Mars! And a new look for the SciSchmooze

SciSchmooze 2/28/2021

Hello again Science Fans!

This week marks a new look to the Schmooze. We’ve switched to a new mailing system and with that comes a new format. We hope you find it easier to read. We can easily include images, but our content won’t be changing. We welcome your feedback.

There’s big news from space. Perseverance landed safely on Mars and began sending pictures back of the landing site. Depending on how you count, there are 25 different cameras deployed with this landing. They see different spectra. Here’s an article about the technology and variety and what we can expect to see going forward.

Of course, Perseverance isn’t the first rover to land on Mars. There are some stunning pictures returned from Curiosity and Opportunity and Elderfox Studios has turned some of them into two 4K short movies that are worth watching. NASA has over 6,000 pictures (and counting) available for you to see from Perseverance. Here are some highlights.

There’s also big news on the COVID-19 front. The Johnson and Johnson vaccine has received emergency authorization, meaning it can now be given to the public. This greatly increases the number of doses of vaccine available in the US. This vaccine is different from the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, however. Here’s how it differs.

If you have questions about the vaccines, here are some answers. A lot is being done to educate the public, including efforts through community and world leaders. It wasn’t that long ago that most people I knew didn’t know anyone who had been infected by COVID, let alone anyone who had been vaccinated. That sure has changed as I know many people who have either had it themselves, or have relatives who have suffered. And I know two other people, besides myself, getting their second shots just this coming Tuesday alone! Roughly half of those 65 and older in the US have received at least their first dose.

With the Johnson and Johnson vaccine coming online this week, more than 100,000,000 people could be vaccinated by the end of March. More than 8% of the US population has contracted COVID since the start of the pandemic a year ago. Worldwide, almost a dozen different vaccines are being given. Russia, China, and India each have vaccines developed within their countries, but not generally available outside their borders.

(Editor’s note: One of our readers pointed out that his relatives, who live in different parts of South America, have been receiving the Russian and Chinese vaccines, so those two at least are available in certain countries outside their country of origin. The source of my information was apparently incorrect.)

The new infection rate has dropped to a level not seen since the fall, although that trajectory has reversed in the past few days. San Francisco and San Mateo counties have dropped into the red tier, and Santa Clara is poised to drop this week.

Most things in science start with a question. A theory is developed, and experiments created to test that theory. Often the results are unexpected. Sometimes, those unexpected results provide revolutionary improvements to life that weren’t part of the original question. Take this 1960’s example that made today’s COVID tests possible. Then there’s the recent discovery of marine life 3,000 feet below the Antarctic ice shelf, also an accidental discovery.

While temperatures have warmed back up and the power is back on to much of Texas, the mid-month winter storm really highlighted some weakness in that state. By now you’ve probably read about the false claims that renewable energy sources are to blame for the problems.

Rounding out the odds-and-ends department…Levitation is real! And background “noise” in our brains may not actually be noise, but information.

My picks this week include:

  1. Wonderfest: Prescribed Burns and Exploding Stars, Tuesday, 03/02/21 at 08:00 PM

  2. A Deep Dive with Ocean Explorer David Gallo, Wednesday, 03/03/21 at 01:00 PM

  3. SARS-CoV-2 Vaccines: Where Do We Stand? - Dr. Paul Offit, Thursday, 03/04/21 at 04:00 PM

  4. The Science and Culture of Coffee, Friday, 03/05/21 at 11:00 AM

Have a great week in Science!

Bob Siederer

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

Monday, 03/01/2021

The bright future of cosmology with SPT-3G - Livestream - 03/01/2021 11:00 AM
SLAC Special Seminar

Observations of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) probe a diverse set of fundamental physics in both the early and late universe.  CMB measurements are a cornerstone of our now exceptionally precise Lambda-CDM model of cosmology, however, many questions remain.  Did an inflationary epoch occur a fraction of a second after the Big Bang?  What is the nature of dark energy?  Is the Hubble constant controversy new physics or simply measurement systematics?  I will describe the SPT-3G receiver that is currently installed on the South Pole Telescope and how it is observing the CMB to answer these questions.  Now starting the third year of a five-year survey, SPT-3G data is already providing tantalizing hints about what scientific goalposts will be possible in the very near future.  I'll highlight a few of these opportunities as well as providing perspectives on the upcoming CMB-S4 experiment.

Speaker: Amy Bender, Argonne National Lab

See weblink for Zoom link

Social Medicine Data Storytelling & Clinician Burnout - Livestream - 03/01/2021 12:30 PM
Berkeley Institute for Data Science

Speaker: Laurens Kraal, UC Berkeley

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Probing emergent order in quantum materials by cryogenic electron microscopy - Livestream - 03/01/2021 02:30 PM
UC Berkeley

In quantum materials strong interactions between the electrons and the atomic lattice can give rise to novel electronic states with properties not achievable in conventional materials. These states often compete with other correlated states of spin, charge and the atomic lattice. One example is charge ordering, in which electrons as well as the atomic lattice form periodic patterns that not only lift the symmetries of the crystal but also underlie exotic electronic phenomena such as superconductivity, metal-insulator transitions and colossal magnetoresistance. Understanding the microscopic nature of electron-lattice interactions at the relevant length scales at which quantum phenomena arise, and the role of disorder requires advanced spatially resolved probes.

In this talk, I will discuss our advances in scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) to probe emergent order in quantum materials at the atomic scale. First, I will discuss our results on a class of superconducting materials, the recently reported infinite-layer nickelates, with particular focus on the microscopic structure, strain and the role of defects in these thin film superconductors. Going beyond room temperature STEM, cryogenic sample cooling promises direct access to low temperature phases and quantum phase transitions. These new capabilities have paved a path to visualize subtle lattice and electronic orders in emergent low temperature phases as I will show in the second part of the talk. Focus will be on the lattice behavior of charge-ordered manganites, where direct imaging can discriminate between multiple structure models, and mapping over larger length scales shows phase coexistence and nanoscale inhomogenities.

Speaker: Lena Kourkoutis, Cornell University

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Looking inside the heart of a supernova from underground - Livestream - 03/01/2021 03:30 PM
SLAC Colloquium

Core-collapse supernovae host some of the most extreme physical environments in our universe. They play a fundamental role in shaping the world around us, from seeding new star formation to spreading heavy elements around the Galaxy. The extreme physical conditions make them very valuable laboratories for particle physics, nuclear physics and astrophysics. In this talk, I will review the basic mechanism driving these gravity-powered neutrino bombs and then discuss examples of the rich physics that is imprinted on the expected neutrino signal. The DUNE experiment currently under development in the US will provide unique capabilities for observing physical processes in and around the collapsed core.

See weblink for Zoom information

Get ultracold! Cooling and trapping atomic gases for quantum simulation - Livestream - 03/01/2021 04:00 PM
What Physicists Do @ Sonoma State University

Speaker: Dr. Cora Fujiwara, Univ. of Toronto

Hydrogen's role in achieving net-zero carbon emissions for the global economy - Livestream - 03/01/2021 04:00 PM
Stanford Energy Seminar

While electricity will assume a dominant role in conveyance of clean energy to end users, sectors such as heavy-duty trucking and transport, marine, aviation, and heavy industry are more difficult to decarbonize, and will benefit from the higher energy density and storage afforded by hydrogen as a vector.   Hydrogen can also be used to synthesize other molecular energy carriers and chemicals for recycle of carbon to achieve circularity.  This seminar will examine the challenges and multiple synergistic opportunities for hydrogen in future energy and chemical systems.     Is now the time for a hydrogen economy?

Speaker: Joe Powell, Retired from American Institute of Chemical Engineers and Shell Oil

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How neural circuits are wired up during development to perform computations - Livestream - 03/01/2021 04:15 PM
UC Berkeley

How are neural circuits wired up during development to perform specific computations? We address this question in the retina, which comprises multiple circuits that encode different features of the visual scene.  These features are encoded in the neural activity of the activity of roughly 40 different types of retinal ganglion cells, the output cells of the retina that transit this information to the brain. We will explore the example of direction-selective ganglion cells, which respond strongly to an image moving in the preferred direction and weakly to an image moving in the opposite, or null, direction. This asymmetric computations is mediated by neurons that are symmetric in their shape but asymmetric in their connectivity,  I will present recent progress in the lab in characterizing how this asymmetric wiring emerges during development and the role that activity plays in establishing mature circuits.

Speaker: Marla Feller, UC Berkeley

See weblink for Zoom link, posted day of lecture.

A Conversation on Wildfire Ecologies - Livestream - 03/01/2021 06:30 PM
UC Berkeley

With California wildfires becoming a seasonal inevitability, we turn our Indigenous Technologies series to the question of fire ecologies. Join us for a conversation on indigenous fire management and land practices with two indigenous ecologists. We’ll hear from Margo Robbins, co-founder and president of the Cultural Fire Management Council and Valentin Lopez, Chair of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band and the President of the Amah Mutsun Land Trust.

Register at weblink to receive Zoom information.

Tuesday, 03/02/2021

When Words Aren’t Enough: The Visual Climate Story - Livestream - 03/02/2021 12:00 PM
Commonwealth Club - Online Event

While IPCC risk assessments and emission projections can help us understand climate change, they don’t exactly inspire the imagination or provoke a personal response to the crisis. The solution? A growing league of storytellers who use photographs, films and the human experience to breathe life into the cerebral science of anthropogenic climate change. Images can tap into our senses and break down barriers that statistics cannot - how far can they go to inspire a global climate response?

Join us for a conversation on the art of visualizing climate change with filmmaker Céline Cousteau, producer and director Davis Guggenheim, and photographer Cristina Mittermeier. Greg Dalton, Moderator

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Rainforests, Trees, and Tropical Ecology - Livestream - 03/02/2021 01:00 PM
UC Botanical Garden

Discovering new species of trees in South American Rainforests: The importance of describing biodiversity for the future of rainforest conservation with Paul Fine.

REgister at weblink to receive Zoom infomration

Enrichment in H2O and elevated Fe oxidation states are linked to material recycling in Izu-Bonin-Mariana lavas - Livestream - 03/02/2021 03:30 PM
UC Santa Cruz

Speaker: Maryjo Brounce, UC Riverside

See weblink for Zoom information

Lubricants and Glitter: Revolutionizing Sexual Assault Investigation @ Online Zoom Event - Livestream - 03/02/2021 05:00 PM
California Section American Chemical Society

Sexual assaults are an unfortunate reality in modern society, which includes situations in which the assailant is known or unknown. While DNA is the go-to forensic evidence in sexual assault cases, the reality is that the use of condoms in sexual assault is increasing in an effort to minimize the type of DNA left at the crime scene, specifically sperm/semen. Therefore, in the absence of DNA, it is necessary to identify other type of forensic evidence (such as lubricants and cosmetic residues) that could be used in these types of cases to link the three points in the criminal triangle, e.g. victim, suspect and crime scene. This talk will discuss current efforts that we are conducting to understand the evidentiary value of lubricant and cosmetic evidence and appropriate analytical methods to analyze and characterize unknown samples collected in a sexual assault or physical assault cases.

Speaker: Candice Bridge, Univ. of Central Florida

This event was originally scheduled for October 21, 2020.

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Wonderfest: Prescribed Burns and Exploding Stars - Livestream - 03/02/2021 08:00 PM

Stanford evironmental scientist Rebecca Miller on "Prescribed Burns in California" - Over the past several years, California has experienced record-breaking wildfire seasons. Recent wildfires have prompted important policy conversations about prescribed burns, fires that are purposefully set to remove ground vegetation and reduce fire risks. What are the challenges that have prevented us from using prescribed burns in California, and how might we wisely expand the use of this valuable fuel treatment?UC Berkeley astrophysicist Kishore Patra on "Exploding Stars" - The atoms in everything around us - the oxygen in the air, the carbon in our bodies, the gold in our jewelry - were forged in stellar furnaces. We owe our very existence to stars that died in cataclysmic explosions known as supernovae. What is the cosmic story of our elemental origins? What do we know about supernovae, and how do astronomers study them?

See weblink or Zoom information.

Wednesday, 03/03/2021

Decarbonizing the Grid - The Role of Grid Interconnection - Livestream - 03/03/2021 08:30 AM
Stanford Energy

Robust long-distance transmission lines (both HVAC and HVDC) will enable delivering clean energy to customers and expanding the ways that clean energy is used. Interregional planning and coordination are usually difficult in the U.S. due to different planning approaches, models, FERC 1000 processes, and market rules among the various RTO/ISOs. On a global scale, international grid interconnection projects are being proposed and developed very actively for efficient and economic use of clean energy.This is the second virtual panel in a series of workshops. It will focus on the role of grid interconnection for decarbonization. Panelists will discuss interregional (international) transmission expansion plan, planning process, as well as social, economic, and geopolitical aspects of large transmission projects.

Panel: Jay Caspary, Grid Strategies LLC; Dimitrios Chaniotis, RTE; Damien Ernst, University of Liege; Liang Min, Moderator, Bits and Watts Initiative, Stanford

Dr. Euan Ashley: The Genome Odyssey - Livestream - 03/03/2021 10:00 AM
Commonwealth Club - Online Event

Thanks to developments in genetic medicine, for the first time we have the ability to predict our genetic future, to diagnose and prevent disease before it begins, and to decode what it really means to be human. Since the Human Genome Project was completed in 2003, the possibilities for genetic medicine have only grown. But what does the human genome and genome sequencing mean for citizens today, and what will it mean for health care over the next several decades?

In his new book, The Genome Odyssey, Dr. Euan Ashley answers some of the questions by detailing the medicine and science behind genome sequencing, introducing a dynamic group of researchers and medical investigators who hunt for genetic answers, and bringing forward pioneering patients who open up their lives to the medical community during their search for diagnoses and cures for inherited diseases. Ashley describes how he led the team that was the first to analyze and interpret a complete human genome, how they broke genome speed records to diagnose and treat a newborn baby girl whose heart stopped five times on the first day of her life, and how they found a boy with tumors growing inside his heart and traced the cause to a missing piece of his genome.

Dr. Ashley and his team, and a small number of others around the country, are currently working to expand the boundaries of our medical capabilities and to envision a future where genome sequencing is available for all, and where medicine can be tailored to treat specific diseases before they show symptoms and to decode pathogens like viruses at the genomic level.

Please join us as Dr. Euan Ashley talks about revolutionizing health care and the future of medicine by continuing to unlock the secrets of the human genome.

Speaker: Dr. Euan Ashley, Stanford University

In conversation with Anne Wojcicki, 23andMe

A Deep Dive with Ocean Explorer David Gallo - Livestream - 03/03/2021 01:00 PM
Science and Entertainment Exchange

Hear from renowned ocean explorer David Gallo, co-leader of the TITANIC and missing flight Air France 447 expeditions.

Our oceans have long been a source of scientific investigation and play a fundamental part in supporting life on Earth. They represent the planet’s largest habitat and are home to more than half of its species. They regulate our climate and are key actors in the carbon cycle. In many ways, they are also our final frontier, holding fast to secrets that lie deep beneath the surface. But we’re discovering new and surprising ways that the oceans are important to us. And we’re gradually coaxing them into yielding answers with which they’ve been stingy for decades. Acclaimed oceanographer and marine explorer David Gallo brings us new evidence documenting the critical part that the oceans play in maintaining life on earth. He also reveals plans for future long-distance expeditions - including an attempt to locate Ernest Shackleton’s long-lost ship ENDURANCE.

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Ask the Scientist - Kim Komatsu - 03/03/2021 02:00 PM
Estuary & Ocean Science Center

How do scientists go from OMG to PhD? How do they turn their passion for science into their profession? What advice do they have for future scientists?

If you are a 5th-12th grade student, undergraduate, teacher or parent, join us to ask these questions and more in a Q&A session with our weekly Seminar speakers on Wednesdays from 2 - 2:30 PM.

Parents must give permission for children under 18 to participate.

Register to attend here.

From communities to ecosystems: linking ecological responses to multiple global change drivers - Livestream - 03/03/2021 03:30 PM
Estuary & Ocean Science Center

Global change is altering resource availability, which in turn is predicted to change the composition and functioning of communities. Here, I synthesize plant and ecosystem responses to resource manipulations from over 100+ global change experiments in the CoRRE (Community Responses to Resource Experiments) database. First, we show that community composition changes are greater than changes in richness alone. Next, we explore methods to study community compositional changes based on rank-abundance curves. We show that plant communities are changing in dynamic ways, with no one best measure to study these changes. The synthesis demonstrates the need to take a wholistic approach to studying community changes. Finally, I explore how ecosystem production is affected by resource experiments through changes in community composition.

Speaker:  Kimberly Komatsu, Senior Scientist, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center

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Towards Climate Justice: 10 Years of Litigating on Behalf of Our Youth - Livestream - 03/03/2021 04:00 PM
Energy and Resources Group

Julia Olson will discuss constitutional climate lawsuits, focusing on Juliana v. United States, and the important intersection of science and constitutional law. This landmark case was filed in 2015 by twenty-one youth against the U.S. government for its affirmative actions that cause and contribute to the climate crisis and violate the youngest generation’s constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property. The youth plaintiffs seek a declaration of their constitutional rights and a national, comprehensive, science-based, and just climate recovery plan. Julia will be joined by a plaintiff and they will discuss next steps as they head to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Speaker: Julia Olson, Our Children's Trust

See weblink for connection information

Astronomy on Tap West Los Angeles and Davis - Two talks - 03/03/2021 07:00 PM
Astronomy on Tap

Discovering Other World:

Speakers: Lizvette Villafana and Dakotah Tyler

Our Tiny Old Neighbors: The Milky Way's Ultra-faint Dwarf Galaxies

Speaker: Katy Rodriguez Wimberly

See weblink for YouTube link

Thursday, 03/04/2021

Searches for New Physics at the Edge of Absolute Zero - Livestream - 03/04/2021 12:30 PM
SLAC Special Seminar

Why is there something in the universe instead of nothing?What is the nature of the dark matter that constitutes ∼85% of the matter content of the universe?

Each of these two questions brings together physics on the largest of observable scales with the behavior of particles on the smallest of scales. Why matter formed and what caused it to cluster into galaxies and stars are among the most fundamental open questions in physics today. And the answers may lie in understanding the breakdowns of the Standard Model. In this talk, I will discuss the search for Neutrinoless Double Beta Decay, a lepton number violating decay that could help explain the matter dominance of the universe. I will describe the CUORE experiment, a tonscale bolometeric detector that searches for this and other rare decays, and the R&D on multiplexed TES sensors that could be instrumental in a next-generation experiment. I will then discuss the axion and its reemergence as a leading dark matter candidate. I will describe the ABRACADABRA-10 cm demonstrator experiment at MIT and present results from its recent searches for axion dark matter. Finally, I will describe the DMRadio program - a joining of ABRACADABRA-10 cm with the DMRadio-Pathfinder program at SLAC - and its prospects of probing some of the most interesting axion dark matter parameter space as a full-fledged, next-generation dark matter experiment.

Speaker: Johathan Ouellet, Massachusets Institute of Technology

See weblink for Zoom link

Climate Change Innovation - Livestream - 03/04/2021 01:00 PM
Anchor Ventures

Join Claire Broido Johnson, managing director of the University System of Maryland Momentum Fund, for a conversation with Daniel Kammen, MA, PhD, a leading renewable energy expert, professor of energy, government advisor, and startup founder.

Hear about what we need to be successful in combating climate change, what gaps exist in not only technology, but also processes and funding, and how the Baltimore research and innovation ecosystem can help move the needle.

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SARS-CoV-2 Vaccines: Where Do We Stand? - Dr. Paul Offit - 03/04/2021 04:00 PM
On Line

Last summer on Skeptical Inquirer Presents, pioneering virologist Paul Offit explored the critical question of the moment: Is “warp speed” too fast to develop a COVID-19 vaccine? Now that the vaccines are here, Dr. Offit is back to cut through the fog of misinformation and conspiracy theories to explain where things stand and what we need to know. 

On Thursday, March 4 at 7pm ET 4pm PST on the next Skeptical Inquirer Presents live online event, Dr. Offit returns to address common concerns and answer your questions about the COVID-19 vaccines.

Free registration is required to take part in this event on Zoom and submit your questions for Dr. Offit live, so sign up right now.

Paul A. Offit, MD, is the Director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the co-inventor of the rotavirus vaccine, RotaTeq. He’s the bestselling author of several books such as Do You Believe in Magic? The Sense and Nonsense of Alternative Medicine, Bad Faith: When Religious Belief Undermines Modern Medicine, and Overkill: When Modern Medicine Goes Too Far, and is a Fellow of CFI’s Committee for Skeptical Inquiry.


The Genome Odyssey: Medical Mysteries and the Incredible Quest to Solve Them - Livestream - 03/04/2021 06:30 PM
San Mateo Public Library

Join the San Mateo Public Library for a virtual talk with renowned Stanford professor Dr. Euan Ashley, author of just-published book The Genome Odyssey. Ashley brings the breakthroughs of precision medicine to vivid life through the real diagnostic journeys of his patients and the tireless efforts of his fellow doctors and scientists as they hunt to define, detect, and defeat disease. Hear about how Ashley led the team that was the first to analyze and interpret a complete human genome, how they broke genome speed records to diagnose and treat patients, and how medicine can be tailored to treat specific diseases as well as to decode pathogens like viruses at the genomic level. This program is presetned by the library's Biotechnology Learning Center. Register here to receive connection information.

Black Holes: Facts, Myths, and Wishful Thinking - Livestream - 03/04/2021 06:30 PM
UC Riverside

In this lecture, Prof. Canalizo will give a brief summary of our current knowledge of black holes. She will introduce some astronomical observations that have allowed us to learn about these fascinating yet mysterious objects, including the exciting recent discoveries regarding the supermassive black hole in our own Milky Way galaxy. The lecture will also discuss popular misconceptions about black holes as well as a few intriguing possibilities (such as time travel) that have not yet been tested.

Speaker: Gabriela Canalizo, UC Riverside

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NightSchool: Women in Science - Livestream - 03/04/2021 07:00 PM
California Academy of Sciences

NightSchool celebrates International Women’s Day by handing over the mic and giving the spotlight to accomplished scientists. Alie Ward, host of Ologies podcast, leads an insightful discussion about what it’s like and what it means to be a woman in science in 2021.

Ages 21+

See weblink for YouTube and Facebook Live links.

After Dark Online: Art + Science - 03/04/2021 07:00 PM

Explore the intersections of art and science through the practice of individual artists who weave science, technology, and methods of discovery in their practices. The artistic process, much like the scientific process, is a form of inquiry vital to learning - an open-ended process of investigation, speculation, imagination, and experimentation. We’ll highlight artists who clarify the reciprocal relationship between art and science and how it can inspire a deeper understanding of the world. 

See weblink for YouTube and Facebook Live links.

Friday, 03/05/2021

The Science and Culture of Coffee - Livestream - 03/05/2021 11:00 AM
UC Botanical Garden

Coffee is an important agricultural commodity contributing significantly to the economies of many developing countries. Of the 124 species of Coffea, the two main commercial species used in the production of the beverage are C. arabica (Arabica coffee) and C. canephora (robusta coffee). Arabica coffee accounts for about 60% of the total coffee production. Sarada will talk about the botany and production of coffee and the research she has been involved in, including the development of the Global Conservation Strategy for Coffee Genetic Resources.

Speaker: Sarada Krishnan, Denver Botanical Gardens

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Fish of the Peninsula and the South Bay Watersheds - Livestream - 03/05/2021 12:00 PM
Peninsula Open Space Trust

Peninsula Open Space Trust will host Richard Tejeda, Founder of Saved By Nature, for an overview of the native fish we have in our local watersheds on the SF Peninsula and in the South Bay, including local salmon and trout species. An avid angler, fish conservationist and environmental educator, Richard will share the characteristics and ecology of our most common native fish species. We’ll discuss where these fish live, where they used to live, and why many of their populations have sadly deteriorated due to historical and current-day environmental impacts.

But there are also signs of hope for many of these populations. Richard will share some stories of the restoration work that is underway by a variety of great local organizations so that these important parts of our local watershed ecosystems will continue to exist into the future. Richard may also share some of his favorite local fishing stories along the way!

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Earth-Observing Satellite Boom and Emerging Hazards in the Era of Climate Change - Livestream - 03/05/2021 12:00 PM
UC Santa Cruz

With the global population surpassing 7.8 billion people in 2021, the impacts of human activities on the environment are noticeable almost everywhere on our planet. The consequences of these impacts are still elusive, particularly when trying to quantify them at larger scales. It is essential to trace environmental changes from a local to a global scale over several decades. This task is increasingly fulfilled by Earth-observing (EO) satellites, in particular, radar imaging instruments. Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), a cloud-penetrant microwave imaging system, provides unique day-night and all-weather monitoring capabilities. The availability of repeated SAR acquisitions with similar imaging geometry allows performing interferometric SAR (InSAR) processing. InSAR uses radar to illuminate an area of the Earth's surface and measures the change in distance between satellite and ground surface, as well as the returned signal strength. Such measurements are suitable for generating high-resolution digital elevation models and accurate terrain deformation maps. Here, I discuss some of the recent advances in developing modern multitemporal InSAR algorithms. Next, I present examples demonstrating the value of high-resolution Radar EO satellite data for mapping surface deformation with implications for sea-level rise, coastal flooding hazards, and quantifying droughts' impact on groundwater resources. Firstly, I report on high-resolution vertical land motion measurements along the U.S. coast obtained from InSAR, spanning 2003-2020. The findings include subsidence rates of up to several millimeters per year affecting different parts of the U.S. West and Gulf coasts, particularly deltas, wetlands, artificial landfills, and Holocene mud deposits. For instance, a subsidence rate of 2-10 mm/yr affects most coastal areas along San Francisco Bay. Furthermore, it is estimated that between 4.3-8.7 million people in California's coastal communities are exposed to subsidence. In combination with future projections of sea-level rise under different climate warming scenarios, it is estimated that in San Francisco Bay and Houston, an area of 125 km2-429 km2 and 186 km2-1157 km2, respectively, will be subject to inundation and flooding by 2100. Secondly, I present results from an interdisciplinary study of the response of aquifer systems in California's Central Valley to the drought periods of 2007-2010 and 2012-2015. The findings show that during droughts, the land subsidence modulated with a seasonal variation independent of the winter precipitation. The subsidence continues beyond the drought periods, although the groundwater levels have already stopped declining. It is estimated that maximum subsidence rates in the southern San Joaquin Valley are up to ~25 cm/yr and ~35 cm/yr for the 1st and 2nd droughts, respectively. Also, the groundwater loss of 21.3±7.2 km3 for the entire Central Valley during 2007-2010 and 29.3±8.7 km3 for the San Joaquin Valley during 2012-2015 is obtained. The subsidence-based estimates of groundwater loss are consistent with that of GRACE gravimetric satellites, considering uncertainty ranges. It is also found that due to overdraft, the aquifer system storage capacity was permanently reduced by up to 5%. These sets of case studies highlight the importance of EO satellite data for developing management, adaptation, and resilience plans.

Speaker: Manoochehr Shirzaei, Virginia Tech

See weblink for connection information

Applications of Data Science and AI to Equity, Race, and Inclusion in Mobility and Transportation - Livestream - 03/05/2021 03:00 PM
UC Berkeley

This spring, Berkeley's Institute of Transportation Studies is planning to host a Zoom seminar series on "Applications of Data Science and AI to Equity, Race, and Inclusion in Mobility and Transportation." This topic would bring a unique and innovative perspective to existing discussions around diversity, equity, and inclusion. Our aim is to reflect on and raise awareness of applications, opportunities, and potential misuses of data science and AI applied to mobility and transportation, specifically as it refers to race, equity, and diversity.

Speaker: Ramses Madaou, City of San Jose

See weblink to register

On the Ground Look at Implementing Equity in City Transportation Planning - Livestream - 03/05/2021 03:00 PM
UC Berkeley

The City of San Jose is implementing equity in all its transportation planning efforts. Come learn how the City has put equity into practice in its Citywide bike plan, emerging mobility plan, Citywide transportation strategic plan and its Decision Support System. We will discuss the processes we are using to create metrics, the metrics developed so far, current challenges in our work and the pit falls of measuring equity. This will be an on the ground look at implementing equity through modeling, metrics, and decision support systems at the City level. Look forward to seeing you.

Speaker: Ramses Madaou, Department of Transportation, San Jose

See weblink for Zoom and YouTube links.

Data Is Not the Destination: A Conversation with Naturalist Christian Schwarz - Livestream - 03/05/2021 07:00 PM
Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy

Explore the roles of community science in studying and connecting to nature, through the marvelous world of mushrooms and their enthusiasts. We’ll also learn about local fungi and how you too can become a community scientist. An opportunity for Q&A discussion will follow the talk. This program is part of a special series to connect with the “Wonders of Winter” that emerge this time of year in our environment.

Speaker: Christian Schwarz, Naturalist

Register at weblink to receive connection information.

Saturday, 03/06/2021

Wildflower Identification - Livestream - 03/06/2021 11:00 AM
Environmental Volunteers

In this informative, virtual talk, learn how what we enjoy about flowers - scent, shape, lines, color patterns, etc. - can be used to identify flowers, and how these features help the flowers attract vital pollinators.

Speaker: Judy Kramer, nature photographer

Register at weblink to receive connection information

TEDXBERKELEY 2021: IMAGINE IF... - Livestream - 03/06/2021 11:00 AM

If all the clouds in the sky melted into cotton candy, would they taste blue or pink?

As kids, questions like this came as naturally as breathing. With our imagination flowing freely, nothing was impossible. Imagination is a quality so deeply ingrained in human nature that we almost take it for granted. Yet, it also inspires incredible change.

Imagine if we had quantum computing, we lived in a prejudice-free society, we eliminated carbon emissions...

This year, at TEDxBerkeley 2021: Imagine If…, we invite you to explore how imagination has shaped history and offers limitless possibilities for the future. It will take our collective imagination to solve the world’s greatest challenges, from technology to climate change and medicine to human rights. Together, let’s champion creativity and consider the impossible.

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Virtual Telescope Viewing - Livestream - 03/06/2021 09:00 PM
Chabot Space and Science Center

Join our resident astronomers on Facebook Live every Saturday evening live from Chabot’s Observation deck!

Each week, our astronomers will guide us through spectacular night sky viewing through Nellie, Chabot‘s most powerful telescope. Weather permitting we will be able to view objects live through the telescopes and our astronomers will be available for an open forum for all of your most pressing astronomy questions.

Sunday, 03/07/2021

TEDXBERKELEY 2021: IMAGINE IF... - Livestream - 03/07/2021 11:00 AM

If all the clouds in the sky melted into cotton candy, would they taste blue or pink?

As kids, questions like this came as naturally as breathing. With our imagination flowing freely, nothing was impossible. Imagination is a quality so deeply ingrained in human nature that we almost take it for granted. Yet, it also inspires incredible change.

Imagine if we had quantum computing, we lived in a prejudice-free society, we eliminated carbon emissions...

This year, at TEDxBerkeley 2021: Imagine If…, we invite you to explore how imagination has shaped history and offers limitless possibilities for the future. It will take our collective imagination to solve the world’s greatest challenges, from technology to climate change and medicine to human rights. Together, let’s champion creativity and consider the impossible.

Register at weblink to receive connection information

Monday, 03/08/2021

Growing Supermassive Black Holes - Livestream - 03/08/2021 11:00 AM
Royal Observatory, Edinburgh

We now know that supermassive black holes, with masses of millions to billions of times the mass of the Sun, are found at the centres of most galaxies (including our own galaxy, the Milky Way). But where do they come from and how do they get so big? This talk will describe how astronomers are able to see growing black holes and why we think they play a key role in shaping the Universe.

Speaker: James Aird

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Stanford Symbolic Systems Forum : Keren Haroush - Livestream - 03/08/2021 02:30 PM
Stanford Symbolic Systems Forum

Speaker: Keren Haroush

See weblink for Zoom link.

Gamma-ray Bursts: Nature’s Most Remarkable Cosmic Explosions - Livestream - 03/08/2021 03:30 PM
SLAC Colloquium

First discovered serendipitously in 1967, the phenomena known as gamma-ray bursts - short-lived, extremely bright flashes of high-energy radiation - mystified astronomers for decades. Despite many breakthroughs, key open questions - such as the mechanism responsible for the prompt gamma-ray emission, as well as a detailed characterization of their progenitor systems - remain open. In this talk I’ll review several recent results, including 1) the discovery of very high-energy (TeV) gamma-rays from ground-based Cherenkov detectors; 2) the association of a peculiar short gamma-ray burst with the binary neutron star merger GW170817; and 3) prospects for utilizing these events as probes of the early universe and the epoch of reionization.

Speaker: Brad Cenko, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

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Bill Gross, Founder and CEO of Heliogen - Livestream - 03/08/2021 04:00 PM
Stanford Energy Seminar

Heliogen is a clean energy company focused on eliminating the need for fossil fuels in all sectors of the economy. Heliogen’s mission is to create the world’s first technology that can commercially replace fossil fuels in industrial processes with carbon-free, ultra-high temperature heat from the sun and to transform sunlight into fuels, including hydrogen, at scale. Heliogen was created at Idealab, the leading technology incubator.

Speaker: Bill Gross, Idealab founder

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The physicist as a prism - Livestream - 03/08/2021 04:00 PM
What Physicists Do @ Sonoma State University

Speaker: Jacque Benitez, California Academy of Sciences

A fireside chat with two pioneers in science, Sandra M. Faber and Kathryn D. Sullivan - Livestream - 03/08/2021 05:30 PM
UC Santa Cruz

We are thrilled to invite you to an inspiring conversation with two of our most prominent trailblazers in science, and who we are proud to say will be distinctly honored in our transformed Science & Engineering Library.

The conversation will explore their incredible careers and the influence UC Santa Cruz has had on their unparalleled success. Among many of their accomplishments, for instance, Sandra co-led the largest project in the history of the Hubble Space Telescope, an undertaking that extended our view of galaxy formation back nearly to the Big Bang, while Kathryn was part of the team that launched, rescued, repaired, and maintained the Hubble Space Telescope. The list of their accomplishments, recognitions, and awards is unmatched. What inspired them to pursue these exceptional careers? What is next for them? What are their hopes for our current students?

Speakers: Sandra Faber, UC Santa Cruz emerita; Kathryn Sullivan, Astronaut; Beth Shapiro, UC Santa Cruz, Moderator

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Tuesday, 03/09/2021

The Health Benefits of Vitamin D and Solar UVB - Livestream - 03/09/2021 09:00 AM
Commonwealth Club - Online Event

JFrog, DevOps tool leader, uses AI and ML internally. Our Story Revealed! - 03/09/2021 11:50 AM
Magnimind Academy

The Fate of Water on Mars: Tracing Water-rock Interactions Through Modelling, Satellites, and Rovers - Livestream - 03/09/2021 03:30 PM
UC Santa Cruz

Microbe-pollutant interactions between fluorinated fire-fighting foams and bioremediation of hydrocarbons and chlorinated solvents - Livestream - 03/09/2021 05:00 PM
California Section American Chemical Society

Michael Mann: Moving Forward Together on Climate Change - Livestream - 03/09/2021 07:00 PM
Peninsula Open Space Trust

Wednesday, 03/10/2021

Wonderfest: Life's Edge - Livestream - 03/10/2021 12:00 PM
Commonwealth Club - Online Event

Who helps whom? The role of marine forests on the mitigation and adaptation to climate change - Livestream - 03/10/2021 03:30 PM
Estuary & Ocean Science Center

The UC Botanical Garden Tropical House Collection - Livestream - 03/10/2021 04:00 PM
UC Botanical Garden

Lick Observatory During Pandemics: 1918 and 2020 - Livestream - 03/10/2021 07:00 PM
Silicon Valley Astronomy Series

Thursday, 03/11/2021

The Famous Corpse Flower - Livestream - 03/11/2021 11:00 AM
UC Botanical Garden

Tropical House Highlights with Anthony Garza - Livestream - 03/11/2021 04:30 PM
UC Botanical Garden

SFBBO Birdy Hour Talk: A Walk Through a Bay Area Birder’s Garden - Livestream - 03/11/2021 05:00 PM
San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory

March LASER Event - Livestream - 03/11/2021 06:00 PM
LASER Leonardo Art Science Evening Rendezvous

NightSchool: Wolves - Livestream - 03/11/2021 07:00 PM
California Academy of Sciences

After Dark Online: Fractals - 03/11/2021 07:00 PM

Haunted Humanity: The Fringe Is Not Fringe, and That’s a Big Deal - 03/11/2021 07:30 PM
Bay Area Skeptics

Friday, 03/12/2021

Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics Seminar - Livestream - 03/12/2021 12:00 PM
UC Santa Cruz

Saturday, 03/13/2021

Virtual Telescope Viewing - Livestream - 03/13/2021 09:00 PM
Chabot Space and Science Center

Sunday, 03/14/2021

Milkweeds and Milkweed Butterflies - Livestream - 03/14/2021 11:00 AM
UC Botanical Garden

Monday, 03/15/2021

Instrumentation in Astronomy: Building Cameras to Take Pictures of Extra-Solar Planets - Livestream - 03/15/2021 04:00 PM
What Physicists Do @ Sonoma State University

The New Nuclear Arms Race, Its Dangers, and How to Turn it Around - Livestream - 03/15/2021 04:15 PM
UC Berkeley