SciSchmooze Weekly Science Events Newsletter from the Bay Area Science Festival
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SciSchmooze Weekly Events Newsletter

Events by Location: East Bay | North Bay | San Francisco | South Bay
Greetings Geminids! (and science fans),
Not that you’ll be able to see much depending on the weather  but the Geminids are be arriving ahead of Santa Claus.  The big difference, spoiler alert, the Geminids are real. 
I assume that you heard about the twenty-first session of the Conference of the Parties.  Some of you may not have heard it called that though.  Many know it as COP 21.  Here is a nice summary of the Global climate deal from the BBC.  I hope that it leads to some good in the world.  I can only imagine what we will hear from some of our climate change deniers.
These days it is important to look carefully at what is presented by many of the players in large important debates about science, and for that matter survival of the planet.  I’m sure you remember the IPCC.  Steve Newton over at the NCSE pointed out that the NIPCC shouldn’t be mistaken for it.  It’s a great column that I encourage you to read.  We need to be vigilant about how different organizations present science, as well as many other topics.  To that end I offer this, Famous Gorilla 'Gives' A Climate Speech as an example of how misrepresenting science to support a goal isn’t always the best idea either. 
It’s the holiday quiet time for presentations.  Don’t close your calendar though, there are still many worth checking out.  Here are a few that look very interesting and promising…
  1. Water, Water Everywhere - From the Earth, the Moon, Mars and Beyond  Tue 7:45  San Francisco
  2. a- Conversations About Landscape: Marine Mammals at the Poles: Sentinels for Climate Change  6:00 b- After Dark: Everything Matters: Flourine 8:00... Both at the same place in San Francisco on Thursday!
  3.  Winter Solstice Celebration  Sat 8:00 Oakland
46 years ago some of the greatest and longest lasting dreams of mankind were accomplished.  Please check out APOLLO.  It was a remarkable accomplishment.  In spite of all of the efforts before and since we still can’t really go Shopping with Stormtroopers though!  Look at what we are seeing coming in from Pluto now!  Imagine what we will be able to learn when we land people on another planet.  Mars beckons.   
Remember, Science can Happen anywhere! 
Have a great week learning something new.
herbert a. masters III
ScienceSchmoozer and a shameless promoter of:
the SciSchmooze: 
"First, we must figure out how to live successfully for the long term on Earth, and then we can go to the stars. " - Donald Goldsmith, Op-ed article on, 27 January 2015

Upcoming Events
Click to see the next two weeks of events in your browser.

Tuesday, 12/15/2015
The Coho Salmon: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow - 12/15/2015 10:00 AM
Muir Woods National Monument, Mill Valley

At our meeting grounds under the Muir Woods archway, we catch our first glimpse of Redwood Creek. We will make our way upstream keeping an eye and ear open for the coho salmon. This tour is part of a series, and as the weather changes so too will the tour. While observing the stream height we will consider what adult female coho are looking for as spawning locations. As the tour progresses upstream, stopping one-mile up Bootjack Trail, we will have discussed healthy streams, obstacles these fish must overcome, and what to look for this winter.

High Temperature Volcanism on Earth: Physical Volcanology, Mineralogy, and Geochemistry of Archean Komatiites - 12/15/2015 12:00 PM
SETI Institute Colloquium Series, Mountain View

Komatiites are magnesium-rich magmas characterized by very high temperature (up to 1640°C vs. ~1200°C for modern basalts), very low viscosity (0.1-1 Pa·s), and a very large interval (460-160°C) between liquidus and solidus. As a consequence, they formed highly mobile flows capable of flowing long distances over gentle slopes that - if channelized - thermally and thermomechanically eroded wallrocks and substrates. This led to the formation of some of the world's richest nickel-copper-platinum group element deposits. The most magnesian examples formed only the Archean, marking a fundamentally different thermal structure in the Earth's mantle prior to 2.5 Ga. 

Dr. Lesher is a world renowned expert in komatiites and he will discuss how they can help shine help a light on the Early Earth in the remote past.

Speaker: Michael Lesher, Laurentian University, Sudbury

Ocean Acidification on the California Coast: Responses of Marine Bryozoa to a High CO2 Future - 12/15/2015 04:00 PM
UC Davis Bodega Marine Laboratory, Bodega Bay

Speaker: Dan Swezey, Population Biology Graduate Group, University of California, Davis and Bodega Marine Laboratory

Mount Diablo Astronomy Society Movie Meeting - 12/15/2015 07:15 PM
Lindsay Wildlife Experience, Walnut Creek

Please join Mt. Diablo Astronomical Society for the December 15th general meeting.  This month's General Meeting has a different format : elections and movie night ! Bring a science-fiction or science movie and we'll vote what to watch ! Candidates will range from killer bunnies to psychic aliens !

Note : this month's meeting on December 15 th is earlier than usual.

Water, Water Everywhere - From the Earth, the Moon, Mars and Beyond - 12/15/2015 07:45 PM
San Francisco Amateur Astronomers, San Francisco

Water, essential for life as we know it, is an important indicator of the conditions present on other planets and moons throughout recent history and in the distant past. The presence and state of water and other similar volatile compounds throughout our own solar system provides insight into its formation, and the origin of the life-sustaining environments that it supports. The fact that water is found in otherwise extreme environments on other planets and moons may indicate the presence of active, dynamic processes at work that serve to replenish this otherwise fragile, volatile resource. Water is also a potential resource that future human space missions can utilize in order to engage in the sustainable exploration of our solar system.

In this talk, Delory will discuss the significance of recent discoveries of water in the most unlikely of places - our own Moon - and what this means for our understanding of how both the Moon and our solar system have evolved over time. Mars represents the converse case - whereas it was no great surprise to find water there, it is likely that a significant amount of it was lost over time. The importance and value of observations from recent space missions in addressing these questions will be discussed, as we seek to understand more about our own origins as well as our future destinations beyond Earth.

Speaker: Dr. Greg Delory, UC Berkeley

Wednesday, 12/16/2015
The Science of Star Wars - 12/16/2015 07:00 PM
SoMa StrEat Food Park, San Francisco

Only a heartless curmudgeon would analyze Star Wars: The Force Awakens for its science mistakes. But only a very special Caltech PhD astrophysicist (who makes an honest living hunting for ET!) could help us to enjoy and understand the science beneath the Star Wars world. Kindly check your light saber at the door, and join the SETI Institute's Dr. Seth Shostak as he explores-with great humor and insight-everything from Mos Eisley cantina diversity to the jump to light speed. As The Force awakens, so will our appreciation of science.

Sponsored by Wonderfest and Ask A Scientist

Speaker: Seth Shostak, Center for SETI Research

Nerd Nite SF #67: Video Preservation, Ants, and Brain Stimulation! - 12/16/2015 07:00 PM
Rickshaw Stop, San Francisco

"Headswitch and the Angry Half-Inch: The History, Technology, Art, and Preservation of ½" Open Reel Video" by Kelly Haydon

The first widely popular video format, ½" open reel video was introduced in the late 60s and quickly adopted by artists looking for a new medium and activists looking to hijack TV airwaves. Obsolete for over 40 years and rapidly deteriorating, works on ½" open reel are rarely seen today, though efforts to digitize and preserve the material are ongoing. Learn the short and electric history of ½" open reel video – the technology, the major players, and how preservationists are battling "sticky shed syndrome" and the extinction of deck repair guys. Bonus: a mini-screening of ½" open reel video art.

Kelly Haydon is a video preservationist at Bay Area Video Coalition with a couple of schmancy degrees. She occasionally goes to TRX classes.


"Ants: The Invisible Majority" by Brian Fisher

Shakespeare once wrote, "Though she be but little, she is fierce." What they lack in size, ants more than make up for in numbers, and they offer countless behaviors to explore. Ants are Earth's first farmers and shepherds, they engineer floating pontoons and enslave other ants, and their combined weight actually equals humanity's. Yet despite all these intriguing facts, we mostly ignore this global community of ants beneath our feet… except when they enter our kitchens uninvited.

Brian Fisher is an ant specialist and Curator of Entomology at the California Academy of Sciences. He discovers and documents global ant diversity for conservation action. Founder of and discoverer of 1000+ new species (including the vampire, trap jaw, and "cliff-jumping" ant), you can follow his pheromone on Twitter at @ant_explorer!


"Using Electromagnetic Fields to Overclock Your Brain" by Ted Zanto

Your brain sucks and it's only getting worse with age. You're getting pwned by n00bs. You want to crank up your awesome but adderall and cocaine isn't cutting it anymore. Isn't there something else you can do? Maybe! Recent years have seen an exponential increase in the use of electromagnetic fields trying to enhance brain function, but should you really zap your brain? This talk will give you the low-down on non-invasive brain stimulation techniques such as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS). Armed with this information, you can decide for yourself!

Ted Zanto is an Assistant Professor of Neurology at UCSF. It is his professional opinion that using electromagnetic fields to overclock your brain is nowhere near as fun as using alcohol to underclock your brain.

Thursday, 12/17/2015
Conversations About Landscape: Marine Mammals at the Poles: Sentinels for Climate Change - 12/17/2015 06:00 PM
Exploratorium, San Francisco

As global temperatures slowly rise, ice caps at the north and south poles are melting. This is bad news for walruses, Weddell seals, and other animals that live on the ice. Whale species that frequent the Arctic Ocean are beginning to change their migration patterns. Join a conversation about how research on marine mammals reveals the effects of climate change on Earth's ecosystems.

After Dark: Everything Matters: Flourine - 12/17/2015 06:00 PM
Exploratorium, San Francisco

8:00 p.m. • Everything Matters: Fluorine   Come be in your elements with Exploratorium host and scientific raconteur Ron Hipschman. Follow tales of intrigue and invention, join in dynamic demonstrations, and uncover fascinating connections between individual elements and our collective human experience.

18+ Only 

6:00–10:00 p.m. • Galleries and bars open
6:15–10:00 p.m. • Tactile Dome

How you can save pollinators in your community! - 12/17/2015 06:00 PM
Lake Merritt Rotary Nature Center, Oakland

Join Tora Rocha, Park Supervisor for all of Downtown and the Lake Merritt Districts including the Gardens at Lake Merritt, to learn how landscaping practices are impacting the pollinators in our communities. She will discuss how she and the Pollinator Posse of Oakland are making a difference on public land, while teaching skills to the neighborhoods, enabling people to save bees, butterflies and other pollinators. From putting up bee hotels to planting weeds, this talk will inspire your wild side!

Saturday, 12/19/2015
The Bay Model Wants You!!! - 12/19/2015 10:00 AM
Bay Model Visitors Center, Sausalito

Become part of Sausalito's very own attraction known around the world! We have a variety of volunteer positions that are suited for people just like you! Greet visitors, lead tours, work with school groups, and more!

Come and be a part of one of the largest working hydraulic models in existence. Join us for a brief orientation! For more information, contact Park Ranger Joanne Jarvis 

Explorables: Handmade Science - 12/19/2015 11:00 AM
Exploratorium, San Francisco

Stretch your perception with anamorphic mirrors, Möbius strips, and spinning thaumatropes.

Use everyday materials to create models and other tools for exploring the world around us. Run by a highly skilled, dedicated team of volunteers, these drop-in workshops mix classic activities with open-ended investigations, encouraging participants to follow their hunches to *aha* moments of scientific insight.

All materials provided; take what you make.

Explorables has been offering science to go since 1990.

How to be Really Good at Not Finding Dark Matter - 12/19/2015 11:00 AM
Genetics and Plant Biology Building, Berkeley

Astronomers have found evidence for something that exerts a gravitational pull on stars, galaxies and even large parts of the Universe, but that doesn't otherwise seem to do anything interesting. Knowing little more about it, they call it Dark Matter. Physicists want to detect and study something strange like that, so we build detectors. Very, very sensitive and quiet detectors that have to be buried deep within the Earth to get them away from any sorts of false signals. One of these detectors, LUX, is located in Cal's old gold mine. It has looked for several years without finding any signs of Dark Matter, which is really, really interesting.

Come hear about some fun things:
*) How do people find such weird things?
*) Why look on Earth for something found in the sky?
*) What's good about _not_ finding Dark Matter?
*) How do you know your detector isn't just broken?
*) Gold mine? What gold mine?

Speaker: Bob Jacobsen, UC Berkeley

Trekking the Model - 12/19/2015 01:00 PM
Bay Model Visitors Center, Sausalito

Join a Ranger guided tour of the Bay Model, a 1.5-acre hydraulic model of San Francisco Bay and Delta. Discover the stories of the two major operations that took place at this location between 1942–2000.

Beyond Creation and Evolution: Human Origins Studies in a Secular, Media-Saturated World - 12/19/2015 02:00 PM
Milpitas Library, Milpitas

Religion and science battled through the Renaissance and Age of Reason. In this struggle, science overcame,  and the discovery of evolution by means of natural selection and speciation (nicely coincident with the discovery of the human fossil record) has been cast as the long-sought, final proof of a naturalistic human essence. It was actually more of a lock on a door that was already closed by people like John Locke and Sir Francis Bacon.Now there are different, bigger dangers looming that we can address with the science of human origins. This isn't creationism in Kansas anymore, and it takes a diligent support community to identify objectives. So what is the use of the fossil record in this new time, and how do we approach it? Can the empirical reality of the human fossil record bring people together in a world of increasing extremism? The fossil record is real, and studying these fossils to illuminate human origins has the potential to go on forever as long as fossils continue to be found, curated, and preserved. They are a stable repository of information about what we are, and as long as the Enlightenment is not extinguished, any group that endeavors to preserve this legacy will always be remembered. Speaker: Henry Gilbert
Zoovie Nights: Frozen! - 12/19/2015 06:30 PM
Oakland Zoo, Oakland

Put on your jammies and enjoy an evening of Zoovie magic with the whole family. Bring your pillows, blankets, and chairs and snuggle up in our auditorium for a specially selected family movie. Meet some of our education animals and Roosevelt, Oakland Zoo's costumed alligator mascot. Hot chocolate (with marshmallows, of course) and popcorn will be provided, but you are welcome to bring your own treats and traditional family movie fare. This month's showing: Frozen. Let it go and let the show begin!"

Why Eating Good Food Makes for Good Ecology - 12/19/2015 07:00 PM
The Center for Performing Arts at Menlo Atherton, Atherton

Chef and founder of Chez Panisse in Berkeley, Alice Waters is an author and world renowned food movement leader. After helping to change the American food landscape, Alice introduced her ideas into public schools with The Edible Schoolyard, a program that involves students in all aspects of growing, cooking, and sharing food at the table. She is the author of books such as The Art of Simple Food, The Edible Schoolyard, and In The Green Kitchen.

Speaker: Alice Waters

Winter Solstice Celebration - 12/19/2015 08:00 PM
Chabot Space and Science Center, Oakland

Come revel in the stories of the nights sky as we celebrate the Winter Solstice with the Octopus Literary Salon. Illuminating storytellers, poets and musicians will recount the myths and legends from around the world that mark the season, followed by a Planetarium show that will explain the astronomical science behind the winter cosmos.  Enjoy live music, delight in our imaginative holiday installation of LED lights and space toys and stay warm with hot apple cider. Beer, wine, and tamales will be for sale. 

Monday, 12/21/2015
Winter Camp Session 1: Step Into the Shoes of a Scientist (FULL) - 12/21/2015 09:00 AM
Lawrence Hall of Science, Berkeley

Step into the shoes of a scientist and design, build and test simple machines and structures, including ones to bring home! Meet live animals and observe them like biologists. Explore space in our planetarium and create compounds and concoctions like chemists. Please remember to pack lunch for your camper. Activities adapted for each age group.

Tuesday, 12/22/2015
Winter Camp Session 1: Step Into the Shoes of a Scientist (FULL) - 12/22/2015 09:00 AM
Lawrence Hall of Science, Berkeley

Wednesday, 12/23/2015
Winter Camp Session 1: Step Into the Shoes of a Scientist (FULL) - 12/23/2015 09:00 AM
Lawrence Hall of Science, Berkeley

Thursday, 12/24/2015
Cellphone and nature? Yes! Map plants with app! CANCELED - 12/24/2015 10:00 AM
Tilden Regional Park, Berkeley

Saturday, 12/26/2015
Sunset/Full Moon Walk to the Point Bonita Lighthouse - 12/26/2015 04:30 PM
Point Bonita Lighthouse, Sausalito

Sunday, 12/27/2015
Marine Science Sunday: Seal and Sea Lion Superstars of 2015 - 12/27/2015 10:00 AM
Marine Mammal Center, Sausalito

Full-Spectrum Science with Ron Hipschman: Mixing Color - 12/27/2015 11:00 AM
Exploratorium, San Francisco

Monday, 12/28/2015
Winter Camp Session 2: Winter Explorations (FULL) - 12/28/2015 09:00 AM
Lawrence Hall of Science, Berkeley

Nerd Nite East Bay #37: Swallowing, Oakland Geology, and Language of Birdsong -12/28/2015 08:00 PM
Club 21, Oakland
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