Archive for the ‘science’ Category

Tomorrow’s Mission to Mars Will be a Lot Bigger Than NASA’s Previous Efforts – Meet the Mars Science Laboratory’s Curiosity Rover

Friday, November 25th, 2011

When you’re on a mission to M/A/R/R/S, you gots to pump up the volume, like how NASA is doing with tomorrow’s launch of the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL).

Check out this shot showing the size of the new rover’s wheels, via our California Academy of Sciences.

Three rover wheels at #NASAtweetup show the relative sizes for Curiosity, Spirit/Opportunity, and Pathfinder:

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Check it:

Curiosity will be five times as large, and carry more than ten times the mass of scientific instruments as the Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit or Opportunity.”

Here’s a family portrait:

Via NASA/JPL

Bon Courage, NASA

NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory mission is preparing to set down a large, mobile laboratory — the rover Curiosity — using precision landing technology that makes many of Mars’ most intriguing regions viable destinations for the first time. During the 23 months after landing, Curiosity will analyze dozens of samples drilled from rocks or scooped from the ground as it explores with greater range than any previous Mars rover.

Curiosity will carry the most advanced payload of scientific gear ever used on Mars’ surface, a payload more than 10 times as massive as those of earlier Mars rovers. Its assignment: Investigate whether conditions have been favorable for microbial life and for preserving clues in the rocks about possible past life.

Plans for the Mars Science Laboratory call for launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, between Nov. 25 and Dec.18, 2011, and arrival at Mars in August 2012.

The spacecraft has been designed to steer itself during descent through Mars’ atmosphere with a series of S-curve maneuvers similar to those used by astronauts piloting NASA space shuttles. During the three minutes before touchdown, the spacecraft slows its descent with a parachute, then uses retro rockets mounted around the rim of an upper stage. In the final seconds, the upper stage acts as a sky crane, lowering the upright rover on a tether to the surface.

Curiosity is about twice as long (about 3 meters or 10 feet) and five times as heavy as NASA’s twin Mars Exploration Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, launched in 2003. It inherited many design elements from them, including six-wheel drive, a rocker-bogie suspension system and cameras mounted on a mast to help the mission’s team on Earth select exploration targets and driving routes. Unlike earlier rovers, Curiosity carries equipment to gather samples of rocks and soil, process them and distribute them to onboard test chambers inside analytical instruments”

“Tis the Season for Science” at Our California Academy of Sciences – Snow! Reindeer! Spice Forest! Performances!

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

Tis the Season for Science at the California Academy of Sciences.

Check it:

“From November 23, 2011 – January 16, 2012 the Academy will offer a suite of wintry festivities and family fun that will celebrate the science behind some of our most familiar holiday sights, sounds, and traditions. Highlights include:

A pair of live reindeer

Indoor snow flurries twice an hour

A Snowman Theater – an immersive digital dome shaped like a giant snowman, which will play two new shows on the science of snow

An aromatic Spice Forest – displays of the raw botanical specimens from which we get cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, and other holiday ingredients

Festive programs including quiz shows, live music, dance, and theater performances

Mounted specimens of the birds mentioned in “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” including swans, geese, colly birds, hens, doves, and a partridge in a pear tree.”

Remember RLGC – Reindeer Love Graham Crackers. Hey kids, name this reindeer! (She’s a girl, BTW.)

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And here’s what these critters looked like when they were on the famous roof, via an iPhone 4:

This is Miles – he’s a fool for pine branches, I’ll tell you:

Les mise-en-scene:

One of four Evaporative Snow machines:

Le Theatre de Bonhomme de Neige – they’ve got two short films to show once you get inside:

The aromatic Spice Forest lets you smell stuff like nutmeg and vanilla:

And a partridge in a pear tree:

See you there!

OMG, Meet Adam Savage at Main Library on November 2: One City One Book – Packing for Mars

Monday, October 24th, 2011

Adam Savage, co-host of the television series MythBusters, will be on hand for a conversation at our Main Public Library at 6:00 PM on November 2, 2011.

It’s all a part of One City One Book, which looks at Packing for Mars this year.

And oh, Smitten Ice Cream Moon Pies are involved. Deets below.

Adam Savage packing for Mars: 

All the deets:

Mary Roach in conversation with Adam Savage

Wednesday, November 2 at 6pm, SF Main Library – Koret Auditorium, 100 Larkin St., 557-4277

What happens when one of the funniest and smartest authors around gets interviewed by a MythBuster? Hear which space legends might be as combustible as urban ones when Mary Roach and Adam Savage chat it up about Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void, San Francisco’s One City One Book selection for 2011.

Before the conversation, enjoy the premiere of Rockets of Yesterday, an eye-popping video tour of 1950s and 60s rocket dreams, curated by archivist and space enthusiast Megan Prelinger.

Mary Roach is the author of the bestselling books Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife, and Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex. She lives in Oakland, California.

Adam Savage is an American industrial design and special effects designer/fabricator, actor, educator, and co-host of the Discovery Channel television series MythBusters.

Packing for Mars will be available for purchase from Readers Bookstore and Mary will be signing after the program.

Note: Seating is limited. Doors will open at 5:45pm.

Plus, an extra sweet partnership:

Smitten Ice Cream in Hayes Valley – the folks behind that space age-y liquid nitrogen fueled instant ice cream maker — is making a special new space-themed flavor, Moon Pie, to coincide/partner with San Francisco Public Library’s annual One City One Book which this year is Packing for Mars by Mary Roach. A space themed ice cream flavor for a space-themed book!

The Moon Pie flavor will be a marshmallow ice cream with chocolate and graham cracker cookies. Yum.

The Library will be setting up a table outside Smitten’s shop next Thursday (10/27) and Friday (10/28) at 4 p.m. and Saturday 10/29 at Noon, giving away some free copies of the Packing for Mars book to the first handful of people who order the new Moon Pie flavor. Smitten is located at: 432 Octavia Street at Linden in Hayes Valley.

Plus, the Library’s big One City One Book event on Nov. 2 (Author Mary Roach in Conversation with Adam Savage) at the Main Library will feature an extra special prize treat courtesy of Smitten.”

Do These People Fly UC Berkeley Flags all the Time, Or Only On Days When Cal Wins a Nobel Prize?

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

I don’t have enough data to make this determination.

As seen yesterday, October 4th, 2011, in the Western Addition – it’s the mansion of patriotic San Franciscans:

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Congratulations, Dr. Saul Perlmutter! You now have “worldwide fame and campus parking.”*

All the deets after the jump.

*Don’t let the Streetsblog people find out about the free on-campus parking perk. I’m seriously.

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Famous MythBuster Adam Savage + SF SketchFest = Weird Science Comedy at CalAcademy’s NightLife This Thursday

Tuesday, August 16th, 2011

Our California Academy of Sciences is bringing it this once again, this Thursday night, August 18th from 6:00 to 10:00 PM – it’s Comedy NightLife!

All the deets:

“Comedy NightLife with SF Sketchfest

Get ready to laugh your wrasse off (as in cleaner wrasse – you know, the cute little symbiotic fish that nibbles parasites off its neighbors)! This week, NightLife partners with SF Sketchfest for a night of “weird science” comedy with an 80s twist, featuring festival favorites Adam Savage of MythBusters, Chris Hardwick of Web Soup and the Nerdist podcast, Kasper Hauser, Brian Malow, Joe Klocek, Alex Koll, Emily Heller, Edwin Li, Dave Thomason and Casey Ley; newcomers Veronica Belmont, Dhaya Lakshminarayanan, Nina G.; and more. Think stand-up, sketch, storytelling, conversation and trivia, all blended into one stellar night. DJs Skip and Shindog from New Wave City, organizers of the city’s top 80s dance party, will be spinning in the east pavilion, while Eli Glad  and Sleazemore bring their electro sounds to the coral reef. The planetarium will feature a tour of the universe during Science Tonight: LIVE @ 6:30, followed by two showings of Life: A Cosmic Story.

Event Schedule

6-8pm Rainforests of the World (Last entry at 7:30pm)
6-9pm Snakes & Lizards- new exhibit! (Last entry at 8:45pm)/ Forum
6-10pm Lights Down Low DJs Eli Glad & Sleazemore/ Aquarium
6-10pm New Wave City DJs Skip & Shindog/ East Pavilion
6:30pm Tour of the Universe/ Planetarium
6:30pm-7:45pm (Tours begin at 6:30, 7:00 and 7:30pm) Kasper Hauser Fake Docent Tours/ Aquarium
7-7:45pm Previously Secret Information/ Piazza
7-8pm Nerdist Podcast Live/ African Hall
7-9pm 1980’s Trivia Night with Casey Ley/ Swamp
7:30 & 8:30pm Life: A Cosmic Story/ Planetarium
8-9:30pm SF Sketchfest Stands Up!/ Piazza

Buy Tickets to NightLife on August 18th

See you there!

Nancy Pelosi Announces First Annual Bay Area Science Festival, Oct. 29 to Nov. 12 – It’s Going to be Huge!

Tuesday, August 16th, 2011

Holy Toledo, this thing is going to be huge.

Check it:

“Featuring more than 100 free events, the inaugural Bay Area Science Festival will bring together an unprecedented brain trust of the region’s scientific and educational partners to produce what is expected to be one of the largest science-based events ever held in the United States.

The San Francisco Bay Area is known for its groundbreaking work in science and technology, yet many who call the Bay Area home have little opportunity to experience the wonder of science. Led by the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), the Bay Area Science Festival is designed to inspire and build interest in science, technology and engineering among people of all ages and backgrounds.

The public will be invited to this series of events stretching from Santa Rosa to San Jose, including opportunities to experience science in action and hear about the latest scientific discoveries and culminating in a blow-out finale at AT&T Park.”

Science! 

Students at Wallenberg High School participated in a hands-on lesson taught through the UCSF Science Education & Health Partnership program, which was founded in 1987 and is now organizing the Bay Area Science Festival.

 

Muchas gracias, UCSF!

Ever more deets, after the jump

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Come to This Thursday’s “Workout NightLife” Party at Our CalAcademy and See If You Can Find Jared, the Subway Guy

Monday, July 25th, 2011

Our California Academy of Sciences is bringing it this Thursday night, July 28th, 2011 from 6:00 to 10:00 PM – it’s WORKOUT NIGHTLIFE just in time for the 2011 San Francisco Marathon on July 31st!

Bring your camera for when you spot Jared Fogle:

All the deets:

Workout NightLife

This week, NightLife works up a sweat in preparation for The San Francisco Marathon. CHEER SF will pump up the crowd with two performances in the East garden, followed by a costume contest for the best in workout attire (see below for categories). The SF Marathon crew and race partners will host interactive components including a chair massage station by Everest College, a yoga station from Lululemon, strategies from Bootcamp SF, UCSF RunSafe gait analysis and injury prevention advice, and contestants Ada Wong and Jesse Atkins from The Biggest Loser Season 10 leading a circuit workout. Plus, a series of creative short clips made just for planetarium domes at 6:30. Music by DJ Kap10.

Win a chance to run the 5k with “The Subway Guy,” Jared Fogle presented by The San Francisco Marathon! The “Where’s Jared” hunt will take place from 6pm to 9pm at NightLife. Dressed for the occasion, Jared will be in his finest workout attire. Be the first person to post 5 photos of Jared in 5 different locations at Nightlife to The The SF Marathon Facebook page and you will win an entry to the 5k event at The San Francisco Marathon on Sunday, July 31st!

Schedule of Events

6-9pm Snakes & Lizards- new exhibit! (Last entry at 8:45pm)/ Forum

6-10pm DJ Kap 10/ East Pavilion

6:30pm Best of DomeFest/ Planetarium

6:30-9:30pm SF Marathon Partners & Active Workshops / African Hall

7:30 & 8pm Performance by CHEER SF/ East Garden

7:30 & 8:30pm Life: A Cosmic Story/ Planetarium

8:30pm Workout Wear Costume Contest/ Piazza

Buy Tickets to NightLife on July 28th

OMG, OMG, the First Annual Bay Area Science Festival Runs Oct 29th to Nov 6th, 2011! Includes “Nerd Speed Dating”

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

Holy Toledo, this thing is going to be huge.

I’m talking huge.

Science! 

Students at Wallenberg High School participated in a hands-on lesson taught through the UCSF Science Education & Health Partnership program, which was founded in 1987 and is now organizing the Bay Area Science Festival.

 

Muchas gracias, UCSF!

“From October 29th to November 6th, the Bay Area will come alive with science & technology activities – lectures, debates, exhibitions, concerts, plays, workshops, and more. This ambitious collaborative public education initiative brings together our leading academic, scientific, corporate, and non-profit institutions to showcase the region as an international leader in innovation. Science happens all around us and directly impacts our daily lives – are you ready to unleash your inner scientist?

Discovery Days

It’s always festival time in the Bay Area! This program brings the fun and excitement of science to a huge crowd. In conjunction with local science outreach groups, the Discovery Days will have hundreds of hands-on activities, numerous performances, interactive demonstrations, and family-oriented science entertainment. But instead of one, we’re holding 3 different carnivals throughout the Bay Area to bring science to you!

  • East Bay Discovery Day at Cal State East Bay – Hayward: 10/29/11
  • North Bay Discovery Day at Infineon Raceway – Sonoma: 11/05/11
  • Festival Finale at AT&T Park – San Francisco: 11/06/11

Science at the Library

From Santa Rosa to San Jose, and everywhere in between, the Bay Area is a region of neighborhoods. For those who like to stay local, don’t miss the festival events taking place right in your community. Scientists, engineers, and other experts are set to appear in local libraries and community centers, providing over 50 fun programs for all to enjoy – most of them free.

Bay Area Star Party

Explore the cosmos! You are invited to take a “guided tour” of the stars hidden in our city night sky. Observatories around the Bay Area will open their doors to the public and feature talks by faculty and guest astronomers. In Oakland, Chabot Space and Science Center will host the grandest star party with its talks being broadcast over the radio for all to hear. Can’t make it to an observatory? Stargazing sites will be set up at community centers and parks in neighborhoods across the Bay Area. Don’t have a telescope? No problem! A bevy of local astronomers will bring both their equipment and their vast knowledge of the night sky to each location.

Wonder Dialogues

Ever wonder…how close we are to curing cancer? How will augmented reality impact the way we use media? How is our genetic code being used to improve medicine? What role do we play in preventing extinction? What makes an addict? These are just some of the many questions that will be explored during the Bay Area Science Festival’s Wonder Dialogue Series. Don’t miss this opportunity to talk with some of the world’s top scientists & engineers.
Topics under Development:

  • The Big C: the Future of Cancer Research
  • Can We Make it to Mars?
  • The End of the Universe and the Search for Meaning

One City, One Science Book
So many great science books, but so little time. Join the San Francisco and San Mateo County Libraries as we celebrate the best of science in book form. These annual citywide literary events encourage members of the community to read the same book at the same time and then discuss it in book groups and at numerous locations. Stay tuned for the announcement of the book!

Science Hikes

Take a walk on the science side! A number of scientists-guided hikes across the Bay Area will be available at your feet – just get out there and enjoy.
Hikes in Development:

  • Seismology along the San Andreas Fault
  • Water Conservation and the Pulgas Water Temple Hike
  • Tidal Restoration of the South Bay Salt Ponds
  • Paddle Elkorn Slough with a Naturalist

Science Pub Crawl
Some of the greatest scientific discoveries and discussions originated in local bars and cafes. The Bay Area Science Festival takes the conversation into our bars and cafes with an epic evening of scientific merriment. Enjoy the lighter side of science, from nerd speed dating to cocktail science.

OMG, It’s TEDxNASA@SiliconValley 2011! If You Like NASA, Register for This Free TEDx Event – August 17 in SF, CA

Friday, July 1st, 2011

I’ll tell you, I don’t know exactly what this event will be like, but it’s free and tickets will be all gone in two shakes of a lamb’s tail.

So, register now:

“In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TED has created a program called TEDx.

TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. Our event is call TEDxNASA, where x=independently organized TED event. At our TEDxNASA event, TEDTalks video and live speakers will combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group.

The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.

TEDxNASA@SiliconValley 2011

Wednesday, August 17, 2011
2:30 PM – 8:00 PM (PDT)

Marriott Marquis
55 Fourth Street
San Francisco, CA 94103



NASA Invites Public to TEDxNASA@SiliconValley 2011

WASHINGTON, July 1, 2011  – NASA is inviting reporters and the public to join agency leaders, technologists and innovators from a variety of fields at TEDxNASA@SiliconValley 2011 on Aug. 17. The event will be held at the Marriott Marquis hotel in San Francisco from 2:30 to 8:30 p.m. PDT.

The event is in the spirit of the TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) conferences that bring together leading thinkers to create a dialogue about important global challenges. Speakers include an aeronautics researcher developing a silent, carbonless airplane; a tree geneticist cloning the world’s largest trees; a fish-loving researcher creating the next biofuel from a salt-loving succulent; a computer that beats Jeopardy! Champions; and a Tony-winning street theater company. Each presentation on the theme “Extreme Green” will last 18 minutes or less.

“NASA is synonymous with taking big dreams and making them happen,” said Pete Worden, director of NASA’s Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif. “TEDxNASA allows us to further explore the power of ideas and the potential to change life here on Earth.”

The event is free and open to the public, but pre-registration is required. Registration opens Friday, July 1, and seating is limited. Reporters interested in attending should contact Jessica Culler at jessica.culler@nasa.gov by Aug. 12. If unable to attend in person, the conference will be streamed live on the TEDxNASA website.

For the stream and to register, visit.

http://tedxnasa.com

Esther Dyson, chair of the NASA Advisory Council’s Technology and Innovation Committee, will serve as the master of ceremonies for the event. “I’m excited to be part of this fertile combination of NASA and TEDx format,” Dyson said. “Both are dedicated to far-out, long-term thinking, and both understand the promise of hybrid vigor.”

NASA’s four research centers, Ames; Dryden Flight Research Center in Edwards, Calif.; Glenn Research Center in Cleveland; Langley Research Center and the National Institute of Aerospace, both in Hampton Va., are co-hosts of the event.

TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share an experience. These events are branded TEDx, where “x” means an independently organized TED event. TED is a non-profit organization founded in 1984. TED presentations are available for free at:

http://www.TED.com

For more information about NASA and agency programs, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov

SOURCE NASA

Science vs. Scientology: Northern California CoS HQ Gets Totally Pwned by California Academy of Sciences Banner

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

See the banner for the California Academy of Sciences on the left there? It’s right by the main entrance to the Church of Scientology’s NorCal headquarters, the scene of many protests by “Anonymous.”

See?

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What are the odds that the placement of that ad is just a coincidence?

(Oh well.)

The next time you’re in the area (right across the street from the TransAmerica Pyramid, BTW) stop by for a quick personality test, why not?

Here’s a sneak peak from Yelper Angela S on the Yelp.

Enjoy:

“As soon as we walked in we were asked to sign in – name (fake), address (San Francisco, CA), phone number (mix of my cell and land line – yes, those do still exist).  The man told us we could walk through at our own pace and then he’d give us a two minute spiel at the end.  We walked through reading some of the plaques that were ALL about L. Ron Hubbard, the founder.  L. Ron Hubbard’s books were sprinkled  everywhere.  When we got to the back there was a small area with maybe 60 chairs – it creeped me out.  I’m not sure why but it reminded me of a funeral home. I felt very out of place and felt that at any moment they could lock us in. After speeding by a few more plaques and pictures of you guessed it – L. Ron Hubbard we came across this ancient looking device.  The man from the front came over and said it was a “stress tester” and I immediately volunteered (at this point my date is wondering how fast he can drop me off). I held these silver canisters in my hands and watched this needle.

Scientologist: How’s work is going?
A: Fine.
Scientologist: What is your boss’ name?
A: Erica
[Needle was pretty steady.]
Scientologist: What’s your Mom’s name?
A: Pat
[Needle moves up a bit.]
Scientologist: What’s your Dad’s name?
A: Bob.
[Needle jumps.]
Scientologist: Ah…there is some tension with your Dad!
A: No, in fact, I am closer to him than my Mom. (I do understand why that’s a safe bet – most of my friends have issues with their Dad.)
[Scientologist ignores this comment and moves on.]
Scientologist: Are you married or dating?
A: This guy right here.  (I should write a book on what not to do when you just start dating someone.)
[Needle moves up a bit.]
Scientologist: Well what would you say is causing you the most stress in your life right now? (Reminded me of when Kramer pretended to be the movie phone guy, “Well why don’t you just tell me the name of the movie you want to see?”)
A: Um…well things are pretty good.  I guess my friend, Ashley, who is really depressed.
[Needle jerks and hits the max]
Scientologist: Ohhhh, don’t tell me she is taking medication. [Shakes head disapprovingly.]
A: Um is that bad? [Flash back to Tom Cruise screaming at Matt Lauer about how terrible anti-depressants are.] (I glance at my date who has a look of sheer terror on his face.)
Scientologist: Anti-depressants only mask the problem.  It doesn’t solve anything.  Come over here.
[We reluctantly walk over to the L. Ron Hubbard library where he pulls out two books.]
Scientologist: I recommend that you give this book to Ashley and this one you should read.
A: Ok well thanks for your time and allowing us to look around.  I’ll think about those books.
Scientologist: Sure come back anytime.
[Date shook hands with Scientologist and asked his name again.  Date used his real name.  D'OH!]“