:00 PM

After Dark: Hatch – 05/23/2024 06:00 PM It’s time for Pairings

Mercury Rising: The Toxicology of a Global Pollutant – 05/23/2024 07:00 PM

An Evening with the Stars 2024: Exploring the Fourth Dimension: Time – 05/23/2024 06:00 PM

There are a lot more too!

I’m often intrigued by how we sense scale. That might be the risk we think we are taking by jumping out of an airplane compared to driving to work or the relative size of things and how we understand or perceive the difference. Following on with a bit of astronomy… The first time I’d ever seen a good example was in Eugene, Oregon. If you ever get even close to Eugene you really need to Explore the Eugene Solar System Trail. You might want to try to show the scale of the solar system at Burning Man too! In case you want to build your own… Build a Solar System How big are the planets if the Sun is X inches across?  (10−18  or  11 000 000 000 000 000 000  (one quintillion) of a second. An attosecond is to a second as a second is to about 31.71 billion years.)

Have you ever balanced a ruler on its’ end on your finger? Then consider a triple inverted pendulum

Did you know that May is National Nurses Month? You have probably heard of Florence Nightingale but did you know that Florence Nightingale brought modern science and statistics to nursing

Please remember to share the Science Schmooze with people you care about and encourage them to subscribe. Seeing the subscription numbers going up is all that we at the Schmooze get for sharing it with you!

Have an excellent week wondering and learning
herb masters

There is not a soul on Earth who can read the deluge of physics publications in its entirety. As a result, it is sad but true that physics has irretrievably fallen apart from a cohesive to a fragmented discipline. … It was not that long ago that people were complaining about two cultures. If we only had it that good today.
— Abraham Pais, Dutch-American physicist and science historian

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