Cutting Through the Fog with the SciSchmoze

Fog over San Francisco. Credit: New York Times

Hello again Science Fans!

Before I moved to the Bay Area, I lived in South Florida. As they do everywhere, people there talked about the weather and how it was always too hot, too cold, too wet, or too dry, but never “normal”. While a sample of one doesn’t prove anything, our weather lately certainly hasn’t been “normal” what with a record-breaking heat wave, followed by an earlier-than-usual winter storm, followed by more heat.

One of the biggest influences on our local weather is fog. But even that seems to be changing, and the fallout could

Relatively SciSchmoozing

Hello Fans of Science and Reason,

I have to admit to being a bit overwhelmed by what has been going on these days. The Science Schmooze is about science and reason. I think science is the best tool we have to understand how the universe works and reason is the responsibility of all of us who are involved in making decisions. What Is an Old-Growth Tree Actually Worth? These can’t answer every question though. There is a fuzzy boundary between science and how we all get along personally, locally, nationally, and internationally. Some day that may even extend to extraplanetary! What some accept as a&

SciSchmoozing Earth


Happy Labor Day dear reader,

I recall the first time i saw a geochron clock on the wall of my hometown bank. Instantly i knew where in the world there was sunrise, sunset, night, and day. It lifted me for several minutes from living in a town in California with a few thousand others to living on an entire planet with its billions. Perspective. Perspectives grow. After a year in Berlin, Deutschland, earning a degree in biology, volunteering with the Peace Corps in Lesotho, helping to establish a wildlife rescue organization, having kids, etc., etc., my perspectives are multifaceted and messy - sort of like a cluttered attic. What stays with me is the reality of living on a planet with billions of others and sharing responsibility for protecting the whole.

You can have a geochron clock for your very own if you are willi

SciSchnooze and Leap!

¿Do spiders dream of lethargic flies?

Hello again science fans,

Daniela Rößler (‘ß’ is a double-s symbol used in Deutschland) has gathered fascinating data suggesting that jumping spiders might actually dream while sleeping. ¿Sleeping spiders? Well, yes. Just about every animal has been observed in behaviors that seem to indicate sleep. REM (rapid eye movement) sleep is associated with dreaming in humans, and other mammals often move and sometimes vocalize during REM sleep. Problem here: the two big forward-facing eyes that salticids (jumping spiders) use for hunting prey don't move; they’re fixed to the head. But their retinas do move! These tiny spiders look around their surroundings by moving their retinas back and forth - sorta l

Chorizo Gate Meets the SciSchmooze

Bless you, Étienne Klein, for bringing levity and wisdom to us last week. Levity came in claiming that his photo of a slice of chorizo was a JWST photo of Proxima Centauri, and the wisdom came in the physicist’s following Tweet: “Well, when it's time for the aperitif, cognitive biases seem to have a field day... so watch out for them. According to contemporary cosmology, no object of Spanish cold cuts exists anywhere but on Earth.” (Actually it was in French and instead of “cold cuts” he wrote “charcuterie” but i had to look that up, so . . . .)

The real Proxima Centauri is the subject of this excellent 20 minute PBS video.

A real JWST photo of t

SciSchmoozing the Good Life

Nichelle Nichols 1932 - 2022 (Getty Images)

Hello again, student of reality,

Wow, what a life to celebrate. Daughter of the town mayor, dancer, singer, model, actress, and for most of us, Lieutenant Uhura on Star Trek. Nichelle Nichols had roles on stage, television, and in more than 25 movies. She worked to interest children in science and she recruited a number of astronauts for NASA including Sally Ride and the first African-American astronaut, Guion Bluford. Sadly, she lost her younger brother who died with 38 others in the Heaven’s Gate debacle. I had the pleasure of meeting her at a 100-Year StarShip Symposium in Houston. A summary of her life can be found on Wikipedia. Given that we only have one life to lead, she certainly set a sterling example for living it fully. Thank you, Nichelle.

Griffin Warrior
The Pylos Combat Agate, tomb of the Griffin Warrior. Credit: YouTube

Hello again Science fans!

Before we go back in cosmic time today, I want to tell you about a more recent find (“recent” being relative, of c

Syndicate content