The SciSchmooze Wants To Know

from the desk of Herb Masters

Hello Fans of Data and Evidence, aka Science and Reason,

Just to remind you and make sure that new readers know…   I am not a trained or certified (whatever that means) scientist.  I grew up in a time when science was the ultimate arbiter of truth for most people I knew and is for the people I know now.  Nor am I a historian or philosopher.  I'm just someone who is trying to make sense out of how we know and celebrate what we know about this amazing universe.  The philosophy of science keeps many of us grounded in understanding many things.

SciSchmoozing with Uncertainty

from the desk of David Almandsmith

Water availability on the Moon?

It has been known for years that water ice exists in polar craters on the Moon. Sunlight never reaches some places in those craters and (surprisingly to me) ice there has not sublimated away into space. Now a study from the University of Colorado posits that ice could exist all over the surface in tiny nooks and crannies. And then, a NASA study confirmed finding water on the Moon on sunlit surfaces. Uh. Allow me to introduce a skeptical take on this. Phil Plait of “Bad Astronomy” suspects that the spectral signature of water found by the NASA study is best explained by
from the desk of Bob Siederer

Hello again Science fans!

Before we get into the science stuff for this week, a little housekeeping.  We have received occasional feedback that the SciSchmooze appears in a few subscribers' email in a very small font.  We use a default font size (13 pt), but it seems various email processors think they know better and mess around with sizes.  Before mailing this out each week, we test-send the Schmooze to ourselves, and it always looks fine, although my phone does ignore the default font size we use. So this week I'm attempting to get around all that by sending the Schmooze in a larger font (it isn't as easy it it might seem).  Let's see if that is better.

For the first time in 19 years, a blue moon will fall on Halloween.  You all know the saying "once in a blue moon" which describes the fact that having two full moons in a month is fairly rare.  The last time Halloween and a blue moon coincided was in 2001.  Before that...1955!  There will be six in the 21st century, and two of them have already happened (including the upcoming one).  Rare indeed!

There's lots more news in astronomy/cosmology.  Last month I mentioned that Osiris-Rex was about to attempt to obtain samples from the asteroid Bennu. 
from the desk of Herb Masters

Hello Reader of the Science Persuasion!

As I understand it…  Throughout history and prehistory, humans would observe something and try to understand it.  I think it is our nature to try and understand.  Early on there was little information to help understand what they were observing or experiencing.  This might be the reason there have been or are so many gods.  Over the years more things were observed and humans began to establish an understanding of what was real and what was supernatural.  They even tried to understand more about what real things, like progressing from the original four elements of

Science and Politics go Viral with the SciSchmooze

from the desk of Herb Masters

Hello Science Acceptors, 

It seems like a bit of a break has been happening in the smoke from so many fires throughout the west.  The respite we have had has been welcome by everyone I have talked to.  They aren't over and there will probably be more houses, memories, and even lives lost.  I have a bit of experience in fighting fires like this but I'm not going to claim expertise or experience in what has been going on or what is coming.  I have to admit that I find it a bit humorous to see people involved announcing that they have never seen anything so big, powerful, or destructive.  Of course they haven't, that's why it is so staggering to experience it or view it from afar! 

It seems that most scientists and media are willing to proclaim that climate change is responsible for the magnitu

The SciSchmooze and the Powers That Be

from the desk of David Almandsmith

Welcome aboard, dear reader,
Chewbacca, our 2-year-old rescue cat, died this last month of a coronavirus infection - not COVID-19, but Feline Infectious Peritonitis, FIP. The feline coronavirus is called - logically enough - FCoV. Roughly half of all house cats have been infected with FCoV, but less than 5% show symptoms. Once a cat shows symptoms, however, the power of the disease almost always kills with pathologies eerily similar to COVID-19. In view of this, it’s not surprising that cats can become infected with the human SARS-CoV-2 virus without getting sick and then shed the virus with the power to infect others. Two experimental drugs - GC376 & GC442534 - have been developed to cure cats of FIP. Results have been very positive: GC376 reduced mortality in sick cats to 25% and GC442534 reduced mortality to zero. Now, a test tube study has shown that

A little history with your SciSchmooze

from the desk of Bob Siederer

Hello again Science Fans!

It is easy to forget that much of what we know about the world around us today wasn't known, or generally accepted not that long ago.  It has always been thus.

The Earth was once generally believed to be the center of everything, with the sun and other planets revolving around us.  A few scientists weren't so sure and developed mathematical models based on observations to prove that the Earth revolved around the Sun, as did the other planets.  These scientists were ridiculed and persecuted by the institutions of the day for their heretical ideas.  Eventually they were proven correct.

The Earth was also once believed to be flat.  After all, if you look as far as you can see, there appears to be an edge.  Go to that edge, and you will fall off.  Again, scientists theorized that this was incorrect, and explorers proved it, eventually circumnavigating the planet.  But many didn't believe the science.  Some still don't today!

I bring this up because it seems like we're fighting for our very existence against those who deny science today.  We somehow got a leader who ignores science when it doesn't suit his purpose.  He removes senior scientists from their leadership positions and replaces them with people

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

Psephology with the SciSchmooze

from the desk of Herb Masters

Hello Science Supporters and Students, (aren't we all both?)

What an amazing couple of weeks of turmoil we have seen.  We here at the SciSchmooze are focused on science and how it informs us and how it helps make the world a better place to live for all.  Fires, Covid-19, the struggle for equity in society, and the upcoming election in just a few weeks can be overwhelming.  Often, science relies on elections.  Our new word for the week is psephology

There will be more "science" after this missive about elections! I personally think that if you can arrange it at all you should

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