The SciSchmooze Celebrates the Earth

April 25, 2021

Hello again fans of Science!

The first official Earth Day observance was in 1970. That’s 51 years ago that organizers proclaimed the day as one to take action on our environment. While a lot has been done since that first Earth Day, including the start of the recycling movement, the introduction of unleaded gasoline, and significant polution restrictions, have we really improved the planet?

That’s a difficult question to answer. I would say it all depends on where you look. In some areas great strides have been made. In others, not so much. And overall, climate change continues seemingly unabated while politicians and governments continue to talk about the issue rather than do as much as possible to fix it.

Here’s a rather comprehensive list of questions and answers, backed up with facts and research, to answer the “how do we know” questions climate deniers pose. Due to the number of questions the article attempts to answer, it is a bit long, but worth reading.

A new study reinforces human-driven global change back well beyond the industrial revolution, the period often cited as the start of our influence on the planet’s ecology.

One hundred forty two years ago, a researcher at the University of Michigan buried some seeds in a sort of time capsule. Every few years, he, or subsequent researchers, dug up some of the seeds to see how long they could remain viable. This may be the longest running experiment ever.

Our planet continues to develop. It seems that there’s been an increase in volcanic activity in the past few weeks. Scientists don’t have sensors on as many volcanoes as you might think. New NASA data shows that signs of unrest beneath a volcano can be detected years before it erupts.

Meanwhile, on Mars, Ingenuity, the pint sized helicopter, finally took off successfully last Monday. It was a short flight, but very significant. Here’s a video of the first flight. And the second. And just a few hours ago, the third flight took place, reaching heights and distances bigger than previously tested on Earth. The third flight covered 164 feet. Fantastic!

We’ve all heard that the COVID-19 vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer are 95% effective. That does not mean there’s a 5% infection risk. Effective communication is so important, especially with this disease, and is something we frequently mention here at the Schmooze. In fact, communicating science effectively is one of our main goals.

So far, the vaccines are all injected. But that may change, with a nasal spray vaccine that would hinder the evolution of new variants of the disease.

California has gone from having one of the worst infection rates to one of the lowest in the US. But while the news is good here, elsewhere it isn’t that great. Some areas of the US continue to struggle with containment, with Michigan being the worst. In India, officials are running out of oxygen to treat patients and case loads are increasing rapidly. The official counts there are probably very understated too. Less affluent countries have little vaccine to distribute, placing their residents at risk.

So while there is progress, it is not universal.

For your consideration this week:

  1. Near-Earth Asteroids, The Impact Hazard, and Space Missions - Livestream, Tuesday 4/27 at 7:00 pm

  2. Black Hole Survival Guide - Livestream, Wednesday 4/28 at 7:00 PM

  3. Bringing Back the Natives Virtual Garden Tour, Sunday, May 2 at 10:00 AM, with subsequent sessions on May 16 and 23.

Have a great week in Science!

Bob Siederer

Monday, 04/26/2021

Benchmark Mineral Intelligence - Livestream - 04/26/2021 08:00 AM
SLAC Colloquium

Benchmark Mineral Intelligence offers market price and data assessments for lithium, graphite, cobalt and nickel - the foundation of a lithium ion battery, which in turn is the foundation of the energy storage revolution. Simon Moores will discuss his work at Benchmark.

Speaker: Simon Moores, Benchmark Mineral Intelligence

Non-abelian bosonization in two and three spatial dimensions and applications - Livestream - 04/26/2021 02:30 PM
UC Berkeley

In this talk, we generalize Witten's non-abelian bosonization in (1+1)-D to two and three spatial dimensions. Our theory applies to fermions with relativistic dispersion. The bosonized theories are non-linear sigma models with level-1 Wess-Zumino-Witten terms. We apply the bosonization results to the SU(2) gauge theory of the $pi$-flux phase, critical spin liquids in 1,2,3 spatial dimensions, and twisted bilayer graphene.

Speaker: Yen-Ta Huang, UC Berkeley

See weblink for connection information

Gender Bias in Language Perception - Livestream - 04/26/2021 02:30 PM
Stanford Symbolic Systems Forum

An issue that has been debated for decades is whether there are gendered differences in communication styles and, if so, whether these differences can perpetuate power imbalances between people with different gender identities. If the answer to these questions is yes, then many have argued that those with less power can get ahead by talking like those with more power. For example, in response to studies showing that men interrupt women more often than the reverse in presidential debates and Supreme Court hearings, editorials argued that women should start interrupting men more often. However, recommendations like this rest on the assumption that people with different gender identities are perceived the same way when saying the same thing. Drawing on the results of an experiment where 5000 participants evaluated carefully manipulated conversations, this talk answers long-standing questions about how women and men are perceived when they interrupt each other.

Speaker: Katherine Hilton, Stanford

See weblink for Zoom link.

High Performance Computing: Beyond Moore’s Law - Livestream - 04/26/2021 03:30 PM
SLAC Colloquium

Supercomputer performance now exceeds that of the earliest computers by thirteen orders of magnitude, yet science still needs more than they provide. Prior to 1990, supercomputers were powered by one, or a few, sequential or vector processors.  But since 1990, almost all the increased machine performance has been provided by a shift to highly parallel systems.  This change, the triumph of parallelism, was made possible by Dennard scaling and Moore’s law, which made low-cost commodity hardware the basis for modern supercomputers.  But Dennard scaling is over, and Moore’s Law is coming to an end.

Demand engenders supply, and ways to prolong the growth in supercomputing performance are at hand or on the horizon.   Architectural specialization has returned, after a loss of system diversity in the Moore’s law era; it provides a significant boost for computational science.   And at the hardware level, the development of a viable wafer-scale compute platform has important ramifications.   Other long-term possibilities, notably quantum computing, may eventually play a role.

Wafer-scale integration was tried, and failed, at a well-funded 1990s startup.   It has now been brought to customers, successfully, by Cerebras Systems.  Why wafer-scale? Real achieved performance in supercomputers (as opposed to the peak speed) is limited by the bandwidth and latency barriers --- memory and communication walls --- that impose delay when off-processor-chip data is needed, and it is needed all the time.   By changing the scale of the chip by two orders of magnitude, we can pack a small, powerful, mini-supercomputer on one piece of silicon, and eliminate much of the off-chip traffic for applications that can fit in the available memory.  The elimination of most off-chip communication also cuts the power per unit performance, a key parameter when total system power is capped, as it usually is.

I will provide some detail concerning the technical problems concerning yield, packaging, cooling, and delivery of electrical power that had to be solved to make wafer-scale computing viable.  These systems are in use at several labs, and I will discuss the impact that they are having for traditional models, neural networks in science, and hybrids of AI and mathematical physics.

See weblink for Zoom information

Using Quantum Sensors to Search for Dark Matter - Livestream - 04/26/2021 04:00 PM
What Physicists Do @ Sonoma State University

Astronomical observations (such as galaxy rotation speeds and gravitational lensing) are the primary evidence for the existence of Dark Matter (DM). DM makes up ~80% of all matter in the universe, is effectively invisible to the electromagnetic force, and interacts at the very least via the gravitational force. Theorists have speculated alternate interaction avenues such as through the weak force, based on the relic abundance of DM in the universe and Super-Symmetry. This laid the foundation for the Weakly Interacting Massive Particle (WIMP) to be the primary DM candidate for decades; however, as new measurements at the LHC continue to show no evidence of Super-Symmetry new hypothesis of lighter DM are gaining prominence.o explore these new hypothesis, R&D efforts have started to look at ultra- high resolution/single-charge sensitive sensors capable of achieving quantum level  sensitivity. In this talk I will discuss the current technology being used by the Super Cryogenic Dark Matter Search (SuperCDMS) experiment. There will be emphasis on the R&D efforts into the SuperCDMS HVeV single-charge sensitive devices looking for low mass DM in the form of Dark Photon and Electron Recoil Dark Matter interactions. Finally, I will introduce the Beryllium Electron capture in Superconducting Tunnel junctions (“BeEST”) experiment searching for sterile neutrinos on the keV scale.

Speaker: Dr. Francisco Ponce, Pacific Northwest National Lab

Benchmark Mineral Intelligence - Replay - 04/26/2021 04:00 PM
SLAC Colloquium

Benchmark Mineral Intelligence offers market price and data assessments for lithium, graphite, cobalt and nickel - the foundation of a lithium ion battery, which in turn is the foundation of the energy storage revolution. Simon Moores will discuss his work at Benchmark.

Speaker: Simon Moores, Benchmark Mineral Intelligence

Editor's Note: This seminar is live at 8:00 AM.  This is a rebroadcast.  Questions will only be taken at the live showing.

Atoms Interlinked by Light: Programmable Interactions and Emergent Geometry - 04/26/2021 04:15 PM
Stanford University

The power of quantum information lies in its capacity to be non-local, encoded in correlations among entangled particles.  Yet our ability to produce, understand, and exploit such correlations is hampered by the fact that the interactions between particles are ordinarily local.  I will report on experiments in which we use light to engineer non-local interactions among cold atoms, with photons acting as messengers conveying information between them.  We program the spin-spin couplings in an array of atomic ensembles by tailoring the frequency spectrum of an optical control field.  We harness this programmability to access interaction graphs conducive to frustration and to explore quantum spin dynamics in exotic geometries and topologies.  Such advances in optical control of interactions open new opportunities in areas ranging from quantum technologies to fundamental physics.  I will touch on implications for quantum-enhanced sensing, combinatorial optimization, and simulating quantum gravity.

Speaker: Monika Schleier-Smith, Stanford

Tuesday, 04/27/2021

Our Threatened Human Fertility. Causes, Consequences, and Solutions - Livestream - 04/27/2021 09:00 AM
Commonwealth Club - Online Event

In 2017, Dr. Shanna Swan published an internationally acclaimed landmark study that sparked great concern about declining human fertility. Join us as this award-winning scientist and reproductive epidemiologist outlines steps individuals and society can take to prevent further impairment by everyday chemicals, which she says are severely impacting our reproductive health and imperiling the future of human and planetary health.

Speaker: Dr. Shanna Swan, Icahn School of Medicine; Andrea Brier, Commonwealth Club, Moderator

'Beauty and the Beast: California Wildflowers and Climate Change' - Livestream - 04/27/2021 11:00 AM
UC Botanical Garden

Climate change and other human impacts on the environment are threatening wildflowers and the life that depends on them. In this special and timely work, conservation photographers Rob Badger and Nita Winter give us a spectacular view of California’s extraordinary wildflowers as both a cause for celebration and protection. Beauty and the Beast pairs the couple’s striking field photography with thought-provoking and inspiring essays by authors like Robin Wall Kimmerer, Jose Gonzalez, Peter Raven, Mary Ellen Hannibal, Ileene Anderson, and more. Enjoy this stunning visual tour of California’s wildflowers and renew your resolve to care for this precious place we call California!

Speakers: Rob Badger and Nita Winter

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The New Breed: What Our Animal History Reveals For Our Robotic Future - Livestream - 04/27/2021 12:30 PM
Long Now Foundation

Robot ethicist Kate Darling offers a nuanced and smart take on our relationships to robots and the increasing presence they will have in our lives. From a social, legal, and ethical perspective, she shows that our current ways of thinking don’t leave room for the robot technology that is soon to become part of our everyday routines. Robots are likely to supplement, rather than replace, our own skills and relationships.

Darling also considers our history of incorporating animals into our work, transportation, military, and even families, and shows how we already have a solid basis for how to contend with, and navigate our future with robots.

Dr. Kate Darling works at the intersection of law, ethics and robotics; as a researcher at MIT Media Lab, author and intellectual property policy advisor.

The role of glaciers in global biogeochemical cycles - Livestream - 04/27/2021 03:30 PM
UC Santa Cruz

Speaker: Jon Hawkings, Florida State University

Zoom information can be found on the EPS advising Google calendar

Can we see Quantum Mechanics at Work Around Us? - Livestream - 04/27/2021 04:00 PM
California Section American Chemical Society

Birgitta Whaley’s current research interests focus broadly on quantum information and quantum computation, control and simulation of complex quantum systems, and quantum effects in biological systems. Quantum information processing employs superposition, entanglement, and probabilistic measurement to encode and manipulate information in very different ways from the classical information processing underlying current electronic technology. Her research in quantum biology seeks to characterize and understand the role of quantum dynamical effects in biological systems, employing a perspective that combines detailed quantum simulation at the molecular scale with experimental investigations and insights using tools from quantum science and technology.

Scientific espionage, open exchange, and American competitiveness - Livestream - 04/27/2021 04:30 PM
Stanford University

Amid rapidly escalating tension between the United States and China, professors, scientists, and students of Chinese ethnic origin as well as those engaging in academic collaborations with China are under heightened scrutiny by the federal government. In 2015, Xiaoxing Xi, Laura H. Carnell Professor of Physics at Temple University, became a casualty of this campaign despite being innocent. This experience gave him insights into the challenges Chinese scientists face and the immediate threat to the open environment in fundamental research.

Speaker: Xiaoxing Xi, Temple University

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Basic Science Lights the Way: Rising Stars of Berkeley Mathematical and Physical Sciences - Livestream - 04/27/2021 05:00 PM
UC Berkeley

From the search for Earth-like planets to seeking knowledge of past climates on Earth, Berkeley’s early-career faculty in the physical sciences push the boundaries of basic research and teaching in their fields. Hear from professors in four MPS departments about how their work lights the way.

This talk features Courtney Dressing, Alexander Paulin, Daniel Stopler, and Norman Yao, moderated by Frances Hellman, Dean, Division of Mathematical and Physical Sciences

Register at weblink to receive connection information

Gray Whale Populations: The Eastern/Western Paradox - Livestream - 04/27/2021 07:00 PM
American Cetacean Society

Join ACS San Francisco Bay Chapter for a fascinating evening of insights into gray whale biology and ecology. After being driven to the brink of extinction by commercial whaling, the eastern North Pacific population has made a remarkable recovery. They remain subject to threats including, but not limited to, lack of prey abundance, entanglements, and ship strikes. As many people living and visiting the West Coast witnessed, in 2019, these majestic whales suffered an unusual mortality event primarily attributed to a decline in prey abundance in their Arctic feeding grounds.

In this webinar, Dr. Jim Sumich will discuss the past and current distributions, migration patterns, and genetics of gray whale populations, and some likely future scenarios for this species in the context of our changing global climate.

Register at weblink to receive connection information

Near-Earth Asteroids, The Impact Hazard, and Space Missions - Livestream - 04/27/2021 07:00 PM
Chabot Space and Science Center

Near-Earth asteroids (NEAs) are small solar system bodies in orbits that come near or cross the orbit of Earth.  I will review NEAs as unique physical worlds, as potential impact hazards to Earth, and as accessible destinations for spacecraft. 

Michael W. Busch, PhD, is a planetary astronomer and research scientist at the SETI Institute.  His research focuses primarily on studying individual asteroids with radar and radio technique; to understand their histories, rule out future Earth impacts, and support space missions.

See weblink for YouTube and Facebook Live links.

Wednesday, 04/28/2021

A ubiquitous tire-derived chemical is killing coho salmon - Livestream - 04/28/2021 11:00 AM
Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

Each year, more than half the coho salmon that return to spawn in Puget Sound’s urban streams die suddenly when exposed to stormwater that has flushed through highways and city streets. A team of researchers has identified a single contaminant, 6PPD-quinone, as the cause of this mass poisoning. This chemical forms from a common tire preservative and has now been observed at toxic concentrations in roadway runoff and stormwater-impacted creeks all along the West Coast. Rebecca Sutton, an environmental chemist specializing in unregulated, emerging contaminants, will share this detective story within the larger context of chemical and microplastic contamination of aquatic ecosystems, and discuss potential solutions to protect salmon in our state.

Register at weblink to receive connection information.

The Search for Earth-like Planets - Livestream - 04/28/2021 12:00 PM
Stanford University

For thousands of years, people have wondered, “Are there planets like Earth?” “Are such planets common?” “Do any have signs of life?”

Today astronomers are poised to answer these ancient questions, having recently found thousands of planets that orbit nearby Sun-like stars, called “exoplanets”.

Professor Sara Seager, one of the world’s leading experts on this search for Earth-like planets, will share the latest advances in this revolutionary field.

Speaker: Sara Seager, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Register at weblink to receive Zoom information.

Ask the Scientist - Kathleen McAfee - 04/28/2021 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 at weblink to receive connection information.

Does California need more options for forest or blue carbon offsets? - Livestream - 04/28/2021 03:30 PM
Estuary & Ocean Science Center

Governments, universities, oil companies, and businesses of all sorts pledge to achieve “net zero” greenhouse-gas emissions by buying offset credits based on conservation of forests or farm soils, or carbon sequestration by waters and wetlands: so-called natural climate solutions. Offsets are meant to compensate for damage caused by emissions from one place by absorbing or preventing their release somewhere else. Offsets do not do this in practice, as predicted by theory and widely recognized in literature. Instead, offsets legitimize continued emissions.After 15 years, forest offsets have brought no decreases in total emissions; blue carbon schemes would likely have similar results. In California, offsetting enables businesses to increase GHG emissions and toxic co-pollutants in low-income and non-white communities. Proposals for California climate policy, under review in 2021, would add more blue and green offsetting options. These proposals, from fossil-fuels and carbon-trading lobbies and conservation NGOS, need stronger scientific scrutiny.

Speaker: Kathleen McAffee, Professor, San Francisco State University

Register at weblink to receive Zoom information

Investigating Conservative Environmental Polarization, 1945-1981 - Livestream - 04/28/2021 04:00 PM
Energy and Resources Group

There is a well-recognized partisan and ideological polarization on environmental issues in the United States. This talk will discuss what is known (and what is not) about the origins and development of that phenomenon between 1945 and 1981, examined against the background of the postwar decades’ intra-party ideological conflict, national party realignment, social upheaval, and political polarization. It will then introduce my recent studies in the field: on air pollution politics in the Kennedy years; on the development of conservative business anti-environmental discourse in the 1970s; and on the conservative reaction to Earth Day  -including some newly-discovered ties to Berkeley.

Speaker: Adam Orford, UC Berkeley

See weblink for Zoom information

Effects of connectivity, polarity and stoichiometry on charge-driven assembly - Livestream - 04/28/2021 04:00 PM
UC Berkeley

Speaker: Dr. Jian Qin, Stanford

See weblink for connection information

The Oakland EcoBlock: A Novel Approach to Building Resilient Communities - Livestream - 04/28/2021 06:00 PM
UC Berkeley

Speaker: Dr. Alexandra von Meier, California Institute for Energy and Environment

Peninsula Gem and Geology Society General Meeting - Livestream - 04/28/2021 07:00 PM
Peninsula Gem & Geology Society

Topic tonight is diamonds.

See weblink for information on gaining meeting access.

Black Hole Survival Guide - Livestream - 04/28/2021 07:00 PM
Silicon Valley Astronomy Series

In this talk, Dr. Levin will help us understand, and find delight in, black holes - perhaps the most opaque theoretical construct ever imagined by physicists. She will take us on an exploratory tour of the neighborhood of a black hole, and help us feel the visceral experience of encountering it (for example, warning us about the danger of being “spaghettified” by its enormous tidal forces.) She’ll also discuss the influence of black holes on the universe at large, including their mergers and the way their presence can sculpt entire galaxies.

Dr. Janna Levin is Claire Tow Professor of physics and astronomy at Columbia University’s Barnard College. Her scientific work deals with the nature and extent of space and time, black holes and neutron stars, the background radiation from the early universe, and gravitational waves. She is also Director of Sciences at Pioneer Works, an interdisciplinary cultural center in Brooklyn, that encourages cooperation between the arts and the sciences. She is the author of How the Universe got its Spots, and Black Hole Blues and Other Songs from Outer Space. Her first book of fiction, A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines, won the PEN Prize. Her latest popular book, Black Hole Survival Guide, is published by Knopf and available in many formats.

Speaker: Dr. Janna Levin, Barnard College

Watch the lecture on this YouTube link.

Thursday, 04/29/2021

World Immunology Day 2021 - Vaccines, COVID-19 and Beyond - Livestream - 04/29/2021 10:00 AM
Francis Crick Institute

Join our virtual event featuring an international panel of renowned research scientists to learn all about vaccines for COVID-19 and other deadly infections. Our panel will discuss how effective COVID-19 vaccines have been developed so quickly, and highlight the remarkable achievements of other vaccination programmes from the past century.

See weblink for presenters and register to receive connection information

Using Genetic Engineering to Combat Invasive Species - Livestream - 04/29/2021 11:00 AM
University of Minnesota

Recently developed tools for Precise Genome Engineering have ushered in a number of novel proof-of-concept technologies for pest control. Termed ‘genetic biocontrol’, these approaches allow researchers to essentially convert the pest organism into a pesticide. Released genetically engineered biocontrol agents would spread deleterious genes into the pest population, leading to a local eradication. This talk will introduce several types of genetic biocontrol, describe how they work, and give a status update on technology development efforts. A question-answer period will allow attendees to learn more about this promising and possibly transformative class of technologies.

Speaker: Michael Smanski, University of Minnesota

REgister at weblink to receive connection information

A Brief Introduction to Applying Machine Learning to Investing - 04/29/2021 11:50 AM
Magnimind Academy

Applying machine learning to longer-term investing comes with specific difficulties. In this talk, we discuss a number of these issues to be aware of, such as:

Signal-to-noise ratios are lowMarkets are continuously evolvingThe number of independent observations is lower than you might thinkPredictability does not guarantee profitability in real-world portfolios.

While these problems cannot be circumvented altogether, we review ways to address them at least partially. Furthermore, we present examples where machine learning nevertheless can add value.


11:40 am - 11:50 am Arrival and socializing11:50 am - 12:00 pm Opening12:00 pm - 1:50 pm Maximilian Stroh and Dr. Philip Messow, "A Brief Introduction to Applying Machine Learning to Investing"1:50 pm - 2:00 pm Q&A

Speakers: Maximilian Stroh, Quoniam Asset Management in Frankfurt;Dr. Philip Messow, Quoniam

Please register using this link to get a reminder.

Webinar ID: 827 5571 3401

City Nature Challenge Launch with One Tam - Livestream - 04/29/2021 12:00 PM
Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy

If you are curious about the world around you and want to connect with others, consider joining the fun on iNaturalist in preparation for City Nature Challenge 2021 (April 30- May 9).

iNaturalist is an online platform to record, identify, and organize nature findings, meet other nature enthusiasts, and learn about the natural world. City Nature Challenge is a yearly community science event to see which urban area in the world can turn out the greatest number of naturalists, make the most observations of nature, and find the most species. The park lands that we work on are a large part of the SF Bay Area region team!

In this webinar, we will guide you through an introduction to iNaturalist and get you ready to make observations and use the platform to identify what you see. Join the One Tam virtual bioblitz here.

Register at weblink to receive connection information.

Silicon Valley Leaders Symposium - Livestream - 04/29/2021 12:00 PM
Silicon Valley Leaders Symposium

Speaker: Shari Liss, SEMI

See weblink for Zoom connection.

Astrobotany 101 - Livestream - 04/29/2021 01:00 PM
UC Botanical Garden

Now, more than ever, humans are exploring the possibility of growing plants outside of Earth's atmosphere. Come learn about the fascinating field of astrobotany from UC Botanical Garden's own Director, Dr. Lew Feldman. Before taking on the directorship of the Garden, Professor Feldman spent 40 years on the Berkeley faculty, first as a member of the Botany Department and later in its successor, the Department of Plant and Microbial Biology. During the course of his career Lew has spent time working with NASA, contributing to an understanding of how to grow plants in space.

Register at weblink for connection information

Making Waves: Protecting Nature and Culture in Micronesia - Livestream - 04/29/2021 04:00 PM
Commonwealth Club - Online Event

Climate change threatens the very existence of many small island nations. Sea-level rise, weather extremes and coral reef destruction caused by warming waters have driven untold destruction and outmigration, with some communities fleeing - literally - to higher ground.

Fighting for their collective survival, three small Pacific Island nations and two U.S. territories spanning over 2 million square miles of ocean launched the Micronesia Challenge in the mid-2000s to protect critical land and marine ecosystems by 2020 - reducing human impact that imperils reefs, coastlines and mountains. A strategic partner since the Challenge’s founding, The Nature Conservancy is working across Micronesia as this initiative launches bold new 2030 targets for people and nature.

Speakers: Kate Brown, Global Island Partnership; Willy Kostka, Micronesia Conservation Trust; Trina Leberer; The Nature Conservancy; Ben Doherty, "The Guardian", Moderator

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Home DNA Testing - Livestream - 04/29/2021 06:30 PM
Berkeley Public Library

Now that nearly 40 million people have had DNA tests, we've reached a tipping point. Virtually all Americans are affected - tested or not - and millions have been impacted by significant revelations in their immediate families. Libby Copeland's new book, The Lost Family: How DNA Testing Is Upending Who We Are, explores the science, the ethics, and the cultural transformations that this intimate self-knowledge allows.

After Dark Online: Forever Chemicals - 04/29/2021 07:00 PM

Building resilient communities requires us to look at complex interactions between the built and natural environments we inhabit and our vulnerabilities within them. But what should we know about less visible barriers to resilience? Certain chemicals found in everyday products we use and wear have impacts on our bodies, and can compound stressors such as COVID-19 and climate-related events. Join us in conversation with Meredith Williams, Director, California Department of Toxic Substances Control and Debbie Raphael, Director, San Francisco Department of the Environment to learn about toxic “forever” chemicals and what we can do about them at both the individual and system levels.

See weblink for YouTube and Facebook links

NightSchool: Geology & Society - Livestream - 04/29/2021 07:00 PM
California Academy of Sciences

Explore the vast field of geology and how the ground beneath our feet affects our lives - and vice versa. Hear from researchers studying how human activities impact the Earth’s structure and consider how geologic features are linked to the culture of local communities.


Dr. Hendratta Ali, Professor of Geoscience at Fort Hays State University, investigates the impact of human activities on mangrove estuaries, which are among the world’s most valuable carbon sinks, removing carbon from the atmosphere and storing it in trees, soil, and water. Some of the largest cities in the world are located near these coastal wetlands, and Dr. Ali will talk about how the effects of rapid urbanization, aquaculture, and logging endanger ecosystem health.  Learn about the geoheritage of Dominica with Davitia James, a geologist whose work focuses on volcano research. She’ll give an overview of the Caribbean island’s volcanic history, talk about who the Maroons were and the importance of the landscape to their efforts, and how our environment can shape us through history and culture as much as we shape it through our land-use practices.  Humans have been causing earthquakes for well over a century, and with growing population and energy needs, it’s likely that we’ll feel more earthquakes in the coming years. Justin Rubenstein, USGS Research Geophysicist, talks about how and where people are causing earthquakes and why Oklahoma had more earthquakes than California from 2014 - 2017.

Friday, 04/30/2021

Localization of background seismicity: Estimation and application to tracking preparation of large earthquakes - Livestream - 04/30/2021 12:00 PM
UC Santa Cruz

Progressive localization of deformation is a basic mechanical process that produces simultaneously reduced strength and increasing strain in a deforming rock volume. The localization framework describes the progressive evolution of deformation from distributed failures in a rock volume to localized shear zones, culminating in generation of primary slip zones and large earthquakes [2]. This framework considers the development of conditions during deformation in a volume (rather than on pre-existing faults or sets of faults) that allow an appropriate “trigger” to produce large ruptures. Recent observations provide new promising perspectives related to observable localization signals preceding large earthquakes. This talk discusses estimation of localization using earthquake catalogs and its applications to tracking preparation processes of large earthquakes [1]. The estimation methodology is based on comparing “spikiness” of spatial measures using the Relative Operating Characteristic (ROC) approach. The comparison is done both between space distributions of observed background events within distinct time windows (relative localization), and between an observed space distribution and a uniform measure with the same support (absolute localization). We also discuss a nearest-neighbor methodology for earthquake delcustering, which is an essential component of our (and many other) analyses of earthquake catalogs [3]. The results reveal generation of earthquake-induced rock damage on a decadal timescale around eventual rupture zones, and progressive localization of background seismicity on a 2-3 yr timescale before several M > 7 earthquakes in southern and Baja California, and M7.9 events in Alaska. This is followed by coalescence of earthquakes into growing clusters that precede the mainshocks. Corresponding analysis around the 2004 M6 Parkfield earthquake in the creeping section of the San Andreas fault shows opposite tendencies to those associated with the large seismogenic faults. The results are consistent with observations from laboratory experiments and physics-based models with heterogeneous materials not dominated by a pre-existing failure zone.

Speaker: Ilya Zaliapin, University of Nevada, Reno

Zoom information can be found on the EPS advising Google calendar

Saturday, 05/01/2021

The Wonderful World of Indoor Houseplants - Livestream - 05/01/2021 10:00 AM
Garden for the Environment

Houseplants can bring us joy and a sense of calmness in our homes, and provide other benefits too! As many of us continue to spend more time at home during this extended COVID period, our appreciation of our beautiful potted companions has increased. This informative, fun, and engaging workshop presented by our expert friends at The Mellow SF will help you choose the best indoor plants for your space and your sense of aesthetics, provide valuable information on how to best care for them, and aid in troubleshooting issues that your houseplants may experience.

Oscar, from The Mellow SF, an indoor plant specialty store, will guide you through the workshop, answering all your questions about indoor plants.

Register at weblink to receive Zoom information.

Virtual Telescope Viewing - Livestream - 05/01/2021 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, 05/02/2021

Bringing Back the Natives Virtual Garden Tour - 05/02/2021 10:00 AM
Bringing Back the Natives

In a series of live garden visits passionate garden owners and the talented designers of the Bay Area’s most beautiful and inspiring landscapes will show us what’s happening in the garden now, feature their favorite natives, describe their great native plant gardening resources, and more.

Check the weblink for the agenda for each date.

Registration is required for each date.

April 25: Gardening for Wildlife

May 2: Native Plant Garden Design and Plant Selection

May 16: A Potpourri of Inspirational Native Plant Gardens

May 23: A Potpourri of Inspirational Native Plant Gardens

San Bruno Mountain: Rare Plants & Rare Geology - 05/02/2021 07:00 PM
San Francisco Gem & Mineral Society

Our speaker Dr. David Nelson is an orthopedic hand surgeon and a botanist on the weekends. He has just finished a book titled The Natural History of the San Bruno Mountains which will be released in Fall 2022.

San Bruno Mountain is located between Highways 101 & 280 in northern San Mateo County, north of the SF airport, just across the county line south of San Francisco. Six plants grow there that are endemic to the area - they do not grow anywhere else in the world. Limiting factors are the climate, topography and the soils derived from the underlying rocks, examples of the Franciscan Complex geology typical of the California’s Coastal Ranges, and especially of the San Francisco Peninsula. The mountain, an island above a dense sea of buildings and roads, is probably best known for its endangered butterflies including the Mission Blue, and is equally a refuge for the rare plants that provide habitat for these animals.

Learn how and why rare plants are related to the geology they have evolved with.

Click here to access the Zoom broadcast via Facebook.

Monday, 05/03/2021

UC Berkeley Condensed Matter Physics Lecture - Livestream - 05/03/2021 02:30 PM
UC Berkeley

Speaker: Wei Ruan, UC Berkeley

See weblink for connection information

Programmable light-matter interactions: DNA as a tool for nanophotonics - Livestream - 05/03/2021 04:00 PM
What Physicists Do @ Sonoma State University

Speaker: Dr. Stacy Copp, UC Irvine

Stanford Energy Seminar - Tom Jaramillo - Livestream - 05/03/2021 04:00 PM
Stanford Energy Seminar

Recent years have seen unprecedented motivation for the emergence of new energy technologies. Global dependence on fossil fuels, however, will persist until alternate technologies can compete economically. We must develop means to produce energy (or energy carriers) from renewable sources and then convert them to work as efficiently and cleanly as possible. Catalysis is energy conversion, and the Jaramillo laboratory focuses on fundamental catalytic processes occurring on solid-state surfaces in both the production and consumption of energy. Chemical-to-electrical and electrical-to-chemical energy conversion are at the core of the research. Nanoparticles, metals, alloys, sulfides, nitrides, carbides, phosphides, oxides, and biomimetic organo-metallic complexes comprise the toolkit of materials that can help change the energy landscape. Tailoring catalyst surfaces to fit the chemistry is our primary challenge. In this seminar, Thomas Jaramillo will discuss his research.

Speaker: Thomas Jaramillo, Stanford University

Tuesday, 05/04/2021

The Illusion of Evidence-Based Medicine: Distorted Science in the Age of Big Pharma - Livestream - 05/04/2021 03:00 PM
Commonwealth Club - Online Event

Whole Earth Seminars - Livestream - 05/04/2021 03:30 PM
UC Santa Cruz

The Passage of Time and the Meaning of Life - Livestream - 05/04/2021 05:00 PM
Long Now Foundation

Wednesday, 05/05/2021

Estuary & Ocean Science Center Seminar - Livestream - 05/05/2021 03:30 PM
Estuary & Ocean Science Center

Thursday, 05/06/2021

Molecular Dynamics Simulations of Clathrate Hydrates - Livestream - 05/06/2021 05:00 PM
California Section American Chemical Society

Frank Drake Award Gala - 05/06/2021 06:00 PM
Online Online

NightSchool: Extreme Life - Livestream - 05/06/2021 07:00 PM
California Academy of Sciences San Francisco

Micromitigation: Fighting Air Pollution with Activated Carbon - Livestream - 05/06/2021 07:00 PM
Counter Culture Labs

Wonderfest: Conspiracy Theories - Livestream - 05/06/2021 08:00 PM

Friday, 05/07/2021

What the Pandemics Are Teaching Us about Representation and Leadership in Research, STEM, and Recovery - Livestream - 05/07/2021 11:00 AM
Gladstone Institutes

The Effect of 'Mascons' Interior Mass Distribution onto the Dynamic Environment Around Asteroids - Livestream - 05/07/2021 12:00 PM
UC Santa Cruz

Virtual Talk: Through the Looking Glass at Aloes in Wonderland - 05/07/2021 01:00 PM
UC Botanical Garden

Saturday, 05/08/2021

Virtual Telescope Viewing - Livestream - 05/08/2021 09:00 PM
Chabot Space and Science Center

Monday, 05/10/2021

Stanford Symbolic Systems Forum : Byron Reeves - Livestream - 05/10/2021 02:30 PM
Stanford Symbolic Systems Forum

Slugs and Steins: A Century of Paradigm Shifts in our Understanding of the Universe - Livestream - 05/10/2021 06:30 PM
UC Santa Cruz