from the desk of Herb Masters
Hello and Welcome to a New Year of Learning and Celebrating Science,
Here is one of the best explanations I have seen of “Why Science” I have watched it a few times and enjoy it every time.
There have been many people and cultures that can be thought of as having started “science”. Technology or more science has usually followed very shortly after each one of them. For instance… 239 years ago, the Montgolfiers brothers tested to see if a human could survive at being up in the air. 131 years ago an astronomer named Samuel Langley was the first to successfully demonstrate powered flight by flying an aerodrome ¾ of a mile powered by steam. 118 years ago Orville Wright became the first human to fly a heavier than air machine. It was only another 56 years until humans walked on the moon. One might argue that flying on top of a rocket isn’t necessarily “flying” but let’s just say that what has been accomplished in the last 118 years of the thousands of years of humans on the planet is incredible. Now, the James Webb Space Telescope is on it’s way to L2. As I write this the “JWST” is 131 ℉ on the hot side and -328 ℉ on the cold side. 359 ℉ is an amazing difference in temperature when you think of the heat shield that makes this possible. Why the James Webb Space Telescope looks like that
There are many ways to learn about and celebrate science. Here are a few to consider for the new year…
- You might want to bake a cake in the physics lab for the celebration!
- Physics and psychology of cats – an (Improbable) Conversation
- From fish out of water to new insights on navigation mechanisms in animals
- Social physics: Despite the vagaries of free will and circumstance
- A Millipede Has How Many Legs?
- Human DNA from Head Lice on Mummies
Sadly we are still confronted by many that deny science or choose to make decisions that put many people and nature itself at risk… America’s big mistake about science literacy came back to haunt us in 2021. The accomplishments of science have been in all fields of science. One of the amazing fields now is bioscience and what has been learned about genetics and the inner workings of cells and organisms. Lets look briefly at the history of the prevention of infectious diseases. Medicine has been practiced and improved for a long time. But like flight the last few years have been incredible. We don’t really think of humoral medicine anymore, and if a doctor recommends it to you, run away! There have been quite a few theories of disease in many of the worlds cultures over the years. We live in truly amazing times. Scientists have been able to figure out the language of life and been able to produce a vaccine for Covid 19 in less time than anyone would have imagined just a few years ago. It’s just so damned sad that even the person who used his political power to get it done has so damaged the health of the world now by denying the reality of it all.
2022 is already off to a strong start for learning opportunities:
- Weirdness!: What Fake Science and the Paranormal Tell Us about the Nature of Science – Livestream is Thu at 7:30 will be a great insight in to how fake, bad, or dangerous science beliefs are spread.
- Unearthing Prehistoric Treasures From the Permafrost – Livestream on Thu at 4:00 might give a perspective on climate.
This week has so much fungus!
So for your discussion with friends this week, you might enjoy Homo Electronicus – Cold Worlds or THE 20 MOST “WTF” SCIENCE DISCOVERIES OF 2021 or some scientific moments to remind you 2021 wasn’t all bad!
I’d also ask that you take note of the loss of E.O. Wilson, he was an amazing man.
Let’s hope that science, reason, and critical thinking flourish in 2022. We all can help.
Please be sure to check the link for the presentation you are considering. Things are changing very rapidly due to the impact of the Omicron variant.
Note: This just in! The James Webb Space Telescope with the East Bay Astronomical Society is scheduled for this Sat 1.15.22
“Spaceflights can’t be stopped. This isn’t the work of any one man or even a group of men. It is a historical process which mankind is carrying out in accordance with the natural laws of human development.”— Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin
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